Recently, when officially opening the Judicial Conference in Mahalapye, His Excellency President Lieutenant General Seretse Khama Ian Khama stated that “we are a nation renowned for our peace, stability and tranquility…These precious national tenets … would not have been possible without the checks and balances of an established judicial system, which is respected by Batswana…from the Customary Courts to the Court of Appeal”.
In this article, we consider whether president Khama is right that judicial independence prevails in Botswana. We do so by considering Botswana’s respect for judicial independence in terms of the Constitution and selected case law. For the latter, we use cases that had political implications and were likely to have a bearing on judicial independence.
In addition to stating that the Executive respects the independence of the Judiciary, president Khama stated that Botswana’s respect for judicial independence is demonstrated by its respect for human rights and the rule of law. Further that this is confirmed by the fact that “… our reputation as a constitutional democracy has been one of the reasons for our high ranking internationally in the field of the rule of law…”
President Khama rightly stated that “…the core mandate of the judiciary is to function impartially, without favour or ill will…” Judicial officers, he said, should exercise their mandate “…without agendas or influences from outside affecting their judgements.” The question is: does judicial independence prevail in Botswana?
In terms of the Constitution, judicial independence is entrenched by, among other provisions, the appointment of judges by the President, acting in accordance with the advice of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) in terms of sections 96(2) and 100(2) for High Court (HC) judges and Court of Appeal (CoA) judges respectively; and security of tenure for judges in terms of sections 97 and 101 for HC judges and CoA judges respectively.
It is, however, submitted that the JSC’s role in the appointment of judges is compromised by the fact that in terms of section 103(1) of the Constitution except for one member of the Law Society nominated by the Law Society, all members of the JSC (i.e. the CJ, President of the CoA, the Attorney General (AG), the Chairman of the Public Service Commission (PSC) and a person of integrity and experience not being a legal practitioner appointed by the President) are presidential appointees and members of the Executive.
In Botswana, unlike in South Africa, neither Parliament nor civil society is represented in the JSC. Consequently, through the JSC, the Executive can ensure that only candidates sympathetic to government are appointed as judges. This view became entrenched when the president declined the advice of the JSC to appoint Gabriel Komboni, Lizo Ngcongco and Gabriel Rwelengera as judges. Recently, the president declined the JSC’s advice to appoint Omphemetse Motumise whose credentials include having been Chairperson of the Law Society of Botswana and Deputy Chairperson of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).
It is also worth noting that the independence that the JSC’s involvement seeks to achieve with respect to appointment of judges is negated by the manner in which the CJ and the President of the CoA are appointed. In terms of sections 96(1) and 100(1) of the Constitution, the CJ and the President of the CoA are appointed by the President acting alone.
The President, therefore, has a free hand and may be influenced by such irrelevant considerations as politics in making judicial appointments. To avoid this, we may borrow a leaf from South Africa where the JSC also advices the President in the appointment of the CJ.
Also, the fact that, though a tribunal, appointed in terms of sections 97(3) and 101(3) of the Constitution for HC judges and CoA judges respectively, is involved in investigating whether or not a judge should be removed from office, it is the president alone who, on the tribunal’s advice, removes the judge from office in terms of sections 97(4) and 101(4) of the Constitution for HC judges and CoA judges respectively, is inimical to judicial independence.
Assuming that judicial officers have integrity, the only solace is that, in terms of sections 97(3) (a) and 101(3) (a) of the Constitution, for HC judges and CoA judges respectively, the not less than two other members of the tribunal should be holding or have held high judicial office. But, there can be no guarantee since any person who serves at someone’s pleasure can be easily influenced. Also, there is no mention about the tribunal Chairperson’s qualifications, leaving the president with an unfettered discretion which he can use to appoint any person he can manipulate.
Therefore, a president who, for some irrational or irrelevant considerations, wants to remove a judge from office may appoint a tribunal to achieve such a purpose. It is incontrovertible that very few such tribunals can have the audacity to make a recommendation contrary to the president’s implied, and sometimes secretly expressed, will to remove a judge. To avoid this, we may once again borrow a leaf from the South African Constitution where a two-thirds resolution by Parliament is required for the removal of a judge.
In Botswana’s legal history four judgments made many question the independence of our judiciary. First was the ruling which upheld section 41(1) of the Constitution which provides that “Whilst any person holds or performs the functions of the office of President no criminal proceedings shall be instituted or continued against him or her in respect of anything done or omitted to be done by him or her either in his or her official capacity or in his or her private capacity and no civil proceedings shall be instituted or continued in respect of which relief is claimed against him or her in respect of anything done or omitted to be done in his or her private capacity”.
