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Abraham the God-Man

Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER

   
Terah commissions his son to India as Pope of the Region

Whilst the Bible does not categorically state that Harran was born earlier than Abraham, it does drop more than sufficient hints that that was the case. We will not, however, unpack in one fell swoop the full circumstantial details as to why Harran was senior to Abraham. We will be positing our argument portion by portion as the narrative progresses. As related last week, Haran was Terah’s firstborn; Abraham was the second-born; and Nahor II was third. The three were sired in the same year, 2123 BC, by the same father through different mothers. 

 
The name Haran can be broken down into two components, Har, meaning “mountain”, and An, meaning “sky” or “the cosmos”. Haran could therefore be interpreted to mean “a giant”, or rather “colossus,” that is, “a great man”, or “a towering figure”. The reason he was so named is obvious enough:  as Terah’s firstborn, he was meant to be Enlil’s Righteous Shepherd in accordance with Enlil’s geopolitical designs. In other words, he was to be the Priest-King of Earthlings, or Melchizedek.

That Haran had been earmarked as a future colossus can partly be gleaned from the establishment of the city of Harran, which was named after him. Normally, places are named after people who once were great, e.g. Washington in the US, which was named after General George Washington, the country’s founding president. In the case of Terah’s son Haran, the city of Harran was named after him while he was still a youngster. If you recall, the city of Harran was built by Nannar-Sin at the instruction of Enlil before Haran was born.

Initially, it was simply known as     “Ur away from Ur”, that is, the Second Ur. But following Haran’s birth, Ur away from Ur now became known as Harran.  That the city was dedicated to Haran before he had done anything great bears out the fact that as Enlil’s prospective Priest-King, Haran was destined to be greater than Abraham in the fullness of time, a laurel befitting of a firstborn. As for Nahor II, his name does not need much explication. He was named after his grandfather Nahor I, the father of Terah.

Yet of Terah’s children (he had several others in addition to those mentioned in Genesis), it is Abraham who is the most famous. But as we shall soon demonstrate, he was not meant to be a man of such renown: his fame came at the expense of his elder brother Haran. How that state of affairs came to be again we enjoin you to be patient and wait for the appropriate time.  

Although he is best known as Abraham, that was not his original name: Abraham was a name he was given later in life when he was about 100 years old. His given name when he was born in 2123 BC was Abram. But again, that is not unimpeachably correct. Abram is simply the Hebrew version of his actual Sumerian name. His Sumerian name, the name he was given when he was born, was Ibru-um.

The name can be interpreted in at least three ways. First, he may have been named after one of his forefathers, Eber, which can also be written as Ibri or Ibru. Second, he possibly was dedicated to the great city of Nippur, where he was born. Nippur as we explained last time around was the Akkadian name for Enlil’s cult city, which was known as Nibruki (“Earth’s Crossroads”) or simply Ni-Ibru (“The Crossing Place”) in Sumerian. Thirdly, he probably was named after his race, who were known as Ibri, or Hebrews in English.   

Even in our day, we do encounter people who are named after their own tribe, their country, or even a famed city.  For example, we all know who Paris Hilton and Paris Jackson are. I have a brother-in-law here in Botswana known as Bakwena. There are a lot of people whose surname is French,  England, Ndebele, etc. So we should not be surprised as to how Abraham’s original name came about.

EXIT NINURTA STRATEGY, ENTER SIN TACTIC

Meanwhile, a number of developments in Sumer had caused Enlil considerable concern. With the withdrawal of Ninurta from the rulership of Sumer-Akkad, Inanna-Ishtar had become bothersome again. In her recent rally using Utu-Hegal, she had been tamed but there was no guarantee that she would never cause trouble again. But Enlil’s greatest headache at this juncture was Marduk’s rock-star popularity. No matter what counter-strategies the Enlilites came up with, Marduk’s sway over the Earthly masses just kept soaring.  It was a harrowing state of affairs that gave Enlil endless nightmares.  

