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Parenting

IQBAL EBRAHIM
UNDERSTANDING ISLAM

At a certain point of reaching adulthood, the desire to become a parent intensifies in the lives of many people and the consciousness develops. The feeling of wanting a child is something that is natural for many mothers to be, it is a necessary and a very basic part of human life.

The desire increases and is felt and once a child is born this void is then filled. A new generation is born, and one of the biggest responsibilities has then been placed upon the parent. Regrettably in this day and age there are many single mothers who have been deserted by their spouses or partners. In the past the vast majority of children were born to married couples but in this day and age it seems that we find many single parents.

‘O you who believe! Save yourself and your families from the Fire of Hell’. (Ch. 66: V6). Islam thus requires parents to raise children and to ensure that training and guidance begin early.  Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: ‘No father has given a greater gift to his children than good moral training, good manners and good character.” 

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 Prophet (PBUH) said: "All of you are shepherds and each of you is responsible for his flock." Therefore children should be seen and treated as a blessing and trust of Allah, and brought up with care and affection and taught proper responsibilities etiquettes and behaviour.

Training children so that they can grow up to become responsible adults requires that parents actively maintain an atmosphere at home that is conducive to positive learning and upbringing. It is well known that a child that is raised in a household where argumentation, fighting, and abuse abound not only learns that type of behaviour but can develop a personality disorder later in life.
 
Unfortunately, not many people actually consider at a deeper level what it means to become a parent. Parents should ensure that there is a proper home environment that inculcates the best moral and behavioural standards. Therefore we have to provide for our children a healthy environment for their upbringing. The children grow up lost, without that natural bond to the parents that they so desperately require. But looking at family life today is that possible?

This question is pertinent because many homes today are filled with strife and are not conducive to proper upbringing of children. Homes are no longer the safe havens of peace, tranquillity and comfort that we once knew. Many are filled with domestic violence, drunkenness, vulgar language, family strife, the lack of respect and a whole host of modern day ills. With the destruction of the cohesive family unit how then do we expect to raise well-adjusted children in this poisoned atmosphere?

This, therefore, requires that parents, too, have to model their lives according to the Islamic way of life. Children can get conflicting messages and thus can get confused when they do not see parents and elders following the instructions that they give to them, or when out of excessive love for them, parents become so indulgent that they turn a blind eye to their sins and fail in checking them.

Regardless parents hold an enormous responsibility and influence in terms of what they teach their children and accordingly how their children grow up to be adult. Islam therefore, holds parents responsible for steering their children’s upbringing according to the guidelines of the Quran and the traditions, examples and teachings Prophet Muhammed (pbuh).

The Quran and teachings of the Prophet (pbuh) guide and teach us about the need to raise our families in the light of our final destination, which may be translated in the following words: Children have the right, therefore, to be raised as responsible Muslim adults and parents must ensure that right appropriately. Parents must be conscious and take an active role in guiding their children and families on the path of truth.

Islamic training begins at an early age when the child is taught the religious responsibilities such as learning to read and memorize verses of or even the whole Qur’an, the performance of daily Prayers, and all the other Islamic etiquettes that are a standard part of any Muslim’s daily activity.  Another essential part of training includes the proper respect, obedience and consideration towards one’s parents and the behaviour and attitude towards society in general.

Besides teaching children the rituals of worship and the rights of individuals, children should be taught Islamic morals, characters, and etiquette from an early age so that it becomes part of their habits. Children should be taught the principles of humility, tolerance, patience, and other such behavioural traits. For example, teach them about patience and tolerance and dealing with tough situations, and they will be thankful to you for the rest of their lives. Those of us who struggle in life by not having properly learned such conduct may also very well know their value.

Parents should put in their best efforts to ensure that their children become true believers and keep Islam alive in their lives and their families’ lives after their death. Parental efforts are, therefore, quite instrumental in inculcating the love of Islam and the desire to worship in the right manner. Parents should also recognize that raising good children can be a source of their salvation in the hereafter.

This is because if parents raise good Allah-fearing children, those children will offer prayers to Allah for their parents and their salvation after their death. The Quran guides us on our prayers to include: "Our Lord! Forgive me and my parents, and (all) the believers on the Day when the reckoning will be established."(Quran 14: 41)

Regrettably in this day and age our children encounter serious problems which include drug abuse, school failures and drop outs, delinquency, violence and unwanted pregnancies; these have reached tragic proportions in part because of the deteriorated environments in which young people are raised, more often because of the lack of parental guidance and role models. These negative characteristics usually arise as a result of spoiling the children, or allowing others to do the same. Love needs to be shown to children in a beneficial manner, one that encourages love and appreciation.

