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Simple but straight message

IQBAL EBRAHIM
UNDERSTANDING ISLAM

Allah Be praised, earlier this week we passed the midpoint of our month of fasting. Without doubt fasting can be challenging in one way or another to many of us. There are some days that pass without any hassle but, there are some days that are ‘difficult’ because we may feel the pangs of hunger and feel thirsty and the time for breaking the fast will be a few hours away. However it has brought about an air of ‘calmness’ and religious focus to the minds of the vast majority Muslims.

This week the column will contain words of wisdom that are light hearted but carry a strong message and also verses from the Quran that encapsulate our daily actions, our thoughts, our daily lives that we have to lead. The Quran says: Call people to the Way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful exhortation, reason with them in ways that are best, most decent and gracious. [16/125].

You can be sure of 10 Things Allah Almighty Won't Ask.. 
Allah Almighty won't ask what kind of car you drove, He'll ask how many people you drove who didn't have transportation…
 Allah Almighty won't ask the square footage of your house, He'll ask how many people you welcomed into your home. 

Allah Almighty won't ask about the clothes you had in your closet, nor what labels they had, He'll ask how many less fortunate people you helped clothe. 

Allah Almighty won't ask what your highest salary was; He'll ask if you compromised your character to obtain it.

Allah Almighty won't ask what your job title was; He'll ask if you performed your job to the best of your ability.

Allah Almighty won't ask how much money you made; He'll ask you how you spent it. Allah Almighty won't ask how many friends you had; He'll ask how many people to whom you were a friend. 

Allah Almighty won't ask in what neighbourhood you lived, He'll ask how you treated your neighbours. 

Allah Almighty won't ask about the colour of your skin, He'll ask about the content of your heart and character.

Allah Almighty won't ask why it took you so long to seek Salvation; He'll lovingly take you to your mansion in heaven, and not to the gates of Hell. 

So what are you waiting for……..?

 Another simple message that we need to ponder upon…. 

Give Allah what's right — not what's left.
Man's way leads to a hopeless end — Allah's way leads to an endless hope
A lot of kneeling will keep you in good standing
He who kneels before Allah can stand before anyone.
In the sentence of life, the devil may be a comma –but never let him be the period.
Don't put a question mark where Allah puts a period.
Are you wrinkled with burden? Come to the mosque for a face-lift.
When praying, don't give Allah instructions — just report for duty.
Haven’t been to Mosque recently? Hurry up, before six strong men arrive to carry you to the mosque…….. for your funeral prayers.
We don't change Allah's Message — His Message changes us.
The mosque is prayer-conditioned.
When Allah ordains, He sustains.
WARNING: Exposure to Allah may prevent burning.
Plan ahead — It wasn't raining when Noah built the ark.
Most people want to serve Allah, but only in an advisory position.
Suffering from truth decay? Brush up on your Al-Quran.
Exercise daily — walk with Allah.
Never give the devil a ride — he will always want to take over and drive.
Nothing else ruins the truth like stretching it.
Compassion is difficult to give away because it keeps coming back.
He who angers you controls you.
Worry is the darkroom in which negatives can develop.
Give Satan an inch and; he'll be a ruler.
Be ye fishers of men — you catch them and He'll clean them.
Allah doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called.
Read the Al-Quran — It will scare ‘Hell’ out of you.

In our lives we must follow the three “R”s: Respect for self, respect for others and responsibility for all your actions. Smile, think and even seriously ponder over the subtle messages of these little gems of wisdom – they may just help us all to look at life from a more positive angle and who knows maybe embrace a life changing attitude.

Here are some Words of Wisdom from the Qur'an that that will give the reader a perspective and an understanding of what the Almighty wants us to do to achieve His …. They have been simplified for our readers to understand. The verses can be followed up as the Chapter and verse numbers follow each quote.

Talk straight, to the point, without any ambiguity or deception [33/70]
Choose best words to speak and say them in the best possible way [17/53)
Do not shout. Speak politely keeping your voice low. [31/19]
Always speak the truth. Shun words that are deceitful and false [22/30]
Do not cover truth with falsehood, nor conceal the truth when you know what it is [2/42]
Say with your mouth what is in your heart [3/167]
Do not talk, listen or do anything vain [23/3, 28/55]

Do not swell your cheek with pride, nor walk with insolence through the earth for Allah does not love the arrogant boaster [31/18]
Do not be disdainful or arrogant with people…. Do not walk haughtily or with conceit [17/37, 31/18]
Be moderate in thy pace and lower your voice for the harshest of sounds is the braying of a donkey.  [31/19]
Walk on this earth with humility and sedateness [25/63]
Keep your gazes lowered devoid of any lecherous or lewd stares [24/30-31,

