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Hon. Molao is right, UB should adapt or perish!

Ndulamo Anthony Morima

Recently, the University of Botswana (UB) Vice Chancellor, Professor Thabo Fako, has been on the offensive with the narrative that if government does not maintain its subventions and sponsor a certain number of students annually, there is a risk that the institution will fail to meet its financial obligations and close down.

He took exception at the fact that government made an abrupt decision to stop sponsoring students for certain courses at the UB, arguing that “… my belief is that, if the government no longer wants the university to offer a certain program, that should be an act of policy, and then we phase out the programme in a gradual manner, not just to pullout the plug…”

It is not true that government’s decision was not informed by policy. The decision was informed by the National Human Resource Development Policy (NHRDP) which UB is aware of and in fact participated in its development.  Prof. Fako has expressed discomfort with government’s decision to liberalize the education sector, with government sponsoring students to enroll in private tertiary institutions at the expense of public institutions. He regards it as a grave error which will have severe consequences and he is reported to be working on a report in that regard.

Prof. Fako is reported to be condemning government for allowing private institutions to use the name ‘University’ willy-nilly, arguing that “…to me a university is a prestigious institution, and the name ‘university’ should be protected. What we are doing is giving children the hope that they are something which they are not.” In response to Prof. Fako’s offensive, the Assistant Minister for the newly established Ministry of Tertiary Education Research, Science and Technology, Honourable Fidelis Molao, is reported to have said UB should adapt to the country’s human resource needs or perish.

Honourable Molao is reported to have stated that UB, though a public institution, should, by now, be a sustainable institution which should operate with little or no financial support from government. In my view, Honourable Molao is right. UB, which was built through cattle donations from Batswana under the motho le motho kgomo initiative, and has enjoyed financial support from government since its establishment in 1982, cannot expect to continue relying on government for survival. It needs to enhance its sustainability and raise its endowment from the current paltry 334 million Pula to at least a billion Pula.

As Honourable Molao says, if UB’s curriculum is not responsive to the NHRDP in terms of the country’s human resource development needs government should look elsewhere; the most obvious route being privately owned tertiary institutions. No wonder according a report titled “Tertiary Education at a Glance” published by the Human Resource Development Council (HRDC) earlier this year “…during the 2014/15 financial year, out of the 60 583 students enrolled in tertiary institutions, private tertiary institutions accounted for 42.6 percent of the students. A drastic growth experienced by almost all private institutions.”

For the many years that UB enjoyed monopoly of the tertiary education sector it became too comfortable and failed to continually adapt by developing ‘industry relevant’ and ‘fit for purpose’ courses and programmes. It failed to take a leaf from the Vision 2016 document in terms of the type of education our country requires for our graduates to compete globally.

UB, despite the intellectual endowment it has from its academics, failed to revisit its Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats (SWOT) matrix in order to identify and remedy its weaknesses; identify and maximize the benefits presented by its opportunities and to identify and reposition itself in view of the threats facing it.

Botho University, formerly National Institute of Information Technology (NIIT) and Botho College, adapted to the country’s needs when it evolved from focusing only on Information Technology to offering a variety of other courses. It also changed its name, making itself relevant to Batswana. Even when government liberalized the education sector UB failed to reposition itself. Rather, it lay comfortable with the hope that government will continue pumping millions of Pula in its courses and programmes, many of which are irrelevant to Botswana’s current economic needs.

Instead of repositioning itself programmatically, UB embarked on a costly so-called rebranding exercise. It is common knowledge that the millions of Pula spent on the exercise went down the drain because after adopting a new logo and new colors, such were reversed when, following an internet based voting process, the old logo and corporate colors were reinstated.

The question is: what should have been UB’s priority, should it have been a superficial rebranding exercise or revitalization of its curriculum? In my view, the latter should have been the priority. Rebranding an academic institution in logos and colors without revitalizing its academic programmes is like painting a house with glossy colors without addressing its structural defects.

Instead of wasting time and funds in compiling a report on the consequences of liberalizing the education system, UB should devote its time and resources towards developing ‘industry relevant’ and ‘fit for purpose’ courses. It should also devise ways of broadening its income streams. The private tertiary institutions that Prof. Fako is casting aspersions on, claiming they are not worthy of being called universities are successful not because of their names, but because they offer courses which are attractive to today’s generation.

