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Disease of the Heart

IQBAL EBRAHIM
UNDERSTANDING ISLAM

In this day and age it is common to hear of many people suffering from heart ailments; high blood pressure, low blood pressure, irregular heartbeats and a whole host of other medical ailments connected to the heart. Many people suffer from these ailments have to regularly take medication to alleviate their symptoms. However there is another greater disease that we all ‘suffer’ from: that of a ‘poisonous’ heart – this is as a result of the lifestyle we lead and the behavior and the sins we commit that poison our hearts

Indeed, all sins poison the heart and lead to its illness and destruction. They sicken it so as to act against what The Almighty wants of us. These actions are as harmful to the heart as actual poisons are to the body. The Almighty has stated in the Quran “By no means. But on their hearts is the stain (rust) of the ill which they do.” (Quran 83: 14). This refers to all the sins that pile up until the heart is ‘corroded’ all over.

That is because the heart ‘rusts’ from sins until it is totally corroded and diseased because we overlook our sins so much so that we become immune to sinning. Eventually, the heart becomes insensitive and we become ‘thick skinned’ to any spirituality and goodness and then drown in immorality and sin.

These sins and actions render darkness in our hearts by slowly diminishing the spirituality and distancing the person from God-consciousness. These acts of disobedience and sins have a great effect on our lives. When sins accumulate they gradually seal one’s heart; their doer becomes heedless because we do not pay any attention to them like mentioned above we become ‘thick skinned’. 


As a result the enormity of sins is removed from the heart to such an extent that we become regular sinners then consider them as mere habits. A person continues to commit vices until he or she puts them down and considers them as trivial and daily occurrences of no consequence.

Another disease of the heart that we all have is that smouldering deep within us and it is called, jealousy. This may be as a result of an underlying hatred for someone because they have been ‘blessed’ with more than we have. This fire is the major cause of malice, bitterness and hatred in our lives. All our religious upbringing teaches us not to fall into the trap of envying others. But alas we are human and we all have those feelings within us at one time or the other. ‘Do not covet those things in which Allah has bestowed His gifts more freely on some of you than on others’ (Quran 4:32)

Even the Bible says: For we were also sometimes foolish………..living in malice, and envy, hateful, and hating one another… (Titus 3:3) All our religious upbringing teaches us not to fall into the trap of envying others. But alas we are only human and we all have had those failings within us at one time or the other. ‘Do not covet those things in which Allah has bestowed His gifts more freely on some of you than on others’ (Quran 4:32)

This world of today is not a happy place because it is filled with so much hatred and envy that there is no longer any real peace in it. As humans we all have our ‘pet hates’ and dislike for somethings. But the worst type of hate that we can have is that for our fellow humans. We all have our pet hates especially when we dislike a certain person whom we believe have done us something wrong.

You cut ties with that person and haven’t spoken to them for a while? You blame all your problems on him/ her?  You’re not the only one; almost the whole of mankind today is diseased with this to the extent that almost every person is involved in hatred in one way or the other.
Let’s be honest, whether we like to admit it or not, of course we have all made mistakes, committed sins and no doubt we have wronged others, consciously or unknowingly, we have deceived others, we have also been back biting about others and no doubt we have lied to others. So what makes us focus onto brothers’ and sisters’ errors while we remain unconscious of our own? Not to forgive is like to live in arrogance, and ignorance of our own shortcomings.

Some people may have wronged us, they may have deceived us, or we may feel that they stabbed us in the back, were backbiting about us and lied to us. We may feel that we have a reason to ‘hate’ that someone; I am not the only one, each one of us carries some burden hidden within us; sometimes we translate dislike, anger, resentment and even jealousy to hatred, but to some degree we all have that sickness within us. This hatred can ignite a fire within us that can cause us many problems if it is not extinguished soon.

Regrettably such things are like a long festering and rotting wound – if we do not attend to it, it can only spread and get worse. That simmering rage within us can make us become anti-social, unlikeable and can even turn to hatred. Hate is emotionally draining and it can drive us to do strange things like taking revenge. We have to learn to exercise self-restraint and forgiveness so that we can live in harmony with our emotions so that we create inner peace.

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) As mere mortals it is only our pride and egos that prevent us from forgiving those who may 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. Allah loves us to have hearts that are ready to forgive: “But indeed if any shows patience and forgives that would truly be an exercise of courageous will and resolution in the conduct of affairs.” (Quran 42: 43)

Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) said; “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).”

Going even further he said: “the best of people are those who are slow to anger and quick to forgive. On the other hand the worst of people are those, who get angry quickly but are slow to forgive. The characteristic that makes a person most likely to forgive is the purity of his or her heart.” Apologies must be accepted, the Prophet (PBUH) said that: “Whoever apologises to his brother and that apology is not accepted, then the person who refuses to accept the apology bears the sin of the other”.

The Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) put it clearly when he said “Be warned! In the body there is a lump of flesh (an organ) which if it is in good order then the rest of the limbs (actions & deeds) will be in good order and if it is corrupt then the rest of the limbs (actions & deeds) will be corrupt! Be warned! It is the heart!”

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Is COVID-19 Flogging an Already Dead Economic Horse?

9th September 2020

The Central Bank has by way of its Monetary Policy Statement informed us that the Botswana economy is likely to contract by 8.9 percent over the course of the year 2020.

