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Forgiveness is divine

IQBAL EBRAHIM
UNDERSTANDING ISLAM

To err is human and to forgive is divine. I am sure many of us have heard this saying sometime or the other.

In our daily lives we have all committed errors, probably made many mistakes and wittingly or unwittingly we have wronged others; perhaps by ignorance and in some cases by means of deception, untruthfulness or backstabbing. But as we are human we tend to focus on other people’s errors while overlooking or remaining ignorant of our own shortcomings.

The simple truth is that we prefer to look at ‘what others said or did to us’ rather than what we may have said or done to them. This unfortunately is a human trait whereby we tend to take offence sometimes on things that we sometimes wrongly conclude or ‘think’ were as a result of others have said or done to us.

Let us be honest we all have our faults for example we may dislike a certain person whom we believe has done us some unpardonable wrong. As a result we haven’t spoken to them for a while. We been blaming him/ her? But is it really hate? True we may have been wronged, deceived, or even feel that we were stabbed in the back, by backbiting about you and even told lies about you. We may feel that we have a reason to ‘hate’ that someone; you’re not the only one, we all carry some burden hidden within us; sometimes we confuse dislike, anger, resentment and even jealousy with hate, but to some degree we all have that malady lurking deep within us. Why don’t we wash away those thoughts and learn to forgive others.  

Let us really be honest, we often say or do something without thinking of the consequences and we may as a result hurt or insult others. Sometimes our minds ‘click’ in and our thoughts and minds will experience a feeling of unease, and we may silently think: “I can’t believe I just did/said that”. The thing to do is to immediately say: “I am sorry I said/did that”. This helps us clear ourselves and brings ease back to our body and mind, secondly the other person has no time to take offence and get angry. After all we do not really mean to hurt or insult people.

We must remember that anger, dislike, resentment, envy, jealousy are like a festering wound – if we do not attend to it, over time things can only get progressively worse. That simmering rage within you can make one become anti-social, unlikeable and it can even turn to hatred. Hate can become emotionally draining and it can drive a person to do unusual things including taking revenge.

We should therefore turn to prayer and learn to exercise self -restraint and forgiveness so that we can live in harmony with our emotions and thereby create inner peace. Allah says in the Qur’an: “Be quick in the forgiveness from your Lord, and pardon (all) men – for Allah loves those who do good.” [Qur’an 3:133-134]

Some of us think that to forgive is a sign of weakness and humiliation, and for us it is better to be strong and preserve our honour – but honour in the eyes of Allah lies in forgiveness. “But indeed if any shows patience and forgives that would truly be an exercise of courageous will and resolution in the conduct of affairs.”[Qur’an 42:43]

We should learn to forgive and forget otherwise we will carry that ‘burden’ of hate and anger that will remain in our hearts and minds. Forgiveness is linked with piety and God-consciousness – is there anybody who is not without sin; is there any one of us who can be arrogant and haughty enough to say that he does not need to forgive; do we not know that Allah forgives those who forgive others?

In most cases it is only our hurt pride and bruised ego that prevent us from forgiving those who have wronged us, but if we are to be really strong in faith then we have to learn to forgive others, and in this way Allah will look kindly upon us and forgive us for our own mistakes and sins.

We often believe that in forgiving someone we are either excusing or condoning the behaviour. The opposite is true because forgiving a wrong brings peace to us. It releases us from the feelings of hurt, anger, wanting revenge and resentment which can poison us and affect our emotions and actions whereby Allah promises forgiveness for our sins. If Allah is so forgiving for our faults, who are we to withhold what is so freely and divinely given to each and every one of us?

Today we see many people sad and unhappy as a result of rifts in their families, broken marriages, and friendships which have ended for no obvious reason except hatred and our unforgiving nature. But we should learn to ask Allah to forgive those who have hurt us, after we have forgiven them. The doors of repentance and forgiveness always remain open; let us not shut them as we would slam the door on someone we do not want to see. Therefore, we should realise and identify the failings and faults of others and learn to forgive them. ‘But if you forgive and overlook and cover up their faults, verily Allah is Oft-forgiving and Most merciful. (Qur’an 64: 14)

In most religions, Believers are exhorted to learn self-control so as to face provocation with restraint but also with a degree of dignity. If I recall well the Bible says “…. whoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also”. We need to get rid of that heavy burden of hate that we carry around with us – learn to forgive and forget.  

But even in these situations the Qur’an and the Hadith teach us that if we wish to earn the forgiveness of Allah on the day of Judgement we have to forgive others (especially those who hurt us the most). Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) taught and advised us; “To be forgiving and to control yourself in the face of provocation, to give justice to the person who was unfair and unjust to you, to give to someone even though he did not give to you when you were in need and to keep connection with someone who may not have reciprocated your concern, will ensure you a palace in Paradise (as a symbol of reward).”

Let us be honest and face the truth, some of us live a life of sin and when we realise our ‘bad’ behaviour we usually turn to our Lord and Creator, Allah, in prayer and repentance for forgiveness of our own sins that we have committed. And remember that Allah is always willing to answer the person’s call for forgiveness. “….for Allah loves those who constantly turn to Him in repentance and those who keep themselves pure” (Quran 2:222)

 In Islam we have 99 names of praise for Almighty Allah and among them are Ar-Rahmaan  (the Most Compassionate) and Ar-Raheem (the Most Merciful). We are constantly reminded that His Mercy is infinite and that no matter the sin (except associating partners with Him), if we have sincerity in our hearts in seeking His forgiveness we can be sure of gaining it.

We should earnestly and sincerely seek that forgiveness for ourselves and we should learn to forgive those who may have done or said things that may have ‘hurt’ us. We should therefore learn to forgive them and be kind and merciful to each other. First of all, we ourselves should not do anything to upset our brothers and sisters (because this is in itself a part of mercy) and then we should forgive those who have upset or made us angry. We simply cannot hope to be strong in faith if we are not able to forgive others because how can we expect Allah to forgive us if we don’t want to forgive others?


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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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