This second part continues with the behavioural traits and manner in which we are to live our lives in line with our religious faith and beliefs. These practices are mirrored in most religions.
Taking good care of children: ‘O you who believe! Save yourself and your families from the Fire of Hell’. (Ch. 66: V6). In Islam children are regarded as a valuable gift and a trust from Allah and we have been given the responsibility in raising those children according to our obligations and responsibilities placed upon us by our Creator.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said ‘No father has given a greater gift to his children than good moral training’.
In recognizing the rights of parents likewise we also recognize the rights of children. Children are our future and as such we should raise them in safe and healthy environment to instil Islamic values into their life, their spirit, mind, morals and manners. ‘Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it’ (Proverbs 22:3)
To steer clear of adultery and illicit relations: ‘…And come not near to adultery for it is a shameful deed, and an evil, opening the road to other evils.’ (Qur'an: 17:32)
Islam has a very strict code of conduct that teaches that one should not engage in adultery or fornication; although the word in the above translation is "adultery," in Arabic the verse refers to zina, which includes fornication or premarital relations.
These types of dalliances / relations lead to many broken homes and marriages being destroyed. Many of todays’ problems in homes are as a result of improper behaviour and illicit relations of spouses.
â€¨In the Bible the Ten Commandments say: ‘Thou shall not commit adultery’. And ‘whoso commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding; he that does so destroys his own soul’. (Proverbs 6; 32)
To respect every life and not to kill anyone unless in the pursuit of justice:’…Nor take life – which Allah has made sacred, except (in the course of justice).’ (Qur'an 17:33) And kill not one another (Quran 4:29). â€¨â€¨Allah has forbidden killing or taking of a life unless it is in punishment for a crime that carries the death penalty – even then, only after they have been put to trial and found guilty.
This means that one should respect the sanctity of all life and should not do anything that may jeopardize life except in the pursuit of justice. One may ask about reports in the media of people killing others claiming to be doing it in the name of Islam. The bottom line is that killing is not allowed in Islam as per the above verse.
Muslims should avoid aggression and violence, because these things lead to murder. Every Muslim must be committed to peaceful ways. Conflicts should be resolved through dialogue and negotiations, not by killings and murders. Justice must be maintained, because just punishment brings safety and protects life.
Thou shall not kill (Exodus 20:13);
To take care of the orphans: "Treat not the orphan with harshness, nor repulse him who asks." (93:9-10) See you one who denies the Judgement to come? Then such is the man who repulses the orphan with harshness, and encourages not the feeding on the indigent’. (Quran 107: 1-3).
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: Whosoever passes his hand over the head of an orphan, but for the sake of Allah, shall have the blessings for every hair over which hand passes.
Orphans and all those who are vulnerable must be taken care of. Their rightsâ€¨must be recognized and they should be protected from all harm. A Muslim must be deeply committed to care for the young, poor, infirm, and handicapped. Kindness and compassion is the basic commitment of a Muslim.
‘Defend the poor and the fatherless, do justice to the poor and the needy’ (Psalms 82:2)
To fulfil promises and commitments: "And fulfil every engagement / covenant. Verily for every engagement / covenant will be enquired into on the Day of Reckoning’. (Qur'an, 17:34).‘The virtuous are those who honour their trusts and promises and those who stand firm in their testimonies.’ (Quran 70:32)
Promises and contracts are an important part of human life and civilization. When promises are not kept, people lose trust in each other and the whole society becomes weak. Muslims must be true to their words. Our commitment must be to speak the truth and to be honest and when we make a pledge we must endeavour to fulfil it.â€¨â€¨
To be honest in all our dealings including in business:‘… And give full measure when you measure, and weigh with a balance that is straight: that is good (advantageous) and better in the end.’ (Qur'an: 17:35). ‘Woe to those that deal in fraud, – Those who, when they have to receive by measure from men, exact full measure, but when they have to give by measure or weight to men, give less than due.’ (83:1-3)
A Muslim must conduct his business with a sense of justice and fairness. He should be committed to fair dealing in everything and with everyone. The business must be conducted in a truthful and honest manner without any fraudulent activities. Additionally a Muslim’s money must be earned in halal (lawful and honest) ways and it should be spent in the right manner.
