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Moses Divorces Miriam

Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER

He and his god Jehovah-Adad gang up against his popular half-sister wife

Exactly 2 years, 2 months, and 20 days since the Nation of Israel’s departure from Egypt,  the sentient cloud that hovered over the Tabernacle lifted. It was  a signal for the nation to break camp at Mount Sinai and commence the onward march to the Promised Land. The commencement of the march was indicated by the blast of a trumpet by  Aaron as per the enshrined protocol.  

The movement was not haphazard: it was orderly. The nation was divided into four groups of three tribes each. Group 1, also known as the Eastern Group (because its camp was located east of the Tabernacle),  comprised of the tribes of Judah; Issachar; and Zebulun. It was led by the tribe of Judah.  Group 2, also known as the Southern Group, consisted of the tribes of Reuben, Simeon, and Gad. It was led by the tribe of Reuben. Group 3, also known as the Western Group, was made up of the tribes of Ephraim, Manasseh, and Benjamin.

It was led by the tribe of Ephraim. And  Group 4, also known as the Northern Group,  constituted the tribes of Dan, Asher, and Naphtali. It was led by the tribe of Dan. However, when the nation was on the move, the Levites marched right behind the tribe of Zebulun and in front of the tribe of Reuben. Marching at the head of each tribe was the tribal leader, who bore the tribal banner.

Whilst the nation was on the march, the tribe charged with responsibility for handling components of the dismantled Tabernacle, also known as the Tent of Meeting, was the Levites. The Levites were divided into three groups, each descended from one of Levi’s three sons, namely Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.

The Kohathites took care of what was described as “the most holy things”. Puzzlingly, the Kohathites were not allowed to directly touch these things or even glimpse them. They carried them once the priests had wrapped them up. The items were borne on their shoulders. The Kohathites were supervised by Eleazer, Aaron’s oldest surviving son. The Gershonites carried the Tent itself, the curtains that screened off various areas, and the ropes that supported the curtains. The Merarites carried the wooden structure on which the cloth curtains would be hung once the Tent was erected.

Both the Gershonites and Merarites were supervised by  Ithamar, Eleazer’s younger brother.  Whereas the Kohathites carried their burdens on their own shoulders, the Gershonites and Merarites were provided with two wagons  and four oxen and four wagons and eight oxen respectively. The Levites were eligible to do Tabernacle-related duties between ages 25 and 50.

ISRAELITES SET UP CAMP AT KADESH

When the Israelites set out from Mt Sinai, their guide was neither Moses nor Aaron. It was Hobab, a brother-in-law of Moses by his Midianite wife Zipporah. Moses had prevailed upon Hobab to head the procession because of his thorough logistical knowledge of the Arabian region. Throughout the entire journey, Moses kept communicating with Adad using the Ark of the Covenant as well as invoking his name both for protection and overall guardianship.

The caravan marched 11 days before they set up camp at an oasis called Kibbroth-Hataavah in the greater  Kadesh Barnea region just on the border with Edom, today’s Jordan. At the time, Edom was controlled by the Amorites,  a nation of rather tall people who were descended from  Canaan, Ham’s fourth-born son.

Having set up camp and erected the Tabernacle, the Israelites camped according to a predetermined arrangement.  Immediately surrounding the Tabernacle were the Levites, with the Merarites to the north; the Kohathites to the south; and the Gershonites to the west. The eastern flank of the Tabernacle was reserved for Moses, Aaron, and Aaron’s sons.

The outer boundaries were occupied by the 12 tribes. They were Asher, Dan, and Naphtali to the north; Gad, Reuben, and Simeon to the south; Benjamin, Ephraim and Manasseh to the west; and Issachar, Judah, and Zebulun to the east. It is not stated where the Egyptians who had come along in the exodus were camped. Most likely they affiliated themselves to an adopted tribe.

