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The Quran and Muslims

Iqbal Ebrahim
UNDERSTANDING ISLAM

“This is the Book (the Quran), whereof there is no doubt; a guidance to those who are the pious and righteous persons” (Quran- 2: 2)

Every mainstream religion and faith has its own set of Holy Scriptures. For Muslims the Quran is their Holy Book, the Divine Revelation; The Word of Allah and The Final Testament to Humanity. It is the guide that gives direction to Muslims in every aspect of their lives; from daily living, worship, behaviour, what is right and wrong, how we are to behave in every facet of our social, business and conduct in our daily lives.

"Verily, this Quran guides to that which is most just and right and gives glad tidings to the believers who work deeds of righteousness, that they shall have a great reward (Paradise)." (Quran 17:9)

This Quran therefore is the basis for a Muslims life, so much so that, for our belief to be firm we have to fulfil the rights of the Quran upon us. Muslims treat the Quran with great respect and reverence even when handling it.

For a start before touching to read from it they have to be in a ‘paak’ state, i.e. we should be in a state of purity, to have performed wudhu (ablution), the purification that Muslims undertake before offering their five times daily prayers. This is one of the obligations that we have towards it, the others are:  

That we believe in it

We have to firmly and sincerely believe in it as the Divine Revelation. We have to without any hesitation or doubt believe in every word, every verse, order, promise, admonition or warning, story, lesson contained in it.

‘Allah has revealed the most beautiful Message in the form of a Book, consistent with itself, yet repeating its teachings in various aspects……such is the guidance of Allah’ (Quran 39:23). And: ‘Believers are those who when Allah is mentioned feel a tremor in their hearts….’ (Quran 8: 2)

That we honour and respect it

Apart from being in a state of purity, we have to ensure that we continuously honour it by ensuring that we regularly read from it, understand it and put into practice its dictates and teachings. By paying respect to it we automatically get closer to its message and most importantly we get closer to our Lord and Creator.

‘….That this is indeed a Quran most honourable, in a book well-guarded, which none shall touch but those who are clean; a revelation from the Lord of the worlds….is this then such a message that you hold in light esteem?’ (Quran 56: 76-81)

That we regularly read it

We have to make a habit of regularly it not daily, reading the Quran or even listen to it being recited, be it an entire chapter, verse or even a page or two. This action brings us ever closer to a firm belief in our hearts and closer to our Lord and Creator. ‘When you read the Quran, seek Allah’s protection from Satan the rejected one’ (Quran 16: 98). And: ‘When the Quran is recited, listen to it with attention, and hold your peace , that you may receive mercy’ (Quran 7: 204).  

In our five times daily prayers we have to recite from memory verses from the Quran, therefore apart from the ‘reading’ aspect, we have to learn certain short verses in order to fulfil the requirements of our prayer (Namaaz).

Many Muslims, some as young as ten years of age have memorised the entire Quran by heart and can quote any passages therefrom. In furthering their Islamic education they learn the meaning of the verses and can translate its message.

That we learn to understand it

Some people may wonder and be perplexed that the Quran is written, read, memorised and recited in Arabic, understanding it can be challenging and somewhat difficult because many of us do not speak or understand Arabic.

Sure enough, it may seem strange that we read it yet do not understand it; but this is where the miracle and the beauty of the Quran come in. With regular reading we automatically seek to understand it. This becomes a driver for us to learn to understand the injunctions and message of the Quran.

One of the ways is by learning from those who have studied the Quran and other qualified and learned people such as the Imaams (Ulema) and also by reading the English translation.

‘We have revealed for you a book in which is a Message for you; will you not then understand?’ (Quran 21: 10) And: ‘Do they not then earnestly seek to understand the Quran, or are their hearts locked up by them?’ (Quran 47:24)

So the obligation is upon us to learning and understanding the Quran in order to fulfil our obligations to the Almighty.  

That we practice it

It is of no value to any of us, if we read the Quran, understand it, yet we do not faithfully follow its injunctions, prohibitions and guidance and bringing them practically into our daily lives. We cannot claim to be a true Muslim if we are selective in practicing and doing only what we feel like and ignoring its injunctions. Regrettably some of us are not good examples because our daily practices and living are at variance with the teachings of the Quran.

‘Say (O Muhammad to mankind): If you love Allah, follow me: Allah will love you and forgive you your sins, for Allah is oft-forgiving and Most Merciful’ (Quran 3: 31)  

Hence in order to understand it better and practice it, we have to follow to its teachings and practices (Hadith and Sunnah) of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)

That we propagate it

One may think that propagation requires special knowledge and training. True in most cases, but one can propagate the message of the Quran through one’s behaviour and actions. The old adage ‘practice what you preach’ is applicable to all Muslims. We have to be the living example of the message of the Quran.

‘Out of you let there be a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong….. (Quran 3: 104). And: ‘Verily man is in loss, except those who believe and do righteous good deeds, and recommend to one another to the truth with patience’ (Quran 103: 1)

As oft repeated in this column, the Quran and the Bible share the same message and beliefs. ‘….we Muslims believe in Allah, and the Revelation given to us, and to Abraham, Ishmael, Jacob and the tribes, and that given to Moses and Jesus and that given to all the Prophets from their Lord. We make no difference between one and another of them and we submit to Allah.’ (Quran 2:136).

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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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