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PROPHETS OR PROFITS?

Iqbal Ebrahim
UNDERSTANDING ISLAM

We certainly live in strange times; lately we have witnessed an explosion in the number of ‘New’ churches being formed. Whilst there are some of these churches that sincerely try to bring their congregation closer to God, there are those that are somewhat dubious. The worrying trend is that there is an increase in the number of self-proclaimed prophets. Today anybody can stand up and claim to be the anointed one, the chosen one or even a prophet sent by God.

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) spoke of the proliferation of false prophets and imposters when he said: “In the end times men will come forth who will fraudulently use religion for worldly ends and wear sheepskins in public to display meekness. Their tongues will be sweeter than sugar, but their hearts will be hearts of wolves”. And, “The Last Hour will not come before there come forth imposters, each presenting himself as an apostle of Allah (God)”.

Read what the Bible says: “But understand this that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people”. (2 Timothy 3: 1-5)

Are we entering the ‘last days’? How do you explain the explosion in the number of those claiming to be prophets?

Yes, we all know about those people. Just look around and observe the many imposters who lay claim to be ‘prophets’, having received ‘revelations’ masquerading as religious men and women of God.  The Qur’an warns these people; ‘Who can be more wicked than one who invents lies against Allah….. who says, ‘it has been revealed to me’, when nothing has been revealed to him….if you could see how the wicked fare in the throes of death….a penalty of shame that you used to tell lies against Allah….(Quran 6:93).  

The Bible also warns: ‘Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves’. (Matt 7: 15). ‘I have not sent these prophets…I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied….I have heard what the prophets said…saying I have dreamt…..yea they are prophets of deceit… (Jeremiah 23: 21 – 28).

Wherever one looks today there are new ‘churches’: Anyone with a loud charismatic voice, who can ramble off words nonstop, can claim to have miraculous powers of healing, even to getting you a car or a job, winning of tenders and all those dazzling promises they make to desperate people, can lay claim to being a prophet, prophetess and even claiming to be the ‘chosen or the anointed one’. There are even those like the one in South Africa who recently got his congregants to eat grass, drink petrol, fed some of them with rats and snakes – all in the name of God!

It appears that they do not preach the Gospel of the Lord, instead they preach the Gospel of prosperity, and often the desperate and gullible members fall for their promises of worldly wealth; it is all about worldly monetary gain.

In blindly following this magnetic promise of riches we tend to forget that everything we have/get is from Allah. Islam teaches us that we will receive whatever is due to us by what Allah has decided for us. ‘Don’t they know that it is Allah enlarges the provisions or restricts it for any He pleases? Verily in this are signs for those who believe.’ (Quran 39:52)  

Because of the competitive nature of keeping up with the Joneses we try by all means to follow our own whims and fancies to reach and to obtain what is beyond our means.

This in no way suggests that we should not try to attain a better life for us and our family, but that should not become our sole objective in life. There is no easy money to be made we need to work for it. There is no fountain of wealth that we can tap into.

‘Wealth and sons are the allurements of life of this world, but the things that endure, like good deeds are best in the sight of your Lord.’ (Quran 18:46)

So we blindly follow the promises of wealth made by these fake prophets Many of the so-called prophets or ‘priests’ have dubious religious credentials, they establish these churches almost overnight – without doubt many of them are nothing but business ventures under the guise of churches. The fact is that most of these new churches swindle their gullible congregation dry of their money. Surely, God is not in need of money or any form of wealth – so where does it go to is a question that adherents should ask.

Consider this: He who serves God only for money will serve the devil for a better wage.  

They preach the ‘gospel of prosperity’- for themselves. Many of them are just collection points for money – for the self- proclaimed imposter prophet. Our prayers to the Lord Almighty should be in His service without the lure of worldly or monetary gain.

We only have to look at the so-called prophets expensive lifestyles; they promise ‘miraculous riches’ to their followers but in return their (gullible) adherents fork out their hard earned money. What these fellows are doing is to sell the name of God for the miserable price of a personal gain. ‘Miserable is the price for which they have sold their souls, in that what they deny the revelation which God has sent down…and humiliating is the punishment of those who reject faith’ (Qur’an 2:90). The Bible: “For the love of money is the root of all evil; which while some coveted after, they have erred from faith and pierced themselves through with many sorrows”. (1 Timothy 6; 10)

Is it not strange that in these ‘charismatic’ churches why there is so much, shouting and screaming almost to the point of foaming at the mouth, blaring and loud music; as if God cannot hear us? What has this got to do with prayer and worship because sincere prayers come from within the quietness of the heart.

Some of these newly established churches are led by, to use the appropriate word, charlatans, with loose morals. There have been disturbing reports on the escapades of some of these imposter ‘religious’ leaders who have illegal love relationships with female members of their congregation; Hey ‘Moruti’, don’t conveniently forget the Ten Commandments – ‘thou shalt not commit adultery’.

Remember you cannot buy God’s favour with money, the Bible says: “Thy money perishes with thee because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money”. (Acts 8; 20)

Let us seriously think of the life in Hereafter because we are selling our souls for a miserable price for what we think are the riches of this world. Martin Luther King said:  ‘Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power; we have guided missiles and misguided men’. How true!

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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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