“You shall not steal” (Exodus 20: 15)
To be humble and have no arrogance:"… And walk not on the earth with conceit and arrogance….. (Qur'an: 17:37). ‘Swell not thy cheek (for pride) at men, nor walk in insolence through the earth; for God loveth not any arrogant boaster." (31:18)
Moderation and balance is best in one's behaviour as well as in one's attitude toward others. A Muslim should be a dignified and humble person, not boastful, arrogant, or vainglorious. True modesty is the source of all virtues.
‘When pride cometh, then cometh shame….’ (Proverbs 11:2.) ‘For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers…” (2 Timothy 3:2)
The ‘golden median’ of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh): ‘My Sustainer has given me nine commands: to remain conscious of Allah, whether in private or in public; to speak justly, whether angry or pleased; to show moderation both when poor and when rich; to reunite family relations with those who have broken off with me; to give to him who refuses me; forgive those wrong me and oppress me; that my silence should be occupied with thought; my speech be full of Allah’s remembrance; that my looking should be an admonition and that I should command what is right.’
These are the basic principles, universal values and behavioural patterns for a Muslim to mirror in his daily living.â€¨
Seventy-seven years ago, on the evening of December 2, 1943, the Germans launched a surprise air raid on allied shipping in the Italian port of Bari, which was then the key supply centre for the British 8th army’s advance in Italy.
The attack was spearheaded by 105 Junkers JU88 bombers under the overall command of the infamous Air Marshal Wolfram von Richthofen (who had initially achieved international notoriety during the Spanish Civil War for his aerial bombardment of Guernica). In a little over an hour the German aircraft succeeded in sinking 28 transport and cargo ships, while further inflicting massive damage to the harbour’s facilities, resulting in the port being effectively put out of action for two months.
Over two thousand ground personnel were killed during the raid, with the release of a secret supply of mustard gas aboard one of the destroyed ships contributing to the death toll, as well as subsequent military and civilian casualties. The extent of the later is a controversy due to the fact that the American and British governments subsequently covered up the presence of the gas for decades.
At least five Batswana were killed and seven critically wounded during the raid, with one of the wounded being miraculously rescued floating unconscious out to sea with a head wound. He had been given up for dead when he returned to his unit fourteen days later. The fatalities and casualties all occurred when the enemy hit an ammunition ship adjacent to where 24 Batswana members of the African Pioneer Corps (APC) 1979 Smoke Company where posted.
Thereafter, the dozen surviving members of the unit distinguished themselves for their efficiency in putting up and maintaining smokescreens in their sector, which was credited with saving additional shipping. For his personal heroism in rallying his men following the initial explosions Company Corporal Chitu Bakombi was awarded the British Empire Medal, while his superior officer, Lieutenant N.F. Moor was later given an M.B.E.
Remember: bricks and cement are used to build a house, but mutual love, respect and companionship are used to build a HOME. And amongst His signs is this: He creates for you mates out of your own kind, so that you may find contentment (Sukoon) with them, and He engenders love and tenderness between you; in this behold, there are signs (messages) indeed for people who reflect and think (Quran 30:21).
This verse talks about contentment; this implies companionship, of their being together, sharing together, supporting one another and creating a home of peace. This verse also talks about love between them; this love is both physical and emotional. For love to exist it must be built on the foundation of a mutually supportive relationship guided by respect and tenderness. As the Quran says; ‘they are like garments for you, and you are garments for them (Quran 2:187)’. That means spouses should provide each other with comfort, intimacy and protection just as clothing protects, warms and dignifies the body.
In Islam marriage is considered an ‘ibaadah’, (an act of pleasing Allah) because it is about a commitment made to each other, that is built on mutual love, interdependence, integrity, trust, respect, companionship and harmony towards each other. It is about building of a home on an Islamic foundation in which peace and tranquillity reigns wherein your offspring are raised in an atmosphere conducive to a moral and upright upbringing so that when we all stand before Him (Allah) on that Promised Day, He will be pleased with them all.
Most marriages start out with great hopes and rosy dreams; spouses are truly committed to making their marriages work. However, as the pressures of life mount, many marriages change over time and it is quite common for some of them to run into problems and start to flounder as the reality of living with a spouse that does not meet with one’s pre-conceived ‘expectations’. However, with hard work and dedication, couples can keep their marriages strong and enjoyable. How is it done? What does it take to create a long-lasting, satisfying marriage?
Below are some of the points that have been taken from a marriage guidance article I read recently and adapted for this purposes.