As a result of the aforesaid section, the late leader of Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) and Secretary General of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), Gomolemo Motswaledi, lost the case in which he challenged President Khama’s powers to suspend him from the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).
Second was Industrial Court Judge, Tebogo Maruping’s declaration that the 2011 public sector “…strike as it relates to essential service employees is unlawful and unprotected because the strike is in breach of the provisions of section 42(1) (b) (iii) of the Trade Dispute Act(TDA) as read with section 9(1) (b) in that on failure to reach agreement at mediation, the Commissioner of Labour lumped together all the employees and did not take account of the special provisions relating to the essential service employees”.
This decision was later, rightly so in my view, set aside by HC judge, Dr. Oagile Key Dingake. Third was the CoA’s quashing, erroneously so in my view, of Justice Dr. Dingake’s judgment in which he had set aside Justice Maruping’s judgment aforesaid.
Fourth was the HC’s decline to review President Khama’s action to, by presidential decree, postpone the Francis town West bye elections, allegedly in the public interest and in consideration of, among other things, a petition of a large number of voters in Francistown West constituency and the fact that the legal process then pending before the HC and the CoA had not been concluded.
Recently, however, our courts have demonstrated commitment to jealously guard the independence of the judiciary. In late 2013, the CoA confirmed Justice Rannowane’s judgment that at the time of the submission of the nomination by the BDP’s Ignatius Moswaane, for the Francis town West bye elections, the interim order by Justice Tshepo Motswagole prohibiting Ignatius Moswaane from submitting nomination papers was still operational.
The CoA reasoned that “the concept of the rule of law obligated the IEC to obey the court order issued by Justice Motswagole and accordingly declined to accept nomination papers from Ignatius Moswaane”. Accordingly, the court held that “Court Orders are to be taken at face value and should be respected without debate”.
The Justices stated that “the IEC was legally justified and obliged to respect the said court order by refraining from accepting such nomination papers”.
On 22nd April 2014 the CoA upheld Justice Dr. Dingake’s ruling and reversed the decision by government to declare teaching, veterinary services, diamond sorting and transport services as essential services. Justice Dr. Dingake’s ruling declared Section 49 of the TDA incompatible with the Constitution and thus invalid. It also declared as invalid Statutory Instrument (SI) No. 57 of 2011, made under Section 49. The appeal to the CoA concerned the extent to which, if at all, Parliament has the power to delegate its constitutionally conferred legislative function to the Executive.
In its judgment the court said “… in the majority of cases the legislative power delegated by Parliament in the interests of good government to ministers or to other administrators or bodies is the power to amend Schedules…It is only in comparatively rare cases that the power to amend substantive sections of an Act is so delegated …”.
This judgment was in line with international best practice since in South Africa, for example, in Executive Council of the Western Cape Legislature v President of the Republic of South Africa 1995 10 BCLR 1253 (CC), the Constitutional Court held that it was inconsistent with the doctrine of separation of powers for Parliament to delegate its power to amend the laws to the president.
The court held that the decision as to which services or categories of services should be classified as essential services is an important policy matter properly to be debated in Parliament and to be subjected to public scrutiny. “This is more so because, in the case of the teachers and other public servants…, the right to strike was only fairly recently conferred upon them by an Act of Parliament, after full debate” the court held. The court held that to allow the right to strike to be arbitrarily cancelled by a member of the Executive would not pass constitutional muster.
Recently, the CoA upheld the HC’s ruling against the president in a case in which the president wanted the Parliamentary Standing Orders that provided for voting by secret ballot for the elections of Speaker and Deputy Speaker of Parliament and nominations for the Vice President to be set aside as unconstitutional. Many had concluded that the courts will rule in the president’s favour since the case was politically sensitive to the extent it could have a bearing on who becomes Vice President.
In view of the aforegoing, it is incontrovertible that, its deficiencies notwithstanding, the Constitution entrenches judicial independence. In terms of case law, it can also be concluded that our courts are largely independent. In my view, on a literal interpretation of section 41(1) of the Constitution, the decision in the Gomolemo Motswaledi case is not so irrational that no reasonable judge would have made it. However, the same cannot be said about the decision in the Francis town West bye election case regarding the non-reviewability of the president’s decree.