The IMF paints an even gloomier picture – a shrinkage of the order of 9.6 percent.  That translates to just under $2 billion hived off from the overall economic yield given our average GDP of roughly $18 billion a year. In Pula terms, this is about P23 billion less goods and services produced in the country and you and I have a good guess as to what such a sum can do in terms of job creation and sustainability, boosting tax revenue, succouring both recurrent and development expenditure, and on the whole keeping our teeny-weeny economy in relatively good nick.

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Union of Blue Bloods

9th September 2020

Joseph’s and Judah’s family lines conjoin to produce lineal seed

Just to recap, General Atiku, the Israelites were not headed for uncharted territory. The Promised Land teemed with Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. These nations were not simply going to cut and run when they saw columns of battle-ready Israelites approach: they were going to fight to the death.

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Security Sector Private Bills: What are they about?

9th September 2020

Parliament has begun debates on three related Private Members Bills on the conditions of service of members of the Security Sector.

The Bills are Prisons (Amendment) Bill, 2019, Police (Amendment) Bill, 2019 and Botswana Defence Force (Amendment) Bill, 2019. The Bills seek to amend the three statutes so that officers are placed on full salaries when on interdictions or suspensions whilst facing disciplinary boards or courts of law.

In terms of the Public Service Act, 2008 which took effect in 2010, civil servants who are indicted are paid full salary and not a portion of their emolument. Section 35(3) of the Act specifically provides that “An employee’s salary shall not be withheld during the period of his or her suspension”.

However, when parliament reformed the public service law to allow civil servants to unionize, among other things, and extended the said protection of their salaries, the process was not completed. When the House conferred the benefit on civil servants, members of the disciplined forces were left out by not accordingly amending the laws regulating their employment.

The Bills stated above seeks to ask Parliament to also include members of the forces on the said benefit. It is unfair not to include soldiers or military officers, police officers and prison waders in the benefit. Paying an officer who is facing either external or internal charges full pay is in line with the notion of ei incumbit probation qui dicit, non qui negat or the presumption of innocence; that the burden of proof is on the one who declares, not on one who denies.

The officers facing charges, either internal disciplinary or criminal charges before the courts, must be presumed innocent until proven otherwise. Paying them a portion of their salary is penalty and therefore arbitrary. Punishment by way of loss of income or anything should come as a result of a finding on the guilt by a competent court of law, tribunal or disciplinary board.

What was the rationale behind this reform in 2008 when the Public Service Act was adopted? First it was the presumption of innocence until proven otherwise.

The presumption of innocence is the legal principle that one is considered “innocent until proven guilty”. In terms of the constitution and other laws of Botswana, the presumption of innocence is a legal right of the accused in a criminal trial, and it is an international human right under the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 11.

Withholding a civil servant’s salary because they are accused of an internal disciplinary offense or a criminal offense in the courts of law, was seen as punishment before a decision by a tribunal, disciplinary board or a court of law actually finds someone culpable. Parliament in its wisdom decided that no one deserves this premature punishment.

Secondly, it was considered that people’s lives got destroyed by withholding of financial benefits during internal or judicial trials. Protection of wages is very important for any worker. Workers commit their salaries, they pay mortgages, car loans, insurances, schools fees for children and other things. When public servants were experiencing salary cuts because of interdictions, they lost their homes, cars and their children’s future.

They plummeted into instant destitution. People lost their livelihoods. Families crumbled. What was disheartening was that in many cases, these workers are ultimately exonerated by the courts or disciplinary tribunals. When they are cleared, the harm suffered is usually irreparable. Even if one is reimbursed all their dues, it is difficult to almost impossible to get one’s life back to normal.

There is a reasoning that members of the security sector should be held to very high standards of discipline and moral compass. This is true. However, other more senior public servants such as judges, permanent secretary to the President and ministers have faced suspensions, interdictions and or criminal charges in the courts but were placed on full salaries.

The yardstick against which security sector officers are held cannot be higher than the aforementioned public officials. It just wouldn’t make sense. They are in charge of the security and operate in a very sensitive area, but cannot in anyway be held to higher standards that prosecutors, magistrates, judges, ministers and even senior officials such as permanent secretaries.

Moreover, jail guards, police officers and soldiers, have unique harsh punishments which deter many of them from committing misdemeanors and serious crimes. So, the argument that if the suspension or interdiction with full pay is introduced it would open floodgates of lawlessness is illogical.

Security Sector members work in very difficult conditions. Sometimes this drives them into depression and other emotional conditions. The truth is that many seldom receive proper and adequate counseling or such related therapies. They see horrifying scenes whilst on duty. Jail guards double as hangmen/women.

Detectives attend to autopsies on cases they are dealing with. Traffic police officers are usually the first at accident scenes. Soldiers fight and kill poachers. In all these cases, their minds are troubled. They are human. These conditions also play a part in their behaviors. They are actually more deserving to be paid full salaries when they’re facing allegations of misconduct.

To withhold up to 50 percent of the police, prison workers and the military officers’ salaries during their interdiction or suspensions from work is punitive, insensitive and prejudicial as we do not do the same for other employees employed by the government.

The rest enjoy their full salaries when they are at home and it is for a good reason as no one should be made to suffer before being found blameworthy. The ruling party seems to have taken a position to negate the Bills and the collective opposition argue in the affirmative. The debate have just began and will continue next week Thursday, a day designated for Private Bills.

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