Muslims view and consider the three religions of Islam, Christianity and Judaism as ‘sister’ faiths because they were ‘born’ in the Middle East and have close and common roots of ethnic, geographical and linguistic origins, but more importantly they share many common beliefs.
Another link is that they all believe in Prophet Abraham, he had two sons Ishmael and Isaac. The great Prophets Moses (Judaism) and Jesus Christ (Christianity) were from Isaac’s ancestry and Prophet Muhammad (Islam) was from Ishmael’s ancestry. May Peace be upon them All.
Each of the above religions has its beliefs contained in a set of religious Scriptures. The Christians have the Bible (Old and New Testament), in Judaism they have the Torah, based on the Old Testament Books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy and Numbers.
Muslims believe in the Quran but also in the basic beliefs encapsulated and contained in the Religious Scriptures of the Torah (the book of Moses) The Zaboor (Psalms of David), the Injeel (Good News to Jesus Christ). Muslims believe that the Quran is the final revelation and guidance to humanity given and revealed via Prophet Muhammad (May Peace and Blessings be upon them all). ‘This is the Book We have sent down to you so that you can bring mankind from darkness to light…….’ (Quran 14: 1)
Allah sent down the Quran so that mankind can reflect upon and use as a guide to lead us onto the path of salvation and closeness to our Lord and Creator. It provides mankind with guidance and explanations for leading our lives in compliance with its commands. ‘’…We have sent down the Book to you making all things clear and as a guidance and mercy and glad tidings’. (Quran 16:89) And: ‘We have brought them a Book elucidating everything with knowledge, as guidance and a mercy for people who believe.’ (Quran 7: 52)
For a Muslim believer the Quran explains everything that is relevant for their responsible living, observing the limits and complying to the guidance therein. Hence we have to ensure that we live our lives, be it in our conduct, thoughts and decisions in compliance with the Quran and not what we or the majority want. Unfortunately in today’s world there are always deafening cries for human rights, but they are misguided in a sense because they do not focus on the rights of humanity as a whole but on small sections of it.
We tend to be selective in focusing on and in choosing what we want to support on some distractions; we know yet we tend to overlook the fact that there are many millions of people in the world living in squalor, with no food, water or even the very basic necessities in life, let alone afforded the right to live in freedom. Yet in this day and age for example, there are more vocal movements that advocate for the recognition of gay marriages under the banner of ‘human rights’ than there are promoting the rights of the poor and downtrodden people.
We also know that both the Quran and the Bible are clear about the matter. . “Lot said to them; ‘Will you not fear God? Must you, unlike [other] people, lust after males and abandon the wives that God has created for you? You are exceeding all bounds” (Quran 26: 161-166). ‘Do you commit lewdness such as no people in creation ever committed……for you practise your lusts on men in preference to women; you are indeed a people transgressing beyond bounds’ (Quran 7: 80-81)
Similarly the Bible is also clear as it says: ‘You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination." (Leviticus 18:12). And: ‘If a man also lay with another man, as he would with a woman….they shall surely be put to death’ (Leviticus 20:13).
Yet today we have this growing movement of people shouting for individual rights for same sex couples to get married, so much so that there are some churches overseas that even allow these ceremonies to take place. By calling for ‘gay rights’ and individual freedoms, have they thought of the implications:
By advocating for these freedoms, do they want to introduce these ‘rights’ in defiance of the Commands of our Lord? Do we want to subjugate the rights of God to the rights of man? Are these people who advocate so vehemently for these rights, believers or do they follow any religion at all? Remember Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed for that reason – read the Quran and the Bible and you will be enlightened.
The point being made here is that we should obey and live by the commands of our Lord rather than live by what becomes the fashionable thing to do. Unfortunately there are many of us who follow some of our whims, fancies, and desires that can mislead and misguide us onto the path of disbelief. It is only on the Day of Resurrection when we are gathered in the presence of our Lord that we will see and grasp the enormity of our ways and errors.
In these times it seems that many of us (Muslims) have become part time practitioners of religion, some of us think that by attending the Friday congregational prayer is ‘sufficient’, forgetting that Muslims have to offer their prayers five times a day.
Going further we have to live and practice the edicts and guidance that we receive via the Quran. Many of us, after our prayers, without batting an eyelid return to and follow our normal, sometimes evil, worldly ways and pursuits. Talking to my Christian friends they also see the same trend and manner of things emerging; wherein some people attend Sunday church and consider that it is sufficient.
It seems that we are now rejecting our religious and moral values: Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: ‘There will come a time upon the Ummah (my following) when people will recite the Qur’an, but it will not go further than their throats, (into their hearts)’.
It is noticeable that some people nowadays have very little faith in their hearts and perform worship for show, but thereafter follow their own lusts and desires that are against their inner most beliefs and values. Also in many areas of the world people have moved away from their religion so much so that they are proud to reject religion and openly call themselves atheists and agnostics.
We all need to go back to our fundamental beliefs as contained in the Holy Scriptures and begin to infuse them into our daily lives.
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.