MOSES ACCUSES ADAD OF CAUSING  EVIL

Meanwhile, the Israelite multitude had been pestering Ishkur-Adad, the Anunnaki Jehovah of the exodus, through Moses as early as the third day of their journey. They kept complaining about the gravity of the hardships they were facing. If there was one thing Adad hated, it was whining. Adad abhorred whingers, especially in light of what transpired in relation to the case of the Golden Calf. He thought such people were rabble rousers who could instigate the entire nation to rise up against him.

So this time around, Adad didn’t even talk. He acted there and then, without warning, as captured in NUMBERS 11:1-3 thus: “Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the LORD, and when he heard them his anger was aroused. Then fire from the LORD burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp.  When the people cried out to Moses, he prayed to the LORD and the fire died down.   So that place was called Taberah, because fire from the LORD had burned among them.”     

Of course the fire did not simply strike from the void of space: it was unleashed from Adad’s flying saucer, referred to as “the Glory of God” in the Bible. But the Israelites simply did not learn lessons, for this was not the last time they would ever step on Adad’s toes. For not very long after, Moses again was approached by a deputation of the nation led by what the Pentateuch authors call “the rabble”, their characterisation of the non-Israelite component of the exodus. 

These ring leaders made it clear to Moses that they were fed up of living on manna (not Ormus but Tamarisk manna, the flat cakes made from sweet, coriander-like seeds that were their main source of livelihood) and that they wanted proteinaceous food in the form of meat, failure to which they would hasten off and a beat a path back to Egypt, where they enjoyed “fish, cucumbers, melons, leeks, and garlic”.

Now, in hankering after meat, the people were not demanding the impossible: there was a precedent. Adad had supplied them with quail meat – not miraculously but naturally – whilst  they were camped at the Wilderness of Sin. So what they were basically asking for was a repeat of the same treat.  In fact, Moses sympathised with them because when he approached Adad over the matter, he put it to him that he wasn’t doing enough to cater to the needs of his chosen people and if things continued as they were, he (Moses) would rather Adad killed him and thus spare him the agony of seeing his people in perpetual misery.

These were Moses’ exact words as per NUMBERS 11:11-15:  “Why have You dealt evil to Your servant? And why have I not found grace in Your eyes  that You placed the load of all this people on me? Was I myself pregnant with all this people, or did I generate it, that You should say to me: Carry it in your bosom just as a foster father carries a suckling child, to the ground about which You had sworn to their fathers? From where would  I find flesh to give to all this people? For they are lamenting to me,  saying: Do give  us flesh, and let us eat.  I am not able, by myself alone, to bear all this people, for it is too heavy for me. So if  thus You are doing to me, kill me, I pray, yea kill me. If I have found grace in Your eyes then do not let me see  Your evil.”
    
ADAD SMITES “GLUTTONIES”

In the Bible, the repercussions of this statement have been downplayed, but it was a rather rash and reckless outburst. In point of fact, it was this outrage at Adad THAT FORFEITED MOSES THE OPPORTUNITY TO SET FOOT IN THE PROMISED LAND. First, Moses accused Adad of sabotaging him, of virtually leaving him to his own devices. He thought Adad was evil and inconsiderate as he had saddled him with a responsibility he could not bear.

He contended that he had been given a role Adad well knew was certain to fail – call it a booby-trap. You could not level such an accusation against the hot-tempered Adad and get away with it. Second, Moses basically threw in the towel. He made it clear that he simply did not have what it took to lead the nation of Israel. That was outright surrender folks. For put differently, Moses was pleading with Adad to replace him, short of killing him,  with somebody else.

The Pentateuch writers make rather light of Adad’s response when in truth Adad snorted with rage and told Moses point blank that his role as leader of the Nation of Israel would be restricted to the wilderness only: when Canaan was won, Moses would have no part to play in its affairs whatsoever.  Thanks to his foolishly indiscrete remarks to his own god, Moses had wrecked his chances of leading his people into the Promised Land.