As a last-ditch demolition act, Enlil decided to employ the “Sin Tactic”. The Ninurta Strategy, whereby Ninurta was called upon to oversee Sumer,  had worked splendidly but it had not inflicted the merest dent in Marduk’s popularity. The Sin Tactic was certain to reverse much of Marduk’s gains in the popularity stakes, so Enlil reckoned.  “Then Enlil, with Anu consulting, kingship in the hands of Nannar deposited,” say the Sumerian records. “To Urim, in whose oil the divine Heavenly Bright Object (Shuhadaku) remained implanted, kingship for the third time was granted.”

Nannar-Sin, Enlil’s second-born son, did bear attributes that prima facie stood to endear him to the Earthling masses. Unlike Marduk, who was born on the throne planet of Orion, Sin was born on Earth, the first Anunnaki to have done so. It was for this reason he liked to refer to himself as “The Firstborn of All Creation”, creation in this context meaning Earthlings (he was born before Enki fashioned Adam). Sin was also in large part a peaceful god. He had never taken part in all the wars  that had taken place to date between the Enlilites and the Enkites.

In Sumer, Sin was in fact the most popular god: he and his wife Ningal were one of the most adored Enlilites. Surely, Enlil reasoned, Sin would make a more effective foil against Marduk if he was to be entrusted overall rulership of Sumer-Akkad as Earthlings would read that as the beginning probably of an unprecedented era of peace and prosperity given that Sin was also an excellent economic manager.   

This was not the first time Sin had been considered for this perch. He had ruled Sumer before but only as a ceremonial sovereign. This time around, he was going to be the executive god of Sumer-Akkad. It would be interesting to see how he fared in the hearts of Earthlings vis-a-vis Marduk in this dispensation.

SIN’S SIN: THE MONEY ECONOMY

The Era of Sin, which commenced in 2113 BC, has been described as “one of the most glorious in Sumerian annals”. During the next 100 years, Sin ruled illustriously and distinctively. At his accession to the throne of Sumer-Akkad, he had set out to turn his cult city, Ur (Urim in full, meaning “Urban domesticated place”), into Sumer-Akkad’s commercial and manufacturing hub, which he indeed did. Situated along the Euphrates River and between Eridu to the south and Uruk in the north, Ur now became Sumer-Akkad’s capital city for the third time, the reason it was referred to at this juncture as Ur III.

Sin and Ningal were not simply arm-chair sovereigns: they were hands-on. Because of their assiduity, they fully revitalised Ur, whose greatness had long waned.  Besides making Ur a trade behemoth and the factory of Sumer, they turned it  into the granary of Sumer and the garment centre of the ancient Near-East, not to mention other material and cultural advancements. “Foreign trade by land and water made the merchants of Ur remembered for millennia thereafter,” writes Zechariah Sitchin.

In order to further fortify the city against susceptibility to attack, Sin built a ring of a navigable canal around the city wall which served two major harbours. “It was a city whose white houses – many of them multistoried – shone as a pearl from a distance; whose streets were straight and wide, with many a shrine at their intersections: a city of an industrious people with a smooth-functioning  administration; a city of pious people, never failing to pray to their benevolent deities.”

The city was a riot of “multilevel private dwellings, workshops, schools, merchants’ warehouses, and stalls – all in wide  streets where, at many intersections, prayer shrines open to all travellers were built.” Sin’s skyscraping ziggurat, his temple residence, would have ranked as one of the world’s seven wonders of the  day. “Ur’s epitome and hallmark was the grand ziggurat built there for Nannar-Sin – a monumental edifice that, though lying in ruins for almost four thousand years, still dominates the landscape and awes the viewer by its immensity, stability, and intricacy,” says Zechariah Sitchin.

