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Iqbal Ebrahim

‘When Allah loves the people of a household, He introduces kindness among them’: Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)

If you listen to a distressed homeless person saying, "I have nowhere to sleep, no fixed place to stay. Sometimes I sleep in so and so’s back yard, sometimes in a park or on the street, and I carry all my worldly possessions with me,’ then you will realize the hardships that result from not having the blessing of a home.

Those of us who are blessed with having a roof over our heads cannot imagine the ordeal, heartache and miseries of having to sleep in the open in all kinds of weather, cold and wet. We should therefore be thankful, feel more humble and not arrogant.

A home should be a place where family ties are strong, where they can relate to one another, have a sense of peace and belonging and where they sincerely enjoy being together living with shared love and affection. A Muslim home should be a place where Allah is remembered in all kinds of ways, whether in our hearts, verbally, during prayer, by leading an Islamic lifestyle, by reading Qur'an, and all the values of Islam.

Many Muslim homes nowadays are virtually ‘dead’ because there is no remembrance of Allah. ‘….the wealth that you have gained……. or the dwellings in which you delight, are dearer to you than Allah, then wait till Allah brings about His Decision, for Allah does not guide the rebellious’. (Quran 9:24)

As parents we need to lead the way in building the bridges so that we lead by example. As Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) illustrated "All of you are shepherds and each of you is responsible for his flock."

A shepherd does not merely push his flock to one side waiting for them to return at the end of the day, he does not hope that they will find their own way or look to anyone else to guide them. The shepherd accepts responsibility and constantly guides his own flock. This is exactly what every parent should be doing with their child.

Therefore the parents must be fully involved in every aspect of a child's life, concentrating on the child's internal and external development. The parent needs to constantly build and refine the character of the child on a firm footing and foundation.

A happy family which seeks stability and continuity builds its life on firm principles, the most important of which are: the raising of children, mutual respect of each – others rights, courteousness in dealing with one another and widening one’s family’s and one’s own horizons. One of the main goals of the family is to teach its children to love, respect and appreciate their religious faith, which is an essential part of the life of a Muslim.

Instilling love of Islam is a great and important part of upbringing; deep in effect, and implants in a child respect, good values and manners. A Muslim family which is based on faith in Allah will be able to hold on to Islamic morals and manners. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: ‘The best among you is one who is best for his family’.

Today there are many conflicting values and societal pressures on the children but throughout this time of stress parents should be the source of support, understanding and guidance to their children. Therefore our children must know that there will always be that warm and loving refuge that they will find at home and in their families.  

Every home should have rules, regulations, as well as duties, responsibilities and obligations. This leads to a home that has tranquillity and love with the parents playing the leading role. The father and mother have that special task to teach and impart the proper values to the children.

Their own behaviour and treatment towards each other will be the guideline for the children. If a husband and wife are constantly at odds and bickering in front of the children the negative perceptions will definitely affect the children. Islam lays stress on the on the husband and wife to lead a life of love and understanding.  

‘…..He created for you mates among yourselves; that you may dwell in tranquillity with them, and He has put love and mercy between your hearts. Truly in that are sign for those who reflect’. (Quran 30:21). It therefore means for tranquillity in the home, there must be husband – wife relations that are built on compassion, love, respect, sympathy, concern and mercy between the spouses.

In the ideal home life, elders should show consideration for their younger ones, the young should in turn show respect for the elders, men should treat their womenfolk with kindness and vice versa. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: ‘He is not of us who is not merciful to our younger people, nor honours the old among us’.

 Family members should look to and commit themselves to their duties rather than focussing their ‘rights’. Each of us should be willing to take up our share of the work and to help others. If there are any problems in the home we should try to nip them in the bud rather than allowing them to fester.

In Islam it is an obligation and a duty for a child to show love, respect, obedience and appreciation for his / her parents. ‘…..Come I will recite to you what your Lord has made a sacred obligation for you; that you associate nothing with Him as a partner in His Divinity and that you do good to parents… (Quran 6:151).

And serve Allah. Ascribe nothing as a partner to Him. Show kindness unto parents….. (Quran 4:36). Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: ‘Heaven lies at the feet of the mother’ and ‘The pleasure of Allah is the pleasure of parents and the displeasure of Allah is in the displeasure of the parents’.

Parents will indeed reap what they sow if they worked hard to bring this child close to their Lord then they will see the fruits of that work when they require it most. The old adage, ‘you reap what you sow’ will become more appropriate when the parents reach old age.

Parents after a long life rightfully expect the children to now take care of them and treat them with respect; this right is given to the parents by Allah: ‘Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him, and that you be kind to your parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of contempt or repel them, but address them in terms of honour…..’ (Quran 17:23)

Let us try to raise our children in a home that breeds the values built on morality and………

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The Daring Dozen at Bari

8th December 2020

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.

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A Strong Marriage Bond Needs Two

8th December 2020

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.

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)


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.

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Chronic Joblessness: How to Help Curtail it

30th November 2020
Motswana woman

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.

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