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The Lord’s Mother-In-Law

Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER…

She was called Helena-Salome, the mistress to Simon Zelotes

Over the ages, the name Mary Magdalene has been loved and loathed in equal measure. Apostles such as Simon Peter and Paul hated her like the plague. For a long time, the Catholic Church had her designated a whore. Then in 1969, the Church reversed full cycle when it declared her a saint. Yet over the centuries, she has been one of the most positively depicted of all classical figures. There are numerous portrayals of her at the tomb and at the crucifixion.

She was a most special woman but both the early Church and Catholic Church vilified her. Why? Because she represented a major threat to their theological dogma. Having declared  Jesus as God, they didn’t want it to be openly known that actually he was a mere mortal who even had a wife and children. Religion, as the great Karl Marx said, is the opium of the masses.


Be that as it may, the assertion that Mary Magdalene  was a whore was not exactly far-fetched. It did have a near-credulous  foundation only this foundation was somewhat askew. The ascription of harlotry to Mary Magdalene had to do more with her mother than she  herself. For her mother was Helena-Salome, the consort of Simon Zelotes, Jesus’s foremost disciple. This fact we learn directly from extra-biblical sources and indirectly from the gospels themselves.

 
The fact that Helena-Salome was Mary Magadalene’s mother makes Simon Zelotes a father-in-law to  Jesus. It is small wonder then that Simon Zelotes was the closest of Jesus’s so-called disciples – or rather his closest associate – whereas Mary Magdalene was his closest female associate. All these three – Simon Zelotes, Helena-Salome, and Mary Magdalene feature prominently in the New Testament, the first two under various guises most Christians and most pastors are not aware of.


Simon Zelotes is the same person as   Simon the Zealot;  Simon the Canaanite; Simon the leper;  Simon the tanner;  Simon of Cyrene; Zebedee;  Lazarus; Ananias; “the great power of God”; Demetrius the silversmith; Beelzebub; and Beast 666. He also has symbolic names such as “Lightning” and the titular name at some stage of “Father” or “Pope”. Outside the Bible, he was best known as Simon Magus, that is, Simon the Magician.


In the Bible, Helena-Salome appears under the names "daughter" of Herodias; Syrophoenician woman;   woman of Samaria;  mother of the sons of Zebedee;  sister of Mother Mary; Martha; Joanna;  Salome; Sapphira; and Jezebel. She was also characterised as “Wisdom of God”. Outside the Bible, she also features under the names Justa; Luna; and Paulina.


THE GENTILE MOTHER
Helena-Salome is an enigmatic figure. Her real name is not known for certain. The name Helena was  given to her by Simon Zelotes, who believed she was the reincarnation of  Helen of Troy – Inana, the most famous daughter of  the god Zeus, who was actually the Anunnaki god Nannar-Sin. Simon Zelotes thought she was the divine “Thought of God” because of her surpassing wisdom.  She could also have been called Helena because she was the spiritual advisor of Queen Helena of Adiabene (located in parts of modern-day Iraq, Kurdistan, and Armenia), when she converted to Judaism in about 30 AD.


The name Salome has two possible explanations. The first one has to do with her status in the Essene community. She was the female head of the order of Asher, whose members were gentile converts to Judaism. The order of Asher was founded by Queen Salome Alexandra, the last woman to rule over Judea and one of only two females to have ever done so, in the first century BC. “Salome” thus became the title of every woman head of the order of Asher. The second explanation derives from her being the chaperone of Herodias, the wife of Herod Antipas, and godmother to Herodias’s daughter Salome.    


Helena-Salome was a Canaanite from Phoenicia, a narrow coastal territory corresponding to much of today’s Lebanon.  Phoenicia meant “land of purple” in Greek as the territory was famed for its purple dyes, which were made from shell fish. Phoenicia was organised into city states, the most eminent of which were Tyre and Sidon. In 64 BC, Phoenicia was annexed to the Roman province of Syria and henceforth became known as Syro-Phoenicia. It therefore makes sense that the Syro-Phoenician woman we encounter in MARK 7:25-30 and the Canaanite woman we encounter in MATTHEW 15:21-28 was Helena-Salome and not simply a chance woman.


