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Islam and Justice

IQBAL EBRAHIM

UNDERSTANDING ISLAM

Justice comes in many packages, shapes and sizes; when we think of the word, what first crops up in our minds is the legal aspect of it; we think of the magistrates and high courts, kgotla cases, drawn out legal battles etc. for the dispensation of justice. For justice to exist we need to ensure that we respect the rights or obligations, or the guilt or innocence of others. There are three important principles that reflect the observance of justice. These are: 

That no one shall be condemned without being given a hearing. 2. That justice shall not only be done but shall be noticeably be seen to be done. 3. That no one shall be a judge in his own case.All these principles are in observance of the legal norms of justice are also enjoined by the Quran. We however need to translate and practice them in our own lives and in our daily existence because in most cases we fail the test of dispensing simple justice especially in our thoughts and in our actions.  

For example we as humans have that weakness and the tendency to prejudge people. We look at a person and even if we do not know the personal details of their lifestyles, life or even character we can be quick to draw conclusions about them. Yes it is true that some people display characteristics of say a swagger in their step, the manner in which they talk and the ‘show off’ manners in everything they do. True many of us tend to keep a wide berth from them – fair enough. But let us not prejudge them from the characteristics they display, because we are not giving them justice, let them be.   

The Quran not only highlights the importance of justice but also tells us how to do justice when it says: “Indeed We have sent Our Messengers with clear proofs, and revealed to them the Scripture and Balance (justice) that mankind may keep up justice.” (Quran 57: 25). The verse, in fact, tells us that Allah sent His Messengers and with them, the Books to enlighten the people, among other things, on the importance of balance so that they learn how to do justice. The word “Balance” means the maintenance of evenness in all our dealings and affairs. In our daily human activities, when the standards of balance are applied in relation to one’s self or in relation to others, we have to ensure that their rights and obligations protected. That is the main pillar and element of justice at our level.

Observing and doing justice is one of the key features of the Qur’anic teachings.  It has been classified as being affiliated to piety: “….be just, that is next to piety and fear Allah. For Allah is well acquainted with all that you do….” (Quran 5:8). Its importance and practice has been emphasized in several different ways: 

One is when the Quran directly enjoins the believers to do justice and refrain from doing injustice: “Allah commands justice, the doing of good…..and He forbids all shameful deeds, and injustice and rebellion….. “ (Quran 16: 90). ‘And when you judge between man and man… To judge with justice’ (Quran 4 ; 58)  

The other is when Quran says that Allah loves those who do justice “… if they do come to you, either judge between them or decline to interfere. If you decline they cannot hurt you in the least. If you judge, judge in equity between them. Allah loves those who judge in equity.”  (Quran 5: 42) and warns those who carry the sins of biased justice: …”All faces will be humbled before Him…. Hopeless indeed will be the one who carries iniquity on his back.  (Quran 20: 111).  

The third is when the Quran instructs the believers to be firm and foremost in doing justice for the sake of Allah: “ ….stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even as against yourselves, or your parents or your kin, or whether it be against rich or poor; for Allah can best protect both…  (Quran 4: 135).  Normally whatever a person does, he does for his own sake.  But through this verse the Quran enjoins the believers to do justice regardless to whom it may be for the sake of Allah which shows how important doing justice is.

This verse exhorts and guides believers to do justice even if it may be against themselves, or to their parents or to their relatives and irrespective of the fact that the party concerned is rich or poor: It means that we have to do justice uninfluenced by self-interest or any other affiliation or motive. However in our normal lives there are some factors that can mislead us from the path of justice: a: Our Love, lusts or our passions. b: Our family or our relationships, our friends and others. c: And of course our animosity, dislike and hatred for others. 

The Quran clearly encourages and urges believers not to be influenced by any of these factors: “….We did indeed make you a vicegerent on earth, so you judge between men in truth and justice; nor do you follow the lusts of your heart, for they will mislead you from the Path of Allah; for those who stray from the Path of Allah, is a penalty grievous….” (Quran 38: 26).

Further the Qur’an says: ‘And cover not truth with falsehood, nor conceal the truth when you know what it is (2:42). It says again: “And conceal not the evidence, for he who hides it surely his heart is sinful …(Quran 2: 238) and further “…be staunch and firm in giving evidence.” (Quran 4: 135). 

The Quran goes on and urges believers to be steadfast in doing justice and that their hatred and dislike for some people should not interfere and turn them away from the path of justice: “…stand out firmly for Allah as witnesses to fair dealing and let not the hatred of others make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice …. (Quran 5: 8). In other words, we have to be just even to our enemies and persons that we dislike. There are many other verses that capture the elements of ‘justice’ and the due respect for others. Among them are: O ye who believe, let not some among you laugh at others….nor defame, not to be sarcastic to each other by calling them by offensive nick names…nor speak ill of each other behind their backs’ 49; 11-12  

This element of justice is not limited to Islam only as there are verses in the Bible that cover and highlight this: “To do justice and judgement is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.” (Proverbs 21: 3) “judge not, and ye shall not be judged; condemn not and ye shall not be condemned; forgive and you shall be forgiven’ (Luke 6:37). “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour” (Exodus 20: 16);; “Defend the poor and fatherless, do justice to the afflicted and the needy.” (Psalms 82: 3); 

From this we note that it brings to the fore that justice and truth has many facets and components to it. It is not only limited to the courts of law, but it is and should be a feature of our everyday life, in our thoughts and actions. This includes our reaction, treatment and the manner in which we treat the rest of humankind.

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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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