In order to demonstrate to Moses that he actually was not indispensable, Adad ordered him to appoint 72 people who were to be groomed as prophets. The Pentateuch writers obviously over-dramatise the event  when in reality it was not as theatrical as they put it. The 72 were subjected to the full spectrum of training prophecy entailed, which must have taken weeks or months:  we know, from Sumerian records, that one did not simply become a prophet overnight. It was a skill that had to be honed because it also involved knowledge of astronomy and astrology.  The 72 later began to prophesy though the exact nature of their prophecy is not specified.

The quails, the birds that seasonally flew in the direction of the Arabian Peninsula from the Mediterranean region, soon began to flood in. It was either it was the season they did so or Adad used his “magic” to set them on the inland journey. Remember, the Anunnaki had technology that interfered with nature and so it was easy for Adad to so tamper with the weather and have the quails set course for Arabia.

The result was such a haul of quails there was enough meat to sustain the Israelites for a full month. That was the brighter side of the coin. On the flipside, Adad still nursed a grudge against his chosen people for their incessant grumblings and naggings about his capacity to provide for them. Even as the people were gorging their mouths full with quail meat, Adad struck: he unleashed a plague that claimed a unspecified number of scalps. The body count must have been in the thousands as the plague is described as “severe” as Kibroth Hattaavah (NUMBERS 11:34), the name the camp site was given, meant graves of lust”. Apparently, Adad equated his people’s yearning for fleshy food to sheer greed.

MOSES TERMINATES MARRIAGE WITH SISTER-WIFE MIRIAM

From Kibroth, the Israelites moved to Hazeroth. There, Moses had a dream on the basis of which he prophesied.  Summoning Aaron and Miriam over, he told them that Adad, had spoken to him in a dream and exhorted him to divorce Miriam, his half-sister wife,  and take a new wife,  a Cushite. (Of course NUMBERS 12, in which the story is related, does not put it as blunt as the Pentateuch writers didn’t want the readers to get to know that Moses and Miriam were husband and wife, just as they didn’t want to  disclose the fact that Moses was once pharaoh of Egypt.)

Both Miriam and Aaron, who had a very high regard for Miriam, were  outraged. What  had Miriam done? And if it was indeed Adad who spoke to Moses by way of a prophecy dream, why didn’t he also talk  to Aaron and Miriam using the same medium? Was Moses the only prophet amid the Israelites? Hadn’t Adad ordained 72 prophets? Weren’t Aaron and Miriam part and parcel of the trinity of the Israelite leadership (as MICAH 6:4 lays bare)?

Of course Miriam had not done anything amiss that warranted her being given the boot by her husband. Her only sin was that she did not shrink from challenging him and she was more popular to the Nation of Israel than he was.  As such, Moses looked askance at her and suspected that she harboured designs to topple him.

Who was the Cushite woman Moses had decided or had been ordered to hitch by Adad? Kush was the Hebrew name for ancient Ethiopia, which included modern-day Sudan.   The Cushites were the  descendents of  Kush, the eldest son of Ham, one of Noah’s three children. Cushites, however,  not only were found in Ethiopia: there were Cushites in the land of Midian, which the Israelites had departed, as well as in Canaan. HABAKKUK 3:7 identifies a place called Cushan with  Midian.

In 2 CHRONICLES 14:11, Asa, King of Judah, defeated the Cushites of a place called Gerar and Gerar was not in Ethiopia but  Canaan. 2 CHRONICLES 21:16 mentions that the Arabs (of Arabia) were neighbours of the Cushites. Clearly, the Cushite woman Moses married was a Canaanite. He did so for strategic purposes in that the Israelites now were poised to invade Canaan  and the unnamed Cushite woman was valuable for intelligence purposes.

