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Live The Quranic Values (2)

Iqbal Ebrahim

Death is our constant companion, there is no escaping it, from the day we are born the only certainty is that this life is of a temporary nature as each one of us will one day taste death. ‘Every soul shall have a taste of death; and we test you by evil and good by way of trial. To Us will you be returned’ (Quran 21: 35)

Every one of us believers, no matter which faith we belong to, have been given a set of guidelines and values that we are supposed to live by and infuse into our lives. This means that we have to live a life of piety and one that is in congruence with those teachings.
In the journey of life there are two paths; one leading to God and the other is filled with many detours that lead to different destinations, away from the Path of God. We therefore have to be aware of the deviations that are there so that we can avoid them and follow God-oriented path to salvation.

We have to mould our lives and live the teachings and values contained in our religious scripts if we are to achieve salvation. Among the eternal values and behavioural patterns are the strength of our beliefs, how we live our lives and how we treat those around us.

Humility is a noble human trait but unfortunately in very short supply. Humility and modesty go hand in hand because you cannot be one without the other. Humility can be a difficult because we tend to think that because of our worldly wealth or our positions or stations in life we are above others.

We tend to walk around puffed up in our own self-importance behaving insolently and pushing our weight around boasting of our material achievements in life. These arrogant feelings of superiority can make us look down upon and talk down to others.  

‘Swell not thy cheek (with pride) at men, nor walk in insolence through the earth; for Allah loves not any arrogant boaster.’ (Quran 31:18) ‘Exult not, for Allah loves not those who exult (in riches). (Quran 28:76) ‘The servants of (God) Most Gracious are those who walk on the earth in humility…..’ (Quran 25:63)

Kindness is another of those desirable qualities – kindness reflects itself in many ways; it flows through our thoughts, speech and actions. Kindness starts in the home, if we do not show any respect or kindness towards our parents how then will we show any towards the rest society? Kindness coupled with love towards the whole family will engender within us a caring attitude this is what forms the solid foundation for a loving family unit.   

’Be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in thy life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honour. And, out of kindness, lower to them the wing of humility, and say: 'My Lord! bestow on them Thy Mercy even as they cherished me in childhood.' (Quran 17:23-24)

Kindness is not limited to our family and those around us; it is one of those human values that should be spread to every one we come into contact with including strangers. Even a simple smile or greeting to a stranger can be considered an act of kindness and charity. ‘Allah loves those who are kind’. (Quran 5:13)

Courtesy and kindness are linked and often go together. We have all been brought up via our traditions and culture to be courteous and to show respect towards others. We were taught to show respect to our elders; words like please, thank you, excuse me; talking to our elders in a respectable tone without harshness.  

Today rudeness and uncouth behaviour is the order of the day and it makes one wonder if in this day and age these types of values are still being taught and instilled to the younger generation by their parents. ‘When a (courteous) greeting is offered you, meet it with a greeting still more courteous, or (at least) of equal courtesy. God takes careful account of all things.’ (Quran 4:86)

Another of those values is that of discipline and self-restraint. For a Muslim Islam has provided us with many avenues to learn discipline and self-restraint, because this is via our daily forms of prayer, worship and action. To start with, Muslims have to offer their Prayers (Salah) five times daily.

These are interspaced throughout the day. This is a form of discipline that teaches that though we have our daily chores to attend to we have to remind ourselves that we have to turn to our Lord in Prayer regardless.

"Bow down, prostrate yourselves, and adore your Lord; and do good; that ye may prosper. And strive in His cause as ye ought to strive, (with sincerity and under discipline)." (Quran 22:77-78)

During the month of fasting in Ramadan we refrain from eating or drinking from sunrise to sunset. This is a form of discipline because we ‘deny’ ourselves the daily requirements to obey our Creator. Thus discipline and self-restraint are the natural outcomes of fasting. ‘Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) self-restraint.’ (Quran 2:183).

Integrity, honesty, truthfulness, fair dealing, trust worthiness and sincerity and they are all part the list of positive qualities that make up our personalities. We must be aware of the constant presence of Allah in our daily life. Whatever one thinks, does or says, in the open or in private are all known to our Creator. ‘He knows what is in the heavens or the earth; and He knows you conceal and what you reveal; yes, Allah well the secrets of all hearts.’ (Quran 64: 4)

Therefore our thoughts, actions, and behaviour are in congruence to our religious beliefs and we are aware that no secret is hidden from Allah. This means that in every sphere of our lives we need to be honest and truthful. ‘O, you who believe, be conscious of Allah and be with the truthful.’ (9:119).

"Truly many are the partners (in business) who wrong each other: Not so do those who believe and work deeds of righteousness, and how few are they?" (38:24). "Woe to those that deal in fraud, – Those who, when they have to receive by measure from men, exact full measure, but when they have to give by measure or weight to men, give less than due." (83:1-3)

These are but a handful of values that are common to every religion, we have to bring them into our lives so that we live the path of righteousness.

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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

… 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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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    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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