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Core Islamic Beliefs

Iqbal Ebrahim
UNDERSTANDING ISLAM

People often ask me about Islam, particularly about its beliefs and practices. Most of the questions are as a result of their view that Islam is complicated and somewhat difficult to practice and to follow. But, as with any religious faith there are laws, regulations, guidance and practices that we need to adhere to and follow if we are of sincere faith.

To non-Muslims Islam appears to be a very difficult religion because they see strange practices and for a start some of the beliefs, traditions and practices appear to be uncommon, unfamiliar and even odd and cannot understand that all prayers are recited in Arabic.

However a cursory look at these Islamic beliefs will surprise many non-Muslims of the great deal of similarity, parallels and commonality between Islam, Christianity and Judaism. One will find that they share many common beliefs like; the belief in one God, His Messengers and Prophets and the divine revelations sent to them, with the Day of Judgment, Heaven and hell and many other beliefs.

Muslims believe in many of the Biblical Prophets; the Quran says ‘we Muslims believe in Allah, and the Revelation given to us, and to Abraham, Ishmael, Jacob and the tribes, and that given to Moses and Jesus and that given to all the Prophets from their Lord. We make no difference between one and another of them and we submit to Allah (Quran 2:136).    

 
Because they have common roots of ethnic, geographical and linguistic origins of the Middle East, Islam, Christianity and Judaism are ‘sister’ faiths. Prophet Abraham had two sons Ishmael and Isaac; from Isaac’s ancestry were the great Prophets Moses (Judaism) and Jesus Christ (Christianity), and Prophet Muhammed (Islam) was from Ishmael’s ancestry. (May Peace be upon them All).


As a result when one compares these faiths we will find similar if not, common practices. This article will cover the core beliefs and practices in Islam and the reader will note their likeness to those in Christianity.

There are certain ‘articles of faith’ forming the basis and the fundamental foundation of Islamic belief system and they are compulsory to every Muslim’s belief. A faithful believer is one who consciously follows the edicts of the Quran and puts them into practice in their daily lives.    
 
 Six Articles of Faith

Belief in One God: The most important teaching of Islam is that there is only one God, He has no partners and only He is to be worshipped. The biggest sin in Islam is to join ascribe partners with Allah. ‘He is Allah, the One and Only; Allah the Eternal, Absolute; He begets not, nor is He begotten; and there is none like unto Him’ (Quran 112: 1-4). ‘Do not take with Allah another object of worship, lest you be thrown into hell, blameworthy and rejected’ (Quran 17: 39)

Similarly the Bible: ‘The Lord our God is one Lord; and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart and thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart’. (Deut 6:4-5). ‘When Jesus was asked; which commandment is the most important of all? He replied: the most important one is this, the Lord our God is one Lord’. (Mark 12: 28-29)  

Belief in Angels: God created unseen beings called angels who work tirelessly to administer His kingdom in full obedience carrying out the commands of Allah. Among the more known Angels are Jibril (Gabriel): To deliver the Divine Revelations from Allah to His chosen Messengers from among the prophets. Mikail (Michael): To manage man’s necessities, bring forth rain and oversee the cultivation of crops. Israfil: To blow the Trumpet: once, for the destruction of the universe; and again, for the Resurrection on Judgment Day. Izrail: Angel of Death, the most feared of them all, who does not delay nor expedite the hour of claiming the soul.
 
We cannot see Angels but they are constantly keeping watch over us on behalf of Allah, recording our words, deeds and actions.

Belief in Prophets of God: Muslims believe that God communicated His message and guidance through human prophets sent to every nation. Prophet-hood is not acquired but God-given and not in the simple sense of the word, the so-called ‘inspired’ people today who claim prophet-hood. The Quran mentions at least 26 of the Prophets of the Bible. ‘We sent you inspiration….. Noah, and Isaac, Jacob and the tribes, to Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron and Solomon and to David we sent the Psalms’ (Quran 4: 163). These are among some of the prophets that brought down to us the Laws of God, teaching and guidance to humanity via the Revealed Books.

Belief in Revealed Books of God: Muslims believe that God revealed His wisdom and instructions through ‘books’ to some of the prophets. The Quran specifically mentions the Psalms, Torah, and the Gospel. Muslims believe the Quran is God’s final revelation revealed to Prophet Muhammad and has been fully preserved. ‘It is He who sent down to you, step by step, in truth, the Book, confirming what went before it; He sent down the Law of Moses and the Gospel of Jesus before this as a guide to mankind….’ (Quran 3: 3).’….And to David we gave the Psalms’ (4:163)

Belief in Day of Judgment: The life of this world and all that is in it will come to an end on an appointed day.  At that time, every soul will be raised from the dead.  God will judge each person individually, according to his faith and will show mercy and fairness in His judgment. According to Islamic teachings, those who believe in God and perform good deeds will be eternally rewarded in Heaven.  Those who reject faith in God will be eternally punished in the fire of Hell. ‘But how will they fare when We gather them together on a Day about which there is no doubt, and each soul will be paid out justly what it had earned, without favour or injustice (Quran 3: 25)

Belief in Destiny and Divine Decree: Muslims believe that since Allah is the Sustainer of all life, nothing happens except by His Will and with His full knowledge. God does not force us, we have our free will but our choices are known to God beforehand because His knowledge is complete.  This recognition helps the believer through difficulties and hardships. ‘No misfortune can happen on earth or in your souls but is recorded in a decree before We bring it into existence’. (57:22) ‘Nothing will happen to us except what Allah has decreed for us; He is our Protector; and in Allah let the believers put their trust. (Quran 9:51)

Next week: ‘Core Religious Practices in Islam’

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Export Processing Zones: How to Get SEZA to Sizzle

23rd September 2020
Export Processing Zone (EPZ) factory in Kenya

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.

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Egypt Bagged Again

23rd September 2020
Samson

… 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.

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‘RO, ‘RO ‘RO YOUR ‘BOT

23rd September 2020

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”!

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