Whilst a Temple Virgin at the Temple of Artemis (Innana-Ishtar) at Ephesus, the voluptuously beautiful Helena-Salome was tricked into having sex with a man who disguised himself as a “god” (He may as well have been the Anunnaki god Utu-Shamash – known to Greeks as Apollo – who was a twin brother to Innana). The result was a pregnancy leading to the birth of a daughter.

The daughter would in future come to be known as Mary Magdalene. Helena-Salome, however, strongly believed that she indeed had slept with a god and therefore vowed that she would never desecrate herself by ever sleeping with an ordinary mortal. She was to abstain from sexual activity for the rest of her life.

DIVORCE FROM JAIRUS
Since Helena-Salome had decided to live a chaste life forever, she bought two boys to adopt as sons. According to the Clementine literature (that is, the Clementine Homilies and Clementine Recognitions),   the two boys were illegitimate sons of  Julia the Elder, the only natural child of Augustus Caesar. Julia had sold them to slave traders but had at the same time asked Helena to buy them off and promised to help her with the finances needed for their upkeep. In the process, Helena became a very affluent   lady.  The two boys were given the Jewish names Niceta and Aquila but they were to be best known as James and John respectively, the gospels’ sons of Zebedee who  were among Jesus’s inner circle of 12  associates.  


Because of her ethereal beauty and glittering intelligence, Helena easily caught the eye of men. One of these was  Syro the Jairus, a chief priest of some synagogues in Syria and Galilee and a descendent of Ira the Jairite, who was an ancillary priest to King David of Judea. Jairus  proposed and soon the two had tied the knot. Of course Helena was not his first wife.

The marriage did not last as Helena was adamant that she was not going to be intimate with anybody ever again. Resultantly, Syro sent her packing but her daughter had already gained a reputation  as Jairus’s daughter, perhaps because of her staggering beauty (more so if she had Anunnaki blood in her). Helena moved to Tyre where she set up  her own temple that was dubbed a brothel. This, of course,  was a vilification.


Helena’s temple was far from a brothel.  Helena had been a Temple Virgin at the temple of Artemis in Ephesus. Temple virgins were known as Sacred Priestesses. They were also referred to as Scarlet Women.  The reason they were so-called was because they  were a specially designated source of menstruum, from which a number of  medicinal products were made.

This practice was called ritu, meaning “redness” because of the blood element  of  the ceremony. Ritu is the origin of the term “ritual”.  Most  people are not aware that menstruum has a whole host of medicinal uses which Illuminati doctors are aware of but which they do not share to the wider world.  In ancient times, the Earth-based Anunnaki  used menstrual extracts to lengthen their lives! This “elixir of life” was called Star Fire and was taken only from Temple Virgins.

In Greek, Temple Virgins were known as hierodulai, that is, Sacred Woman. In medieval French and English, hierodulai became “harlot”. In the early Germanic tongue, Temple Virgins were known as “hores” (meaning “beloved ones”  because of their highly venerated role), a term which was to transform to the now despicable  “whores”.  The temple that Helena founded in Tyre was meant to groom Temple Virgins for  purposes of ritu but her detractors deliberately twisted this to a brothel temple.


It was at her Tyre temple that Simon Zelotes met Helena and decided to hitch her up. However, Helena was to be only his consort and not his wife as she was unflinching in her volition to abstain from sexual relations. Simon Zelotes, who was smitten by her resounding wisdom and her resoluteness of purpose, raised no objections. Indeed,  throughout all extra-biblical literature, Helena is always referred to as the consort (partner)  of Simon and never his wife. 

Among the Essene community, she was often referred to as a “rich widow”, widow in this context meaning  divorcee. Remember, Essenes had their own lexicon, such that words which on surface had familiar meanings actually had special underlying meanings. This  coded language was called Pesher.  


Simon Zelotes adopted Mary Magdalene and the boys James and John. Since Simon’s other name was Zebedee, meaning “My Gift”, the two boys were typically  referred to as the sons of Zebedee.  Later in their adulthood, they would switch their political loyalties in the Jesus party from the “Lightning” faction headed by Simon Zelotes, to  the “Thunder” faction headed by  Simon’s main rival, Nathaniel. They were therefore now addressed as the “Sons of Thunder”.


