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Vaccination and Immunisation

Iqbal Ebrahim
UNDERSTANDING ISLAM

“O you who believe save yourselves and your family from a Fire whose fuel is people and stones” (Quran 66:6)


You may wonder what the connection between Vaccination and Immunization and a ‘religious’ column? Before you think my mind is ‘wandering’ let me explain, I don’t specifically mean the medical vaccinations but the Moral vaccination and immunization, which are equally important to protect our young children and our religious, cultural, traditional values and identity.


When a new baby is born, the parents are advised to make sure that he or she gets the necessary inoculation / vaccination shots, against measles, smallpox, polio and German measles and all those other illnesses that we know about.
We do so out of care for the health of the baby, it is the right thing to do and, because such vaccines give the child immunity against those diseases in later years. No one asks: why do they need the vaccination so early in life?


The answer is that it is important to give the child the immunity before exposure to infection, so that later on, they would have acquired the immunity and they would resist that particular disease. If the disease is caught, you should not be looking for immunity; but you should be looking for treatment.


Just as we take vaccines to immunize and protect our physical bodies, we must recognise that we also have a soul, and morality that can be infected.  There are moral ills and diseases and they are just as contagious or dangerous as physical diseases and illnesses.


Likewise we have to take early steps to immunize and protect both our bodies and the moral state of our soul. We need that vaccination to immunize the soul in order to resist these moral ailments. We know that our society is full of moral ills as devastating as medical ailments – just look around.

Modern society is infected with violence, pornography, greed, racism, broken homes, homosexuality, drugs and alcohol, unwanted pregnancies, the list is endless. This is where the religious and moral immunisation comes in; we have to ensure that our children are protected early on in life from the dangers of being ‘infected’ by the ills of society.


‘Verily mankind is in loss, except those who have faith, and do righteous deeds and join together in the mutual teaching of truth and patience and constancy.’  (Quran 103:3)


Islam places a great responsibility on the shoulders of parents to give their off spring the early learning and guidance on the Islamic / religious aspect of their lives. Children grow up quickly so we should make sure that in the limited time of the narrow window of early childhood, we need to do our best to protect our children and immunize them against the moral ills of society.


An Islamic upbringing is a duty that every Muslim parent owes to their child.  It is a duty that cannot not be left or assigned to others. It is a joint responsibility of the parents who will be asked about it, at the Day of Judgment. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “every one of you is a shepherd and everyone is responsible for his flock.”


It is therefore every parent’s responsibility to arrange for moral immunization; this is a responsibility that we owe to our children.  We must ensure that we give them a proper Islamic upbringing; A responsibility which must be carried out with great amount of patience, love, dedication, knowledge and wisdom.  It is a tough responsibility but with great rewards for the children and their parents. The proper upbringing that we provide for our children today will be a good investment for the future, especially after death.


Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “When a person dies his deeds cease or discontinue except three; a running charity, a beneficial knowledge and a righteous child who makes Du’a (sends prayers) for his departed parents.”  
Islam defines the responsibilities, roles and rights of parents and their children. I am also aware that Christianity and other religions too have such guidance therefore a concerted effort needs to be undertaken to root out the evils in our society before this type of behaviour is accepted as the norm.


So where do we start? We have to ensure that our children are introduced to and given religious guidance from an early age. It is for this reason that you will find Muslim children attending ‘madressah’ on many afternoons after normal school hours or even over weekends. ‘Madressah’ is an Islamic school that teaches the children Arabic so that they can learn to read and memorise the shorter verses of the Quran, which are compulsory to be recited when offering our daily five times prayers.


Some kids even go even further and memorise the entire Quran. Children as young as 10 years of age have gone as far as having memorised every verse and chapter of the Quran and can recite it from memory when asked to do so. The Madressah curriculum also includes how to perform the five times daily prayers and supplications including all the basic / primary moral religious education and behaviour in order to help immunize them from falling prey to the moral breakdown in the future.


There was a time in the recent past when for reasons best known to them some overseas media tainted madressahs as places of indoctrinating children to become Islamic ‘fanatics’. This is far from the truth these classes can best be compared to ‘Sunday school’ in the life of a Christian where children are taught the basic religious injunctions and morals.


Muslim parents would like to cultivate the type of immunity in their children so much so that, say, when the child is offered drugs or alcohol he would not hesitate or be embarrassed to say no, and even have the courage to say, ‘I am a Muslim, my religion does not allow it.’  


