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THE GREAT JOURNEY AHEAD

Iqbal Ebrahim
UNDERSTANDING ISLAM

This week’s message carries with it a sombre yet an uncomfortable reminder to each one and every one of us. There is something that we all seem to overlook and prefer not to think about, and that is the prospect of us, one day or the other, having to leave this physical world and move on to the world of the Hereafter.

Even though death remains a fearful word and a frightening prospect to most of us, the simple fact is that there is no escaping it – Death is our constant companion and it is also the only certainty in our lives.

The sad truth is that from the moment we are born into this world the clock starts to countdown when we will leave this world. No matter you be a Muslim, a Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, believer, non-believer, atheist, agnostic, the ruler, the ruled, the rich, the poor, the young, the old, men, women, death is a great leveller because every living thing will one day perish.

The Quran says: ‘Every soul shall have a taste of death, in the end shall you be brought back to Us’. (Quran 29: 57). ‘It is Allah that gives life and death, and Allah sees well all that you do’. (Quran 3: 156)

Believers of virtually every faith on this earth share the same belief; that death is the end of physical life as such and the beginning of a higher form of spiritual life in the Hereafter. In Islam the belief is that the power over life and death rests entirely with Allah; no one can delay it or advance it, save with the wish of the Almighty. The Quran constantly reminds the faithful that everyone shall taste of death and exhorts us to prepare in this physical life for the life in the Hereafter. But unfortunately humans prefer the glitter of this earthly life with scant attention being paid to the life hereafter.

‘Because they love the life of this world better than the Hereafter; Allah will not guide those who reject faith’. (Quran 16: 107).  

We therefore need to prepare ourselves for the life beyond by living a life in the ways of our Lord. For those preparations Muslims are constantly reminded that life is uncertain and that there is no guarantee of a tomorrow therefore they are reminded and urged that while we have our days on this earth we have to prepare during this lifetime for the life in the Hereafter. This means that we should get closer to our Lord and Creator so that we live our lives in the true spirit of our religious beliefs. If we follow in the true path of guidance then we will have no fear of the afterlife where we will be judged for our deeds and actions.

The Bible says: ‘For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; whether we die we die unto the Lord….therefore we are the Lords’ (Romans 14:8)

Upon death all our deeds will come to an end except the following:  any acts of charity that we had done that are of continuous benefit to the others left behind e.g. building a clinic, a borehole, or even having planted a tree which benefits others by providing shade; any knowledge that benefits humanity, and righteous children who offer prayers for your soul.

‘He Who created life and death, that He may try which of you is the best in deed… (Qur’an 67: 2).

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said; ’Take benefit of: your youth before your old age, your health before your sickness, your wealth before your poverty, your free-time before your preoccupation, and your life before your death.’

In one way or the other we have all received the following message, and one of these days it will be delivered to us personally so we need to prepare and act upon the contents of that message in preparation for our travel. Using this ‘light-hearted’ yet very powerful reminder / message it is hoped that we will begin to see and understand the message it conveys.  
 

TICKET: One-way (regrettably return ticket not available)
COST: absolutely free
RESERVATION: no need for it as your booking has been made and confirmed
ELIGIBILITY: Tickets will be issued to the following:
Name: Every Child of Adam and Eve
Identification: made from a piece of clay – every living being
Address: Any place on the Surface of the Earth

DETAILS OF JOURNEY:
Departure Point: Anywhere on Earth
Destination: Second World (Hereafter)
Hotel to be temporarily accommodated: two meters space
Duration: few seconds or few minutes (will be advised)
Time of Departure: Time of Death

IMPORTANT INSTRUCTIONS:

All passengers are requested to keep in mind that the tickets are pre-booked, pre-paid, non -negotiable and non -transferable. Therefore, everyone must be ready and keep an eye to the pilot of the plane – Izraeel – (The Angel of death).

For more information in preparing for the journey, read instructions to be found in the Holy Quran, the Sunnah and all the religious books and teachings. You can also consult the learned religious scholars, Imaams, Priests and …… IT IS IMPORTANT this is done as soon as possible. You are reminded no oxygen mask will be given as it is not required, in fact your respiratory system will be closed down before the journey begins.

LUGGAGE:

Even though each plane carries only one passenger, restrictions are imposed on the luggage that can be taken with you. For Muslims you are allowed to carry 5 meters of white cloth which will be used for covering your body with and small amount of cotton.

The real luggage must be good deeds, good conduct, time spent in inviting mankind to good deeds and prohibiting evil, Religious knowledge(Ilm) obtained, followed and used properly, family and children raised and educated to be good Muslims. Apart from these and luggage of these types, other luggage will be at your own risk.

There is no need for any boarding pass, passport or other travel formalities and documents, just get ready. To get ready attendance of the 5 daily prayers in the Mosque or with Jamaat (congregation) is highly recommended. Study the Quran and Sunnah (the teachings of Prophet Muhammad pbuh) and put them into practice. This ticket may be called in at any time so prepare now! We hope you have a pleasant journey to the world beyond.

Let us all pray that when our time does come we will die in a state of piety and be ready to meet with our Maker. It is not too late to change our lifestyles and follow the righteous path that our respective religions have guided us to follow.

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Is COVID-19 Flogging an Already Dead Economic Horse?

9th September 2020

The Central Bank has by way of its Monetary Policy Statement informed us that the Botswana economy is likely to contract by 8.9 percent over the course of the year 2020.

