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Home is where the heart is

Iqbal Ebrahim

The basis of any society is built on the family unit and the family is the cornerstone and the foundation of all social, cultural and religious structures in society. This then flows into and determines the strength of societies which then ultimately flows into humanity. When the family is strong, a society endures. When the family comes apart, a society unravels.

How would you classify your residence, is it a house or a home? There is a distinguishing difference between the two because, I believe in the principle that: ‘A house is built with bricks, mortar and cement, but a home is built with love, respect, trust, affection, good manners, kindness and happiness.’ If you think about those who are homeless, who live in shelters, or on the streets, or as refugees scattered in temporary camps, then you will realize the blessing of having a home. ‘Allah has made for you in your homes, a place of rest and comfort for you’ (Quran 19:80).  

We don’t realise the importance of a stable home built on the elements mentioned above. Many of us live in fancy homes with all the mod cons, yet we are still unhappy. Call me old fashioned, but rewind to a few years back when most of us grew up in humble and simple dwellings with no electricity or water or for that matter, horror of horrors, not even a phone or television, yet we were happy and contented. So what is the problem?

Firstly, our religious faith has slowly crumbled just like the unstable home we live in. Faith is central to belief in Islam, without faith there can be no belief. So our faith should be built on firm foundations for that religious belief and practice to flow into our homes. ‘Which then is best? He that layeth his foundations on piety to Allah and His good pleasure; or he that layeth his foundation on undermined sand cliff, ready to crumble to pieces? (Quran 9: 109)

The Bible says: “He is like a man, who, in building his house, dug deep and laid his foundation on rocks….. but anyone who hears my words and does not obey them is like one who built it without laying a foundation; when the flood hit that house it fell at once” (Luke 7: 48-49)

In this day and age of modernisation many of us miss the opportunity of building a ‘real home’ because we are too busy following the dictates of today’s lifestyle. Though the family is living in one house, we are living ‘apart’.

Many homes have literally become bed and breakfasts – in other words family members come home only to sleep, have breakfast, and are gone again to their worldly chores resulting in very little family time and communication. Worse still, even if they are together in the lounge or even at the dinner table, each one of them will be engrossed fiddling with their mobile devices on face book, What’s app and all the other social media sites.

As a result of these and other modern day outlooks, the sanctity of family relations and life is crumbling. There is a lack of an atmosphere of family-ness as a result, children are growing up with a distinct disconnect with the family unit. What can we do to create an atmosphere that leads to happiness and friendliness in the home? We have to realise that the home is a place of shared responsibility. ‘O you who believe, save yourselves and your families from the fire of Hell… (Quran 66:6)

Therefore in a home the responsibility falls onto every member of the family to ensure that it is not just a place where people eat and sleep, but a place where family members sincerely enjoy being together, with shared beliefs and values, where there is mutual love, respect, comfort and peace. These can only exist if we live a life based on the values, principles and teachings of the Quran and the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). ‘Those who believe and whose families follow them in faith, to them we shall join their families…..’  (Quran 52:21)

Families need role models – regrettably many parents seem to have forgotten their responsibility and leadership roles in their homes. Let us take a home in which there is a strained relationship between father and the mother, this usually leads to an unhappy home. In some cases when they are at loggerheads it can lead to the exchange of harsh words and worse still spousal violence.

One can imagine the negative effect this will have on the children. The whole aspect of a home being a loving, respectable and peaceful haven is shattered. As often stated, children may not necessarily do as you ask them to, but they will certainly ape what you do. Therefore we need to take our parental roles seriously – that responsibility is borne by the parents of the household.

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: “On the Day of Reckoning Allah will ask every shepherd (or responsible person) about his flock (those for whom he was responsible), whether he took care of it or neglected it, until He asks a man about his household."

So where do we start? We need to start by showing kindness in the home this means showing love, respect and affection towards one's wife and children is one of the ways that lead to creating an atmosphere of happiness and friendliness in the home. Being kind to one another is one of the means of attaining happiness in the home, for kindness is very beneficial between the spouses, and with the children, and brings results that cannot be achieved through harshness, as the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: ‘Allah loves kindness and rewards it in such a way that He does not reward for harshness or for anything else’.

Kindness and respect can even include helping one another by sharing the workload in the home. Take for example, when some men arrive home expect their wives to have the food ready, even though the pot is on the stove and the baby is screaming on one side; they do not pick up the child or patiently wait a while for the food to be served – they will sulk or even go off at a tangent as some men think that housework is beneath them, and some even think that it will undermine their status and position if they help their wives with this work. In helping one’s wife with the housework builds a stronger and loving relationship because it will be a way of sharing responsibility in household chores.    
To be continued….

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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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