ADAD AFFIRMS MOSES’DECISION, PUNISHES MIRIAM

Whatever the case, Miriam, emboldened by the knowledge that Moses had of late not been in Adad’s very good graces, was adamant that she was not going to consent to the divorce, whereupon Moses brought the matter before Adad. Using his alter ego, the mysterious, sentient Pillar of Cloud, Adad summoned the three to the Tent of Meeting. There, he angrily   lashed out at Aaron and Miriam as captured in NUMBERS 12:6-9. Adad stressed to the duo that he did talk to Moses in dreams and visions as he was his leading  prophet and that they were wrong in attempting to pick up a quarrel with him for whatever Moses told them had his blessings.

But of the two, it  was Miriam who was punished, which suggests she was the real thorn in the side of Moses and Aaron was no more than a morale-boosting ally. The Pentateuch says Adad struck Miriam with leprosy for her intransigence, after which she was kept in quarantine for seven days. However, the more reliable apocryphal BOOK OF JASHER documents that  Moses had Miriam imprisoned indefinitely, releasing her seven days later after the Israelites almost  rose up in arms to have her freed.

“The voice of the tribes of the congregation were on the side of Miriam,” the BOOK OF JASHER says. “They gathered themselves unto Moses and said, ‘bring forth into us Miriam our counsellor’”. Both accounts, however, are in one accord about one thing – that the Israelites only set off from Hazeroth once Miriam was freed, evidence of here rock-star popularity. The Nation of Israel not only had sympathy for her in respect of her being dumped by Moses: they identified with her.  

The differing accounts further exposes the Pentateuch writers’ penchant for  undermining Miriam at every opportunity and their predilection to sullying her standing consistent with their misogynistic undertones. It is also probable that the story was not remotely close to the way it is related in Numbers. The Pentateuch writers most likely invented it simply  to justify Moses’ divorce of Miriam.

NEXT WEEK: ADAD’S ORGY OF KILLINGS

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GONE FISHING

28th March 2023

In recent years, using personal devices in working environments has become so commonplace it now has its own acronym, BOYD (Bring Your Own Device).  But as employees skip between corporate tools and personal applications on their own devices, their actions introduce a number of possible risks that should be managed and mitigated with careful consideration.  Consider these examples:

Si-lwli, a small family-run business in Wales, is arguably as niche a company as you could find, producing talking toys used to promote the Welsh language. Their potential market is small, with only some 300,000 Welsh language speakers in the world and in reality the business is really more of a hobby for the husband-and-wife team, who both still have day jobs.  Yet, despite still managing to be successful in terms of sales, the business is now fighting for survival after recently falling prey to cybercriminals. Emails between Si-Iwli and their Chinese suppliers were intercepted by hackers who altered the banking details in the correspondence, causing Si-Iwli to hand over £18,000 (around P ¼ m) to the thieves. That might not sound much to a large enterprise, but to a small or medium business it can be devastating.

Another recent SMB hacking story which appeared in the Wall Street Journal concerned Innovative Higher Ed Consulting (IHED) Inc, a small New York start-up with a handful of employees. IHED didn’t even have a website, but fraudsters were able to run stolen credit card numbers through the company’s payment system and reverse the charges to the tune of $27,000, around the same loss faced by Si-Iwli.  As the WSJ put it, the hackers completely destroyed the company, forcing its owners to fold.

And in May 2019, the city of Baltimore’s computer system was hit by a ransomware attack, with hackers using a variant called RobinHood. The hack, which has lasted more than a month, paralysed the computer system for city employees, with the hackers demanding a payment in Bitcoin to give access back to the city.

Of course, hackers target governments or business giants  but small and medium businesses are certainly not immune. In fact, 67% of SMBs reported that they had experienced a cyber attack across a period of 12 months, according to a 2018 survey carried out by security research firm Ponemon Institute. Additionally, Verizon issued a report in May 2019 that small businesses accounted for 43% of its reported data breaches.  Once seen as less vulnerable than PCs, smartphone attacks are on the rise, with movements like the Dark Caracal spyware campaign underlining the allure of mobile devices to hackers. Last year, the US Federal Trade Commission released a statement calling for greater education on mobile security, coming at a time when around 42% of all Android devices are believed to not carry the latest security updates.