When children require discipline it must be done consistently and fairly. It is unjust upon a child to allow them to do something one day and then to discipline them for the same thing another day. Parents must set clear and consistent boundaries. Children are often mirrors of their own parents and environments. They absorb their surroundings and become a product of their experiences. The parents have the right and indeed must exercise the right of controlling and continuously filtering this environment and ensure they keep their children close.

Parents will indeed reap what they sow if they worked hard to bring this child close to their Lord then they shall see the fruits of that work when they require it most. Remember one thing: when we are dead and gone, people may not remember our children by name. But when they misbehave or act in a good manner, they will say ngwana wa ga …. so and so, in other words so and so’s child. What legacy do we want to leave behind?

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The Daring Dozen at Bari

8th December 2020
JEFF---Batswana-smoke-unit

Seventy-seven years ago, on the evening of December 2, 1943, the Germans launched a surprise air raid on allied shipping in the Italian port of Bari, which was then the key supply centre for the British 8th army’s advance in Italy.

The attack was spearheaded by 105 Junkers JU88 bombers under the overall command of the infamous Air Marshal Wolfram von Richthofen (who had initially achieved international notoriety during the Spanish Civil War for his aerial bombardment of Guernica). In a little over an hour the German aircraft succeeded in sinking 28 transport and cargo ships, while further inflicting massive damage to the harbour’s facilities, resulting in the port being effectively put out of action for two months.

Over two thousand ground personnel were killed during the raid, with the release of a secret supply of mustard gas aboard one of the destroyed ships contributing to the death toll, as well as subsequent military and civilian casualties. The extent of the later is a controversy due to the fact that the American and British governments subsequently covered up the presence of the gas for decades.

At least five Batswana were killed and seven critically wounded during the raid, with one of the wounded being miraculously rescued floating unconscious out to sea with a head wound. He had been given up for dead when he returned to his unit fourteen days later. The fatalities and casualties all occurred when the enemy hit an ammunition ship adjacent to where 24 Batswana members of the African Pioneer Corps (APC) 1979 Smoke Company where posted.

Thereafter, the dozen surviving members of the unit distinguished themselves for their efficiency in putting up and maintaining smokescreens in their sector, which was credited with saving additional shipping. For his personal heroism in rallying his men following the initial explosions Company Corporal Chitu Bakombi was awarded the British Empire Medal, while his superior officer, Lieutenant N.F. Moor was later given an M.B.E.

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A Strong Marriage Bond Needs Two

8th December 2020

Remember: bricks and cement are used to build a house, but mutual love, respect and companionship are used to build a HOME. And amongst His signs is this: He creates for you mates out of your own kind, so that you may find contentment (Sukoon) with them, and He engenders love and tenderness between you; in this behold, there are signs (messages) indeed for people who reflect and think (Quran 30:21).

This verse talks about contentment; this implies companionship, of their being together, sharing together, supporting one another and creating a home of peace. This verse also talks about love between them; this love is both physical and emotional. For love to exist it must be built on the foundation of a mutually supportive relationship guided by respect and tenderness. As the Quran says; ‘they are like garments for you, and you are garments for them (Quran 2:187)’. That means spouses should provide each other with comfort, intimacy and protection just as clothing protects, warms and dignifies the body.

In Islam marriage is considered an ‘ibaadah’, (an act of pleasing Allah) because it is about a commitment made to each other, that is built on mutual love, interdependence, integrity, trust, respect, companionship and harmony towards each other. It is about building of a home on an Islamic foundation in which peace and tranquillity reigns wherein your offspring are raised in an atmosphere conducive to a moral and upright upbringing so that when we all stand before Him (Allah) on that Promised Day, He will be pleased with them all.

Most marriages start out with great hopes and rosy dreams; spouses are truly committed to making their marriages work. However, as the pressures of life mount, many marriages change over time and it is quite common for some of them to run into problems and start to flounder as the reality of living with a spouse that does not meet with one’s pre-conceived ‘expectations’. However, with hard work and dedication, couples can keep their marriages strong and enjoyable. How is it done? What does it take to create a long-lasting, satisfying marriage?

Below are some of the points that have been taken from a marriage guidance article I read recently and adapted for this purposes.

POSITIVITY
Spouses should have far more positive than negative interactions. If there is too much negativity — criticizing, demanding, name-calling, holding grudges, etc. — the relationship will suffer. However, if there is never any negativity, it probably means that frustrations and grievances are not getting ‘air time’ and unresolved tension is accumulating inside one or both partners waiting to ‘explode’ one day.

