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Arrogance and Pride

IQBAL EBRAHIM

UNDERSTANDING ISLAM

There is something that we all dislike, that is a person who thinks he is superior, is haughty, rude, a proud show off or even one who treats us in an arrogant manner? Nor do we like the person who has a big ego, belittles us and treats us as below him. Frankly we all dislike arrogance…. in others.

There are many sicknesses of the heart, but the ones that take the lead are arrogance and a superiority complex. Because we all have human frailties anyone of us at one time or the other is prone to behave in the manner described above. The first sign of arrogance is when a person thinks that he is superior to other people this goes hand in hand with pride and are usually a by-product of our arrogance; that makes us so wrapped up in our own self-importance that we strut about like proud peacocks simply because we believe that we are better than others.

For some of us our worldly material possessions and things that pumps up our ego. Things like money, wealth, possessions, wearing only ‘branded’ clothing, driving fancy cars, owning the latest and fanciest mobile phone, or live in a posh house in an equally posh  neighbourhood. For many of us, these things go to our head and it leads us to think that we are superior and therefore better than others.

In today’s world many of us who think we have reached a certain ‘social standing’, our arrogance flows out of us and we become inclined to calling people with offensive names or nicknames, making fun of and belittling others. We make fun of others because we think that they are of ‘low standing and beneath us’, so somehow we relegate them to insignificant status.  

Just a simple example of some people’s arrogance, there has been a spate of complaints of ‘cheap’ Chinese clothes flooding the market. Many complain simply because they would never wear this ‘cheap clothing’. But has it ever occurred to them that today even the very poor amongst us who cannot afford to buy our type branded clothing are now able to dress up and look good in those clothes that we consider below our dignity because they are cheap?

The Almighty warns us: ‘Swell not thy cheek with pride at men nor walk in insolence through the earth; for Allah loves not the arrogant boaster’ (Qur’an 31:18). And ‘Allah loves not the arrogant, the vainglorious’. (Quran 4:36). Yet despite these warnings we still carry on with our exaggerated self-importance. Little do we realise that whatever we have in this world is a ‘gift from Allah’; we are but temporary custodians and these worldly blessings are a mere test for us and that He can take them back at any time.

Regrettably for some our wealth tends to inflate our egos and make us feel a cut above the rest and we tend to lose our moral and religious upbringing. But remember the Bible also warns in Mark 10: 25: ‘It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God’.   

Another type is arrogance displayed in a person is one that shows contempt and scorn for others and this can be based in terms of lineage, race, colour and even religious identity. Hard as it is to believe but there are some religious people who display a ‘holier than thou’ attitude and consider themselves as better than others because of their religious knowledge and even tag themselves with labels such as prophet, the anointed or chosen ones.

In Islam the first arrogance is the account of Satan in the Quran and it offers an interesting insight on the danger of pride. When God commanded all creation to prostrate to Adam (to symbolizes the high potential of the human who is the reflection of Divine attributes), all angels bowed down, but Satan refused. "Lord said: O Satan! what prevented you from bowing down to him whom I created with My hands? Are you proud or are you of the exalted ones? Satan said: I am better than he; Thou hast created me of fire, and him Thou didst create of dust." – Quran 38:75- 76

Even in Christianity arrogance and haughtiness are frowned upon because in this instance where Jesus (PBUH) says: Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: "The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat, so that you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach………”

"Everything they do is done for men to see: They make their religious garb wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honour at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them 'Rabbi.'…….The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. (Matthew 23:1-12).

The Qur’an has a long verse that broadly tells and warns us of this: ‘O ye who believe! 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: Ill-seeming is a name connoting wickedness, (to be used of one) after he has believed: And those who do not desist are (indeed) doing wrong.

O ye who believe! Avoid suspicion as much (as possible): for suspicion in some cases is a sin: And spy not on each other behind their backs. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? Nay, ye would abhor it…But fear Allah: For Allah is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful. O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and races, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (one who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things). (Quran 49: 11-13)

For a Muslim that is the golden median that we should use to live our lives and how we should view, treat and interact with our fellow humans. What the world needs today is to bring humbleness and humility back into our lives, once we can do this, we will find our arrogance taking a back seat. But unfortunately today we tend to view humility and humbleness in others as a sign of their weakness.   

We have to once again learn to become and also to teach our children those eternal values of humility and humbleness. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, "Allah revealed to me that we should be humble amongst ourselves and none should show pride upon the others, and it is not befitting for one to do so."

So are we ready to get off our high horses and live a life humility and humbleness because in the grand scheme of God’s creations we are but an minute particle in creation, and without doubt, rich or poor, haughty or humble, we all have to die one day, there is no escaping death. In Islam our equality goes further, rich or poor, the ruler or the ruled, the high and mighty or the lowest among us; we all leave this world to be buried wrapped in a simple cotton shroud – no fancy coffins. What more proof do you want that we are equal and no better than the others?

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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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