This is an era when employees increasingly use their smartphones for work-related purposes so is your business doing enough to protect against data breaches on their employees’ phones? The SME Cyber Crime Survey 2018 carried out for risk management specialists AON showed that more than 80% of small businesses did not view this as a threat yet if as shown, 67% of SMBs were said to have been victims of hacking, either the stats are wrong or business owners are underestimating their vulnerability.  A 2019 report by PricewaterhouseCoopers suggests the latter, stating that the majority of global businesses are unprepared for cyber attacks.

Consider that a workstation no longer means a desk in an office: It can be a phone in the back of a taxi or Uber; a laptop in a coffee shop, or a tablet in an airport lounge.  Wherever the device is used, employees can potentially install applications that could be harmful to your business, even from something as seemingly insignificant as clicking on an accidental download or opening a link on a phishing email.  Out of the physical workplace, your employees’ activities might not have the same protections as they would on a company-monitored PC.

Yet many businesses not only encourage their employees to work remotely, but assume working from coffee shops, bookstores, and airports can boost employees’ productivity.  Unfortunately, many remote hot spots do not provide secure Wi-Fi so if your employee is accessing their work account on unsecured public Wi-Fi,  sensitive business data could be at risk. Furthermore, even if your employee uses a company smartphone or has access to company data through a personal mobile device, there is always a chance data could be in jeopardy with a lost or stolen device, even information as basic as clients’ addresses and phone numbers.

BOYDs are also at risk from malware designed to harm and infect the host system, transmittable to smartphones when downloading malicious third-party apps.  Then there is ransomware, a type of malware used by hackers to specifically take control of a system’s data, blocking access or threatening to release sensitive information unless a ransom is paid such as the one which affected Baltimore.  Ransomware attacks are on the increase,  predicted to occur every 14 seconds, potentially costing billions of dollars per year.

Lastly there is phishing – the cyber equivalent of the metaphorical fishing exercise –  whereby  cybercriminals attempt to obtain sensitive data –usernames, passwords, credit card details –usually through a phoney email designed to look legitimate which directs the user to a fraudulent website or requests the data be emailed back directly. Most of us like to think we could recognize a phishing email when we see it, but these emails have become more sophisticated and can come through other forms of communication such as messaging apps.

Bottom line is to be aware of the potential problems with BOYDs and if in doubt,  consult your IT security consultants.  You can’t put the own-device genie back in the bottle but you can make data protection one of your three wishes!

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“I Propose to Diana Tonight”

28th March 2023

About five days before Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed landed in Paris, General Atiku, a certain Edward Williams was taking a walk in a woods in the Welsh town of Mountain Ash. Williams, then 73, was a psychic of some renown. He had in the past foretold assassination attempts on US President Ronald Reagan, which occurred on March 30, 1981, and Pope John Paul II, which came to pass on May 13, 1981.

As he trudged the woods, Williams  had a sudden premonition that pointed to Diana’s imminent fate as per Christopher Andersen’s book The Day Diana Died. “When the vision struck me, it was as if everything around me was obscured and replaced by shadowy figures,” Williams was later to reminisce. “In the middle was the face of Princess Diana. Her expression was sad and full of pathos. She was wearing what looked like a floral dress with a short dark cardigan. But it was vague. I went cold with fear and knew it was a sign that she was in danger.”

Williams hastily beat a retreat to his home, which he shared with his wife Mary, and related to her his presentiment, trembling like an aspen leaf as he did so. “I have never seen him so upset,” Mary recounted. “He felt he was given a sign and when he came back from his walk he was deeply shaken.”

The following day, Williams frantically sauntered into a police station to inform the police of his premonition. The officer who attended to him would have dismissed him as no more than a crackpot but he treated him seriously in view of the accuracy of his past predictions. He  took a statement and immediately passed it on to the Special Branch Investigative  Unit.

