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Social media – the bad and the ugly

Iqbal Ebrahim
UNDERSTANDING ISLAM

Following the escapades of those misguided kids who posted their sexual activities on social media, the fallout has rippled through our society. It is comforting to note that many people have expressed indignation and condemned their immoral behaviour and antics.

Regrettably all around us there are signs of rot in our society with moral decay and degeneration having taken root. What we once considered a healthy society is now facing a crisis as a result of the rapid deterioration and degradation of those religious, moral and social values that formed the basis of a healthy society being swept away.


‘Nor come near to adultery (fornication); for it is a shameful deed and an evil, opening the road to other evils’ (Quran 17: 32).


Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: ‘The Last hour will not be established until they (wicked people) commit adultery (fornicate) in the roads (in the public eye without shame)’ and ‘The Hour will come when adultery becomes widespread’, and ‘There will be a prevalence of open fornication’.


Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) two Hadiths above fittingly identify and point to that moral and social deterioration of our society.


This type of behaviour is quite prevalent amongst our youth. If one were to ask those who counsel some of our youth they will confirm this.


The explosion of social media and the easy online access to various web sites has a major role in influencing behavioural patterns of the youth. These are innovations are fantastic, but when misused, have devastating effects on our impressionable youth.


With what they see on line today’s youth are being swept away in a flood of immodesty, shamelessness and carnal desires. The youth of today are exposed to everything that goes around on social media, at school, on the TV, the radio, newspapers and everywhere else.

They are being corrupted by what is being beamed into their lives from other parts of the globe; they come face to face with and are exposed to all the vices and ills of that society and as a result they want to live that type of life with no limits set upon them.


Nowadays many couples, during their private and intimate moments tend to capture those images. With the advent of hand held devices, many people photograph / capture virtually every image. They even use these photos to pass around social media to their friends to brag of their ‘conquests’ as witnessed.

The most frightening aspect is that those with deviant minds black mail and threaten to release these images onto social media when the couple break up or their relationships end in a bitter fashion. This negative use of social media has dire consequences because very soon we will have children who cannot handle this type of bullying and threats of ‘exposure’ of those sensitive photographs, committing suicide.


Our children exposed to all sorts of evils: drugs, alcohol, rape, pornography, prostitution, premarital and extra marital sex, nudity, gays and lesbians, sexual harassment, adultery and a whole list of evils. Being regularly exposed to such things they begin to accept this as normal behaviour. What made these kids do this? Someone suggested that they could have been high on drugs.   


What triggers such moral degeneration? Why is it so and what has gone wrong? There are various reasons for this: the main reason is that we have now drifted away from the moral foundations, practices and upbringing that were the basis of our religious teachings.

Without doubt it is almost impossible to shield our children from all the negative forces that can influence and shape their minds and behaviour but as responsible adults we cannot leave them drifting rudderless in the wide ocean of the evils of today’s life.


‘Mischief has appeared on land and the sea as a result of what the hands of man has earned, that Allah may give them a taste of some of their deeds; in order that they may turn back from evil’ (Quran 30: 41)


Today’s youth are on a precipice and in desperate need of guidance, but unfortunately many parents are shying away from their responsibilities to this generation. Yet we have been directed: ‘O you who believe! Save yourself and your families from the Fire of Hell’. (Quran 66: 6). Further Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: ‘No father has given a greater gift to his children than good moral training’.


The Bible also gives guidance: “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it”. (Proverbs 22:6)


So we have to give it our best shot, because that responsibility falls squarely on our shoulders. This is where responsible parenting comes in. It is about, guiding, training them and also being the living example of the type of righteous person we want them to be when they grow up.  


The world has changed from the ‘old’ one which was built around a community to one that is of the ‘me’ generation – today it is all about me. During our growing years, a child’s behaviour was the responsibility of everyone. In other words should any child misbehave in public, any adult present would take the responsibility to bring that child to order, regardless of whose child it may be.


This generation seems to be built around the concept of, me, myself and I. This has led to many people to live a life of false pretence – pretending to be what they are not. It is all about showing off and to prove to people that ‘I have arrived’. This leads to show off behaviour.

Take the example of first time car owners; with the availability ‘fong kong’ cars, many people can now afford to own a car. But note what happens; we find many of these fellows slowly driving around all the windows open, with music blasting away that can be heard 100 metres away.


The only message they are sending out is ‘look at me, look at me, I have a car’. Gone are the days of modesty, today it is all about how we can be seen and noticed. Many of us are suffering from a very low self-esteem and the only way we can get to be noticed is draw attention to ourselves, and this can include behaving in an immodest manner. ‘…but it is best for them to be modest… (Quran 24: 60). ‘….for Allah loves any vainglorious boaster’ (Quran 57:23)

    
We need to identify the causes and act swiftly; parents, religious bodies, and the nation should lead the fight against this abyss we are standing on. We must act boldly as this is a crisis of massive proportions and we need to do something before we lose our children to this vortex of evil. ‘Verily never will Allah change the condition of a people until they change it themselves (with their own souls) – (Qur’an 13:11)

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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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