‘You know that the life of this world is but play and amusement, pomp and mutual boasting and multiplying in rivalry among yourselves, riches and children… and what is the life of this world but goods and chattels of deception?’ (Quran 57: 20)
Over the past few weeks this column has touched on the subject of moral decay in societies the world over. We are being deceived, lured and waylaid by the glitter of this life. Regardless of our colour, ethnicity, tribe, nationality or religious belief there has been a noticeable decline in the morality and standards of behaviour over the past few years.
Some people put it down to ‘globalisation’ and the easy and unlimited access to social and other media beaming their foreign lifestyles into our daily lives. Many of us who do not have a firm and moral upbringing fall easy prey to such alluring, deceptive yet evil lifestyles that are being glamorised. There are some of us who may have low self-esteem and feel insecure with or about ourselves will try to ape the worst those ‘first world/ western’ standards of behaviour.
The world has dramatically changed beyond recognition; we have a series of challenges that have negative implications that mislead our youth and adults, onto the downward path to self-destruction. Among the problems we have are; alcohol and substance abuse, drugs, poor moral standards of behaviour cyber bullying, devil worship and a plethora of physical and psychological challenges and temptations that this modern world has brought to their doorsteps.
We need to be aware of these things and the effect they have on our families; Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: ‘ HYPERLINK "http://www.hilalplaza.com/allah.aspx" o "Allah" Allah will ask every caretaker about the people under his care, and the man will be asked about the people of his household’. And, ‘Every one of your (people) is responsible, and everyone is responsible for whatever falls under his responsibility. A man is like a shepherd of his own family, and he is responsible for them’.
To many of us who have been brought up with those time honoured cultural and traditional values, and of course with a religious upbringing (some may be tempted to label it the old fashioned way) find ourselves at a loss for words at what we see happening in a society that has deserted those values. The social structure of our society is crumbling and, as responsible parents we need to act in order to stop it from further degeneration and destruction.
All married couples desire to have children and a Muslim parent prays: "Our Lord! Grant unto us wives and offspring who will be the comfort of our eyes, and give us (the grace) to lead the righteous." (Quran 25:74) But it also tells us: ‘Your riches and your children may be but a trial, but in the Presence of Allah, are the highest reward’. (Quran 64: 15)
Once blessed with offspring, parents hold an enormous responsibility in terms of what they teach their children and accordingly how their children grow up to be adults. Children should be raised to understand their own rights, obligations and responsibilities as Muslims as well as of their parents, community, society and ultimately the world itself. Therefore children have the right, to be raised as responsible Muslim adults and parents must ensure and fulfil that right appropriately.
Parents have to take an active role in guiding their children and families onto the path of righteousness. Islam holds parents responsible for steering their children’s upbringing according to the guidelines of the Quran and Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) teachings.
One might ask how do we fulfil this obligation, how can we ensure that our children are raised in a proper manner, so what must we do? Let us start with the family first. The basic unit of any society is the family unit therefore the first step is to establish the family and household on the right footing and as adults and parents we are the torch bearers.
We have to provide for our children a healthy environment for their upbringing and training so that they can grow up to become responsible adults. This requires parents to actively maintain an atmosphere at home that is conducive to positive learning and upbringing.
Children need role models, and parents are their primary examples. To be good role models themselves, parents must also have models or mentors of their own whose example they can emulate. This means that parents, too, must model their lives according to the Islamic way of life.
Children can get conflicting messages and thus can get confused when they do not see parents and elders following the instructions that they give to them. As quoted many times before, children may not always follow what you say but they will easily follow in the footsteps of what you do.
It is a fact that children, who are raised in dysfunctional homes where there is constant bickering, arguments, conflict and abuse, not only learn less but are more prone to develop personality disorders, hence the need to establish a family unit based on love, respect, trust, peace and on a ‘religious’ footing.
A happy home, comfort, care and love, providing the necessities of life and a good education are some of the responsibilities that parents are required to fulfil. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said; ‘ whoever is not kind to young people is not one of us and the best teaching that a parent can give a child is the teaching of good manners and character’.
Besides teaching children the rituals of worship they should be taught Islamic morals, character, and etiquettes from an early age so that it becomes part of their lives and habits. Children should be taught the principles of humility, of being honest and truthful, gentle and polite, helpful and considerate, patient and tolerant. These personality traits can help will them in their later lives.
For example, teaching them about patience and tolerance and in dealing with tough situations, when they encounter such challenges in their lives, they will value that training and be thankful to you for having given them that learning earlier on in life.
Among the virtues and habits they should develop is that of cleanliness. In Islam being clean, neat, tidy and looking after our personal hygiene and cleanliness are of great importance and essential elements in offering the five times daily prayers.
Children raised in an Islamic manner will have learnt and will be able to follow the injunction of the Quran which says: ‘Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him, and that you be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of disrespect, nor shout at them, but address them in terms of honour. And, out of kindness, lower to them the wing of humility, and say: "My Lord! Bestow on them Your Mercy even as they did bring me up when I was young." (Quran 17:23-24)
In 2005, the Business & Economic Advisory Council (BEAC) pitched the idea of the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to the Mogae Administration.
It took five years before the SEZ policy was formulated, another five years before the relevant law was enacted, and a full three years before the Special Economic Zones Authority (SEZA) became operational.
… courtesy of infiltration stratagem by Jehovah-Enlil’s clan
With the passing of Joshua’s generation, General Atiku, the promised peace and prosperity of a land flowing with milk and honey disappeared, giving way to chaos and confusion.