“Let not some men among you laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor let some women laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor defame nor be sarcastic to each other, nor call each other by (offensive) nicknames.” (49:11)

We all have our individual faults though we may not see them nor want to admit to them but we will easily identify them in others. The key is balance between the two extremes and being supportive of one another. To foster positivity in a marriage that help make them stable and happy, being affectionate, truly listening to each other, taking joy in each other’s achievements and being playful are just a few examples of positive interactions.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “The believers who show the most perfect faith are those who have the best character and the best of you are those who are best to their wives”

UNDERSTANDING

Another characteristic of happy marriages is empathy; understanding your spouses’ perspective by putting oneself in his or her shoes. By showing that understanding and identifying with your spouse is important for relationship satisfaction. Spouses are more likely to feel good about their marriage and if their partner expresses empathy towards them. Husbands and wives are more content in their relationships when they feel that their partners understand their thoughts and feelings.

Successful married couples grow with each other; it simply isn’t wise to put any person in charge of your happiness. You must be happy with yourself before anyone else can be.  You are responsible for your actions, your attitudes and your happiness. Your spouse just enhances those things in your life. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers.”

COMMITMENT

Successful marriages involve both spouses’ commitment to the relationship. The married couple should learn the art of compromise and this usually takes years. The largest parts of compromise are openness to the other’s point of view and good communication when differences arise.

When two people are truly dedicated to making their marriage work, despite the unavoidable challenges and obstacles that come, they are much more likely to have a relationship that lasts. Husbands and wives who only focus on themselves and their own desires are not as likely to find joy and satisfaction in their relationships.

ACCEPTANCE

Another basic need in a relationship is each partner wants to feel valued and respected. When people feel that their spouses truly accept them for who they are, they are usually more secure and confident in their relationships. Often, there is conflict in marriage because partners cannot accept the individual preferences of their spouses and try to demand change from one another. When one person tries to force change from another, he or she is usually met with resistance.

However, change is much more likely to occur when spouses respect differences and accept each other unconditionally. Basic acceptance is vital to a happy marriage. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “It is the generous (in character) who is good to women, and it is the wicked who insults them.”
“Overlook (any human faults) with gracious forgiveness.” (Quran 15:85)

COMPASSION, MUTUAL LOVE AND RESPECT

Other important components of successful marriages are love, compassion and respect for each other. The fact is, as time passes and life becomes increasingly complicated, the marriage is often stressed and suffers as a result. A happy and successful marriage is based on equality. When one or the other dominates strongly, intimacy is replaced by fear of displeasing.

It is all too easy for spouses to lose touch with each other and neglect the love and romance that once came so easily. It is vital that husbands and wives continue to cultivate love and respect for each other throughout their lives. If they do, it is highly likely that their relationships will remain happy and satisfying. Move beyond the fantasy and unrealistic expectations and realize that marriage is about making a conscious choice to love and care for your spouse-even when you do not feel like it.

Seldom can one love someone for whom we have no respect. This also means that we have to learn to overlook and forgive the mistakes of one’s partner. In other words write the good about your partner in stone and the bad in dust, so that when the wind comes it blows away the bad and only the good remains.

Paramount of all, marriage must be based on the teachings of the Noble Qur’an and the teachings and guidance of our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). To grow spiritually in your marriage requires that you learn to be less selfish and more loving, even during times of conflict. A marriage needs love, support, tolerance, honesty, respect, humility, realistic expectations and a sense of humour to be successful.

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Chronic Joblessness: How to Help Curtail it

30th November 2020
Motswana woman

The past week or two has been a mixed grill of briefs in so far as the national employment picture is concerned. BDC just injected a further P64 million in Kromberg & Schubert, the automotive cable manufacturer and exporter, to help keep it afloat in the face of the COVID-19-engendered global economic apocalypse. The financial lifeline, which follows an earlier P36 million way back in 2017, hopefully guarantees the jobs of 2500, maybe for another year or two.

It was also reported that a bulb manufacturing company, which is two years old and is youth-led, is making waves in Selibe Phikwe. Called Bulb Word, it is the only bulb manufacturing operation in Botswana and employs 60 people. The figure is not insignificant in a town that had 5000 jobs offloaded in one fell swoop when BCL closed shop in 2016 under seemingly contrived circumstances, so that as I write, two or three buyers have submitted bids to acquire and exhume it from its stage-managed grave.

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