Because of its sophistication and grandeur, Ur became the very archetype of a city and a synonym of prosperity and wellbeing. The term “Ur” in time came to mean “The City” as uttered with a sigh of admiration and incredulity. It is from Ur, the urban jewel of the ancient lands, that we get the English word “urban” as indeed urban areas are meant to be more infrastructurally superior to rural areas.  Sumer soared to dizzying economic heights under the lordship of Nannar-Sin. Let’s listen to Sitchin once  again: 

“Under the active guidance of Nannar and his spouse Ningal, Sumer attained new heights in art and sciences, literature and urban organisation, agriculture and industry and commerce. Sumer became the granary of the Lands of the Bible, its wool and garment industries were in a class by themselves, its merchants were the famed Merchants of Ur.”

A question is always asked: how did money creep into commerce? Well, the dude who introduced the money economy on planet Earth was Nannar-Sin. Money wasn’t necessary: we didn’t need it: barter was sufficient for the purpose. But Sin, today known as Allah in Islam,  introduced money to employ it as a tool for the enslavement of mankind. A peaceful  god, Sin wanted to control mankind not through arms but through trade and that almost inescapable albatross known as debt.

As the prototypical Reptilian Mayer Amschel Rothschild candidly and truthfully put it, “Give me control of a nation's money and I care not who makes the laws”. America and much of the world are indebted to the Rothschilds because they control the reserve banks of the world’s most economically advanced countries. This servitude has filtered down to you, me and the other fellow: the Rothschilds folks have us both by the scruff of our necks and by our balls because they control, directly and indirectly, all the currencies of the world and all this thanks to the sin of Sin.  This Earth, My Brother…  

UR-NAMMU IS INTERIM KING OF SUMER

In the same year Nannar-Sin was appointed god of Sumer-Akkad by Enlil,  he  ordered Terah to move from Nippur to Ur. Terah was to perform the functions of a high priest in  Sin’s temple. At the same time, he was to double as the high priest of Nippur too, the first time ever the two city-states’ priesthood was conjoined.   Even more important, he was to see to it that  the people of Ur followed zodiacal time (the total time a constellation showed in the night sky) as opposed to celestial time (the total time [2160 years]  a constellation was mathematically allotted). Terah took all his kids with him to Ur. Abraham and his two half-brothers were 10 years old at the time.  

Since Sin’s time would be taken up with  overseeing the affairs of all of Sumer-Akkad, and Terah would dedicate himself to ecclesiastical and astronomical/astrological affairs, he requested Enlil that an Earthling King be installed under his aegis.  Enlil duly obliged. But this time around, the king was to be chosen by Enlil and recommended to King Anu in Nibiru for either approval or veto. This was to avoid sentimental appointments of kings by a god or goddess. A salutary lesson had been learnt from Inanna, who chose kings primarily on the basis that they were capable of satisfying her insatiable sexual appetite and not necessarily because they had monarchical potential.  

The king Enlil chose for Ur and by extension the whole of Sumer was Ur-Nammu, a titular name meaning “The Joy of Ur”. Like all kings who came before him, Ur-Nammu  had a qualifying pedigree. His father was a demigod and his mother was a full goddess, Ninsun, the daughter of Enki with his step-sister Ninmah. That made Ur-Nammu two-thirds divine.

It was significant that Ur-Nammu was the blood brother of a departed legend, Gilgamesh, who had wrought great feats of accomplishment as King of Uruk seven centuries prior. Clearly, Enlil’s choice of Ur-Nammu was driven by his underlying desire to make a Gilgamesh out of him. As important,  Ur-Nammu was a  fitting counterpoint to Nabu, Marduk’s heir: Nabu’s mother was a demigod whereas his father was a full god.    

It should be noted that Ur-Nammu was no more than a stop-gap ruler. He simply was holding fort for Haran, Terah’s firstborn, who was only ten years old at the time. Once Haran had attained 30 years of age, he was to take over, in his case as Priest-King and not simply King. Pleased with Ur-Nammu’s credentials, King Anu gave the green light for his accession. He has gone into the Sumerian annals as the first ruler of Ur’s Third Dynasty.

