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Respect

Iqbal Ebrahim
UNDERSTANDING ISLAM

We have all grown up and were taught the basics of respect and behaviour in our interface with our parents, family, the community and the world at large. These principles are not limited to one religion, culture, race, tribe or group; they are universal in their scope and application as they encapsulate the broad element of desirable human behaviour.

In the world today, in our homes and communities there is noticeable erosion in the quintessential values system, thus, respect and etiquette, are no longer those honourable and desirable attributes.  We are deprived of what was once a noble human characteristic.

I read a line that captures and describes the essence and importance of respect in a person. ‘An Orphan is not only the one who has no parents; but it is also he who is deprived of respect, etiquette and knowledge.’ For a Muslim proper behaviour is a of our Imaan (faith), the Quran and the advices of Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) cover virtually every aspect of our conduct and behaviour in our daily  life. There are certain areas of compulsory respects that we have to fulfil in some of those basic duties which summarize the universal values of Islam.

The first respect is that for our Lord and Creator, Allah.

In Islam it is an article of faith and belief that Allah is One, who has no partners to share His Divinity; and to only worship Him with all sincerity and to submit to Him in every aspect of our lives. Our belief cannot be sincere and faithful if there is not complete and unquestionable respect for our Lord and Creator. Simply put this means that all praise and worship is due to Allah alone:
 
‘And those who honour the distinguishing signs of Allah, verily it (this respect) stems from the piety of the heart’. (Quran 22:32).And: ‘Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him’. (Quran: 17:23). And ‘…do not join in worship others with Allah; for false worship is indeed the highest wrong-doing (Quran 31: 13). ‘…. Worship none but Allah’ (Quran 2:83).

The Bible says: ‘The Lord our God is one Lord; and thou shalt love him with all thy heart and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind and with all thy strength; this is the first commandment’ (Mark 12:30).

To respect the Quran

The Book of Allah deserves great honour and respect. Among the dictates of this honour and respect is that the Qur'an should be learnt, it should be recited regularly and it should also be handled correctly. The Qur'an should always be kept, handled and be carried with respect. For a Muslim to be able to handle or touch the Quran it is necessary that we do so in a state of purification.

This means that before touching to read from it we have to be in a ‘paak’ state, i.e. we should be in a state of purity, to have performed the wudhu (ablution), which is the purification that every Muslim has to undergo before offering any of their five times daily prayers. ‘This is indeed a Quran most honourable …….. which none shall touch but those who are clean’ (Quran 56: 79).

To be Kind and respectful to our parents

While respect for elders is fast decreasing in general, shocking incidents that regularly come to light indicate that respect for parents has also fallen. ‘….And that you show kindness to your parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in your life, say not a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honour……’ Quran 17: 23-24. The Quran uses the Arabic word ‘uff’ for contempt, this word denotes the slight degree of displeasure.  
 

For a Muslim, respect and kindness to parents is not just a social responsibility but, it is our religious duty and obligation. However this obligation is not only limited to our parents but to the elderly in society. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: ‘He who does not respect the elders amongst us and is not merciful upon the young is not one of us.’

Our parents deserve to be treated with love, kindness and compassion because not only did they bring us into this world but they also cared for us through our transition from childhood to adulthood. It is our religious obligation to reciprocate that type of love and commitment in return. ’We have enjoined on man to be good to his parents…show gratitude to Me and your parents’. (Quran 31: 14).  

The Bible is also clear about respect for parents; in the Ten Commandments the instruction is ‘honour thy father and thy mother’ and further, ‘Children, obey your parents in all things; for this is well pleasing unto the Lord’ (Col 3:20)

Respect for the Mosque.

Another of the symbols of our respect is to honour the sanctity of the Mosque. Among the actions that we undertake before we enter the Mosque is that we should be in a state of purity: There certain states of impurity that do not allow us to enter the Mosque unless one takes a bath.

Before every prayer (Namaaz) one is also required to be in a state of Wudhu (the ablution as explained above). ‘O you who believe, when you prepare for prayer, wash your faces and your hands and arms to the elbows; rub your heads with water and wash your feet to the ankles. If you are in a state of impurity, bathe your whole body’. (Quran 5: 6)

Worldly talk is prohibited and one should refrain from idle chit chat in the Mosque. We are also not allowed to enter the Mosque with our shoes, we have to remove them and leave them at the entrance because a Mosque is considered a consecrated and Holy ground.

Readers will recall that when Prophet Moses (pbuh) was told by Allah: ‘O Moses, verily I am your Lord, therefore in My presence remove your shoes for you are sacred valley of Tuwa’ (Quran 20:12).
Similarly, in the Bible: ‘….do not come closer, put off they shoes from thy feet, for the place thou standest on is Holy ground.’ (Exodus 3: 5)   

The above are some of the compulsory respects that we have to observe and fulfil in addition to the normal standards of behaviour that are and should be the corner stone of our interaction in our daily life.

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The Daring Dozen at Bari

8th December 2020
JEFF---Batswana-smoke-unit

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.

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”

UNDERSTANDING

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.”

COMMITMENT

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.

ACCEPTANCE

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.

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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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