If you do not have complete knowledge about anything, better keep your mouth shut. You might think that speaking about something without full knowledge is a trivial matter. But it might have grave consequences [24/15-16]
Never think that you have reached the final stage of knowledge and nobody knows more than yourself. Remember! Above everyone endowed with knowledge there is another endowed with more knowledge [12/76].
When you hear something malicious about someone, keep a favourable view about him/her until you attain full knowledge about the matter. Consider others innocent until they are proven guilty with solid and truthful evidence [24/12-13]
Ascertain the truth of any news, lest you smite someone in ignorance and afterwards repent of what you did [49/6]

The believers are but a single Brotherhood. Live like members of one family, brothers and sisters unto one another [49/10].
Do not make mockery of others or ridicule others …..Do not defame others ……Do not insult others by calling them by nicknames [49/11]
Avoid suspicion and guesswork. Suspicion and guesswork might deplete your communal energy……. Spy not on one another….. Do not back-bite one another [49/12]
When a greeting is offered to you, meet it with a greeting still more courteous or (at least) of equal courtesy [4/86]

Treat kindly "Your parents, your Relatives, the travellers, the orphans, those in need and those who have been left alone in the society ….. Take care of "The needy, and those who have no jobs. Be generous to the needy wayfarer, the homeless son of the street, and the one who reaches you in a destitute condition. Be nice to people who work under your care. [4/36]

Do not follow up what you have given to others to afflict them with reminders of your generosity [2/262].
Eat and drink [what is lawful] in moderation [7/31].
Do not squander your wealth senselessly [17/26]
Fulfil your promises and commitments [17/34]
Do not be jealous of those who are blessed [4/54]

The above are the guidance and advice from the Quran for Muslims to practice and follow in their daily lives.

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The Daring Dozen at Bari

8th December 2020
JEFF---Batswana-smoke-unit

Seventy-seven years ago, on the evening of December 2, 1943, the Germans launched a surprise air raid on allied shipping in the Italian port of Bari, which was then the key supply centre for the British 8th army’s advance in Italy.

The attack was spearheaded by 105 Junkers JU88 bombers under the overall command of the infamous Air Marshal Wolfram von Richthofen (who had initially achieved international notoriety during the Spanish Civil War for his aerial bombardment of Guernica). In a little over an hour the German aircraft succeeded in sinking 28 transport and cargo ships, while further inflicting massive damage to the harbour’s facilities, resulting in the port being effectively put out of action for two months.

Over two thousand ground personnel were killed during the raid, with the release of a secret supply of mustard gas aboard one of the destroyed ships contributing to the death toll, as well as subsequent military and civilian casualties. The extent of the later is a controversy due to the fact that the American and British governments subsequently covered up the presence of the gas for decades.

At least five Batswana were killed and seven critically wounded during the raid, with one of the wounded being miraculously rescued floating unconscious out to sea with a head wound. He had been given up for dead when he returned to his unit fourteen days later. The fatalities and casualties all occurred when the enemy hit an ammunition ship adjacent to where 24 Batswana members of the African Pioneer Corps (APC) 1979 Smoke Company where posted.

Thereafter, the dozen surviving members of the unit distinguished themselves for their efficiency in putting up and maintaining smokescreens in their sector, which was credited with saving additional shipping. For his personal heroism in rallying his men following the initial explosions Company Corporal Chitu Bakombi was awarded the British Empire Medal, while his superior officer, Lieutenant N.F. Moor was later given an M.B.E.

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A Strong Marriage Bond Needs Two

8th December 2020

Remember: bricks and cement are used to build a house, but mutual love, respect and companionship are used to build a HOME. And amongst His signs is this: He creates for you mates out of your own kind, so that you may find contentment (Sukoon) with them, and He engenders love and tenderness between you; in this behold, there are signs (messages) indeed for people who reflect and think (Quran 30:21).

This verse talks about contentment; this implies companionship, of their being together, sharing together, supporting one another and creating a home of peace. This verse also talks about love between them; this love is both physical and emotional. For love to exist it must be built on the foundation of a mutually supportive relationship guided by respect and tenderness. As the Quran says; ‘they are like garments for you, and you are garments for them (Quran 2:187)’. That means spouses should provide each other with comfort, intimacy and protection just as clothing protects, warms and dignifies the body.

In Islam marriage is considered an ‘ibaadah’, (an act of pleasing Allah) because it is about a commitment made to each other, that is built on mutual love, interdependence, integrity, trust, respect, companionship and harmony towards each other. It is about building of a home on an Islamic foundation in which peace and tranquillity reigns wherein your offspring are raised in an atmosphere conducive to a moral and upright upbringing so that when we all stand before Him (Allah) on that Promised Day, He will be pleased with them all.

Most marriages start out with great hopes and rosy dreams; spouses are truly committed to making their marriages work. However, as the pressures of life mount, many marriages change over time and it is quite common for some of them to run into problems and start to flounder as the reality of living with a spouse that does not meet with one’s pre-conceived ‘expectations’. However, with hard work and dedication, couples can keep their marriages strong and enjoyable. How is it done? What does it take to create a long-lasting, satisfying marriage?