POSITIVITY Spouses should have far more positive than negative interactions. If there is too much negativity — criticizing, demanding, name-calling, holding grudges, etc. — the relationship will suffer. However, if there is never any negativity, it probably means that frustrations and grievances are not getting ‘air time’ and unresolved tension is accumulating inside one or both partners waiting to ‘explode’ one day.
“Let not some men among you laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor let some women laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor defame nor be sarcastic to each other, nor call each other by (offensive) nicknames.” (49:11)
We all have our individual faults though we may not see them nor want to admit to them but we will easily identify them in others. The key is balance between the two extremes and being supportive of one another. To foster positivity in a marriage that help make them stable and happy, being affectionate, truly listening to each other, taking joy in each other’s achievements and being playful are just a few examples of positive interactions. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “The believers who show the most perfect faith are those who have the best character and the best of you are those who are best to their wives”
Another characteristic of happy marriages is empathy; understanding your spouses’ perspective by putting oneself in his or her shoes. By showing that understanding and identifying with your spouse is important for relationship satisfaction. Spouses are more likely to feel good about their marriage and if their partner expresses empathy towards them. Husbands and wives are more content in their relationships when they feel that their partners understand their thoughts and feelings.
Successful married couples grow with each other; it simply isn’t wise to put any person in charge of your happiness. You must be happy with yourself before anyone else can be. You are responsible for your actions, your attitudes and your happiness. Your spouse just enhances those things in your life. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers.”
Successful marriages involve both spouses’ commitment to the relationship. The married couple should learn the art of compromise and this usually takes years. The largest parts of compromise are openness to the other’s point of view and good communication when differences arise.
When two people are truly dedicated to making their marriage work, despite the unavoidable challenges and obstacles that come, they are much more likely to have a relationship that lasts. Husbands and wives who only focus on themselves and their own desires are not as likely to find joy and satisfaction in their relationships.
Another basic need in a relationship is each partner wants to feel valued and respected. When people feel that their spouses truly accept them for who they are, they are usually more secure and confident in their relationships. Often, there is conflict in marriage because partners cannot accept the individual preferences of their spouses and try to demand change from one another. When one person tries to force change from another, he or she is usually met with resistance.
However, change is much more likely to occur when spouses respect differences and accept each other unconditionally. Basic acceptance is vital to a happy marriage. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “It is the generous (in character) who is good to women, and it is the wicked who insults them.” “Overlook (any human faults) with gracious forgiveness.” (Quran 15:85)
COMPASSION, MUTUAL LOVE AND RESPECT
Other important components of successful marriages are love, compassion and respect for each other. The fact is, as time passes and life becomes increasingly complicated, the marriage is often stressed and suffers as a result. A happy and successful marriage is based on equality. When one or the other dominates strongly, intimacy is replaced by fear of displeasing.
It is all too easy for spouses to lose touch with each other and neglect the love and romance that once came so easily. It is vital that husbands and wives continue to cultivate love and respect for each other throughout their lives. If they do, it is highly likely that their relationships will remain happy and satisfying. Move beyond the fantasy and unrealistic expectations and realize that marriage is about making a conscious choice to love and care for your spouse-even when you do not feel like it.
Seldom can one love someone for whom we have no respect. This also means that we have to learn to overlook and forgive the mistakes of one’s partner. In other words write the good about your partner in stone and the bad in dust, so that when the wind comes it blows away the bad and only the good remains.
Paramount of all, marriage must be based on the teachings of the Noble Qur’an and the teachings and guidance of our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). To grow spiritually in your marriage requires that you learn to be less selfish and more loving, even during times of conflict. A marriage needs love, support, tolerance, honesty, respect, humility, realistic expectations and a sense of humour to be successful.
The past week or two has been a mixed grill of briefs in so far as the national employment picture is concerned. BDC just injected a further P64 million in Kromberg & Schubert, the automotive cable manufacturer and exporter, to help keep it afloat in the face of the COVID-19-engendered global economic apocalypse. The financial lifeline, which follows an earlier P36 million way back in 2017, hopefully guarantees the jobs of 2500, maybe for another year or two.
It was also reported that a bulb manufacturing company, which is two years old and is youth-led, is making waves in Selibe Phikwe. Called Bulb Word, it is the only bulb manufacturing operation in Botswana and employs 60 people. The figure is not insignificant in a town that had 5000 jobs offloaded in one fell swoop when BCL closed shop in 2016 under seemingly contrived circumstances, so that as I write, two or three buyers have submitted bids to acquire and exhume it from its stage-managed grave.