While Nathaniel was Pope/Father (successor to John the Baptist), Helena spiritedly promoted her two boys to Jesus so that they would be his deputies in his capacity as Priest-King in  an independent Israel (MARK 10:35-45/MATTHEW 20:20-28).  A politically correct Jesus stoutly refused to commit to that  and instead referred her to Nathaniel. This was because as things presently stood, Nathaniel was the future High Priest of an independent Israel and it was up to him to choose his two deputies.  

HONOURABLE, NOT PROSTITUTE
In the Essene community in the 20s AD and onward, Helena-Salome was the most highly regarded woman alongside Mary the mother of Jesus. She actually fancied herself as the Essene priestess and called herself Justa, meaning “crown princess” or “future queen”. This was at the time when Simon Zelotes was Pope and therefore the highest ranking Essene – a king to her own mind. Because of her high social standing, she was entrusted headship of the Essene’s female  order of Asher, which alongside with the order of Dan, had strictly Gentile membership. 

The order of Asher was headquartered in Tyre, the capital of Phoenicia, because Phoenicia had been the territory of the Israel tribe of Asher.  The title of the female head of the order of Asher was Sarah-Salome. She would in due course assume another title, that of  Martha. Her daughter Mary Magdalene, however, belonged to the order of Dan.


Whereas members of the order of Dan were not allowed to own private property, those of Asher could. This allowed Helena to be a very “rich widow” as she had plenty of property courtesy  of the lavish material support she had been receiving from the wealthy Julia the Elder, the real mother of John and James.  Mary Magdalene would have been in line to inherit this wealth but when she became a Mary at her engagement to Jesus, she had to join the order of Dan, whose female members were not allowed to own property whatsoever: whatever personal assets they had was forfeited to the Essene community as a collective.  


Since she was so strikingly intellectual, Helena was the only woman disciple of John the Baptist. John had a total of 30 disciples to correspond with  the number of days in the month and Helena was designated as the 29th, to accord with a lunar month in a leap year. Her other name therefore was Luna.  For the most part though, Helena, just like her consort Simon Zelotes, was regarded as too ambitious and a schemer who knew no limits. Her male contemporaries therefore went out of their way to tarnish her name, often unjustifiably. Her putative involvement in the death of John the Baptist may just have been one such smear.


The church father Eusebius  also joined in the chorus of slurs. In his Church History, he wrote thus of Helena:  “And there went around with him (Simon Magus) at that time a certain Helena who had formerly been a prostitute in Tyre of Phoenicia.”

Clearly, Eusebius too misunderstood the purpose of the Virgin Temple she opened up in Tyre (she later shut it down anyway). Her own adopted son James and John never once impugned her. This is what James reported according to the Clementine literature: “They (the slave traders) sold us to a certain widow, a very honourable woman named Justa. She having bought us treated us as sons, so that she carefully educated us in Greek literature and liberal arts.”


John the Baptist was a puritan who never compromised his principles. There simply was no way a prostitute would have been part of his apostolic band and taken pride of place. The commonplace claims therefore that Helena-Salome was a harlot belong to the dustbin. Sadly, this character assassination stuck and unduly rubbed off on her only natural child – Mary Magdalene.  

NEXT WEEK: HELENA HITCHES HER GORGEOUS DAUGHTER TO JESUS

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A Begrudged Child

21st June 2022

Princess Diana was at once a child of destiny and a victim of fate

It is no secret, General Atiku, that the British monarch constitutes one of the most moneyed families on this scandalously uneven planet of the perennial haves on the one hand and the goddamn havenots (such as you and me General) on the other hand.

In terms of residences alone, the House of Windsor lays claim to some 19 homes, some official, such as Buckingham Place and Windsor Castle, for instance, and the greater majority privately owned.
Arguably the most eminent of its private residences is Sandringham House at Sandringham Estate in Norfolk, England.