Islam also insists that children should show great respect for and to their parents. Children should be raised to understand fully their own rights, obligations and responsibilities as Muslims as well as of their parents, the community, society and ultimately the world itself. The Qur'an directs the children; ‘Your Sustainer has decreed that you worship none but Allah and that you show kindness to parents; and if one or both of them attain old age nor utter a word of contempt nor repel them, but treat them in terms of honour’ (Quran 17:23). They should be addressed politely and graciously, lowering unto them the wing of humility and kindness. The Qur'an links worship of Allah to the kindness shown to parents.

‘And We have enjoined on the human being to be kind to his parents…’ (Qur'an, 31:14)


Of late some parents have all but abdicated their responsibilities towards the upbringing of their children. If parents fail in this task then we will have a generation of misguided and tainted youth. It is incumbent on us to ensure that we leave behind righteous children.

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The Daring Dozen at Bari

8th December 2020
JEFF---Batswana-smoke-unit

Seventy-seven years ago, on the evening of December 2, 1943, the Germans launched a surprise air raid on allied shipping in the Italian port of Bari, which was then the key supply centre for the British 8th army’s advance in Italy.

The attack was spearheaded by 105 Junkers JU88 bombers under the overall command of the infamous Air Marshal Wolfram von Richthofen (who had initially achieved international notoriety during the Spanish Civil War for his aerial bombardment of Guernica). In a little over an hour the German aircraft succeeded in sinking 28 transport and cargo ships, while further inflicting massive damage to the harbour’s facilities, resulting in the port being effectively put out of action for two months.

Over two thousand ground personnel were killed during the raid, with the release of a secret supply of mustard gas aboard one of the destroyed ships contributing to the death toll, as well as subsequent military and civilian casualties. The extent of the later is a controversy due to the fact that the American and British governments subsequently covered up the presence of the gas for decades.

At least five Batswana were killed and seven critically wounded during the raid, with one of the wounded being miraculously rescued floating unconscious out to sea with a head wound. He had been given up for dead when he returned to his unit fourteen days later. The fatalities and casualties all occurred when the enemy hit an ammunition ship adjacent to where 24 Batswana members of the African Pioneer Corps (APC) 1979 Smoke Company where posted.

Thereafter, the dozen surviving members of the unit distinguished themselves for their efficiency in putting up and maintaining smokescreens in their sector, which was credited with saving additional shipping. For his personal heroism in rallying his men following the initial explosions Company Corporal Chitu Bakombi was awarded the British Empire Medal, while his superior officer, Lieutenant N.F. Moor was later given an M.B.E.

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A Strong Marriage Bond Needs Two

8th December 2020

Remember: bricks and cement are used to build a house, but mutual love, respect and companionship are used to build a HOME. And amongst His signs is this: He creates for you mates out of your own kind, so that you may find contentment (Sukoon) with them, and He engenders love and tenderness between you; in this behold, there are signs (messages) indeed for people who reflect and think (Quran 30:21).

This verse talks about contentment; this implies companionship, of their being together, sharing together, supporting one another and creating a home of peace. This verse also talks about love between them; this love is both physical and emotional. For love to exist it must be built on the foundation of a mutually supportive relationship guided by respect and tenderness. As the Quran says; ‘they are like garments for you, and you are garments for them (Quran 2:187)’. That means spouses should provide each other with comfort, intimacy and protection just as clothing protects, warms and dignifies the body.

In Islam marriage is considered an ‘ibaadah’, (an act of pleasing Allah) because it is about a commitment made to each other, that is built on mutual love, interdependence, integrity, trust, respect, companionship and harmony towards each other. It is about building of a home on an Islamic foundation in which peace and tranquillity reigns wherein your offspring are raised in an atmosphere conducive to a moral and upright upbringing so that when we all stand before Him (Allah) on that Promised Day, He will be pleased with them all.

Most marriages start out with great hopes and rosy dreams; spouses are truly committed to making their marriages work. However, as the pressures of life mount, many marriages change over time and it is quite common for some of them to run into problems and start to flounder as the reality of living with a spouse that does not meet with one’s pre-conceived ‘expectations’. However, with hard work and dedication, couples can keep their marriages strong and enjoyable. How is it done? What does it take to create a long-lasting, satisfying marriage?

Below are some of the points that have been taken from a marriage guidance article I read recently and adapted for this purposes.

POSITIVITY
Spouses should have far more positive than negative interactions. If there is too much negativity — criticizing, demanding, name-calling, holding grudges, etc. — the relationship will suffer. However, if there is never any negativity, it probably means that frustrations and grievances are not getting ‘air time’ and unresolved tension is accumulating inside one or both partners waiting to ‘explode’ one day.