In recent years, using personal devices in working environments has become so commonplace it now has its own acronym, BOYD (Bring Your Own Device). But as employees skip between corporate tools and personal applications on their own devices, their actions introduce a number of possible risks that should be managed and mitigated with careful consideration. Consider these examples:
Si-lwli, a small family-run business in Wales, is arguably as niche a company as you could find, producing talking toys used to promote the Welsh language. Their potential market is small, with only some 300,000 Welsh language speakers in the world and in reality the business is really more of a hobby for the husband-and-wife team, who both still have day jobs. Yet, despite still managing to be successful in terms of sales, the business is now fighting for survival after recently falling prey to cybercriminals. Emails between Si-Iwli and their Chinese suppliers were intercepted by hackers who altered the banking details in the correspondence, causing Si-Iwli to hand over £18,000 (around P ¼ m) to the thieves. That might not sound much to a large enterprise, but to a small or medium business it can be devastating.
Another recent SMB hacking story which appeared in the Wall Street Journal concerned Innovative Higher Ed Consulting (IHED) Inc, a small New York start-up with a handful of employees. IHED didn’t even have a website, but fraudsters were able to run stolen credit card numbers through the company’s payment system and reverse the charges to the tune of $27,000, around the same loss faced by Si-Iwli. As the WSJ put it, the hackers completely destroyed the company, forcing its owners to fold.
And in May 2019, the city of Baltimore’s computer system was hit by a ransomware attack, with hackers using a variant called RobinHood. The hack, which has lasted more than a month, paralysed the computer system for city employees, with the hackers demanding a payment in Bitcoin to give access back to the city.
Of course, hackers target governments or business giants but small and medium businesses are certainly not immune. In fact, 67% of SMBs reported that they had experienced a cyber attack across a period of 12 months, according to a 2018 survey carried out by security research firm Ponemon Institute. Additionally, Verizon issued a report in May 2019 that small businesses accounted for 43% of its reported data breaches. Once seen as less vulnerable than PCs, smartphone attacks are on the rise, with movements like the Dark Caracal spyware campaign underlining the allure of mobile devices to hackers. Last year, the US Federal Trade Commission released a statement calling for greater education on mobile security, coming at a time when around 42% of all Android devices are believed to not carry the latest security updates.
This is an era when employees increasingly use their smartphones for work-related purposes so is your business doing enough to protect against data breaches on their employees’ phones? The SME Cyber Crime Survey 2018 carried out for risk management specialists AON showed that more than 80% of small businesses did not view this as a threat yet if as shown, 67% of SMBs were said to have been victims of hacking, either the stats are wrong or business owners are underestimating their vulnerability. A 2019 report by PricewaterhouseCoopers suggests the latter, stating that the majority of global businesses are unprepared for cyber attacks.
Consider that a workstation no longer means a desk in an office: It can be a phone in the back of a taxi or Uber; a laptop in a coffee shop, or a tablet in an airport lounge. Wherever the device is used, employees can potentially install applications that could be harmful to your business, even from something as seemingly insignificant as clicking on an accidental download or opening a link on a phishing email. Out of the physical workplace, your employees’ activities might not have the same protections as they would on a company-monitored PC.
Yet many businesses not only encourage their employees to work remotely, but assume working from coffee shops, bookstores, and airports can boost employees’ productivity. Unfortunately, many remote hot spots do not provide secure Wi-Fi so if your employee is accessing their work account on unsecured public Wi-Fi, sensitive business data could be at risk. Furthermore, even if your employee uses a company smartphone or has access to company data through a personal mobile device, there is always a chance data could be in jeopardy with a lost or stolen device, even information as basic as clients’ addresses and phone numbers.
BOYDs are also at risk from malware designed to harm and infect the host system, transmittable to smartphones when downloading malicious third-party apps. Then there is ransomware, a type of malware used by hackers to specifically take control of a system’s data, blocking access or threatening to release sensitive information unless a ransom is paid such as the one which affected Baltimore. Ransomware attacks are on the increase, predicted to occur every 14 seconds, potentially costing billions of dollars per year.
Lastly there is phishing – the cyber equivalent of the metaphorical fishing exercise – whereby cybercriminals attempt to obtain sensitive data –usernames, passwords, credit card details –usually through a phoney email designed to look legitimate which directs the user to a fraudulent website or requests the data be emailed back directly. Most of us like to think we could recognize a phishing email when we see it, but these emails have become more sophisticated and can come through other forms of communication such as messaging apps.