It is at this sprawling, 8,100-hectare estate the Queen spends two months each winter, at once commemorates her father King George VI’s death and her own accession to the throne, and more often than not celebrates Christmas. King George VI and his father King George V both drew their last breath here.

A 19th century Prince of Wales, Albert Edward (who would later become King Edward VII), acquired Sandringham in 1862 and it has remained royal property ever since. On the death of King George VI in February 1952, the property passed to his successor Queen Elizabeth II, the incumbent monarch, who assigned her husband Prince Phillip its management and upkeep. The estate also houses a parish, St. Mary Magdalene Church, which the outwardly religious Queen attends every Sunday.

Albert, General, had several additional properties built on the estate the year after he acquired it, one of which was the ten-bedroomed Park House. The house was built to accommodate the overflow of guests at Sandringham House. In the 1930s, King George V leased Park House to Maurice Roche, an Irishman and a bosom friend to his second son, who at the time was Duke of York but would in future be King George VI.

Roche was the 4th Baron Fermoy, a title in the Peerage of Ireland created by Queen Victoria way back in 1856. He and his wife Ruth had three children born at Park House, the second-born of whom was Frances Ruth Roche (futuristically Frances Shand Kydd), born in January 1936.

In 1956, Frances married John Spencer, a fellow noble, and following an “uneasy spell” at Althorp, the Spencer family estate of 500 years, the couple took up residence at Park House, which would be their home for the next 19 years. On July 1, 1961, Frances, then aged 25, and John, then aged 37, welcomed into the world their thirdborn child and youngest daughter, Diana Frances Spencer.

She would, on a positive note, become Her Royal Highness Princess Diana of Wales and the most famous and popular member of the Royal family. On the flip side of the coin, she would, as you well know General, become the most tragic member of the Royal family.

GIRL CHILD WHO SHOULD HAVE BEEN A BOY

If there was one thought that constantly nagged at Diana as a youngster, General, it was the “guilt” of having been born anyway. Her parents first had two daughters in succession, namely Elizabeth Sarah, born in 1955, and Cynthia Jane, born in 1957. Johnnie was displeasured, if not downright incensed, that his wife seemed incapable of producing a male child – a heir – who he desperately needed as an aristocrat.

He even took the trouble of having his wife see a series of doctors in a bid to establish whatever deficiency she possessed in her genetic make-up and whether it was possible to correct it. At the time, General, it was not known that it is the man who determines a child’s sex and not the woman.

John’s prayers, if we can call them that General, were as much answered as they were unanswered. The longed-for male heir was born on January 12, 1960. Named John after his father, he was, as per the official version of things, practically stillborn, being so piteously deformed and gravely ill that he was dead in a matter of only ten hours, a development of which Earl Spencer would in future remark thus, albeit with tongue-in-cheek: “It was a dreadful time for my parents and probably the root of their divorce because I don’t think they ever got over it.”

Again as per the official version, General, John was gutted and hurriedly got into stride, this time around utterly positive that having had two daughters in succession, it would be two sons in succession. But nature, General, is seldom that predictable or orderly.

The next child was in fact a daughter, the now iconic Diana, for the third time around. Although John is recorded as having marvelled at what a “perfect physical specimen” her newly-born daughter was, he was forlorn beneath the façade, as a result of which Diana, who as a child did sense a lingering frustration on the part of her father on her account, would openly intuit that she was an unwelcome child, a “nuisance to have around”, thanks to her “failure” to be born a boy. From a very age thus, General, Diana had concluded that she was not well-fated and presciently so!

Although the heir, Charles Spencer (the future Earl Spencer) finally arrived on May 20, 1964, Diana perceived very little if any change in the way she was contemplated by her parents. In fact, both she and Charles could not desist from wondering whether had John lived, they would have been born at all. Seemingly, they came to be simply because their father was desperate for a heir and not necessarily that he wanted two more children.  With the birth of Charles, General, John called it a day as far as the process of procreation was concerned.

