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Our Rights in Islam

IQBAL EBRAHIM
UNDERSTANDING ISLAM

Nowadays when we talk of ‘rights’ we immediately think of ‘human rights’ and the constitutional ‘rights’ that we enjoy under the umbrella of our laws.Whilst these rights are very important to us we should spread the net wider and think about human rights in a broader perspective. Unfortunately we prefer to or tend to focus on ‘our rights’ before we think of the rights of others or even what our own responsibilities as humankind are towards achieving those rights.

In Islam each one of us has certain rights and obligations to fulfil. We believe that Allah created us and sent us to this temporary world to fulfil certain obligations and commands. Those obligations we owe are firstly to our Creator and then come the other obligations that we owe to our fellow creation. Allah is Almighty, the Creator, the Sustainer and is totally Independent of us.

‘O mankind! We have created you from a single pair of male and female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other, not that you may despise each other. Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is he who is the most righteous of you. (Quran 49: 13)

The Almighty has outlined certain duties and obligations that we owe to Him. We can classify these as the Rights of Allah over us. As Muslims the first obligation is to believe in the Testimony and Declaration of Faith called the Shahadah: This declaration is a simple formula that all the faithful pronounce: “We sincerely bear witness that Allah is One and has no partners to share His Glory and there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad (pbuh) is His messenger to all human beings until the Day of Judgment.”

These words are the sincere conviction and the driving force in every Muslim’s belief that our only purpose in life is to serve and obey God, and this is achieved through following the teachings of the Quran and the example of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
Among some of the rights and duties that we owe to Him, although compulsory, are spaced out and include concessions for example, are the following: the compulsory five times a day prayer; the compulsory fasting in the month of Ramadan; obligation of the Haj (pilgrimage to Mecca); and, Zakaat (compulsory charity / the poor due).

These obligations though compulsory may in the eyes of non–Muslims to be difficult somewhat difficult to practice, our Creator has been Kind and Merciful because He has allowed concessions in these obligations that we owe to Him. For example, the five times daily prayers are so well spaced out that they give us time for our family and occupation. The same prayers are shortened when one is on a journey. For fasting, when one is sick or on a journey the fast can be postponed till one is better. The obligation of Haj and the poor due (Zakaat) becomes compulsory only if certain conditions are met among them is our financial ability.

Among the other obligations that we ‘owe’ to our Lord is that to our fellow creation. Many of the obligations are to do with our social interaction among ourselves and those around us. When it comes to mutual relations Islam requires us to be very particular that we do not wrong anyone, as on the Day of Judgement every person will have to account for what wrong he did to the other person.

This is where Islam broadens the interpretation of human rights; whilst most of us interpret and understand human rights to mean “what I am entitled to as a person in my sphere of life and community”. Islam defines human rights as “what I owe to others”. This means that I have a duty to fulfil towards the rights of others, provided that they are within those parameters that do not conflict with the Commands of our Lord. The Prophet (pbuh) said: ‘Have mercy on those on the earth, and the One in the sky will have mercy upon you’.

We need to step back and think about our own interaction with those around us and how we treat them before judging them, because ‘what we give is what we receive’. Yes I agree that it is not easy to deal with all people and to treat them with kindness and respect. It is indeed a difficult task at times. The Quran says: ‘…and who will explain to you the path that is steep?…….it is…..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: 12-18)

Today, the world is filled with problems; starting with the problems at home between husband and wife; the husband feels that my wife is not fulfilling my rights and vice-versa; parents feel the children are not appreciating and fulfilling our rights and vice-versa, neighbours have mutual dissent. This goes on right up to the global scene to the problems between countries and regions of the world. Why? This is because each person, individual, family, tribe, clan, community, region, country feels that my / their rights are not being fulfilled as they are entitled to more.

Let us take for example, a husband may feel that his wife is not fulfilling his rights just because she did not have the dinner ready in time or have his shirt ironed and ready. We know of all those little things that can create a bubble that is likely to burst into anger one day when the husband feels that his wife is not taking him seriously. But he should pause and ask himself what about the rights that I owe to my wife. She has sacrificed so much to leave her family and dedicate herself to being with me. She is the mother of my children, she bore the pains of pregnancy and delivery; spent sleepless nights looking after them. She maintains and looks after the home in my presence and in my absence – you begin to realise, I owe her so much.

Therefore, in addition to overlooking some of those small irritants I have to be loving, kind, sincere and truthful to her; I have to see to all her needs and comforts and of course give a helping hand. The Quran is clear: ‘Women shall have rights similar to the rights against them, according to what is equitable….’ (Quran 2: 228)

Further Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) said; ‘The best amongst you are those who are best to their wives’. Likewise much emphasis is placed on the woman to be grateful, sincere and dutiful to him, so much so that ‘when a woman passes away whilst her husband was happy with her, has glad tidings when she goes into the next life of Jannah (Heaven).’     
    
………….To be continued next week.

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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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