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Treatment of Fellow Humans

IQBAL EBRAHIM
UNDERSTANDING ISLAM

 

As the world rapidly becomes a global village, we find that in most cases communities comprise of people from various countries, races, tribes and social ranks, each with their own ethnic, cultural, linguistic, traditional, customary, educational and temperamental features as well as diverse religious practices and backgrounds.

  
Previous articles on ‘respect’ have shown that the teachings of Islam have guidance regarding the rights and duties in respect of various categories of people in all communities who are related to each other or have a direct connection/ dealings with one another. Islam extends the duties of every individual to all others in community – fellow humans or mankind in general. The Holy Quran contains many injunctions in this regard and the teachings and sayings of the Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) cover this aspect in a fair amount of detail.  

If we are to promote understanding, peace and harmony between us, there has to be a great degree of mutual respect and cordial feelings. After all, humankind originates from one source – Adam and Eve – like it or not we have to acknowledge and accept that the next person is not only of the same “species” as ourselves, but they experiences the same feelings, emotions, anxieties, etc. like we do . Allah Almighty declares in the Holy Quran:  “O Mankind! We have created you from a (pair) of male and female and made you into communities /nations and tribes, that you may know each other (not that ye may despise each other).  Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah Almighty is the most God-conscious (righteous) of you.” (Quran 49: 13)…..And: ‘verily this Brotherhood of yours is a single brotherhood…’ (Quran 23: 52)  

Muslims have to live a life of social responsibility. That responsibility begins with our immediate family, other relatives, and it widens the circle to include all those who are near and far. ‘Show kindness unto parents, and unto near kindred, the orphans, the needy, and unto the neighbour……. (Quran 4:36). ‘And render to the kindred their due rights, as also to those in want and to the wayfarer…’ (Quran 17: 27)
The Bible says: “Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter– when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? (Isaiah 58:7). “… Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matthew 22:39).

So the observance and practice of righteousness at all times – in terms of duty to God Almighty as well as in terms of duty towards all others is of prime importance in the sight of The Almighty. Class, race, creed, ethnicity, language etc. do not hold any specific regard or distinction in His sight – these are only means of gaining recognition within and between ourselves.  One cannot afford to look down upon others in community just because they may be of a different ethnicity, class, profession, etc.

Kindness and mercy towards others
The showing of compassion and kindness to those who are less fortunate than us is firmly rooted in Islam. This goes beyond those less fortunate in terms of the destitute and the needy, it covers a wider spectrum of showing kindness, mercy, respect, and to assist those who are in distress, sick or in want, even if it is just a smile or a word of encouragement.    

The Holy Qur’an constantly emphasises the need for each and every one of us whom Allah has bestowed with His bounties, to be compassionate, considerate and generous towards those who may be less privileged or in a state of need. The circumstances and needs can differ in category – like orphans, widows, elderly, sick, needy, etc. As stated above: ‘Serve Allah and join not any partners with Him. And be kind to parents, relatives, orphans, those in need, neighbours who are related, neighbours who are strangers……’ (Quran 4: 36). And: ‘he will be of those who believe, and enjoin patience, constancy and self-restraint, and enjoin deeds of kindness and compassion. Such are the companions of the Right Hand’. (Quran 90: 17-18)
   

The Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) said "Those whose hearts are devoid of mercy for others, will not obtain the mercy of Allah Almighty." However, true sympathy and kindness towards the wrong-doers in community, would demand that sorrow and concern is felt in our heart at their plight and their wayward transgression and an effort is made to assist them.  Besides this, we are expected to be kind and helpful to them. ‘….that He created you from dust….you are scattered far and wide….He created for you mates from among yourselves that you may dwell in tranquillity with them…’ (Quran 30: 20 – 21)

Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) said "The Most-Merciful (The Almighty) will have mercy on those who are merciful.  Show mercy and compassion to the dwellers of the earth, then the One in the heavens (The Almighty) will show mercy and compassion to you!"  Further the Prophet (pbuh) said, "All creatures are of the ‘family’ of The Almighty and the most beloved to Him, amongst His creatures, is the one who is best (in treatment) towards His ‘family’ – i.e. fellow creatures.”

Thus we find that these messages show us that we need to accept that we treat our fellow-men with kindness and compassion and cannot remain indifferent to their needs and difficulties. 
Normally, those who are related via blood ties and are dependent on a person for the necessities of life (like food, clothing, etc.) are regarded as his 'family'.  Therefore in a broader spectrum all created beings are the 'family' of the Creator. He is the sole Cherisher and Sustainer – providing for all His creation. Hence, those who show kindness and sympathy to the creatures of Allah will, in return, be deserving of His love and mercy.

The evils of hatred, jealousy, back-biting etc. is strictly forbidden because they are the root cause of many of our worldly problems because of these things. ‘Let not hatred of others to you make you swerve to the wrong and depart from justice’ (Quran 5-8). ‘Woe to every kind of scandalmonger and backbiter’. (Quran 104: 1)   

The Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) strongly condemned acts which create mutual hatred like suspicion, contempt, jealousy, back-biting etc. and warned mankind against the consequences of such habits. He said "Do not be suspicious of each other, for suspicion is the height of falsehood, nor bear a grudge or enmity against each other, nor be jealous of each other, nor indulge in backbiting nor dig into the secrets of one another, nor try to (unreasonably) outdo one another, but Oh Bondmen of Allah!  Live like brothers as the Almighty has commanded."

‘O you who believe, Avoid suspicion as much as possible; for suspicion in some cases is a sin; and spy not on each other, nor speak ill of each other behind their backs…but fear Allah’ (Quran 49: 12) 
The evils mentioned above are highly detrimental to the growth of good and friendly relations within community. They cause ill-will and produce bitterness in the hearts. They also breed hatred and enmity and leave no room for the development of goodwill, dignity and a fellowship of a common bond for humanity.

In the light of all that has been explained, we can confidently say that our indifference to one another's rights is, to a great extent, the cause of our misfortune.  Also the root cause of all trouble, at the various levels social, economic, legal, educational, political, etc. – is due to the disregard of the rights of others (i.e. not fulfilling them and not attaching an importance to them.) There can be no real peace and happiness, until we all attach an equal importance to the rights and claims of others upon us, as we attach to our rights and claims on them. We sincerely pray that The Almighty grant us all, the guidance, understanding and ability to fulfil our rights and duties towards one another.

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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
Samson

… 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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‘RO, ‘RO ‘RO YOUR ‘BOT

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 www.willrobotstakemyjob.com    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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