“Let not some men among you laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor let some women laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor defame nor be sarcastic to each other, nor call each other by (offensive) nicknames.” (49:11)

We all have our individual faults though we may not see them nor want to admit to them but we will easily identify them in others. The key is balance between the two extremes and being supportive of one another. To foster positivity in a marriage that help make them stable and happy, being affectionate, truly listening to each other, taking joy in each other’s achievements and being playful are just a few examples of positive interactions.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “The believers who show the most perfect faith are those who have the best character and the best of you are those who are best to their wives”

UNDERSTANDING

Another characteristic of happy marriages is empathy; understanding your spouses’ perspective by putting oneself in his or her shoes. By showing that understanding and identifying with your spouse is important for relationship satisfaction. Spouses are more likely to feel good about their marriage and if their partner expresses empathy towards them. Husbands and wives are more content in their relationships when they feel that their partners understand their thoughts and feelings.

Successful married couples grow with each other; it simply isn’t wise to put any person in charge of your happiness. You must be happy with yourself before anyone else can be.  You are responsible for your actions, your attitudes and your happiness. Your spouse just enhances those things in your life. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers.”

COMMITMENT

Successful marriages involve both spouses’ commitment to the relationship. The married couple should learn the art of compromise and this usually takes years. The largest parts of compromise are openness to the other’s point of view and good communication when differences arise.

When two people are truly dedicated to making their marriage work, despite the unavoidable challenges and obstacles that come, they are much more likely to have a relationship that lasts. Husbands and wives who only focus on themselves and their own desires are not as likely to find joy and satisfaction in their relationships.

ACCEPTANCE

Another basic need in a relationship is each partner wants to feel valued and respected. When people feel that their spouses truly accept them for who they are, they are usually more secure and confident in their relationships. Often, there is conflict in marriage because partners cannot accept the individual preferences of their spouses and try to demand change from one another. When one person tries to force change from another, he or she is usually met with resistance.

However, change is much more likely to occur when spouses respect differences and accept each other unconditionally. Basic acceptance is vital to a happy marriage. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “It is the generous (in character) who is good to women, and it is the wicked who insults them.”
“Overlook (any human faults) with gracious forgiveness.” (Quran 15:85)

COMPASSION, MUTUAL LOVE AND RESPECT

Other important components of successful marriages are love, compassion and respect for each other. The fact is, as time passes and life becomes increasingly complicated, the marriage is often stressed and suffers as a result. A happy and successful marriage is based on equality. When one or the other dominates strongly, intimacy is replaced by fear of displeasing.

It is all too easy for spouses to lose touch with each other and neglect the love and romance that once came so easily. It is vital that husbands and wives continue to cultivate love and respect for each other throughout their lives. If they do, it is highly likely that their relationships will remain happy and satisfying. Move beyond the fantasy and unrealistic expectations and realize that marriage is about making a conscious choice to love and care for your spouse-even when you do not feel like it.

Seldom can one love someone for whom we have no respect. This also means that we have to learn to overlook and forgive the mistakes of one’s partner. In other words write the good about your partner in stone and the bad in dust, so that when the wind comes it blows away the bad and only the good remains.

Paramount of all, marriage must be based on the teachings of the Noble Qur’an and the teachings and guidance of our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). To grow spiritually in your marriage requires that you learn to be less selfish and more loving, even during times of conflict. A marriage needs love, support, tolerance, honesty, respect, humility, realistic expectations and a sense of humour to be successful.

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Chronic Joblessness: How to Help Curtail it

30th November 2020
Motswana woman

The past week or two has been a mixed grill of briefs in so far as the national employment picture is concerned. BDC just injected a further P64 million in Kromberg & Schubert, the automotive cable manufacturer and exporter, to help keep it afloat in the face of the COVID-19-engendered global economic apocalypse. The financial lifeline, which follows an earlier P36 million way back in 2017, hopefully guarantees the jobs of 2500, maybe for another year or two.

It was also reported that a bulb manufacturing company, which is two years old and is youth-led, is making waves in Selibe Phikwe. Called Bulb Word, it is the only bulb manufacturing operation in Botswana and employs 60 people. The figure is not insignificant in a town that had 5000 jobs offloaded in one fell swoop when BCL closed shop in 2016 under seemingly contrived circumstances, so that as I write, two or three buyers have submitted bids to acquire and exhume it from its stage-managed grave.

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