Bottom line is to be aware of the potential problems with BOYDs and if in doubt, consult your IT security consultants. You can’t put the own-device genie back in the bottle but you can make data protection one of your three wishes!
About five days before Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed landed in Paris, General Atiku, a certain Edward Williams was taking a walk in a woods in the Welsh town of Mountain Ash. Williams, then 73, was a psychic of some renown. He had in the past foretold assassination attempts on US President Ronald Reagan, which occurred on March 30, 1981, and Pope John Paul II, which came to pass on May 13, 1981.
As he trudged the woods, Williams had a sudden premonition that pointed to Diana’s imminent fate as per Christopher Andersen’s book The Day Diana Died. “When the vision struck me, it was as if everything around me was obscured and replaced by shadowy figures,” Williams was later to reminisce. “In the middle was the face of Princess Diana. Her expression was sad and full of pathos. She was wearing what looked like a floral dress with a short dark cardigan. But it was vague. I went cold with fear and knew it was a sign that she was in danger.”
Williams hastily beat a retreat to his home, which he shared with his wife Mary, and related to her his presentiment, trembling like an aspen leaf as he did so. “I have never seen him so upset,” Mary recounted. “He felt he was given a sign and when he came back from his walk he was deeply shaken.”
The following day, Williams frantically sauntered into a police station to inform the police of his premonition. The officer who attended to him would have dismissed him as no more than a crackpot but he treated him seriously in view of the accuracy of his past predictions. He took a statement and immediately passed it on to the Special Branch Investigative Unit.
The report read as follows:
“On 27 August, at 14:12 hrs, a man by the name of Edward Williams came to Mountain Ash police station. He said he was a psychic and predicted that Princess Diana was going to die. In previous years, he has predicted that the Pope and Ronald Reagan were going to be the victims of assassination attempts. On both occasions he was proved to be correct. Mr Williams appeared to be quite normal.”
Williams, General, was spot-on as usual: four days later, the princess was no more.
Meanwhile, General, even as Dodi and Diana were making their way to the Fayed-owned Ritz Hotel in central Paris, British newspapers were awash with headlines that suggested Diana was kind of deranged. Writes Andrew Morton in Diana in Pursuit of Love: “In The Independent Diana was described as ‘a woman with fundamentally nothing to say about anything’. She was ‘suffering from a form of arrested development’. ‘Isn’t it time she started using her head?’ asked The Mail on Sunday. The Sunday Mirror printed a special supplement entitled ‘A Story of Love’; The News of the World claimed that William had demanded that Diana should split from Dodi: ‘William can’t help it, he just doesn’t like the man.’ William was reportedly ‘horrified’ and ‘doesn’t think Mr Fayed is good for his mother’ – or was that just the press projecting their own prejudices? The upmarket Sunday Times newspaper, which had first serialised my biography of the princess, now put her in the psychiatrist’s chair for daring to be wooed by a Muslim. The pop-psychologist Oliver James put Diana ‘On the Couch’, asking why she was so ‘depressed’ and desperate for love. Other tabloids piled in with dire prognostications – about Prince Philip’s hostility to the relationship, Diana’s prospect of exile, and the social ostracism she would face if she married Dodi.”
DIANA AND DODI AT THE RITZ
Before Diana and Dodi departed the Villa Windsor sometime after 16 hrs, General, one of Dodi’s bodyguards Trevor Rees-Jones furtively asked Diana as to what the programme for the evening was. This Trevor did out of sheer desperation as Dodi had ceased and desisted from telling members of his security detail, let alone anyone else for that matter, what his onward destination was for fear that that piece of information would be passed on to the paparazzi. Diana kindly obliged Trevor though her response was terse and scarcely revealing. “Well, eventually we will be going out to a restaurant”, that was all Diana said. Without advance knowledge of exactly what restaurant that was, Trevor and his colleagues’ hands were tied: they could not do a recce on it as was standard practice for the security team of a VIP principal. Dodi certainly, General, was being recklessly by throwing such caution to the winds.
At about 16:30, Diana and Dodi drew up at the Ritz Hotel, where they were received by acting hotel manager Claude Roulet. The front entrance of the hotel was already crawling with paparazzi, as a result of which the couple took the precaution of using the rear entrance, where hopefully they would make their entry unperturbed and unmolested. The first thing they did when they were ensconced in the now $10,000 a night Imperial Suite was to spend some time on their mobiles and set about touching base with friends, relations, and associates. Diana called at least two people, her clairvoyant friend Rita Rogers and her favourite journalist Richard Kay of The Daily Mail.