The report read as follows:

“On 27 August, at 14:12 hrs, a man by the name of Edward Williams came to Mountain Ash police station. He said he was a psychic and predicted that Princess Diana was going to die. In previous years, he has predicted that the Pope and Ronald Reagan were going to be the victims of assassination attempts. On both occasions he was proved to be correct. Mr Williams appeared to be quite normal.”

Williams, General, was spot-on as usual: four days later, the princess was no more.

Meanwhile, General,  even as Dodi and Diana were making their way to the Fayed-owned Ritz Hotel in central Paris, British newspapers were awash with headlines that suggested Diana was kind of deranged. Writes Andrew Morton in Diana in Pursuit of Love: “In The Independent Diana was described as ‘a woman with fundamentally nothing to say about anything’. She was ‘suffering from a form of arrested development’. ‘Isn’t it time she started using her head?’ asked The Mail on Sunday. The Sunday Mirror printed a special supplement entitled ‘A Story of Love’; The News of the World claimed that William had demanded that Diana should split from Dodi: ‘William can’t help it, he just doesn’t like the man.’ William was reportedly ‘horrified’ and ‘doesn’t think Mr Fayed is good for his mother’ – or was that just the press projecting their own prejudices? The upmarket Sunday Times newspaper, which had first serialised my biography of the princess, now put her in the psychiatrist’s chair for daring to be wooed by a Muslim. The pop-psychologist Oliver James put Diana ‘On the Couch’, asking why she was so ‘depressed’ and desperate for love. Other tabloids piled in with dire prognostications – about Prince Philip’s hostility to the relationship, Diana’s prospect of exile, and the social ostracism she would face if she married Dodi.”

DIANA AND DODI AT THE RITZ

Before Diana and Dodi departed the Villa Windsor sometime after 16 hrs, General, one of Dodi’s bodyguards Trevor Rees-Jones furtively asked Diana as to what the programme for the evening was. This Trevor did out of sheer desperation as Dodi had ceased and desisted from telling members of his security detail, let alone anyone else for that matter, what his onward destination was for fear that that piece of information would be passed on to the paparazzi. Diana kindly obliged Trevor though her response was terse and scarcely revealing. “Well, eventually we will be going out to a restaurant”, that was all Diana said. Without advance knowledge of exactly what restaurant that was, Trevor and his colleagues’ hands were tied: they could not do a recce on it as was standard practice for the security team of a VIP principal.  Dodi certainly, General, was being recklessly by throwing such caution to the winds.

At about 16:30, Diana and Dodi drew up at the Ritz Hotel, where they were received by acting hotel manager Claude Roulet.  The front entrance of the hotel was already crawling with paparazzi, as a result of which the couple took the precaution of using the rear entrance, where hopefully they would make their entry unperturbed and unmolested. The first thing they did when they were ensconced in the now $10,000 a night Imperial Suite was to spend some time on their mobiles and set about touching base with friends, relations, and associates.  Diana called at least two people, her clairvoyant friend Rita Rogers and her favourite journalist Richard Kay of The Daily Mail.

Rita, General,  was alarmed that Diana had proceeded to venture to Paris notwithstanding the warning she had given Dodi and herself in relation to what she had seen of him  in the crystal ball when the couple had consulted her. When quizzed as to what the hell she indeed was doing in Paris at that juncture, Diana replied that she and Dodi had simply come to do some shopping, which though partially true was not the material reason they were there. “But Diana, remember what I told Dodi,” Rita said somewhat reprovingly. Diana a bit apprehensively replied, “Yes I remember. I will be careful. I promise.” Well,  she did not live up to her promise as we shall soon unpack General.

As for Richard Kay, Diana made known to him that, “I have decided I am going to radically change my life. I am going to complete my obligations to charities and to the anti-personnel land mines cause, but in November I want to completely withdraw from formal public life.”

Once she was done with her round of calls, Diana went down to the hair saloon by the hotel swimming pool to have her hair washed and blow-dried ahead of the scheduled evening dinner.

