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Treatment of women

Iqbal Ebrahim

We regularly hear and read about many cases of rape, beatings and the general mistreatment of women. It is time that stern and strong measures are taken against the miscreants and lowlifes that perpetrate such vile actions because they are destroying the foundations of our future.

Let’s face it a woman is the person who has in her hands the capacity, the instinct and the natural way of life to prepare, and to bring up the future generation and the future leaders to mankind.

She is the one who moulds the child to become the best or the worst leader in the world. She plays a very effective role as a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a grandmother, or just a friend. This is because women have a more delicate, sensitive, and emotional nature than men, and maybe because of these great attributes some of us mistakenly relegate them to the status of the weaker sex.
Islam considers the honour of women sacred and insists that they be treated with dignity and respect therefore women have a special place in the life of a Muslim – whether she is your mother, your wife, your sister, neighbour or just someone’s wife.

The Quran and the teachings of Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) have many verses and practices that show how we should honour, treat, respect and conduct ourselves in our relations with women. Not only that, Islam recognises that men and women are equal in the sight of Allah. The soul of a woman is no different from the soul of a man.  

In the Quran Allah frequently addresses both the man and the woman.  

‘For Muslim men and women, for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for true men and women who are patient, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in charity, for men and women who fast, for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in Allah's praise – For them all has Allah prepared forgiveness and great reward.’ (33:35)

O mankind! Be careful of your duty to your Lord Who created you from a single soul and from it its mate and from them both have spread abroad a multitude of men and women. Be careful of your duty toward Allah in Whom you claim (your rights) of one another, and towards the wombs (that bore you). For Allah ever watches over you." (4:1)

Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) in his teachings had many advices for us when he said: ‘Women are the twin halves of men. Allah enjoins you to treat women well, for they are your mothers, wives, daughters and aunts’; ‘It is the generous (in character) who is good to women, and it is the wicked who insults them’; ‘Treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers’; ‘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’. And other Hadiths say ‘The most perfect in faith amongst believers is he who is best and kindest to his wife’; ‘This world is nothing but temporary conveniences, and the greatest joy in this world is a righteous woman’. For the mother there is also special reverence; ‘Heaven lies at the feet of the mother’.

But regrettably in this day and age we find that women in our society are being abused so much so that many have come to accept this abuse as ‘normal’.

There is not a day that goes by without a report of abuse, murder, beating, rape and other such crimes of violence committed against women at the hands of their male partners, spouses and other criminals. A 2012 report on Gender based violence shows in a study, that 67 in every 100 women were affected by some form of violent abuse.

There are also reports that many of our school children suffer ‘sexual’ abuse from other students or even from some deviant teachers themselves. This includes unwanted groping and bullying. Reports indicate that this even flows down to the little ones. These heinous actions destroy the very foundations of society because women are the bedrock of any community.

We regularly hear of and even participate in commemorations such as International Women’s Day, month or year. Is it not a sad reflection on society as a whole that we have to set aside a special day to honour our women, instead of giving them their due love, respect, dignity, honour and gratitude throughout the year, nay, throughout their lives?

This so much reminds of the ‘Mother’s Day’ and other such commemorations that seem to suggest that we should set aside one day in the year when we can pay due honour and homage to our mothers by buying them a card, a bunch of flowers, some gift, or giving them a big hug – this when we should be doing just that throughout our lives, throughout the year and not only on this one day in the year.      

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had many teachings, sayings and advices on the importance of women and especially, the manner in which they should be treated: "It is the generous (in character), who is good to women, and it is the wicked who insults them."

“The most perfect in faith amongst believers is he who is best and kindest to his wife.” “This world is nothing but temporary conveniences, and the greatest joy in this world is a righteous woman”

In the Qur'an Allah frequently addresses both the man and the woman. In one passage Allah reveals: "O mankind! Verily we have created you from a single (pair) of a male and female, and made you into nations and tribes that you may know each other not that you may despise one another." (49:13)

"And among His signs is that He created for you mates from among yourselves that you may live in tranquillity with them, and He had put love and mercy between you; Verily, in that are signs for people who reflect." (Quran 30; 21)

As society we cannot remain passive in times of ‘crises’. It is time that there be a national campaign that includes government, civil society and religious organisations to sit down to discuss this growing problem in our society.

There are an increasing number of reports that some women are being abused by some pastors and the ‘self-proclaimed prophets’ in these newly established churches. Therefore these discussions must include decisive steps that should be taken against all those in society who abuse their spouses, partners, women and girls.  

To women everywhere, thank you for bringing us into this world, thank you for your patience and for being there for us in our childhood, raising and guiding us through our joys, sicknesses, disappointments, tears and happiness as we charted our courses to adulthood. We know that without fail there will always be a safe harbour during those stormy seas of life – in your arms we know that there is nothing that a hug of a mother cannot cure.

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The Daring Dozen at Bari

8th December 2020

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.

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A Strong Marriage Bond Needs Two

8th December 2020

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.

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)


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.

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Chronic Joblessness: How to Help Curtail it

30th November 2020
Motswana woman

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.

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