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Time waits for no one

Iqbal Ebrahim
UNDERSTANDING ISLAM

How long will we be on this earth for? We seldom stop to think about this very sensitive subject. A handful of us may live to a ripe old age of 100, but most of us won’t even get that near that, or less.

We all have our hopes, dreams, ambitions and plans for the future, but life is full of uncertainty; From the day we are born the countdown starts for the day of our departure from this ephemeral world; we never know when the Angel of death will come knocking at our door – yes it going to happen, only time will tell.

 

While we all know that our life in this world is of a temporary nature and that the life to come is eternal, many of us spare little thought to what we can do to earn a Heavenly life in the Hereafter. The Qur’an says: ‘Short is the enjoyment of this world; the Hereafter is the best for those who do right’ (Qur’an 4: 77). And; ‘Little is the comfort of this life as compared to the Hereafter…Do you prefer the life of this world to the Hereafter?’ (Qur’an 9: 38).

 

There are many verses in the Qur’an that describe: ‘the beautiful mansions in the Gardens of perpetual bliss’ (Qur’an 9:72), in the Hereafter as opposed to this fleeting life. The question that we should be tackling in our minds is what can and should we do to be among those who will be given that Eternal abode?

 

We need to recognize that we are but a traveller just passing through this world and the length of our time on this earth is uncertain and only known to our Lord, therefore we should take every opportunity to ensure that we make the time and effort to secure our place in the Hereafter. Time marches on, so do we, towards meeting our Maker.

 

But while we make efforts towards our Eternal life, we should not forget the value of time in this world. We are so ‘busy’, we go through our days involved in our daily chores that we cannot even do a simple thing like spending quality time with our families.

Yes we have the stresses of our employment, office and other worldly commitments – but we need to step back and bring a balance into our lives by acknowledging the value of time. When we have something to do, how often are we prone to procrastinate (yes that includes me) and say ‘I will do it later / tomorrow / next week’ without realising that we may not be around to do so.

But we know that we should be adding the words ‘Insha Allah’ – meaning (if Allah so Wills). The Qur’an reminds us ‘nor say anything, I shall be sure to do so and so tomorrow without adding if Allah so Wills’ (Qur’an 18: 23).

There is also verse in the Bible that speaks of the same message when it says: “you don’t even know what your life will be tomorrow. You are like a puff of smoke, which appears for a moment and then disappears. What you should say is this ‘if the Lord is willing, we will live and do this or that’.” (James 4: 14-16)

 

So while we involve ourselves in our daily struggles and chores we should also be setting aside time in the remembrance of our Lord and Creator. Setting aside time on a daily basis for remembrance of Allah, to pray to, to thank and to seek the blessings of our Lord is what we should be aiming to do.   

 

Some may think that it is a difficult thing to do, but this does not necessarily mean that we should leave our daily work obligations and other stations that we occupy in life and spend all our time in prayer. What is meant is that we should infuse into our daily lives and occupations the proper conduct and behaviour, morals, ethics, values and that all our actions are within the bounds of our religious belief and guidance.

We have to set aside time on a daily basis to remember and to thank our Creator for our daily blessings. In Islam, a Muslim is constantly reminded through his obligatory five times daily prayers that there is a time for us and there is a time for our Maker.

These five times daily prayers are inter-spaced during specified times of the day – as result the message is clear to us, as it is a constant reminder that brings our consciousness to the fore that even during our busy daily schedules we have religious obligations to fulfil. Hence it trains us for the need to balance our time in such a manner that we are able to fulfil both our spiritual and secular obligations.

 

Apart from the obligatory prayers at specific times, a Muslim is expected to recite verses from the Quran be it directly or from those that they have memorised. There are many other small prayers and supplications that we can continuously recite whilst we are working, walking about, jogging or whenever – this window of time allows us via this constant remembrance to bring us closer to our Lord.

But apart from these physical acts of worship a Muslim is obliged to lead a life that is in congruence with the guidance of the Qur’an and the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). In the Bible there is also reminds us of this: “…..Give to God what belongs to God.” Mk 12:17. Mat. 22:21

 

I once read some words that capture the value of time beautifully and I cannot recall if I had previously shared them with readers. But even so I still want to share them with readers because they carry a very valuable message and capture the value and importance of time.

  • To realize the value of ten years: Ask a newly Divorced couple.
  • To realize the value of four years: Ask a graduate.
  • To realize the value of one year: Ask a student who has failed a final exam.
  • To realize the value of nine months: Ask a mother who gave birth to a still born.
  • To realize the value of one month: Ask a mother who has given birth to a premature baby.
  • To realize the value of one week: Ask an editor of a weekly newspaper.
  • To realize the value of one day: ask the editor of a daily newspaper.
  • To realize the value of one hour: Ask those who are waiting to meet their loved ones.
  • To realize the value of one minute: Ask a person who has missed the train, bus or plane.
  • To realize the value of one-second: Ask a person who has survived an accident…
  • To realize the value of one millisecond: Ask the person who has won a silver medal in the Olympics
  • To realize the value of time; think of the time spent with a loved one that you have lost
  • To realize the value of a friend: Lose one.

 

Time waits for no one. Therefore savour and treasure every moment you have. You will treasure and value it even more if you can share it with those special people around you. All these are worldly things and will always pass – they are not infinite like the Hereafter…..

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The Daring Dozen at Bari

8th December 2020
JEFF---Batswana-smoke-unit

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.

POSITIVITY
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”

UNDERSTANDING

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.”

COMMITMENT

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.

ACCEPTANCE

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)

COMPASSION, MUTUAL LOVE AND RESPECT

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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