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As Long As There is Life… There is Hope!

IQBAL EBRAHIM

UNDERSTANDING ISLAM

We go through our daily lives with tests and challenges – sometimes we get so overwhelmed by them that we begin to ask ‘why me’. When these things happen our patience is tested and some people go into depression, lose faith and hope and even go as far getting into a state of limbo because we lose rationality.  When the future looks bleak we must remember the saying; ‘every cloud has a silver lining’.

As difficult as it may seem when one faces hardships and tribulations, one should be joyous of the blessing it brings with it. This is because every hardship and suffering is an opportunity because it is more than what you see. And we must always remember that life has its challenges, its ups and downs: The Qur’an says; ‘And We will most certainly try you with somewhat of fear and hunger and loss of property and lives and fruits; and give good news to the patient, Who, when a misfortune befalls them, say: “Surely we are Allah's and to Him we shall surely return.” Those are they, on whom are blessings and mercy from their Lord, and those are the followers of the right course’. (Quran 2: 155 – 157)

Allah the Exalted states: "And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient. Who, when disaster strikes them, say, "Indeed we belong to Allah, and indeed to Him we will return; "Those are the ones upon whom are blessings from their Lord and mercy. And it is those who are the (rightly) guided. He who created death and life to test you (as to) which of you is best in deed – and He is the Exalted in Might, the Forgiving. (Qur'an 67:2)

When things challenge us we may ask why me, why now. There are a number of reasons why Allah allows hard times to befall us. Even the genuine believers experience hardship and adversity at some stage in their lives in accordance to the Almighty’s wisdom and plan:

Test of Faith

It is Almighty’s design to put the human through hardship and adversity so as to test our faith, our resolve and trust in Him: Do the people think that they will be left to say, “We believe,” without being put to the test? We have tested those before them, for God must distinguish those who are truthful, and He must expose the liars. Quran 29:2-3).Also: We will surely test you through some fear, hunger, and loss of money, lives, and crops. Give good news to the steadfast. (2:155)

To pass the test, the believer must maintain his  HYPERLINK "http://aboutislam.net/reading-islam/finding-peace/trusting-allah/how-to-boost-our-trust-in-god/" t "_blank" trust that only God Almighty can relieve his hardship. The believer will maintain his prayer and call onto Him:

2- Cleansing our Soul

Hardship and adversity is an opportunity to cleanse our souls from sins we have already committed. As a result, some of the bad things that happen to us are a direct result of sins we have committed

3- Gratefulness

Hardship and adversity is a reminder for people who tend to take things for granted and forget our blessings. Despite all the blessings given to the human by God, we can be unappreciative. A little reminder in the shape of hardship or adversity may hopefully do the job of teaching the human not to take God’s blessings for granted:

If you count God’s blessings, you can never number them. Indeed, the human being is transgressing, unappreciative. (Quran 14:34) When we bless the human being, he turns away, and drifts farther and farther away, and when he suffers any affliction, he comes full of prolonged prayer (Quran 41: 51)

4- Remembering God

Adversity and hardship is also a very effective reminder for those who are too much absorbed in the worldly life, and thus they may not be as devoted to God as they should be. Due to their being too preoccupied with this worldly life they do not seek God nor call on God as they should:

He is the One who moves you across the land and sea. You get onto the ships, and they sail smoothly in a nice breeze. Then, while rejoicing therein, violent wind blows, and the waves surround them from every side. This is when they implore God, sincerely devoting their prayers to Him alone: “If You only save us this time, we will be eternally appreciative.

But as soon as He saves them, they transgress on earth, and oppose the truth. O people, your transgression is only to the detriment of your own souls. You remain preoccupied with this worldly life, then to us is your ultimate return, then we inform you of everything you had done.(Quran 10; 22-23)

The least we can do is to thank Almighty Allah for having created and given us life. Not only that, we have to thank Him for having created us as human beings with human features. As long as there is life, there is hope… Think about it, you are much better off than others who are born permanently blind, deaf-mute, with cerebral palsy, psychiatric and other incurable diseases, etc. that cannot be treated. The Qur’an says:  And your Lord creates and chooses whom He pleases; to choose is not theirs; glory be to Allah, and exalted be He above what they associate [with Him]. (Quran 28: 68)

Like it or not each one of us will have all sorts of tests in our lives from the Almighty, but during those ‘bad’ moments, we must always remember that Allah will never impose a burden on us more than what we can bear.  ‘On no soul Allah places a burden greater that it can bear. It gets every good that it earns and it suffers every ill that it earns. Pray: Our Lord do not condemn us if we forget or fall into error; our Lord do not lay on us a burden like that which you laid on those before us; our Lord do not lay on us a burden greater than we have the strength to bear. Blot out our sins and grant us forgiveness’. (Quran 2: 286).

Each one of us faces or suffers from an assortment of problems and challenges in our daily lives. Let us remember that each and every one of us has come into this earth and we should be thankful because we have our life around us. Think about it we could have been still-born, born in a royal palace or in a slum, as handsome or ugly, as a boy or girl, with high IQ or a lower one, with no genetic deformity or with other hereditary diseases. Every person’s ID card relating to how we are born, how we will look, how we will the other human characteristics his anatomy, are programmed into our bodies whilst we are in the womb.

Therefore we must be thankful to Allah, both in adversity and prosperity, as the Qur’an says. ‘And if We make man taste mercy from Us, then take it off from him, most surely he is despairing, ungrateful. And if We make him taste a favor after distress has afflicted him, he will certainly say: The evils are gone away from me. Most surely he is exulting, boasting; Except those who are patient and do good, they shall have forgiveness and a great reward.’ Quran 11: 9-11:

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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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