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Some of a Muslim’s Responsibitities

Iqbal Ebrahim

Each one of us has general responsibilities in life it could in our particular field of endeavour, profession, business, family etc. according to the circumstances we find ourselves in. But the greatest responsibility that a believer has is that to his Lord and Creator. Therefore the month of Ramadan is an ideal opportunity to get closer and to initiate and practice those responsibilities.

For every Muslim Believer this means total submission to the Almighty and this is borne out by the fact that we are obliged to first declare and affirm our unflinching submission to Allah Almighty, and to His commands and injunctions, and nobody else’s, they have to be complied with by the believer in all situations. Once we can do that we can follow the trail to improve ourselves.  
Our responsibility is to fulfil the commands of the Almighty, this applies equally to all – male and female, leaders and the led, the wealthy and the needy, literate and illiterate. In Islam, all are equal in front of the laws and regulations -what is allowed for all people and what is forbidden as well upon all people.

The obligations are upon everyone, and whoever deserves punishment gets it, regardless. Everyone is rewarded for their contribution towards promoting virtue and goodness within community and for the positive development of mankind in general. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said “Every one of you has a responsibility and every one of you is accountable for his responsibility.”
Each one has a personal responsibility for his/her actions and deeds and will be dealt with accordingly by The Almighty: “Whoever practices a good righteous deed so it will be to his own benefit and whoever does wrong/ bad then that will against his own self, and surely your Creator (God Almighty) is in no way unjust towards the worshippers.” 

(Qur’an 41: 46). The Almighty further declares “Whoever practices righteousness man or woman and has faith, verily to him will We give a good life, (that is good and pure) and We will bestow on such their reward according to the best of their actions.”  (Qur’an 16:97)

After our duty to our Creator, a Muslim must discharge his duty and responsibility to his fellow human beings.  Good social conduct and commendable manners occupy a prominent position in the Islamic values system.  As already covered in previous articles, we have a responsibility and a duty that we owe to other human beings beginning with parents, relatives, neighbours and going on to the community at large.                   

Islam requires its adherents to maintain cordial relations with each other and to render all help and support to those who may be in any form of hardship, difficulty or distress.  Great reward awaits those who help their fellow humans who are weak, disadvantaged and suffer any hardship. Allah Almighty says: “And do good, that you may prosper”. (Qur’an 27:77).

For this we need to respect to our fellow humans. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) taught the golden rules for maintaining peace and goodness within communities when he said: “Do not envy one another, do not harbour malice against one another and do not enter into a commercial transaction when another person has already entered into that (transaction) (Do not under-cut his deal); but be you, brothers (to each other).”

Selfless service to mankind entails worship to The Creator

Showing concern for and trying to help those in any difficulty or in need is regarded as a form Ibadah (worship) because one is fulfilling the requirement of The Almighty to show compassion and concern for our fellow humans. We have been promised a gain in reward in this world as well as in the next and this type of behaviour helps remove our problems of this world as well as those of the next. Only a true believer of The Almighty will be able to serve others in a selfless manner.

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was reported to have explained that one who fulfils the need and removes the difficulty of another, will get the help of The Almighty in time of his own need or difficulty.  

Allah Almighty declares in the Quran: “And spend in the way of Allah and do not throw (yourselves) into destruction (by refraining from spending in the cause of Allah).  And do good; indeed Allah loves the doers of good.”(Qur’an 2: 195).

This spending is not only referring to material wealth but indeed any  and all resources that The Almighty bestows upon a person – wealth, energy, skill, time, and what we have been blessed with.

Islam teaches that Allah is “closer to you than your jugular vein”, therefore a believer must turn to his Creator for guidance, forgiveness and blessings. We must firmly believe that He hears every single one who calls upon

Him and prays to him with total sincerity and purity. The Holy Qur’an says:  “When my servants ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed close to them, I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calls on Me. So let them call out in prayer to me and render firm faith in Me so that they may be guided (onto the right path).” (Qur’an: 2:186)

Let us pray that as we approach the ‘final lap’ as it were of this Holy month, let us strive to change our ‘bad’ habits so as to build our personality, characters and reputations as honest, sincere, reliable, God fearing people.

We are and become what we repeatedly do. First we make our habits then our habits make us because this pattern puts us on a mental path, which then affects our attitude and our behavior, and these are reflected in our personality and character.

I have read the following sayings that capture the true essence of character and reputation more than I ever could in a hundred lines:

Character is not only the face in the mirror, but the real person behind the face.

Character is the content, reputation is only the wrapping.

Reputation is what you lead others to believe you are, character is what you really are.

Reputation may be reflected in what people write about you on your tombstone, character is what the angels report about you to Allah.

Come on let’s give it a try, who knows, it may be a life changing experience for us.

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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

… 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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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    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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