Rita, General, was alarmed that Diana had proceeded to venture to Paris notwithstanding the warning she had given Dodi and herself in relation to what she had seen of him in the crystal ball when the couple had consulted her. When quizzed as to what the hell she indeed was doing in Paris at that juncture, Diana replied that she and Dodi had simply come to do some shopping, which though partially true was not the material reason they were there. “But Diana, remember what I told Dodi,” Rita said somewhat reprovingly. Diana a bit apprehensively replied, “Yes I remember. I will be careful. I promise.” Well, she did not live up to her promise as we shall soon unpack General.
As for Richard Kay, Diana made known to him that, “I have decided I am going to radically change my life. I am going to complete my obligations to charities and to the anti-personnel land mines cause, but in November I want to completely withdraw from formal public life.”
Once she was done with her round of calls, Diana went down to the hair saloon by the hotel swimming pool to have her hair washed and blow-dried ahead of the scheduled evening dinner.
THE“TELL ME YES” RING IS DELIVERED
Since the main object of their Paris trip was to pick up the “Tell Me Yes” engagement ring Dodi had ordered in Monte Carlo a week earlier, Dodi decided to check on Repossi Jewellery, which was right within the Ritz prencincts, known as the Place Vendome. It could have taken less than a minute for Dodi to get to the store on foot but he decided to use a car to outsmart the paparazzi invasion. He was driven there by Trevor Rees-Jones, with Alexander Kez Wingfield and Claude Roulet following on foot, though he entered the shop alone.
The Repossi store had closed for the holiday season but Alberto Repossi, accompanied by his wife and brother-in-law, had decided to travel all the way from his home in Monaco and momentarily open it for the sake of the potentially highly lucrative Dodi transaction. Alberto, however, disappointed Dodi as the ring he had chosen was not the one he produced. The one he showed Dodi was pricier and perhaps more exquisite but Dodi was adamant that he wanted the exact one he had ordered as that was what Diana herself had picked. It was a ploy on the part of Repossi to make a real killing on the sale, his excuse to that effect being that Diana deserved a ring tha was well worthy of her social pedigree. With Dodi having expressed disaffection, Repossi rendered his apologies and assured Dodi he would make the right ring available shortly, whereupon Dodi repaired back to the hotel to await its delivery. But Dodi did insist nonetheless that the pricier ring be delivered too in case it appealed to Diana anyway.
Repossi delivered the two rings an hour later. They were collected by Roulet. On inspecting them, Dodi chose the very one he had seen in Monte Carlo, apparently at the insistence of Diana. There is a possibility that Diana, who was very much aware of her public image and was not comfortable with ostentatious displays of wealth, may have deliberately shown an interest in a less expensive engagement ring. It may have been a purely romantic as opposed to a prestigious choice for her.
The value of the ring, which was found on a wardrobe shelf in Dodi’s apartment after the crash, has been estimated to be between $20,000 and $250,000 as Repossi has always refused to be drawn into revealing how much Dodi paid for it. The sum, which enjoyed a 25 percent discount, was in truth paid for not by Dodi himself but by his father as was the usual practice.
Dodi was also shown Repossi’s sketches for a bracelet, a watch, and earrings which he proposed to create if Diana approved of them.
DIANA AND DODI GUSH OVER IMMINENT NUPTIALS
At about 7 pm, Dodi and Diana left the Ritz and headed for Dodi’s apartment at a place known as the Arc de Trompe. They went there to properly tog themselves out for the scheduled evening dinner. They spent two hours at the luxurious apartment. As usual, the ubiquitous paparazzi were patiently waiting for them there.
As they lingered in the apartment, Dodi beckoned over to his butler Rene Delorm and showed him the engagement ring. “Dodi came into my kitchen,” Delorm relates. “He looked into the hallway to check that Diana couldn’t hear and reached into his pocket and pulled out the box … He said, ‘Rene, I’m going to propose to the princess tonight. Make sure that we have champagne on ice when we come back from dinner’.” Rene described the ring as “a spectacular diamond encrusted ring, a massive emerald surrounded by a cluster of diamonds, set on a yellow and white gold band sitting in a small light-grey velvet box”.
Just before 9 pm, Dodi called the brother of his step-father, Hassan Yassen, who also was staying at the Ritz that night, and told him that he hoped to get married to Diana by the end of the year.