Maybe Joshua himself was to blame for this shambolic state of affairs. He had failed to mentor a successor in the manner Moses had mentored him. He had left the nation without a central government or a human head of state but as a confederacy of twelve independent tribes without any unifying force except their Anunnaki gods.
If I say the word ‘robot’ to you, I can guess what would immediately spring to mind – a cute little Android or animal-like creature with human or pet animal characteristics and a ‘heart’, that is to say to say a battery, of gold, the sort we’ve all seen in various movies and tv shows. Think R2D2 or 3CPO in Star Wars, Wall-E in the movie of the same name, Sonny in I Robot, loveable rogue Bender in Futurama, Johnny 5 in Short Circuit…
Of course there are the evil ones too, the sort that want to rise up and eliminate us inferior humans – Roy Batty in Blade Runner, Schwarzenegger’s T-800 in The Terminator, Box in Logan’s Run, Police robots in Elysium and Otomo in Robocop.
And that’s to name but a few. As a general rule of thumb, the closer the robot is to human form, the more dangerous it is and of course the ultimate threat in any Sci-Fi movie is that the robots will turn the tables and become the masters, not the mechanical slaves. And whilst we are in reality a long way from robotic domination, there are an increasing number of examples of robotics in the workplace.
ROBOT BLOODHOUNDS Sometimes by the time that one of us smells something the damage has already begun – the smell of burning rubber or even worse, the smell of deadly gas. Thank goodness for a robot capable of quickly detecting and analyzing a smell from our very own footprint.
A*Library Bot The A*Star (Singapore) developed library bot which when books are equipped with RFID location chips, can scan shelves quickly seeking out-of-place titles. It manoeuvres with ease around corners, enhances the sorting and searching of books, and can self-navigate the library facility during non-open hours.
DRUG-COMPOUNDING ROBOT Automated medicine distribution system, connected to the hospital prescription system. It’s goal? To manipulate a large variety of objects (i.e.: drug vials, syringes, and IV bags) normally used in the manual process of drugs compounding to facilitate stronger standardisation, create higher levels of patient safety, and lower the risk of hospital staff exposed to toxic substances.
AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY ROBOTS Applications include screw-driving, assembling, painting, trimming/cutting, pouring hazardous substances, labelling, welding, handling, quality control applications as well as tasks that require extreme precision,
AGRICULTURAL ROBOTS Ecrobotix, a Swiss technology firm has a solar-controlled ‘bot that not only can identify weeds but thereafter can treat them. Naio Technologies based in southwestern France has developed a robot with the ability to weed, hoe, and assist during harvesting. Energid Technologies has developed a citrus picking system that retrieves one piece of fruit every 2-3 seconds and Spain-based Agrobot has taken the treachery out of strawberry picking. Meanwhile, Blue River Technology has developed the LettuceBot2 that attaches itself to a tractor to thin out lettuce fields as well as prevent herbicide-resistant weeds. And that’s only scratching the finely-tilled soil.
INDUSTRIAL FLOOR SCRUBBERS The Global Automatic Floor Scrubber Machine boasts a 1.6HP motor that offers 113″ water lift, 180 RPM and a coverage rate of 17,000 sq. ft. per hour
These examples all come from the aptly-named site www.willrobotstakemyjob.com because while these functions are labour-saving and ripe for automation, the increasing use of artificial intelligence in the workplace will undoubtedly lead to increasing reliance on machines and a resulting swathe of human redundancies in a broad spectrum of industries and services.
This process has been greatly boosted by the global pandemic due to a combination of a workforce on furlough, whether by decree or by choice, and the obvious advantages of using virus-free machines – I don’t think computer viruses count! For example, it was suggested recently that their use might have a beneficial effect in care homes for the elderly, solving short staffing issues and cheering up the old folks with the novelty of having their tea, coffee and medicines delivered by glorified model cars. It’s a theory, at any rate.
Already,customers at the South-Korean fast-food chain No Brand Burger can avoid any interaction with a human server during the pandemic. The chain is using robots to take orders, prepare food and bring meals out to diners. Customers order and pay via touchscreen, then their request is sent to the kitchen where a cooking machine heats up the buns and patties. When it’s ready, a robot ‘waiter’ brings out their takeout bag.
‘This is the first time I’ve actually seen such robots, so they are really amazing and fun,’ Shin Hyun Soo, an office worker at No Brand in Seoul for the first time, told the AP.
Human workers add toppings to the burgers and wrap them up in takeout bags before passing them over to yellow-and-black serving robots, which have been compared to Minions.
Also in Korea, the Italian restaurant chain Mad for Garlic is using serving robots even for sit-down customers. Using 3D space mapping and other technology, the electronic ‘waiter,’ known as Aglio Kim, navigates between tables with up to five orders. Mad for Garlic manager Lee Young-ho said kids especially like the robots, which can carry up to 66lbs in their trays.
These catering robots look nothing like their human counterparts – in fact they are nothing more than glorified food trolleys so using our thumb rule from the movies, mankind is safe from imminent takeover but clearly Korean hospitality sector workers’ jobs are not.
And right there is the dichotomy – replacement by stealth. Remote-controlled robotic waiters and waitresses don’t need to be paid, they don’t go on strike and they don’t spread disease so it’s a sure bet their army is already on the march.
But there may be more redundancies on the way as well. Have you noticed how AI designers have an inability to use words of more than one syllable? So ‘robot’ has become ‘bot’ and ‘android’ simply ‘droid? Well, guys, if you continue to build machines ultimately smarter than yourselves you ‘rons may find yourself surplus to requirements too – that’s ‘moron’ to us polysyllabic humans”!