Consequently, these institutions generate funds which can sustain them beyond government sponsorship. These institutions are a few years old, yet many of them have developed both academically and infrastructurally to levels that are proportionally ahead of UB’s development. Not only that. They have a dynamic and innovative culture of learning. They do not keep courses for the sake of it. If a course ceases to be relevant they cancel it and replace it with one required by the labour market. Also, the course names are attractive to today’s generation.

These institutions have brought a global outlook to our curriculum by partnering with foreign universities and other institutions of higher learning, making our graduates competitive at the world level. These institutions do not keep lecturers who do not perform. Their lecturers are supported when conducting research unlike UB which does not promote research and academic fellowship. The maxim ‘publish or perish’ is no longer honored at UB. We have, at UB, PhD holders who have, as the only robust academic work they ever published, their PhD thesis.

UB failed to take advantage of the political and economic crisis which bedeviled many African countries, especially in the 1980s and 1990s. It failed to target students from such troubled countries as Zimbabwe, Angola and Mozambique with educational opportunities. UB could, for instance, have developed distance education and online courses for such students. This would have enabled UB to generate income from self-sponsoring students and sponsorships by the concerned governments, the United Nations (UN) and other donor organizations.

UB even failed to target the hundreds of Batswana students who, for one reason or the other, it could not admit. Some of these students ended up enrolling with foreign universities for full time, part time and distance education programmes. Money that could have been paid to UB was instead paid to foreign universities.

It is not as if UB was short of facilities to increase its intake. It has Centres of Continuing Education in Francis town and Maun which, in my view, have been underutilized. There is also Tonota College of Education (TCE) and Molepolole College of Education (MCE) which are affiliated to UB, but UB has failed to utilize them in order to broaden its brand equity and physical presence.

In fact, UB has not treated the colleges as its affiliates. Because of its conservative view of tertiary education in terms of which it undermines any tertiary institution which is not a university, it once required that students graduating from its affiliates with three year diplomas commence at first year when they proceeded to study for a degree with it.

It even required that students holding a Diploma in Law from UB itself start at first year when enrolling for a Bachelor’s Degree in Law with it. These counter-productive requirements discouraged many students from studying with UB and they looked elsewhere for further education.  In South Africa, the University of South Africa (UNISA) has taken advantage of its country’s geo-political positioning and developed full time, part time and distance education programmes targeting not only South African citizens, but students from all over the world. Consequently, UNISA is not reliant on government for subventions and grants.

Cuba, a very poor country which has suffered economic sanctions for decades, has established an economic niche by training medical doctors from all over the world. Even developed countries send their students to Cuba to study medicine, earning the country the much needed foreign exchange income. If UB had good leadership, government would not have spent billions of Pula in paying for Batswana students in foreign universities. What justification is there for government to have been sending students to study Law, for example, in such underdeveloped countries as Lesotho? Should n’t UB be having a world class faculty of Law attracting students from the continent or the region, at least?

Of all the past Vice Chancellors that UB has had, who among them has left a legacy of enhancing the academic curriculum? Who has enhanced the culture of research? Who has made meaningful attempts to diversify UB’s revenue base?

Alfred Masokola recently reminded us of the African proverb which says ‘when a hyena wants to eat its children; it first accuses them of smelling like goats’. This is what UB is trying to do except that the private tertiary institutions are not its children, but its equals. UB is accusing private tertiary institutions of claiming to be what they are not. This is an attempt to influence government to stop sponsoring students who enroll in such institutions so that they perish due to lack of finances for UB to prevail with its monopoly in tertiary education.

This cannot be. After many years of suffering under UB’s monopoly our children have finally found institutions which provide courses suitable for their needs. Such institutions as ABM University College, Gaborone Universal College of Law, Limkokwing University, Botho University and Baisago University are indispensable to our children’s future.     

These private tertiary institutions went through a robust accreditation process with the Tertiary Education Council (TEC), the predecessor to Botswana Qualifications Authority (BQA). Given the integrity of our accrediting institutions, we have no reason to doubt the standard of their curriculum. One hopes that government has learnt a lesson from BCL mine’s closure. Despite pumping billions of Pula into its operations, it failed and has had to be liquidated because, like UB, it failed to diversify its revenue base. Government cannot afford to repeat the same mistake. UB should be weaned from breastfeeding before it is too late.

