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Live the Quranic values

Iqbal Ebrahim
UNDERSTANDING ISLAM
 

As stated in earlier columns, the Quran is the foundation and the ultimate guide for a Muslim from cradle to grave. We are expected to follow its decrees, teachings, values, commands and moral principles and apply them to our daily lives.


A Muslim should have a full belief, faith, trust, reverence, fear and obeisance of Allah. We are expected to live a life in a way that brings us closer to our Lord and Creator.  ‘O you who believe, Fear Allah as He should be feared and die not except in a state of Islamic belief’ (Quran 3:102).


Having put our full faith and trust in Allah, not only do we have to live by the Quranic injunctions, but we have to live by the values espoused therein. In putting our trust in Allah we have to know that He has decreed our life for us and He is the sole decision maker. ‘If Allah helps you, none can overcome you; if He forsakes you, who is there after that, that can help you? In Allah then, let the believers put their trust’ (Quran 3: 160)


A believer should live a life to fulfil those responsibilities because as humans we have the greatest blessings of our mind and a conscience to interrogate and decide between what is right and what is wrong. By doing so, we will be able to purify our souls so as to reach our final destination in the Hereafter.   


We must be aware that each one of us to a certain degree is prone to the ‘evil’ machinations of our inner self. The struggle with one’s soul is the biggest struggle for a believer. We should guard against this weakness that exists deep within our souls. For example, sometimes we are instigated by selfishness, arrogance, greed, jealousy, and other worldly desires and passions. These can drive us to act in ways that are in variance with our religious beliefs and foundation. ‘By the soul and Him Who perfected it in proportion and inspired it to understand what is right and wrong for it. Truly he succeeds that purifies it; and he that fails, corrupts it’ (Quran 91: 7 – 10).


To be able to do this we need to be leading a life of sincerity and of good and pure intention. Our intention must be to lead a life that is in congruence with the teachings of the Quran. We will be judged by the Almighty not only on our outwardly actions but also on our inner intentions. Many of us spend our lives leading a ‘double life’, by this it means we can delude others and also can be deluded by them because we sometimes act and do things for outward appearances but inwardly we have ulterior motives and other intentions.


We cannot be living a life that has the aims of only gaining worldly desires such as fame and fortune for ourselves. And they have been commanded no more than this: to worship Allah, offering Him sincere devotion, being true in faith; to establish regular prayers and to practice regular charity; and that is the religion right and straight.’ (Quran 98: 5)


Unfortunately the society and times that we live in create some challenges for us because it has become a ‘competitive’ world. By this I mean that we try to live by and up to the standards of others. We tend to compete with others in might and glory by the accumulation of worldly wealth and other luxuries just to be ‘seen’ by others. We compete in owning luxurious abodes, fancy cars and wearing only designer wear and other worldly passions. In following this path we can easily be led astray because we tend to cut corners as it were, whereby we may do things that are in direct conflict with our religious beliefs, laws and teachings or even illegal in our worldly laws.  


Believers should be aware that all these evil thoughts that come to our mind are through the machinations of Satan. Satan is our greatest enemy because if we are weak in faith then we can easily be led astray by him. We have to avoid Satan by all means because Satan makes promises, only to deceive us and to lead us astray with evil thoughts and deeds. Allah warns us to keep away from the clutches of Satan. Verily Satan is an enemy to you: so treat him as an enemy.  He only invites his adherents that they may become companions of the Blazing Fire. (Quran 35: 6). ‘Verily those who are pious, when an evil thought comes to them from Satan, they remember Allah, and indeed they then see right’ (Quran 7: 201)   


Another of the values of the Quran that we should follow is that of patience. Patience can come in many packages; showing steadfastness in trying situations, resistance to temptations, enduring calamities, showing patience in realising our hope , plans and desires. Without doubt every living being will in their daily living will come across many trying situations and experiences that test our patience. Some of these situations can make us or break us. But for the believer we should remain firm and steadfast and put our trust in the Hands of our Creator. ‘Seek help through patience and through prayer’ (Quran 2: 45). And: ‘Be steadfast in patience, for verily Allah will not suffer the reward of the righteous to perish’ (Quran 11: 115).


One of the important values is that we should be grateful to our Creator for every Blessing we have been endowed with. Yes we think that others are more blessed than ourselves in terms of worldly ‘gains’ but we have to be grateful for the other necessities that we tend to overlook. Our life, faith, sustenance, our health, the air that we breath and the countless other blessings that we receive in our daily lives. We tend to forget many of those every day blessings, and as the Quran says: ‘If you would count up the favours of Allah, never would you be able to number them….’ (Verse 16: 8).


Sometimes, those of us have who have been more ‘blessed’ than others tend to become impertinent and arrogant over those blessings. But we are warned: ‘……..If you are grateful, I will add more favours unto you, but if you show ingratitude truly My punishment is terrible indeed’ (Quran 14: 7). Those Blessings should not only be shown merely with words, but we should use them to live a life in the way of Allah..
 

(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
Samson

… 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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‘RO, ‘RO ‘RO YOUR ‘BOT

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 www.willrobotstakemyjob.com    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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