THE “TELL ME YES” RING IS DELIVERED

Since the main object of their Paris trip was to pick up the “Tell Me Yes” engagement ring  Dodi had ordered in Monte Carlo a week earlier, Dodi decided to check on Repossi Jewellery, which was right within the Ritz prencincts, known as the Place Vendome.  It could have taken less than a minute for Dodi to get to the store on foot but he decided to use a car to outsmart the paparazzi invasion. He was driven there by Trevor Rees-Jones, with Alexander Kez Wingfield and Claude Roulet following on foot, though he entered the shop alone.

The Repossi store had closed for the holiday season but Alberto Repossi, accompanied by his wife and brother-in-law,  had decided to travel all the way from his home in Monaco  and momentarily open it for the sake of the potentially highly lucrative  Dodi transaction.  Alberto, however, disappointed Dodi as the ring he had chosen was not the one  he produced. The one he showed Dodi was pricier and perhaps more exquisite but Dodi  was adamant that he wanted the exact one he had ordered as that was what Diana herself had picked. It was a ploy  on the part of Repossi to make a real killing on the sale, his excuse to that effect being that Diana deserved a ring tha was well worthy of her social pedigree.  With Dodi having expressed disaffection, Repossi rendered his apologies and assured Dodi he would make the right ring available shortly, whereupon Dodi repaired back to the hotel to await its delivery. But Dodi  did insist nonetheless that the pricier ring be delivered too in case it appealed to Diana anyway.

Repossi delivered the two rings an hour later. They were collected by Roulet. On inspecting them, Dodi chose the very one he had seen in Monte Carlo, apparently at the insistence of Diana.  There is a possibility that Diana, who was very much aware of her public image and was not comfortable with ostentatious displays of wealth, may have deliberately shown an interest in a less expensive engagement ring. It  may have been a purely romantic as opposed to a prestigious  choice for her.

The value of the ring, which was found on a wardrobe shelf in Dodi’s apartment after the crash,  has been estimated to be between $20,000 and $250,000 as Repossi has always refused to be drawn into revealing how much Dodi paid for it. The sum, which enjoyed a 25 percent discount, was in truth paid for not by Dodi himself but by his father as was the usual practice.

Dodi was also shown Repossi’s sketches for a bracelet, a watch, and earrings which he proposed to create if Diana approved of them.

DIANA AND DODI GUSH OVER IMMINENT NUPTIALS

At about 7 pm,  Dodi and Diana left the Ritz and headed for Dodi’s apartment at a place known as the Arc de Trompe. They went there to properly tog themselves out for the scheduled evening dinner. They spent two hours at the luxurious apartment. As usual, the ubiquitous paparazzi were patiently waiting for them there.

As they lingered in the apartment, Dodi beckoned over to his butler Rene Delorm  and showed him  the engagement ring. “Dodi came into my kitchen,” Delorm relates. “He looked into the hallway to check that Diana couldn’t hear and reached into his pocket and pulled out the box … He said, ‘Rene, I’m going to propose to the princess tonight. Make sure that we have champagne on ice when we come back from dinner’.” Rene described the ring as “a spectacular diamond encrusted ring, a massive emerald surrounded by a cluster of diamonds, set on a yellow and white gold band sitting in a small light-grey velvet box”.

Just before 9 pm, Dodi called the brother of his step-father, Hassan Yassen, who also was staying at the Ritz  that night, and told him that he hoped to get married to Diana by the end of the year.

Later that same evening, both Dodi and Diana would talk to Mohamed Al Fayed, Dodi’s dad, and make known to him their pre-nuptial intentions. “They called me and said we’re coming back  (to London) on Sunday (August 31) and on Monday (September 1) they are

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RAMADAN – The Blessed Month of Fasting

28th March 2023

Ramadan is the fasting month for Muslims, where over one billion Muslims throughout the world fast from dawn to sunset, and pray additional prayers at night. It is a time for inner reflection, devotion to Allah, and self-control. It is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. As you read this Muslims the world over have already begun fasting as the month of Ramadan has commenced (depending on the sighting of the new moon).