GODDESS OF THE HUNT

Why was Diana so named, General? Throughout her life, it was taken as an article of faith that her name derived from Lady Diana Spencer, a member of the Spencer clan who lived between 1710 and 1735, dying at a pitifully tender age of only 25. Certainly, the two namesakes turned out to have precious much in common as we shall unpack at a later stage, as if the latter-day Diana’s life was deliberately manoeuvred to more or less sync with the ancestral Diana.

It emerged, however, General, that the connection to an ancestor was actually secondary, or maybe incidental. The primary inspiration of the name was at long last disclosed by Earl Spencer on September 7, 1997, the day of Princess Diana’s burial. Delivering the elegantly crafted eulogy, Earl Spencer had this to say in relation to her naming: “It is a point to remember that of all the ironies about Diana, perhaps the greatest was this – a girl given the name of the ancient goddess of hunting was, in the end, the most hunted person of the modern age.”

It is significant, if not curious, General, that of John’s three daughters, only Diana was given the name of a goddess. Clearly, there must have been a special reason for this as aristocrats do not confer names casually: every name carries a metaphorical, symbolic, or intentional message. Typically, it honours an iconic personage or spirit or somebody lesser but who evokes memories anyway.

Elizabeth Sarah, for instance, was in all probability named after the Queen’s mother, whose decades-long inner circle included Diana’s paternal and maternal grandmothers, and an ancestor going by the name Sarah Jennings (1760-1744). Charles Spencer was named after the family’s greatest forbearer, King Charles 1 of England, Scotland, and Ireland from 1625-1649. The ill-fated John was of course named after his father, who in turn was likely named after the 5th Earl Spencer, John Poyntz Spencer (1835-1910).

On occasion in occultic families, as the Spencer family latterly have been, a name, General, connotes a bad futuristic omen associated with its bearer and that was precisely the case with Diana.

THE FIRST DIANA

In its ancient rendering, the name Diana meant “The Heavenly One”, or goddess being a feminine style. The first Diana, General, was Inanna, an Anunnaki goddess whose Akkadian name was Ishtar – Esther in English. As you well know General, the Anunnaki are the Old Testament gods, Aliens from the planet Nibiru, the Solar System’s little-known planet which is seen only once in 3600 years, and who came to Earth 432,000 years ago as we comprehensively set down in the Earth Chronicles series.

The name Inanna is Sumerian, the Sumerians being the best-known civilisation of old who thrived around modern-day Iraq (called Sumer in ancient times) about 6000 years ago and who were indirectly governed by the Anunnaki. It was abbreviated from Nin-An-Ak, meaning “Lady of Heaven and Earth” or “Lady of the God of Heaven and Earth”.

She was so-called, General, not because she had particularly special godly qualities but owing to the fact that she was the earthly mistress of Anu, “Our Father Who Art In Heaven”, the King of the planet Nibiru, which humans of the day perceived as Heaven.

Anu was the father of Enlil, the principal Jehovah of the Bible. Enlil in turn had a second-born son called Nannar-Sin, the first Anunnaki to be born on Earth and who eventually became the Allah of Islam. It was Sin who fathered Inanna. Thus Inanna was Anu’s great-granddaughter but every time he visited Earth, Anu was sexually entertained by the stunningly beautiful Inanna, an act which in Anunnaki culture was not frowned upon.

Inanna was amongst other appellations known as the Goddess of Hunting (because of her penchant for, and skill in, waging war) and the Goddess of Love (in the sense of licentious love-making and not conventional moral love). Her other names in different parts of the world and across the ages were Irnin; Anunitu (Beloved of Anu); Aphrodite; Ashtoreth; Astarte; and Artemis, to mention only a few.

Although her celestial counterpart was the planet Venus, she was also loosely associated with the constellation Virgo as well as the moon. Once upon a time, when she was a virgin, Virgo was dedicated to her by her grandfather Jehovah-Enlil, who was Earth’s Chief Executive until circa 2024 BC. With regard to the moon, it primarily had to do with her twin brother Utu-Shamash, whose celestial counterpart was the sun: as such, Inanna’s inevitably had to be the moon. That, however, was only in a putative sense in that the operative moon god of the day was her father Sin.