ABRAHAM IN INDIA

Meanwhile, Terah was grooming his young sons for specialised responsibilities. Haran, the heir, was being moulded into a future Priest-King. As such, he was to keep to Ur and study up-close both his father’s and Ur-Nammu’s modus operandi. Abraham on the other hand was being moulded into a spiritual leader of the Diaspora. So when he turned 12, he was sent to the Indus Valley region, the vast Indian empire where Terah himself had been the spiritual leader before tracing his way back to Sumer circa 2140 BC.   

Being the son of the pioneer spiritual leader, Abraham was welcomed with a lot of fanfare. He would in due course make an impact that was to rival that of his father. In India, Terah belonged to a priestly caste who were known as Brahmins, the religious noblemen. But it was Abraham who came to personify this caste, that was also known as the Kaul Devas (Holy Kalani, Kaul being the short form of Kalani, the name by which Hebrews were known in India) or simply Chaldees. He became known as the Brahma, meaning “God-Man”, (something akin to Jesus), like his father Terah was revered as when he was the Priest-King of Dwaraka before 2041 BC.    

Initially though, Abraham did not worship Enlil, the Bible’s principal Jehovah. As a teenager, he worshipped Enki. Enki’s religion, which was known as the cult of the snake, was the most popular form of spirituality throughout the Indian empire. The cult of the snake was popularised by Intrasterestrial beings who were known as the Nagas. These beings were half-human, half-snake and were revered as gods. In due course though, term Nagas came to apply to full humans who reverenced the cult of the snake.

ASPECTS OF THE NAME ABRAHAM

The fact that Abraham experimented with several religious sects (like King Solomon) explains why his name came to mean several things depending on how the syllables were pronounced.    First, he was the Pope, the “Holy Father” of his religious movement. This is Abhiram in Hindi (Ab = "Father;" Hir   = "Head; Top; Exalted;” and Am = "People"). Abhiram can also be interpreted as “Father of the Exalted People”. Indeed, the Brahmin caste were the superior race of the  day in India. They were white-skinned and very knowledgeable in many things, more so in religious philosophy.

The name Abraham according to Genesis was given to the man who was initially known as Abram when God told him he was going to be the “Father of a multitude”, the nation of Israel.  That, however, is an evolutional meaning of the name Abraham, not the original meaning. In Hebrew, “Ab” means “Father” and “Ram”is the term for “a highly placed leader or governor”. Abram therefore means “Pope”. The Pope is at once a political leader of the Vatican, an independent country, and the spiritual leader of Catholics. Abraham was the   political leader of a place in India known as Maturea, the Kingdom of the Oude         (which rhymes with Yehuda, or Jews in English), as well as the spiritual leader of the Brahmin religion.   

The name Abraham can  be interpreted to mean “Father of Divine Mercy”given that in Kashmiri (the language spoken in Kashmir, which at the time of Abraham’s sojourn in India was dominated by Hebrews) “Raham”, which derives from “Ram”, means “Divine Mercy”. This is most fitting if Abraham was a spiritual leader as then he would have had the right to forgive sins just as the Pope does in our day.   The equivalent of Raham in Hebrew is Rakham, which also means Divine Mercy.

The term Ab can also mean snake. “Abram” then would be interpreted as “Exalted Snake”. Since Abraham at some stage in his spiritual evolution  worshipped Enki or Enkite gods (“other gods” in Genesis), he could have been called Abram to denote the fact that he was a high-standing Enkite. During this phase of his religious life, he was a renegade who had defected from the Aryan faith that reverenced Enlilites.

Thus the Aryans would have called him “A-brahm”meaning, “No Longer a  Brahmin”as the prefix “a” sometimes denoted  “opposed to” or “against”. Finally, Abraham or Abram may just have been a corruption in other tongues of his original Sumerian name Ibru-um. Thus we should not be so dogmatic about what the name Abraham meant  as it throws up several shades of meaning.  
 