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28th March 2023

In recent years, using personal devices in working environments has become so commonplace it now has its own acronym, BOYD (Bring Your Own Device).  But as employees skip between corporate tools and personal applications on their own devices, their actions introduce a number of possible risks that should be managed and mitigated with careful consideration.  Consider these examples:

Si-lwli, a small family-run business in Wales, is arguably as niche a company as you could find, producing talking toys used to promote the Welsh language. Their potential market is small, with only some 300,000 Welsh language speakers in the world and in reality the business is really more of a hobby for the husband-and-wife team, who both still have day jobs.  Yet, despite still managing to be successful in terms of sales, the business is now fighting for survival after recently falling prey to cybercriminals. Emails between Si-Iwli and their Chinese suppliers were intercepted by hackers who altered the banking details in the correspondence, causing Si-Iwli to hand over £18,000 (around P ¼ m) to the thieves. That might not sound much to a large enterprise, but to a small or medium business it can be devastating.

Another recent SMB hacking story which appeared in the Wall Street Journal concerned Innovative Higher Ed Consulting (IHED) Inc, a small New York start-up with a handful of employees. IHED didn’t even have a website, but fraudsters were able to run stolen credit card numbers through the company’s payment system and reverse the charges to the tune of $27,000, around the same loss faced by Si-Iwli.  As the WSJ put it, the hackers completely destroyed the company, forcing its owners to fold.

And in May 2019, the city of Baltimore’s computer system was hit by a ransomware attack, with hackers using a variant called RobinHood. The hack, which has lasted more than a month, paralysed the computer system for city employees, with the hackers demanding a payment in Bitcoin to give access back to the city.

Of course, hackers target governments or business giants  but small and medium businesses are certainly not immune. In fact, 67% of SMBs reported that they had experienced a cyber attack across a period of 12 months, according to a 2018 survey carried out by security research firm Ponemon Institute. Additionally, Verizon issued a report in May 2019 that small businesses accounted for 43% of its reported data breaches.  Once seen as less vulnerable than PCs, smartphone attacks are on the rise, with movements like the Dark Caracal spyware campaign underlining the allure of mobile devices to hackers. Last year, the US Federal Trade Commission released a statement calling for greater education on mobile security, coming at a time when around 42% of all Android devices are believed to not carry the latest security updates.

This is an era when employees increasingly use their smartphones for work-related purposes so is your business doing enough to protect against data breaches on their employees’ phones? The SME Cyber Crime Survey 2018 carried out for risk management specialists AON showed that more than 80% of small businesses did not view this as a threat yet if as shown, 67% of SMBs were said to have been victims of hacking, either the stats are wrong or business owners are underestimating their vulnerability.  A 2019 report by PricewaterhouseCoopers suggests the latter, stating that the majority of global businesses are unprepared for cyber attacks.

Consider that a workstation no longer means a desk in an office: It can be a phone in the back of a taxi or Uber; a laptop in a coffee shop, or a tablet in an airport lounge.  Wherever the device is used, employees can potentially install applications that could be harmful to your business, even from something as seemingly insignificant as clicking on an accidental download or opening a link on a phishing email.  Out of the physical workplace, your employees’ activities might not have the same protections as they would on a company-monitored PC.

Yet many businesses not only encourage their employees to work remotely, but assume working from coffee shops, bookstores, and airports can boost employees’ productivity.  Unfortunately, many remote hot spots do not provide secure Wi-Fi so if your employee is accessing their work account on unsecured public Wi-Fi,  sensitive business data could be at risk. Furthermore, even if your employee uses a company smartphone or has access to company data through a personal mobile device, there is always a chance data could be in jeopardy with a lost or stolen device, even information as basic as clients’ addresses and phone numbers.

BOYDs are also at risk from malware designed to harm and infect the host system, transmittable to smartphones when downloading malicious third-party apps.  Then there is ransomware, a type of malware used by hackers to specifically take control of a system’s data, blocking access or threatening to release sensitive information unless a ransom is paid such as the one which affected Baltimore.  Ransomware attacks are on the increase,  predicted to occur every 14 seconds, potentially costing billions of dollars per year.

Lastly there is phishing – the cyber equivalent of the metaphorical fishing exercise –  whereby  cybercriminals attempt to obtain sensitive data –usernames, passwords, credit card details –usually through a phoney email designed to look legitimate which directs the user to a fraudulent website or requests the data be emailed back directly. Most of us like to think we could recognize a phishing email when we see it, but these emails have become more sophisticated and can come through other forms of communication such as messaging apps.

