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People of the book

Iqbal Ebhahim


This column recently carried an article titled “The Bible and the Torah in Islam” which showed that the three religions/faiths of Islam, Christianity and Judaism are closely linked because they accept and believe in the Prophets of old sent by God, and also the messages they brought via the Religious Scriptures of the Torah (Tawraah given to Moses) The Zaboor (Psalms of David), the Injeel (Good News to Jesus Christ), the scriptures given to Abraham and Moses and the final Revelation, the Qur’an that was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (May Peace and Blessings be upon them all).

‘We Muslims believe in Allah, and the Revelation given to us, and to Abraham, Ishmael, Jacob and the tribes, and that given to Moses and Jesus and that given to all the Prophets from their Lord. We make no difference between one and another of them and we submit to Allah’ (Quran 2:136).     

Regarding the relationship between Muslims and the People of the Book, what the Qur'an has mentioned about them is what every Muslim takes as a matters of belief. The Quran encapsulates the teachings that are contained in these earlier Scriptures. The Qur'an explains further: 

God made it part of true belief to believe in the message of Moses (pbuh), and all Prophets, and that there is 'guidance and light' in the Torah given to him. Allah says in the Qur'an: ‘It was We Who revealed the Law to Moses; therein was guidance and light…. And in their footsteps we sent Jesus the son of Mary, confirming the Law that had come before him; we sent him the Gospel……and to you we sent the Scripture in truth, confirming the scripture that came before it.’ (Quran 5: 44 – 48)

This shows the common thread between Islamic religious beliefs, values and practices that also have roots within those Scriptures (in their original form) as Divine Revelations. So who are the “people of the Book”? The people of the Book are those who believe in the Revelations of the Scriptures as mentioned above in the first paragraph. In short it means those who follow Judaism and Christianity.  

Allah also said that Jesus (pbuh) is merely following footsteps of earlier prophets who preached the Torah, and that Jesus' Gospel was also 'guidance and light'. The Qur'an says:

And We caused Jesus, the son of Mary, to follow in the footsteps of those [earlier prophets], confirming the truth of whatever there still remained of the Torah; and We vouchsafed unto him the Gospel, wherein there was guidance and light, confirming the truth of whatever there still remained of the Torah, and as a guidance and admonition unto the God-conscious.’ (Quran 5:46)

In the same context, Muhammad (pbuh), the Final Messenger, was told: ‘And unto thee [O Muhammad] have We vouchsafed this Divine Writ (the Quran), setting forth the truth, confirming the truth of earlier revelations…’ (Quran 5:48)

Therefore in Islam we believe that the earlier revelations are all part of God's revealed truth. However, God made it clear in the Qur'an that People of the Book are not one homogeneous entity. Like the followers of every religion, there are good people and there are otherwise.

‘But they are not all alike: among the People of the Book there are upright people, who recite God's messages throughout the night, and prostrate themselves [before Him]. They believe in God and the Last Day, and enjoin the doing of what is right and forbid the doing of what is wrong, and vie with one another in doing good works: and these are among the righteous. And whatever good they do, they shall never be denied the reward thereof: for, God has full knowledge of those who are conscious of Him. [But behold,] as for those who are bent on denying the truth – neither their worldly possessions nor their children will in the least avail them against God… ‘ (3:113-116)

But in any case, Muslims are ordered to deal with all People of the Book in the best terms. Even where differences occur, arguing with them should be in the "best manner." The Qur'an orders Muslims to do so: ‘And do not argue with the People of the Book otherwise than in a most kindly manner…’ (Quran 29:46)

The Qur'anic message with the People of the Book is a message of peace. Here is God's command, which says: ‘Allah does not forbid you respecting those who have not made war against you on account of [your] religion, and have not driven you forth from your homes, that you show them kindness and deal with them justly; surely Allah loves the doers of justice.’ (Quran 60:8)

Here are some verses from the Quran that tell us of the Scriptures that were revealed to various Prophets. As a result Muslims believe in them and respect them as Divinely Revealed.  


  • The Scripture of Abraham: “…Then We had already given the family of Ibrahim (Abraham) the Book (Scripture) and Al-Hikmah (Divine wisdom/ Revelation to those Prophets not written in the form of a book), and conferred upon them a great kingdom.” (Quran 4:54)
  • The Torah to Moses: And: “Indeed, We gave the Book (Torah) to Musa (Moses)…” (Quran 11:110).
  • The Psalms of David: “And your Lord knows best all who are in the heavens and the earth. And indeed, We have preferred some of the Prophets above others, and to Dawud (David) We gave the gift of the Zabur (Psalms). (Quran 17:55)
  • The Gospel: “And we sent Noah and Abraham and established their line of Prophet hood and Revelation….. Then in their wake, We sent after them Our Messengers, and We sent ‘Îsa (Jesus) – son of Maryam (Mary), and gave him the Injeel (Gospel)…” (Quran 57: 26-27) 
  • The Quran: “Verily, We have sent it down as an Arabic Quran in order that you may learn wisdom.” (Quran 12:2) "And We have sent down to you (O Muhammad) the Book (this Quran) in truth, confirming the Scripture that came before it… each one among you We have prescribed the Law and a Clear Way." (Quran 5:48) And: “And this (The Quran) is a Book which We have revealed as a Blessing; so follow it and be righteous, that you may receive mercy” (Quran 6:155)

The above verses show that if we were sincere enough to accept the hard truth that there is a great deal of commonality and closeness between Islam, Christianity and Judaism. As a result we should learn to respect each other as people of God and People of the Book. As previously stated, my basic philosophy is that: I say that 2 plus 2 is four, you say 2 times 2 is four, others may say 8 divided by 2 is four, even 5 minus 1 is four, or to be more technical the square root of 16 is 4. The bottom line is that we all do things differently but we all arrive at the same answer – so we should respect each other because we all arrive at the same point. After all we are all going to die one day, and the most important baggage we will all be carrying is the weight of our actions, deeds and the manner in which we lived our lives. The deciding factor then will be if we lived a life that was in accordance to the Commands of our Lord as directed in the Revealed Scriptures.

To each among you we have prescribed a law and an open way. If Allah had so willed he would have made you a single people, but His Wisdom is to test you in what He has given you…the goal of you all is to Allah (Quran 5:48)


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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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