Below are some of the points that have been taken from a marriage guidance article I read recently and adapted for this purposes.

POSITIVITY
Spouses should have far more positive than negative interactions. If there is too much negativity — criticizing, demanding, name-calling, holding grudges, etc. — the relationship will suffer. However, if there is never any negativity, it probably means that frustrations and grievances are not getting ‘air time’ and unresolved tension is accumulating inside one or both partners waiting to ‘explode’ one day.

“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.” (49:11)

We all have our individual faults though we may not see them nor want to admit to them but we will easily identify them in others. The key is balance between the two extremes and being supportive of one another. To foster positivity in a marriage that help make them stable and happy, being affectionate, truly listening to each other, taking joy in each other’s achievements and being playful are just a few examples of positive interactions.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “The believers who show the most perfect faith are those who have the best character and the best of you are those who are best to their wives”

UNDERSTANDING

Another characteristic of happy marriages is empathy; understanding your spouses’ perspective by putting oneself in his or her shoes. By showing that understanding and identifying with your spouse is important for relationship satisfaction. Spouses are more likely to feel good about their marriage and if their partner expresses empathy towards them. Husbands and wives are more content in their relationships when they feel that their partners understand their thoughts and feelings.

Successful married couples grow with each other; it simply isn’t wise to put any person in charge of your happiness. You must be happy with yourself before anyone else can be.  You are responsible for your actions, your attitudes and your happiness. Your spouse just enhances those things in your life. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers.”

COMMITMENT

Successful marriages involve both spouses’ commitment to the relationship. The married couple should learn the art of compromise and this usually takes years. The largest parts of compromise are openness to the other’s point of view and good communication when differences arise.

When two people are truly dedicated to making their marriage work, despite the unavoidable challenges and obstacles that come, they are much more likely to have a relationship that lasts. Husbands and wives who only focus on themselves and their own desires are not as likely to find joy and satisfaction in their relationships.

ACCEPTANCE

Another basic need in a relationship is each partner wants to feel valued and respected. When people feel that their spouses truly accept them for who they are, they are usually more secure and confident in their relationships. Often, there is conflict in marriage because partners cannot accept the individual preferences of their spouses and try to demand change from one another. When one person tries to force change from another, he or she is usually met with resistance.

However, change is much more likely to occur when spouses respect differences and accept each other unconditionally. Basic acceptance is vital to a happy marriage. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “It is the generous (in character) who is good to women, and it is the wicked who insults them.”
“Overlook (any human faults) with gracious forgiveness.” (Quran 15:85)

COMPASSION, MUTUAL LOVE AND RESPECT

Other important components of successful marriages are love, compassion and respect for each other. The fact is, as time passes and life becomes increasingly complicated, the marriage is often stressed and suffers as a result. A happy and successful marriage is based on equality. When one or the other dominates strongly, intimacy is replaced by fear of displeasing.

It is all too easy for spouses to lose touch with each other and neglect the love and romance that once came so easily. It is vital that husbands and wives continue to cultivate love and respect for each other throughout their lives. If they do, it is highly likely that their relationships will remain happy and satisfying. Move beyond the fantasy and unrealistic expectations and realize that marriage is about making a conscious choice to love and care for your spouse-even when you do not feel like it.

Seldom can one love someone for whom we have no respect. This also means that we have to learn to overlook and forgive the mistakes of one’s partner. In other words write the good about your partner in stone and the bad in dust, so that when the wind comes it blows away the bad and only the good remains.

Paramount of all, marriage must be based on the teachings of the Noble Qur’an and the teachings and guidance of our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). To grow spiritually in your marriage requires that you learn to be less selfish and more loving, even during times of conflict. A marriage needs love, support, tolerance, honesty, respect, humility, realistic expectations and a sense of humour to be successful.

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Chronic Joblessness: How to Help Curtail it

30th November 2020
Motswana woman

The past week or two has been a mixed grill of briefs in so far as the national employment picture is concerned. BDC just injected a further P64 million in Kromberg & Schubert, the automotive cable manufacturer and exporter, to help keep it afloat in the face of the COVID-19-engendered global economic apocalypse. The financial lifeline, which follows an earlier P36 million way back in 2017, hopefully guarantees the jobs of 2500, maybe for another year or two.

It was also reported that a bulb manufacturing company, which is two years old and is youth-led, is making waves in Selibe Phikwe. Called Bulb Word, it is the only bulb manufacturing operation in Botswana and employs 60 people. The figure is not insignificant in a town that had 5000 jobs offloaded in one fell swoop when BCL closed shop in 2016 under seemingly contrived circumstances, so that as I write, two or three buyers have submitted bids to acquire and exhume it from its stage-managed grave.

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