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The Key to Paradise

Iqbal Ebrahim

It is a given that each and every one of us will have to leave his world one day and there will be a time in the Hereafter when we will be called to account for all our deeds during our worldly sojourn. “On the Day when every soul will be confronted with all the good it has done, and all the evil it has done” (Quran 3: 30).

If we had lived a life that was line with the Commands of Allah and of the teachings of the Quran then we will have achieved the goal of the Gardens of Paradise. However should we have lived a life that was against all our religious teachings then we are destined to that fiery place called Hell. “Give glad tidings to those who believe and work righteousness that their portion is the Gardens beneath which rivers flow…” (Quran 2: 25)

Unfortunately in today’s world we are almost living in a society that says that obey your desires, so you should eat, drink, and be merry, life is short because tomorrow we die. Do whatever pleases you; indulge in your desires for you live only once, so make the most of it. With this type of attitude in this life it is easy to go astray. But remember one thing: “Whatever deed you may be doing, We are witness thereof. Nor is hidden from thy Lord so much as the weight of an atom, on earth or in heaven” (Quran 10: 61)

We have been shown the path that leads to God and the other that leads to damnation. As human beings we have the freedom of choice; to obey or not to obey the Commands of our Lord. Instead of following the way of our Lord we tend to follow our own lusts and desires. We choose what pleases us and makes us feel good. In our pursuit of wealth, status, power and worldly pleasures we choose to ignore our moral values and ethical principles. “Let not then this present life deceive you, nor let the chief Deceiver deceive you about Allah” (Quran 31:33)

There are so many ‘attractions’ and different paths in this world of ours that tempt and entice us and sometimes blind us to say the least. Our lives are combinations of good and evil. As mere mortals we are susceptible to both the tendencies of good and of evil. Our goal should be to increase the good and reduce or eliminate the evil. It is through our will and effort or lack of it, that we choose one or the other, making ourselves liable to ultimately receive its reward or punishment, as the case may be.

With so many evil temptations we easily fall into sinful behaviour. “And what is this life of this world but goods and chattels of deception”. (Quran 57:20). Regrettably for many of us in the pursuit of this false hope of happiness can lead us to despair, doom and gloom. This road seldom leads to true happiness, and it never will because this road is filled with many pit falls and is a downhill slope to eternal damnation. No doubt the path to hell looks very attractive and tempting and promises instant satisfaction but is a slippery downhill slope.

Our objectives in life lie not in obeying our lusts and desires but in controlling them in obedience to our Lord and Creator. Our goal should not be to get the maximum pleasures out of this earthly life, but to reach that house of eternal pleasures in life to come. Once we fine tune our minds to embrace this objective, it brings joy to this life as well, but this joy is different kind of joy that one finds in obeying our earthly desires. We therefore need to create a mind-set change that will commit us to change from our evil ways and life styles onto the path of righteousness. “Verily never will Allah change the condition of a people until they first change what is in their hearts”. (Quran 13: 11)

We have all been endowed with freedom of choice and also freedom to act, however this does not mean that we can do whatever we want to. We have to ensure that it is that which is permitted by our religious belief and moral codes. All these things are part of the worldly test for all of us: ‘Do men think that they will be left alone on saying, we believe, and that they will not be tested. Assuredly We tested those before them. Allah knows those who are sincere and knows those who are pretenders.’ (29: 2-3)

Without doubt, the path to paradise is most definitely uphill. It requires sacrifice and self-control; patience and perseverance; obedience and submission to our Creator; hard work and firm commitment. It requires giving up instant satisfaction so we can get eternal satisfaction. It is paved with stumbling blocks and hardships and all the evil temptations that we find in our daily lives. As Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) said: “The Fire has been surrounded by lusts and desires and the Paradise by hardships." In other words if we are attracted and guided by our lusts and desires that road is the one that can lead us to the hellfire.

Unfortunately as humankind we have the have the inbuilt weakness to follow our lusts and desires ignoring the consequences of going against out religious teachings and principles. There are many factors and vices that lead us onto the ‘wrong’ path, among them are; Ignorance, Jealousy, Pride and arrogance, greed, fear, bad companionship and sinful behaviour. Unfortunately these patterns of human behaviour and mind set can be the temporary road blocks in life that can easily cause someone to go astray. What we need is discipline and self-control.

Ignorance: This could be as a result of our not being aware of or being ignorant of our religious and moral obligations. We should go back to our religious teachings for a guide.

Jealousy: Another common vice, envying those who have knowledge, who are popular, who have been blessed with the good fortunes in life. We look with envy at those who live in fancy homes, drive fancy cars and wear fancy clothes. This envy can be very dangerous if uncontrolled as it can lead to jealousy and hatred

Another vice is Pride and Arrogance: Sometimes we have the tendency to rate ourselves above hence better than others so we tend to look down at them. We think that we are better than others

Greed is a major driver in our lives. Sometimes in our greed to obtain worldly desires and gains drives us to do things that are against our religious morals, laws and guidance and also in some cases illegal activities that are against the laws.

Bad Companionship: Our friends can be part of our problems because many of our actions may be driven by our desire to conform to what our ‘buddies’ are doing. Sometimes we are fearful of our; family traditions/expectations, cultural or peer pressure, and these may drive us into doing sinful things. That insecurity on our part can lead to do some strange things just to be seen to be part of the crowd. We should seek good companionship. – These are some of the roadblocks in life.

We are all given tests in this life to warn us about the road that leads to Hell and show us the path that leads to Paradise. All it takes is belief, commitment, and seeking help from Allah and we can overcome the roadblocks. ‘.……….give Glad Tidings to the Believers who work righteous deeds:  that they shall have a goodly Reward…..’ (18: 2).

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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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