Since moonlight effectively turns darkness into relative daylight, Inanna has in legends been referred to as Diana Lucifera, the latter term meaning “light-bringer”. Inanna’s association with the moon, General, partly explains why she was called the “Heavenly One” since the moon is a heavenly body, that is, a firmament-based body. It also explains why she was also known as Luna, which is Latin for moon.

A STEERED LIFE FOR GOOD OR ILL

Now, children of royals, aristocrats and other such members of high society, General, are invariably named before they are born. True, when a Prince William or Prince George comes along, the word that is put out into the public domain is that several names have been bandied about and the preferred one will “soon be announced”. That, General, is utter hogwash.

No prince, princess, or any other member of the nobility for that matter, is named at or sometime after their birth. Two names, a feminine and a masculine one, are already finalised whilst the child is in the womb, so that the name the child eventually goes by will depend on no other factor beside its gender.

Princess Diana, General, was named a full week after her birth, as if consultations of some sort with certain overarching figures had to be concluded first and foremost. Apparently, the broader outlines of her future first had to be secretly mapped out and charted in the manner of a child of destiny, though in her case she was as much a child of destiny as she was a doomed child. In her childhood reminiscences, Diana does hint at having been tipped to the effect that she was a special child and therefore had to scrupulously preserve herself.

“I always felt very different from somebody else, very detached,” she told her biographer Andrew Morton as per his 1992 book Diana Her True Story – In Her Own Words. “I knew I was going somewhere different but had no idea where. I said to my father when I was 13, ‘I know I am going to marry someone in the public eye’.” That, General, speaks volumes on the deliberately designed grooming she was subjected to in the formative years of her pilgrimage in life.

Since it was repeatedly drummed in her highly impressionable mind that there was something big in store for her along the way, Diana, General, remained chaste throughout her upbringing, if not an outright virgin to in all probability conform to the profile of the goddess Diana/Inanna before she exploded into a lecherous, loose-mannered nymphomaniac in her adult life as we underscored in the Earth Chronicles series. “By the time I got to the top of the school,” Diana said to Morton, “all my friends had boyfriends but not me because I knew somehow that I had to keep myself very tidy for whatever was coming my way.”

A DISPARAGED BIRTH?

Unusual for an aristocrat, General, Diana was born not in the rather apt precincts of a high-end hospital but within the banality of Park House itself. Whether hired midwives were on hand to help usher her into the world or it was only her dad, mum and closer womenfolk relations who did we can only speculate.

If for one reason or the other her parents were desirous that she be delivered at home, what secret rites did they perform as her mother’s waters broke, General? What incantations, if at all, did John utter over her? Was her birth an occultic one with all the attendant paraphernalia as opposed to a conventional one?

That Diana’s arrival was not a particularly cherished event, General, is evidenced by the fact that she was christened within the Sandringham Estate, at St. Mary Magdalene Church, with only well-to-do commoners in attendance, whereas the more prized child, her younger brother Charles, was christened at Westminster Abbey, in the presence of the Queen, who was designated as his principal godmother.

Anyhow, it was just as well, General, that it was in the hallowed environs of St. Mary Magdalene Church that Diana was committed to the “The Lord” as she was in a manner of speaking the Mary Magdalene of our day.

NEXT WEEK: A FAMILY THAT DABBLED IN WITCHCRAFT

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Challenges in our lives

21st June 2022

Allah Almighty reminds us: ‘On no soul does Allah place a burden greater than it can bear’ (Qur’an 2:286). Also: “Be patient. Surely, Allah is with those who are the patient.” [Qur’an 8: 46].

Without fail, whether we like it or not there are times in our lives when many things seem to go wrong and as mere humans we go into a panic syndrome and are left wondering; why me? Why now? What have I done to deserve this? We are all tested with adversity, hard times and pain, but these tribulations are the Almighty’s way of transforming us and help us develop spiritually.

As mere humans we all have different reactions when something good or bad happens to us, and usually our reactions depend on the strength of our religious belief and of our righteous deeds and actions.

One person may receive blessings and goodness with gratitude and accepts the bad challenges and patches in his life with perseverance and endurance. This positive attitude brings him peace of mind and happiness, causing his grief, anxiety and misery to ease. Thus, this positivity brings a balance and contentment in his life.

