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Destiny and fate

Iqbal Ebrahim

Each and every one of us born onto this earth has our destiny and fate written down for us. But that does not mean that Allah has predetermined that a person will choose a certain path.

It is not a question of whether humans are predestined to enter Paradise or Hell we must remember that Allah transcends the limits of time as such He is All-Knowing of the past, present and future. Thus He knows in advance which path — good or evil — each individual will choose and what will be his or her final destination — Paradise or Hell. Hence this is in His Knowledge.

However this ‘destiny’ does not take away from us our freedom of choice and action. Rather it is how we use those choices and thinking for actions that are in harmony with Allah’s will that earns us our reward from Allah. The concept of a Muslims belief in Divine Decree and in destiny / fate is that when Allah created everything in the universe, He determined when it would come into existence and when it would cease to exist. The Qur’an says: “Nothing will happen to us except for what Allah has decreed for us, He is our protector, and on Allah let the believers put their trust ” (Qur’an 9: 51)

Even in a Biblical verse where Jesus (pbuh) prayed shows that all power and mercy belongs to God: “Father if thou be willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless not my will, but thine be done”. (Luke 22:42). The Christian prayer consists of “Thy Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven”.  

No matter which religion you belong to, there is one basic universal message, teaching and belief to humanity, we are on this earth but for a short sojourn and when we die, without doubt we will all be called to account for our lives in this world and the manner in which we conducted ourselves, Allah, God, Lord, Modimo or whatever you call Him: He is One, He is Master and Creator of the universe and to Him is due all worship and obedience.

To humanity He sent Divine Revelations and guidance through His Messengers and His Books. Death is inevitable in this world, equally is our resurrection in the Hereafter where everyone will face the consequences of their belief, unbelief and conduct in this temporal world.

Humans have been created with two different qualities, that may appear to be opposing but they are complementary – they are our spiritual side and our physical one. On the one hand we have our mind; we can think anything we want to there are few boundaries to our thinking including the freedom of choice and of thought and the freedom to choose between doing good or evil. But on the physical side it is somewhat limited because of the factor of death and accounting which every human will face for the actions in this world.

In Islam the view is that man is created by Allah in a pure state, free from sin, and was Blessed with intellect, wisdom and the choice to make logical life style choices for which we will ultimately be responsible and accountable for. A sincere believer will always try to live by the Divine injunctions and laws that his religion lays down. This requires us to live in harmony with the will of the Creator, our own self, and with the rest of creation. Unfortunately we have a tendency to surrender our religious laws to the laws of man. We translate and interpret them into what fits in with today’s lifestyle.

If man is to use the intellect and the freedom of choice bestowed to him by God Almighty and follow His guidance, he  then lives consciously in a state of “submission’ to Him, thus he is virtuous. ‘It is He [Allah] Who created Death and Life, that He may try which of you is best in deeds and He is Exalted in Might, Oft-Forgiving.’ (Qur’an: 67: 2)

Humans for all practical purposes are free to use their thinking and logic to make their own choices and decisions. We have no excuse for making the wrong choice and then blaming Decree/destiny/fate. For example: If I chose to bang my head or slam my fist into a wall I cannot blame the laws of nature. I cannot claim any injustice when it hurts. I know that the wall exists and that it is hard and I am liable to get hurt. That is the reality that I have to deal with. I should know the consequences of my actions and I shouldn’t expect a miracle!

Equally as Allah made moral laws, and we cannot claim any injustice if we get punished for disobeying or ignoring those moral laws when we have been blessed with ability to make those choices – good or bad. We therefore have to make rational choices so that upon our death we will have joy forever instead of grief forever.

We will never know what the future holds for us, and, to a large extent, we cannot control it. But we can make decisions within the limits of what we can control, based on our understanding of the way the world works. For example we do not know what tomorrow will bring for us. We could be severely injured in an accident, falling down stairs, suffer paralysis or lose the use of our limbs and a whole host of such daily occurrences – we will never know till they happen. If it is written or decreed in our fate or destiny that such a thing would happen to us – it is bound to happen.

However we should not worry about what Allah has written for us, since we will never be privy to it. But our duty is to strive for the best in this world and the next; we therefore have to lead a life that is in harmony with the religious and moral code of behaviour that the Almighty has shown to us. That responsibility rest squarely with us – but it is not only the action that is important but the intention in our hearts.

Before embarking on anything and hoping for its success Muslims recognise the power of prayer as the most important weapon a believer has for guidance and success. A Muslim utters the words ‘Insha-Allah’ which means ‘if Allah so wills’. “Nor say of anything, I shall be sure to do so and so tomorrow without adding ‘if Allah Wills’ (Quran 18:24). It is our acceptance that everything and every action, happens through the will of the Almighty. However this does not mean that we should throw up our hands and resign ourselves to our fate – there are many instances when we are faced with choices – it is how we react to and make those choices, is important.  

Therefore one of man’s main tasks is to keep away from and ward off evil. This means one must be conscious at all times not to over step the limits set by God. It works as a defence against evil and temptation by keeping a person within the boundaries of piety.

Because mankind has been bestowed with the power of intellect we enjoy greatness over other creation, but that is comes with a degree of greater responsibility. Should that responsibility be misused then only on the Day of Reckoning will he know if will live in joy or in grief forever.

‘If any do wish for the transitory things of this life, We readily grant them, such things as We will, to such persons as We will…… those who wish for the things of the Hereafter and strive for them with all due striving, and have faith, they are the ones whose striving is acceptable to Allah’ (Qur’an 17: 18-19)

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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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