Bottom line is to be aware of the potential problems with BOYDs and if in doubt,  consult your IT security consultants.  You can’t put the own-device genie back in the bottle but you can make data protection one of your three wishes!

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“I Propose to Diana Tonight”

28th March 2023

About five days before Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed landed in Paris, General Atiku, a certain Edward Williams was taking a walk in a woods in the Welsh town of Mountain Ash. Williams, then 73, was a psychic of some renown. He had in the past foretold assassination attempts on US President Ronald Reagan, which occurred on March 30, 1981, and Pope John Paul II, which came to pass on May 13, 1981.

As he trudged the woods, Williams  had a sudden premonition that pointed to Diana’s imminent fate as per Christopher Andersen’s book The Day Diana Died. “When the vision struck me, it was as if everything around me was obscured and replaced by shadowy figures,” Williams was later to reminisce. “In the middle was the face of Princess Diana. Her expression was sad and full of pathos. She was wearing what looked like a floral dress with a short dark cardigan. But it was vague. I went cold with fear and knew it was a sign that she was in danger.”

Williams hastily beat a retreat to his home, which he shared with his wife Mary, and related to her his presentiment, trembling like an aspen leaf as he did so. “I have never seen him so upset,” Mary recounted. “He felt he was given a sign and when he came back from his walk he was deeply shaken.”

The following day, Williams frantically sauntered into a police station to inform the police of his premonition. The officer who attended to him would have dismissed him as no more than a crackpot but he treated him seriously in view of the accuracy of his past predictions. He  took a statement and immediately passed it on to the Special Branch Investigative  Unit.

The report read as follows:

“On 27 August, at 14:12 hrs, a man by the name of Edward Williams came to Mountain Ash police station. He said he was a psychic and predicted that Princess Diana was going to die. In previous years, he has predicted that the Pope and Ronald Reagan were going to be the victims of assassination attempts. On both occasions he was proved to be correct. Mr Williams appeared to be quite normal.”

Williams, General, was spot-on as usual: four days later, the princess was no more.

Meanwhile, General,  even as Dodi and Diana were making their way to the Fayed-owned Ritz Hotel in central Paris, British newspapers were awash with headlines that suggested Diana was kind of deranged. Writes Andrew Morton in Diana in Pursuit of Love: “In The Independent Diana was described as ‘a woman with fundamentally nothing to say about anything’. She was ‘suffering from a form of arrested development’. ‘Isn’t it time she started using her head?’ asked The Mail on Sunday. The Sunday Mirror printed a special supplement entitled ‘A Story of Love’; The News of the World claimed that William had demanded that Diana should split from Dodi: ‘William can’t help it, he just doesn’t like the man.’ William was reportedly ‘horrified’ and ‘doesn’t think Mr Fayed is good for his mother’ – or was that just the press projecting their own prejudices? The upmarket Sunday Times newspaper, which had first serialised my biography of the princess, now put her in the psychiatrist’s chair for daring to be wooed by a Muslim. The pop-psychologist Oliver James put Diana ‘On the Couch’, asking why she was so ‘depressed’ and desperate for love. Other tabloids piled in with dire prognostications – about Prince Philip’s hostility to the relationship, Diana’s prospect of exile, and the social ostracism she would face if she married Dodi.”


Before Diana and Dodi departed the Villa Windsor sometime after 16 hrs, General, one of Dodi’s bodyguards Trevor Rees-Jones furtively asked Diana as to what the programme for the evening was. This Trevor did out of sheer desperation as Dodi had ceased and desisted from telling members of his security detail, let alone anyone else for that matter, what his onward destination was for fear that that piece of information would be passed on to the paparazzi. Diana kindly obliged Trevor though her response was terse and scarcely revealing. “Well, eventually we will be going out to a restaurant”, that was all Diana said. Without advance knowledge of exactly what restaurant that was, Trevor and his colleagues’ hands were tied: they could not do a recce on it as was standard practice for the security team of a VIP principal.  Dodi certainly, General, was being recklessly by throwing such caution to the winds.

At about 16:30, Diana and Dodi drew up at the Ritz Hotel, where they were received by acting hotel manager Claude Roulet.  The front entrance of the hotel was already crawling with paparazzi, as a result of which the couple took the precaution of using the rear entrance, where hopefully they would make their entry unperturbed and unmolested. The first thing they did when they were ensconced in the now $10,000 a night Imperial Suite was to spend some time on their mobiles and set about touching base with friends, relations, and associates.  Diana called at least two people, her clairvoyant friend Rita Rogers and her favourite journalist Richard Kay of The Daily Mail.