NEXT WEEK: A BEREAVEMENT IN THE TERAH FAMILY

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Technology saves Lions from angry Okavango villagers

22nd November 2022

Villagers in the eastern Okavango region are now using an alert system which warns them when collared lions approach livestock areas. The new technology is now regarded as a panacea to the human/wildlife conflict in the area as it has reduced mass poisoning and killing of lions by farmers.

The technology is being implemented by an NGO, Community Living Among Wildlife Sustainably (CLAWS) within the five villages of Seronga, Gunutsoga, Eretsha, Beetsha and Gudigwa in the eastern part of the Okavango delta.

A Carnivore Ecologist from CLAWS, Dr Andrew Stein explained that around 2013, villagers in the eastern Okavango were having significant problems with losses of their cattle to predators specifically lions, so the villagers resorted to using poison and shooting the lions in order to reduce their numbers.

He highlighted that as a form of progressive intervention, they designed a programme to reduce the conflicts and promote coexistence. Another component of the programme is communal herding, introduced in 2018 to reduce the conflict by increasing efficiency whereby certified herders monitor livestock health and protect them from predators, allowing community members to engage in other livelihood activities knowing that their livestock are safe.

They are now two herds with 600 and 230 cattle respectively with plan to expand the programme to other neighbouring villages. Currently the programme is being piloted in Eretsha, one of the areas with most conflict incidences per year.

Dr Stein explained that they have developed the first of its kind alert system whereby when the lions get within three or five kilometers of a cattllepost or a homestead upon the five villages, then it will release an alert system going directly to the cellphones of individuals living within the affected area or community.

‘So, if a colored lion gets to about five kilometers of Eretsha village or any villagers in the Eretsha that has signed up for, the system will receive an SMS of the name of the lion and its distance to or from the village”, he stated. He added that this enables villagers to take preventative action to reduce conflicts before its starts.

Dr Stein noted that some respond by gathering their cattle and put them in a kraal or put them in an enclosure making sure that the enclosure is secure while some people will gather firewood and light small fires around edges of the kraal to prevent lions from coming closer and some when they receive the SMS they send their livestock to the neighbours alerting them about the presence of lions.

He noted that 125 people have signed to receive the alert system within Seronga, Eretsha, Beetsha, Gunutsoga and Gudigwa. He added that each homestead is about five people and this means more than 600 people immediately receive the messages about lions when they approach their villages. He also noted that last year they dispersed over 12 000 alerts, adding that this year is a bit higher as about 20 000 alerts have been sent so far across these villages.

Stein further noted that they have been significant changes in the behavior of the villagers as they are now tolerant to lions. “85 percent were happy with the SMS and people are becoming more tolerant with living with lions because they have more information to reduce the conflicts,” he stressed.

Stein noted that since the start of the programme in 2014 they have seen lion populations rebounds almost completely to a level before and they have not recorded cases of lion poisoning in the last three years which is commendable effort.

Monnaleso Sanga from Eretsha village applauded the programme by CLAWS noting that farmers in the area are benefiting through the alert system and take preventative measures to reduce human/lion conflict which has been persistent in the area. He added that numbers of cattle killed by lions have reduced immensely. He also admitted that they are now tolerant to lions and they no longer kill nor poison them.

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THE IDEAL QUALITY OF A MUSLIM

8th September 2022

A Muslim is supposed to be and should be a living example of the teachings of the Quran and the ‘Sunnah’ (the teachings and living examples of Prophet Muhammed (SAW – Peace be upon Him). We should follow these in all affairs, relations, and situations – starting with our relationship with our Lord, our own self, our family and the people around us. One of the distinguishing features of the (ideal) Muslim is his faith in Allah, and his conviction that whatever happens in the universe and whatever befalls him, only happens through the will and the decree of the Almighty Allah.

A Muslim should know and feel that he is in constant need of the help and support of Allah, no matter how much he may think he can do for himself. He has no choice in his life but to submit to the will of his Creator, worship Him, strive towards the Right Path and do good deeds. This will guide him to be righteous and upright in all his deeds, both in public and in private.