On the other hand another person receives blessings and goodness with arrogance and transgression; his manners degenerate and become evil; he receives this goodness and utilizes it in an unthinking and uncaring manner; it does not give him any peace of mind as his mind is always distressed, nervous and restless.

Thus when faced with loss and difficulty, due to his arrogant nature, he begins to ask why me? What have I done to deserve this and he may even damn and curse others and thinks that they are plotting his downfall.

But every now and then we should stop to ponder over the blessings both apparent and hidden from The Almighty upon us, it is only then that we will realise that our Lord has granted us abundant blessings and protected us from a number of evils; this will certainly ease our grief and anxiety and bring about a measure of happiness and contentment.

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Look to those who are lower than you (those who possess less than you) and do not look to those higher than you; this will make you appreciate the bounties of Allah upon you.”

Whether we are believers or disbelievers, virtuous or sinful, most of us are to a certain degree able to adapt and condition ourselves to face adversity and remain calm during these moments of challenge, uncertainty and upheaval.

When people receive affliction with fear, discontent, sorrow and despair; their life becomes miserable, they panic and become short tempered. Such people are unable to exercise patience remain restless, stressed and cannot find contentment that could make life easier for them.

On the other hand, due to a believer’s strong faith and reliance on Allah, it makes him persevere and he emerges stronger than others in difficult situations as this reduces his fear and anxiety and that ultimately makes matters easier for him. If he is afflicted with sickness, poverty or any other affliction, he is tranquil and content and has no desire for anything which has not been decreed for him.

‘If Allah touches you with affliction, none can remove it but He; if He touches you with happiness, He has power over all things’ (Qur’an 6: 17).Therefore the believer prays to his Lord: ‘Our Lord, condemn us not if we forget or fall into error…lay not on us a burden greater than which we have the strength to bear’ (Qur’an 2:286)

However, the one who is weak in faith will be just the opposite; he becomes anxious, nervous, confused and full of fear. The anxiety and paranoia will team up against him because this person does not have the faith that could enable him to persevere during tough times, he is less likely to handle the pressures and will be left in a somewhat troubled and depressed state of mind.

It is natural that as humans we are always fearful of losing the things that we have acquired; we desire and cherish them and we are anxious to acquire more, because many of us will never reach a point where we are satisfied with the material things in life.

When certain frightening, disturbing or unsettling events occur, like emergencies or accidents we find that a person with sound faith is calm, steadfast, and able to cope with the situation and handle the hardship he is going through; such a person has conditioned himself to face afflictions and this makes his heart stronger and more steadfast, which gives him a level of tranquillity.

This shows the difference between a person who has strong belief and acts accordingly, and another who is not at this level of faith. Due to the strong belief of the true believer he is content with whatever Allah Almighty has decreed,

This life is full of ups and downs and uncertainties, but the only certain thing is that from the moment we are born we will be tested with life’s challenges throughout our entire lives, up to and to the final certainty, death. ‘Be sure We shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods or lives, or the fruits of your toil, but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere’ (Qur’an2:155).

The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “How wonderful is the matter of the believer! All of his matters are good and this is the case for nobody except a believer. If he is blessed with prosperity he thanks (Allah Almighty) and that is good for him; and if he is afflicted with adversity he is patient and perseveres and that is also good for him.”

During those challenging times you have three choices: either you can let them define you, let them destroy you; or you can let them strengthen you.

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Train Spotting

21st June 2022

Here in Botswana we are in the throes of winter chills, currently experiencing the tail-end of a deep freeze in South Africa which has brought snow to parts of the Karoo. Conversely, over in the United Kingdom, they are moving into summer and there is a mini heatwave happening, with temperatures in the thirties.

Both countries have one thing in common – they are heavily reliant on tourism revenues and both have accordingly suffered due to Covid which severely curtailed all movement and travel, most of all for leisure and pleasure. However, earlier this year the UK cast off the last of its Covid restrictions and travel requirements and basically declared the pandemic to be over. Britain was back in business!