Rita, General,  was alarmed that Diana had proceeded to venture to Paris notwithstanding the warning she had given Dodi and herself in relation to what she had seen of him  in the crystal ball when the couple had consulted her. When quizzed as to what the hell she indeed was doing in Paris at that juncture, Diana replied that she and Dodi had simply come to do some shopping, which though partially true was not the material reason they were there. “But Diana, remember what I told Dodi,” Rita said somewhat reprovingly. Diana a bit apprehensively replied, “Yes I remember. I will be careful. I promise.” Well,  she did not live up to her promise as we shall soon unpack General.

As for Richard Kay, Diana made known to him that, “I have decided I am going to radically change my life. I am going to complete my obligations to charities and to the anti-personnel land mines cause, but in November I want to completely withdraw from formal public life.”

Once she was done with her round of calls, Diana went down to the hair saloon by the hotel swimming pool to have her hair washed and blow-dried ahead of the scheduled evening dinner.


Since the main object of their Paris trip was to pick up the “Tell Me Yes” engagement ring  Dodi had ordered in Monte Carlo a week earlier, Dodi decided to check on Repossi Jewellery, which was right within the Ritz prencincts, known as the Place Vendome.  It could have taken less than a minute for Dodi to get to the store on foot but he decided to use a car to outsmart the paparazzi invasion. He was driven there by Trevor Rees-Jones, with Alexander Kez Wingfield and Claude Roulet following on foot, though he entered the shop alone.

The Repossi store had closed for the holiday season but Alberto Repossi, accompanied by his wife and brother-in-law,  had decided to travel all the way from his home in Monaco  and momentarily open it for the sake of the potentially highly lucrative  Dodi transaction.  Alberto, however, disappointed Dodi as the ring he had chosen was not the one  he produced. The one he showed Dodi was pricier and perhaps more exquisite but Dodi  was adamant that he wanted the exact one he had ordered as that was what Diana herself had picked. It was a ploy  on the part of Repossi to make a real killing on the sale, his excuse to that effect being that Diana deserved a ring tha was well worthy of her social pedigree.  With Dodi having expressed disaffection, Repossi rendered his apologies and assured Dodi he would make the right ring available shortly, whereupon Dodi repaired back to the hotel to await its delivery. But Dodi  did insist nonetheless that the pricier ring be delivered too in case it appealed to Diana anyway.

Repossi delivered the two rings an hour later. They were collected by Roulet. On inspecting them, Dodi chose the very one he had seen in Monte Carlo, apparently at the insistence of Diana.  There is a possibility that Diana, who was very much aware of her public image and was not comfortable with ostentatious displays of wealth, may have deliberately shown an interest in a less expensive engagement ring. It  may have been a purely romantic as opposed to a prestigious  choice for her.

The value of the ring, which was found on a wardrobe shelf in Dodi’s apartment after the crash,  has been estimated to be between $20,000 and $250,000 as Repossi has always refused to be drawn into revealing how much Dodi paid for it. The sum, which enjoyed a 25 percent discount, was in truth paid for not by Dodi himself but by his father as was the usual practice.

Dodi was also shown Repossi’s sketches for a bracelet, a watch, and earrings which he proposed to create if Diana approved of them.


At about 7 pm,  Dodi and Diana left the Ritz and headed for Dodi’s apartment at a place known as the Arc de Trompe. They went there to properly tog themselves out for the scheduled evening dinner. They spent two hours at the luxurious apartment. As usual, the ubiquitous paparazzi were patiently waiting for them there.

As they lingered in the apartment, Dodi beckoned over to his butler Rene Delorm  and showed him  the engagement ring. “Dodi came into my kitchen,” Delorm relates. “He looked into the hallway to check that Diana couldn’t hear and reached into his pocket and pulled out the box … He said, ‘Rene, I’m going to propose to the princess tonight. Make sure that we have champagne on ice when we come back from dinner’.” Rene described the ring as “a spectacular diamond encrusted ring, a massive emerald surrounded by a cluster of diamonds, set on a yellow and white gold band sitting in a small light-grey velvet box”.

Just before 9 pm, Dodi called the brother of his step-father, Hassan Yassen, who also was staying at the Ritz  that night, and told him that he hoped to get married to Diana by the end of the year.