His attitude towards his body, mind and soul

The Muslim pays attention to his body’s physical, intellectual and spiritual needs. He takes good care of his body, promoting its good health and strength. He shouldn’t eat in excess; but he should eat enough to maintain his health and energy. Allah, The Exalted, Says “…Eat and drink; but waste not by excess, for Allah loves not the wasters.” [Quran 7: 31]

The Muslim should keep away from alcohol and drugs. He should also try to exercise regularly to maintain his physical fitness. The Muslim also keeps his body and clothes clean, he bathes frequently. The Prophet placed a great emphasis on cleanliness and bathing. A Muslim is also concerned with his clothing and appearance but in accordance with the Islamic ideal of moderation, avoiding the extremes.

As for his intellectual care, the Muslim should take care of his mind by pursuing beneficial knowledge. It is his responsibility to seek knowledge whether it is religious or secular, so he may understand the nature and the essence of things. Allah Says: “…and say: My Lord! Increase me in knowledge.” [Quran 20: 114

The Muslim should not forget that man is not only composed of a body and a mind, but that he also possesses a soul and a spirit. Therefore, the Muslim pays as much attention to his spiritual development as to his physical and intellectual development, in a balanced manner which ideally does not concentrate on one aspect to the detriment of others.

His attitude towards people

The Muslim must treat his parents with kindness and respect, compassion, politeness and deep gratitude. He recognizes their status and knows his duties towards them. Allah Says “And serve Allah. Ascribe nothing as partner unto Him. (Show) kindness unto parents…” [Quran 4: 36]

With his wife, the Muslim should exemplify good and kind treatment, intelligent handling, deep understanding of the nature and psychology of women, and proper fulfilment of his responsibilities and duties.

With his children, the Muslim is a parent who should understand his responsibility towards their good upbringing, showing them love and compassion, influence their Islamic development and giving them proper education, so that they become active and constructive elements in society, and a source of goodness for their parents, community, and society as a whole.

With his relatives, the Muslim maintains the ties of kinship and knows his duties towards them. He understands the high status given to relatives in Islam, which makes him keep in touch with them, no matter what the circumstances.

 

With his neighbours, the Muslim illustrates good treatment, kindness and consideration of others’ feelings and sensitivities. He turns a blind eye to his neighbour’s faults while taking care not to commit any such errors himself. The Muslim relationship with his wider circle of friends is based on love for the sake of Allah. He is loyal and does not betray them; he is sincere and does not cheat them; he is gentle, tolerant and forgiving; he is generous and he supplicates for them.

In his social relationships with all people, the Muslim should be well-mannered, modest and not arrogant. He should not envy others, fulfils his promises and is cheerful. He is patient and avoids slandering and uttering obscenities. He should not unjustly accuse others nor should he interfere in that which does not concern him. He refrains from gossiping, spreading slander and stirring up trouble – avoids false speech and suspicion. When he is entrusted with a secret, he keeps it. He respects his elders. He mixes with the best of people. He strives to reconcile between the Muslims. He visits the sick and attends funerals. He returns favours and is grateful for them. He calls others to Islam with wisdom, example and beautiful preaching. He should guide people to do good and always make things easy and not difficult.

The Muslim should be fair in his judgments, not a hypocrite, a sycophant or a show-off. He should not boast about his deeds and achievements. He should be straightforward and never devious or twisted, no matter the circumstances. He should be generous and not remind others of his gifts or favours. Wherever possible he relieves the burden of the debtor. He should be proud and not think of begging.

These are the standards by which the (ideal) Muslim is expected to structure his life on. Now how do I measure up and fit into all this? Can I honestly say that I really try to live by these ideals and principles; if not can I really call myself a true Muslim?

For the ease of writing this article I have made use of for want of a better word, the generic term ‘he’, ‘his’, ‘him’ and the ‘male’ gender, but it goes without saying that these standards apply equally to every female and male Muslim.