So the very hard-hit hospitality sectors finally had some good news. The crowds would be returning, needing hotel and bed & breakfast accommodation, snacks and sit-down meals, pub lunches and all manner of ancillary services. Other related sectors also put out the metaphorical flags – theatres, cinemas, theme parks, camping & caravan sites, all of which had suffered hugely during the pandemic and all could now re-open their doors to paying punters.

If you’ve ever visited the UK you will know of its many attractions. London is not only a vibrant, multi-cultural city, it is also very historic, with centuries-old palaces and cathedrals and world-class galleries and museums. Outside the capital, there is glorious scenery, from rolling pastures in the south to the breath-taking Lake District and the Highlands and lovely lochs to the far north in Scotland plus all manner of coastal delights and cultural experiences.

For everyone even remotely involved in leisure, hospitality and entertainment, it was cash registers and swipe machines at the ready!

But then green for go suddenly and without warning changed to red for stop. It began with misery for air passengers. Only last week the UK Guardian reported ‘It has been another ” week of chaos at UK airports, with hundreds of flights cancelled and holidaymakers facing long queues, with reports of waits of up to eight hours. Pent-up demand for travel and staff shortages have combined to put pressure on airports and airlines.’

The Prospect union, which represents thousands of aviation staff, ” warned on Tuesday that “things could get worse this summer before they get better”, quoting staff shortages across the industry, with a huge reliance on overtime to get by day to day. The problem stemmed from the massive, industry-wide lay-offs over Covid and a sector seemingly taken by surprise by the lifting of travel restrictions. Airlines are now scrambling to replace staff made redundant, many of whom were forced to find employment in other sectors.

In addition some specialised staff such are aircrew had no option but to let their licences lapse and now find themselves technically not fit for flying duties. Ironically, one of the country’s largest and longest-established airline – British Airways – appears to be the one most severely affected with many of their former cabin crew members reporting that they had been laid off during the downturn with the promise of potential re-employment later but who are now being told their services are not required.

One BA pilot has warned of potential staff exodus and further delays that could last through to winter. When talking about ongoing staff shortages in the industry he predicted: “We might be correctly crewed by winter time. There is no chance this will be sorted this summer.

The last month (August) might be okay.” UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps put the blame squarely on the industry for the widespread chaos, saying some airlines had cut too many staff during the pandemic. “The decisions as to whether or not to lay off in the end were airlines’ decisions. They clearly in the end, looking back, cut too far on that,” he told the BBC.

Lufthansa is also joining the party in announcing cancellations. The airline will be scrapping 900 flights from its schedule, from next month. Affected flights will predominantly be on Fridays and weekends to a number of European destinations, from Frankfurt and Munich.

The airline stated: “After …two years of the pandemic, Lufthansa group airlines report high demand for air travel this summer……At present, however, the infrastructure has not yet been fully restored. The entire aviation industry, especially in Europe, is currently suffering from bottlenecks and staff shortages. This affects airports, ground handling services, air traffic control, and also airlines.”

Of course some flights are taking place and some tourists are managing to make it into the UK on a much-needed holiday but for many of them sadly, the airport might be as far as they get because to add to the flight misery, members of two large transport union, the RMT and Unite, will bring the London Underground to a grinding halt next week with planned strike action.

Simultaneously, but in a separate dispute, other RMT members will also be staging a series of strikes on Network Rail and other mainline UK train operators. So should those tourists wish to proceed to some of the country’s top holiday destinations, they’d be well advised to seek an alternative means of transport.

Economists are already predicting this wave of strikes to cost the UK economy at least £91million, according to the Centre for Economics and Business Research, proving devastating for the night-time and hospitality industries in particular. Hospitality chiefs estimated the national rail strike alone will cost the sector £540million over the week amid a 20 per cent drop in sales, the combination of which will hit ‘fragile consumer confidence’ and could ‘deliver a fatal financial blow’ to some firms.

In response, Transport for London (TFL), presumably in all seriousness, said its teams from Santander Cycles will be ensuring hire bicycles are ‘distributed at key locations according to demand’ and told commuters that ‘walking or cycling may be quicker for some journeys’ during the strike action.

Sounds to me like the message is ‘On yer bike’!

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