‘The month of Ramadan is that in which the Qur’an was revealed as guidance for people, in it are clear signs of guidance and Criterion, therefore whoever of you who witnesses this month, it is obligatory on him to fast it. But whoever is ill or traveling let him fast the same number of other days, God desires ease for you and not hardship, and He desires that you complete the ordained period and glorify God for His guidance to you, that you may be grateful”. Holy Qur’an  (2 : 185)

Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars upon which the structure of Islam is built. The other four are: the declaration of one’s belief in Allah’s oneness and in the message of Muhammad (PBUH); regular attendance to prayer; payment of zakaat (obligatory charity); and the pilgrimage to Mecca.

As explained in an earlier article, fasting includes total abstinence from eating, drinking, smoking, refraining from obscenity, avoiding getting into arguments and including abstaining from marital relations, from sunrise to sunset. While fasting may appear to some as difficult Muslims see it as an opportunity to get closer to their Lord, a chance to develop spiritually and at the same time the act of fasting builds character, discipline and self-restraint.

Just as our cars require servicing at regular intervals, so do Muslims consider Ramadan as a month in which the body and spirit undergoes as it were a ‘full service’. This ‘service’ includes heightened spiritual awareness both the mental and physical aspects and also the body undergoing a process of detoxification and some of the organs get to ‘rest’ through fasting.

Because of the intensive devotional activity fasting, Ramadan has a particularly high importance, derived from its very personal nature as an act of worship but there is nothing to stop anyone from privately violating Allah’s commandment of fasting if one chooses to do so by claiming to be fasting yet eating on the sly. This means that although fasting is obligatory, its observance is purely voluntary. If a person claims to be a Muslim, he is expected to fast in Ramadan.

 

The reward Allah gives for proper fasting is very generous. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) quotes Allah as saying: “All actions done by a human being are his own except fasting, which belongs to Me and I will reward it accordingly.” We are also told by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that the reward for proper fasting is admittance into heaven.

Fasting earns great reward when it is done in a ‘proper’ manner. This is because every Muslim is required to make his worship perfect. For example perfection of fasting can be achieved through restraint of one’s feelings and emotions. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said that when fasting, a person should not allow himself to be drawn into a quarrel or a slanging match. He teaches us: “On a day of fasting, let no one of you indulge in any obscenity, or enter into a slanging match. Should someone abuse or fight him, let him respond by saying: ‘I am fasting!’”

This high standard of self-restraint fits in well with fasting, which is considered as an act of self-discipline. Islam requires us to couple patience with voluntary abstention from indulgence in our physical desires. The purpose of fasting helps man to attain a high degree of sublimity, discipline and self-restraint. In other words, this standard CAN BE achieved by every Muslim who knows the purpose of fasting and strives to fulfill it.

Fasting has another special aspect. It makes all people share in the feelings of hunger and thirst. In normal circumstances, people with decent income may go from one year’s end to another without experiencing the pangs of hunger which a poor person may feel every day of his life. Such an experience helps to draw the rich one’s conscience nearer to needs of the poor. A Muslim is encouraged to be more charitable and learns to give generously for a good cause.

Fasting also has a universal or communal aspect to it. As Muslims throughout the world share in this blessed act of worship, their sense of unity is enhanced by the fact that every Muslim individual joins willingly in the fulfillment of this divine commandment. This is a unity of action and purpose, since they all fast in order to be better human beings. As a person restrains himself from the things he desires most, in the hope that he will earn Allah’s pleasure, self-discipline and sacrifice become part of his nature.

The month of Ramadan can aptly be described as a “season of worship.” Fasting is the main aspect of worship in this month, because people are more attentive to their prayers, read the Qur’an more frequently and also strive to improve on their inner and outer character. Thus, their devotion is more complete and they feel much happier in Ramadan because they feel themselves to be closer to their Creator.

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