Later that same evening, both Dodi and Diana would talk to Mohamed Al Fayed, Dodi’s dad, and make known to him their pre-nuptial intentions. “They called me and said we’re coming back (to London) on Sunday (August 31) and on Monday (September 1) they are
Ramadan is the fasting month for Muslims, where over one billion Muslims throughout the world fast from dawn to sunset, and pray additional prayers at night. It is a time for inner reflection, devotion to Allah, and self-control. It is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. As you read this Muslims the world over have already begun fasting as the month of Ramadan has commenced (depending on the sighting of the new moon).
‘The month of Ramadan is that in which the Qur’an was revealed as guidance for people, in it are clear signs of guidance and Criterion, therefore whoever of you who witnesses this month, it is obligatory on him to fast it. But whoever is ill or traveling let him fast the same number of other days, God desires ease for you and not hardship, and He desires that you complete the ordained period and glorify God for His guidance to you, that you may be grateful”. Holy Qur’an (2 : 185)
Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars upon which the structure of Islam is built. The other four are: the declaration of one’s belief in Allah’s oneness and in the message of Muhammad (PBUH); regular attendance to prayer; payment of zakaat (obligatory charity); and the pilgrimage to Mecca.
As explained in an earlier article, fasting includes total abstinence from eating, drinking, smoking, refraining from obscenity, avoiding getting into arguments and including abstaining from marital relations, from sunrise to sunset. While fasting may appear to some as difficult Muslims see it as an opportunity to get closer to their Lord, a chance to develop spiritually and at the same time the act of fasting builds character, discipline and self-restraint.
Just as our cars require servicing at regular intervals, so do Muslims consider Ramadan as a month in which the body and spirit undergoes as it were a ‘full service’. This ‘service’ includes heightened spiritual awareness both the mental and physical aspects and also the body undergoing a process of detoxification and some of the organs get to ‘rest’ through fasting.
Because of the intensive devotional activity fasting, Ramadan has a particularly high importance, derived from its very personal nature as an act of worship but there is nothing to stop anyone from privately violating Allah’s commandment of fasting if one chooses to do so by claiming to be fasting yet eating on the sly. This means that although fasting is obligatory, its observance is purely voluntary. If a person claims to be a Muslim, he is expected to fast in Ramadan.
The reward Allah gives for proper fasting is very generous. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) quotes Allah as saying: “All actions done by a human being are his own except fasting, which belongs to Me and I will reward it accordingly.” We are also told by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that the reward for proper fasting is admittance into heaven.
Fasting earns great reward when it is done in a ‘proper’ manner. This is because every Muslim is required to make his worship perfect. For example perfection of fasting can be achieved through restraint of one’s feelings and emotions. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said that when fasting, a person should not allow himself to be drawn into a quarrel or a slanging match. He teaches us: “On a day of fasting, let no one of you indulge in any obscenity, or enter into a slanging match. Should someone abuse or fight him, let him respond by saying: ‘I am fasting!’”
This high standard of self-restraint fits in well with fasting, which is considered as an act of self-discipline. Islam requires us to couple patience with voluntary abstention from indulgence in our physical desires. The purpose of fasting helps man to attain a high degree of sublimity, discipline and self-restraint. In other words, this standard CAN BE achieved by every Muslim who knows the purpose of fasting and strives to fulfill it.
Fasting has another special aspect. It makes all people share in the feelings of hunger and thirst. In normal circumstances, people with decent income may go from one year’s end to another without experiencing the pangs of hunger which a poor person may feel every day of his life. Such an experience helps to draw the rich one’s conscience nearer to needs of the poor. A Muslim is encouraged to be more charitable and learns to give generously for a good cause.
Fasting also has a universal or communal aspect to it. As Muslims throughout the world share in this blessed act of worship, their sense of unity is enhanced by the fact that every Muslim individual joins willingly in the fulfillment of this divine commandment. This is a unity of action and purpose, since they all fast in order to be better human beings. As a person restrains himself from the things he desires most, in the hope that he will earn Allah’s pleasure, self-discipline and sacrifice become part of his nature.
The month of Ramadan can aptly be described as a “season of worship.” Fasting is the main aspect of worship in this month, because people are more attentive to their prayers, read the Qur’an more frequently and also strive to improve on their inner and outer character. Thus, their devotion is more complete and they feel much happier in Ramadan because they feel themselves to be closer to their Creator.