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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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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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