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OUR BELOVED CHILDREN

29th August 2022

“Homicide and suicide kill almost 7000 children every year; one in four of all children are born to unmarried mothers, many of whom are children themselves…..children’s potential lost to spirit crushing poverty….children’s hearts lost in divorce and custody battles….children’s lives lost to abuse and violence, our society lost to itself, as we fail our children.” “If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do matters very much.” (Quotation taken from a book written by Hillary Clinton).

These words may well apply to us here in Botswana; We are also experiencing a series of challenges in many spheres of development and endeavour but none as challenging as the long term effects of what is going to happen to our youth of today. One of the greatest challenges facing us as parents today is how to guide our youth to become the responsible adults that we wish them to be, tomorrow.

In Islam Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has enjoined upon the parents to take care of the moral and religious instruction of their children from the very beginning, otherwise they will be called to account for negligence on the Day of Judgement. Parents must inculcate God-consciousness in their children from an early age, whereby the children will gain an understanding of duty to The Creator.

 

The Holy Qur’an says: ‘O you who believe! Save yourself and your families from the Fire of Hell’. (Ch. 66: V6). This verse places the responsibility on the shoulders of the parents to ensure that training and guidance begin at home. The goal is to mould the child into a solid Islamic personality, with good morals, strong Islamic principles, knowledge and behavior so as to be equipped to face the demands of life in a responsible and mature manner. This should begin with the proper environment at home that inculcates the best moral and behavioral standards.

But what do we have instead? Believers of all Religious persuasions will agree that we have children growing up without parental guidance, a stable home environment, without role models, being brought up in surroundings that are not conducive to proper upbringing and moulding of well-adjusted children. These children are being brought up devoid of any parental guidance and increasingly the desperate situation of orphaned children having to raise their siblings (children raising children) because their parents have succumbed to the scourge of AIDS.

It is becoming common that more and more girls still in their schooling years are now falling pregnant, most of them unwanted, with the attendant responsibilities and difficulties.

Observe the many young ladies who are with children barely in their teens having illegitimate children. In the recent past there was a campaign focused on the ‘girl-child’; this campaign targeted this group of young females who had fallen pregnant and were now mothers. The situation is that the mother still being just a ‘child’ and not even having tasted adulthood, now has the onerous responsibility of raising her own child most of the time on her own because either the father has simply disappeared, refuses to takes responsibility, or in some cases not even known.

We cannot place the entire blame on these young mothers; as parents and society as a whole stand accused because we have shirked our responsibilities and worse still we ourselves are poor role models. The virtual breakdown of the extended family system and of the family unit in many homes means that there are no longer those safe havens of peace and tranquility that we once knew. How then do we expect to raise well-adjusted children in this poisoned atmosphere?

Alcohol has become socially acceptable and is consumed by many of our youth and alarmingly they are now turning to drugs. Alcohol is becoming so acceptable that it is easily accessible even at home where some parents share drinks with their children or buying it for them. This is not confined only to low income families it is becoming prevalent amongst our youth across the board.

 

It is frightening to witness how our youth are being influenced by blatantly suggestive pop culture messages over television, music videos and other social media. Children who are not properly grounded in being able to make rational and informed decisions between what is right and what is wrong are easily swayed by this very powerful medium.

 

So what do we do as parents? We first have to lead by example; it is no longer the parental privilege to tell the child ‘do as I say not as I do’- that no longer works. The ball is in the court of every religious leader (not some of the charlatans who masquerade as religious leaders), true adherents and responsible parents. We cannot ignore the situation we have to take an active lead in guiding and moulding our youth for a better tomorrow.

In Islam Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: “No father gives a better gift to his children than good manners and good character.”  Children should be treated not as a burden, but a blessing and trust of Allah, and brought up with care and affection and taught proper responsibilities etiquettes and behaviour.

Even the Bible says; ‘Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein’. (Mark 10:14-15)

The message is clear and needs to be taken by all of us: Parents let us rise to the occasion – we owe it to our children and their future.

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