Later that same evening, both Dodi and Diana would talk to Mohamed Al Fayed, Dodi’s dad, and make known to him their pre-nuptial intentions. “They called me and said we’re coming back  (to London) on Sunday (August 31) and on Monday (September 1) they are

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RAMADAN – The Blessed Month of Fasting

28th March 2023

Ramadan is the fasting month for Muslims, where over one billion Muslims throughout the world fast from dawn to sunset, and pray additional prayers at night. It is a time for inner reflection, devotion to Allah, and self-control. It is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. As you read this Muslims the world over have already begun fasting as the month of Ramadan has commenced (depending on the sighting of the new moon).

‘The month of Ramadan is that in which the Qur’an was revealed as guidance for people, in it are clear signs of guidance and Criterion, therefore whoever of you who witnesses this month, it is obligatory on him to fast it. But whoever is ill or traveling let him fast the same number of other days, God desires ease for you and not hardship, and He desires that you complete the ordained period and glorify God for His guidance to you, that you may be grateful”. Holy Qur’an  (2 : 185)

Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars upon which the structure of Islam is built. The other four are: the declaration of one’s belief in Allah’s oneness and in the message of Muhammad (PBUH); regular attendance to prayer; payment of zakaat (obligatory charity); and the pilgrimage to Mecca.

As explained in an earlier article, fasting includes total abstinence from eating, drinking, smoking, refraining from obscenity, avoiding getting into arguments and including abstaining from marital relations, from sunrise to sunset. While fasting may appear to some as difficult Muslims see it as an opportunity to get closer to their Lord, a chance to develop spiritually and at the same time the act of fasting builds character, discipline and self-restraint.

Just as our cars require servicing at regular intervals, so do Muslims consider Ramadan as a month in which the body and spirit undergoes as it were a ‘full service’. This ‘service’ includes heightened spiritual awareness both the mental and physical aspects and also the body undergoing a process of detoxification and some of the organs get to ‘rest’ through fasting.

Because of the intensive devotional activity fasting, Ramadan has a particularly high importance, derived from its very personal nature as an act of worship but there is nothing to stop anyone from privately violating Allah’s commandment of fasting if one chooses to do so by claiming to be fasting yet eating on the sly. This means that although fasting is obligatory, its observance is purely voluntary. If a person claims to be a Muslim, he is expected to fast in Ramadan.


The reward Allah gives for proper fasting is very generous. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) quotes Allah as saying: “All actions done by a human being are his own except fasting, which belongs to Me and I will reward it accordingly.” We are also told by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that the reward for proper fasting is admittance into heaven.

Fasting earns great reward when it is done in a ‘proper’ manner. This is because every Muslim is required to make his worship perfect. For example perfection of fasting can be achieved through restraint of one’s feelings and emotions. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said that when fasting, a person should not allow himself to be drawn into a quarrel or a slanging match. He teaches us: “On a day of fasting, let no one of you indulge in any obscenity, or enter into a slanging match. Should someone abuse or fight him, let him respond by saying: ‘I am fasting!’”

This high standard of self-restraint fits in well with fasting, which is considered as an act of self-discipline. Islam requires us to couple patience with voluntary abstention from indulgence in our physical desires. The purpose of fasting helps man to attain a high degree of sublimity, discipline and self-restraint. In other words, this standard CAN BE achieved by every Muslim who knows the purpose of fasting and strives to fulfill it.

Fasting has another special aspect. It makes all people share in the feelings of hunger and thirst. In normal circumstances, people with decent income may go from one year’s end to another without experiencing the pangs of hunger which a poor person may feel every day of his life. Such an experience helps to draw the rich one’s conscience nearer to needs of the poor. A Muslim is encouraged to be more charitable and learns to give generously for a good cause.

Fasting also has a universal or communal aspect to it. As Muslims throughout the world share in this blessed act of worship, their sense of unity is enhanced by the fact that every Muslim individual joins willingly in the fulfillment of this divine commandment. This is a unity of action and purpose, since they all fast in order to be better human beings. As a person restrains himself from the things he desires most, in the hope that he will earn Allah’s pleasure, self-discipline and sacrifice become part of his nature.

The month of Ramadan can aptly be described as a “season of worship.” Fasting is the main aspect of worship in this month, because people are more attentive to their prayers, read the Qur’an more frequently and also strive to improve on their inner and outer character. Thus, their devotion is more complete and they feel much happier in Ramadan because they feel themselves to be closer to their Creator.

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