The IMF paints an even gloomier picture – a shrinkage of the order of 9.6 percent.  That translates to just under $2 billion hived off from the overall economic yield given our average GDP of roughly $18 billion a year. In Pula terms, this is about P23 billion less goods and services produced in the country and you and I have a good guess as to what such a sum can do in terms of job creation and sustainability, boosting tax revenue, succouring both recurrent and development expenditure, and on the whole keeping our teeny-weeny economy in relatively good nick.

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Union of Blue Bloods

9th September 2020

Joseph’s and Judah’s family lines conjoin to produce lineal seed

Just to recap, General Atiku, the Israelites were not headed for uncharted territory. The Promised Land teemed with Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. These nations were not simply going to cut and run when they saw columns of battle-ready Israelites approach: they were going to fight to the death.

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Security Sector Private Bills: What are they about?

9th September 2020

Parliament has begun debates on three related Private Members Bills on the conditions of service of members of the Security Sector.

The Bills are Prisons (Amendment) Bill, 2019, Police (Amendment) Bill, 2019 and Botswana Defence Force (Amendment) Bill, 2019. The Bills seek to amend the three statutes so that officers are placed on full salaries when on interdictions or suspensions whilst facing disciplinary boards or courts of law.

In terms of the Public Service Act, 2008 which took effect in 2010, civil servants who are indicted are paid full salary and not a portion of their emolument. Section 35(3) of the Act specifically provides that “An employee’s salary shall not be withheld during the period of his or her suspension”.

However, when parliament reformed the public service law to allow civil servants to unionize, among other things, and extended the said protection of their salaries, the process was not completed. When the House conferred the benefit on civil servants, members of the disciplined forces were left out by not accordingly amending the laws regulating their employment.

The Bills stated above seeks to ask Parliament to also include members of the forces on the said benefit. It is unfair not to include soldiers or military officers, police officers and prison waders in the benefit. Paying an officer who is facing either external or internal charges full pay is in line with the notion of ei incumbit probation qui dicit, non qui negat or the presumption of innocence; that the burden of proof is on the one who declares, not on one who denies.

The officers facing charges, either internal disciplinary or criminal charges before the courts, must be presumed innocent until proven otherwise. Paying them a portion of their salary is penalty and therefore arbitrary. Punishment by way of loss of income or anything should come as a result of a finding on the guilt by a competent court of law, tribunal or disciplinary board.

What was the rationale behind this reform in 2008 when the Public Service Act was adopted? First it was the presumption of innocence until proven otherwise.

The presumption of innocence is the legal principle that one is considered “innocent until proven guilty”. In terms of the constitution and other laws of Botswana, the presumption of innocence is a legal right of the accused in a criminal trial, and it is an international human right under the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 11.

Withholding a civil servant’s salary because they are accused of an internal disciplinary offense or a criminal offense in the courts of law, was seen as punishment before a decision by a tribunal, disciplinary board or a court of law actually finds someone culpable. Parliament in its wisdom decided that no one deserves this premature punishment.

Secondly, it was considered that people’s lives got destroyed by withholding of financial benefits during internal or judicial trials. Protection of wages is very important for any worker. Workers commit their salaries, they pay mortgages, car loans, insurances, schools fees for children and other things. When public servants were experiencing salary cuts because of interdictions, they lost their homes, cars and their children’s future.

They plummeted into instant destitution. People lost their livelihoods. Families crumbled. What was disheartening was that in many cases, these workers are ultimately exonerated by the courts or disciplinary tribunals. When they are cleared, the harm suffered is usually irreparable. Even if one is reimbursed all their dues, it is difficult to almost impossible to get one’s life back to normal.

There is a reasoning that members of the security sector should be held to very high standards of discipline and moral compass. This is true. However, other more senior public servants such as judges, permanent secretary to the President and ministers have faced suspensions, interdictions and or criminal charges in the courts but were placed on full salaries.

The yardstick against which security sector officers are held cannot be higher than the aforementioned public officials. It just wouldn’t make sense. They are in charge of the security and operate in a very sensitive area, but cannot in anyway be held to higher standards that prosecutors, magistrates, judges, ministers and even senior officials such as permanent secretaries.

Moreover, jail guards, police officers and soldiers, have unique harsh punishments which deter many of them from committing misdemeanors and serious crimes. So, the argument that if the suspension or interdiction with full pay is introduced it would open floodgates of lawlessness is illogical.

Security Sector members work in very difficult conditions. Sometimes this drives them into depression and other emotional conditions. The truth is that many seldom receive proper and adequate counseling or such related therapies. They see horrifying scenes whilst on duty. Jail guards double as hangmen/women.

Detectives attend to autopsies on cases they are dealing with. Traffic police officers are usually the first at accident scenes. Soldiers fight and kill poachers. In all these cases, their minds are troubled. They are human. These conditions also play a part in their behaviors. They are actually more deserving to be paid full salaries when they’re facing allegations of misconduct.

To withhold up to 50 percent of the police, prison workers and the military officers’ salaries during their interdiction or suspensions from work is punitive, insensitive and prejudicial as we do not do the same for other employees employed by the government.

The rest enjoy their full salaries when they are at home and it is for a good reason as no one should be made to suffer before being found blameworthy. The ruling party seems to have taken a position to negate the Bills and the collective opposition argue in the affirmative. The debate have just began and will continue next week Thursday, a day designated for Private Bills.

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