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RELIGION: A commercial undertaking???

IQBAL EBRAHIM

UNDERSTANDING ISLAM

Allah Almighty declares in the Holy Qur’an: O people of the book….worship none but Allah; that we associate no partners with Him; that we do not erect, from among ourselves Lords and patrons other than Allah. (Quran 3: 64).  Do not, then, claim that there is any power that could rival God, when you know the truth.” (Qur’an 2 : 21-22)

In this verse of the Holy Qur’an, The Almighty speaks of the futility of worshipping others besides Him.  He addresses humanity to direct all acts of worship to Him alone. He is their Creator and Lord. Allah is the One who created us into being out of nothingness. Whilst Islam is very clear about the belief of an individual, as stated in the following verse in the Quran: ‘Let there be no compulsion in Religion; truth stands out clear from error; whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks’ (Quran 2: 256)

Lately we have witnessed an ‘explosion’ in the number of so-called ‘New’ churches being formed – these are the subject of focus, not the older established ones that have existed and have been known for years. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) spoke of the proliferation of false prophets and imposters when he said: “In the end times men will come forth who will fraudulently use religion for worldly ends and wear sheepskins in public to display meekness. Their tongues will be sweeter than sugar, but their hearts will be hearts of wolves”. And, “The Last Hour will not come before there come forth imposters, each presenting himself as an apostle of Allah (God)”.

Read what the Bible says: “But understand this that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people”. (2 Timothy 3: 1-5)
Are we entering the ‘last days’? How do you explain the explosion in the number of those claiming to be prophets?

Yes, we all know about those people. Just look around and observe the many imposters who lay claim to be ‘prophets’, having received ‘revelations’ masquerading as religious men and women of God.  The Qur’an warns these people; ‘Who can be more wicked than one who invents lies against Allah….. who says, ‘it has been revealed to me’, when nothing has been revealed to him….if you could see how the wicked fare in the throes of death….a penalty of shame that you used to tell lies against Allah….(Quran 6:93).  

The Bible also warns: ‘Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves’. (Matt 7: 15). ‘I have not sent these prophets…I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied….I have heard what the prophets said…saying I have dreamt…..yea they are prophets of deceit… (Jeremiah 23: 21 – 28).

Whilst it is the constitutional right of anyone to follow his / her own belief; there arises a problem because it appears that the objective of some of the founding fathers of these new churches is just to bleed their gullible congregation dry of their money. Many have been formed just to ‘raise’ money for the church founders and leaders.  Remember you cannot buy God’s favour with money, I remind them to read the Bible: “Thy money perishes with thee because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money”. (Acts 8; 20).  Surely, God is not in need of money or any form of wealth – so where does it go to is a question that adherents should ask.      

It is amazing the number of ‘churches’ that are springing up in Botswana and their leaders  laying claim to being a ‘prophet’, ‘prophetess’, bishop, minister, and even claiming to be the ‘chosen one’ and the word ‘anointed’ often creeps up. The word anointed amuses me whenever I read it because it means; to be ‘smeared’, rubbed with oil; there was even one who sprayed the congregants with Doom insect spray. One can only label him as the Prophet of Doom. The only anointment that some of these fake ‘prophets’ need is to be tarred and feathered like In the days of old, when any person who was a nuisance to society was publicly smeared with tar and feathered!

Today we have ‘priests’ of dubious credentials, who overnight establish these churches – unfortunately many of them are nothing but business ventures disguised as ‘a church’ and indirectly smear the name of Christianity as a religious belief and tradition. Nowhere in the religious texts does it say that we should collect money to fund the lavish lifestyle of a church leader

We only have to look at these church leaders high and expensive lifestyles; leaders who promise ‘miraculous riches’ to their followers and in return literally siphon thousands of pula from their (gullible) adherents. What they are doing is to sell the name of God for the miserable price of a personal gain. “For the love of money is the root of all evil; which while some coveted after, they have erred from faith and pierced themselves through with many sorrows”. (Bible: 1 Timothy 6; 10). Think about this one: He who serves God only for money will serve the devil for a better wage.

Has mankind degenerated and sunk to such a low moral point that there are some who are willing to use God’s name for their personal benefit? Have they forgetting that one day we all have to die and they will be called to account for their actions.  ‘Miserable is the price for which they have sold their souls, in that what they deny the revelation which God has sent down…and humiliating is the punishment of those who reject faith’ (Qur’an 2:90)

Apart from preaching a ‘Gospel of Prosperity’, (for themselves), we also read with disgust of the antics of some of these religious leaders who have illegal love affairs with members of their congregation; It is frightening that some of these new found churches are led by, of course with a few exceptions, charlatans with loose morals and this is directly against Biblical teachings.
 

Religion is not only a set of rituals and of performing certain duties; it is an all-embracing system that Believers take as a way of life. It means that our intentions, deeds and actions must be based on firm belief, good intentions and the awareness of our Creator. It is therefore a duty of the believer to make every effort to guide people to the right path by reminding them of their duty to their Creator; by spreading the ‘good word’ but more especially leading by example.

This world is but a passing phase we therefore have to change our lifestyles and bring God back into our lives, failure to do so will bring us eternal damnation ….’and if any of you turn back from their faith and die in unbelief, their works will bear them no fruit in this life and the Hereafter; they will be the companions of the fire and will abide therein’. (Qur’an 2:217). People! Let us find our way to God Almighty through genuine and sincere prayer not through the promise of purchasing His favours via your ‘donation’ – God asks for your heart and soul, not your money.

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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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