… but was it a miracle wrought by Adad in aid of Joshua’s war effort or it was a perfectly natural phenomenon?
Having vanquished the great city of Jericho, General Joshua now set his sights on the next equally momentous target, if not more so – the city of Ai, today identified with Et-Tell. Located in central Palestine, just east of Bethel (modern Beitin), Ai was almost as rich resourcewise as Jericho but was significantly smaller. The main reason Joshua targeted it next in these early stages of his campaign was by virtue of the fact that it occupied a strategic position being situated in the loftier parts of the hill country.
The capture of Ai, which lay about 16 km north of Jerusalem, the grandest prize of them all, would give Joshua a command post from which he could easily take control of major portions of Canaan. In fact, both AI and Bethel had potentially great religious significance. Abraham had erected an altar somewhere between these two cities during his first journey through Canaan (GENESIS 12:8; 13:3).
Before squaring up to face Ai, Joshua dispatched an advance party of secret agents to spy out the city as per his standard modus operandi. The spies gave a rather cynical report. They said the city-state had such a tiny army there was no need to unleash the entire Israelite army on it: two to three thousand men would suffice. A trusting Joshua took the report as gospel truth at face value. He didn’t even bother to ask for sophisticated weaponry, like the “trumpets” (sonic weapons) his army had used against Jericho, so confident was he of making mince of Ai.
Big mistake. The Israelite troops were routed by the Aians, losing 36 men in all. They were forced to beat a hasty retreat back to their general, with tails humbly wedged between their frantic legs. Just when Joshua and his army thought they were the invincible Israelites, they found themselves fleeing from the tiny army of Ai. Just when they should have mounted the podium to be crowned the undisputed conquerors of the great fortresses of Canaan, they found themselves fleeing for safety from the underdogs of Ai. Before the national anthem could be played to mark their victory, they found themselves running, not the lap of honour, but for dear life. Just what went amiss?
ACHAN IS SACRIFICIAL LAMB FOR STIGMATIC DEFEAT
Joshua’s first reaction to the whole ignominy was to point a bristling finger at his god Ishkur-Adad, the Jehovah of the exodus. He remonstrated thus as per JOSHUA 7:7: “Ah, Lord GOD! Why have you brought this people across the Jordan at all, to hand us over to the Amorites so as to destroy us? Would that we had been content to settle beyond the Jordan.”
As far as Joshua was concerned, his men had been repulsed because Adad had somewhat neglected them. It was inconceivable, Joshua said, that a people who belonged to such a mighty god would lose a battle in so opprobrious a fashion. The reputation of Adad was certainly at stake. Joshua might as well have been passing the buck to his own god as a lame excuse for his first poor showing as a general. On his part, Adad was chagrined and he too decided to sort of exculpate himself.
He told Joshua the reason the Israelite army had been defeated had to do with the fact that one of them had kept part of the plunder, when Adad had made it clear that all the “precious articles” were to be reserved for he himself. Until the culprit was exposed, Israel would yet lose the next battle too. “Israel has sinned,” Adad thundered. “They have transgressed my covenant that I imposed on them. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have acted deceitfully, and they have put them among their own belongings.
Therefore, the Israelites are unable to stand before their enemies; they turn their backs to their enemies, because they have become a thing devoted for destruction themselves.” (JOSHUA 7:11-12). Of course Adad’s reasoning was puerile, but he had to find a way of saving face and was aware that the prospects of his “vindication”were very high. In every war, soldiers retained a bit of the plunder: that was how they earned their keep as they were never paid for their services.
Even when they were expressly told not to keep the booty but surrender it wholly to the general for nobler purposes, there was certain to be a few stubborn elements who simply would not heed the call. One such person was Achan. Following Joshua’s patient but exhaustive quest for the culprit who had caused his otherwise gallant warriors such a telling defeat, Achan was unearthed. Achan had kept for himself a beautiful robe imported from Sumer; 200 silver coins; and a bar of gold. He could have easily disposed of that whilst the search was on-going, as surely others in his position must have done, but he probably foolishly thought his stash might not be found.
Adad ordered that Achan be stoned to death along with members of his immediate family and all the livestock they possessed and that their remains be burned to a cinder. Achan had committed the sin singly, but his family had to perish along with him when they were totally innocent. The gods of Christianity are for lack of a better word utter savages.
JOSHUA EMPLOYS WITCHCRAFT TO DEFEAT AI!
In the follow-up battle with Ai, Joshua this time around deployed up to 30,000 soldiers. Moreover, he opted for the ambush approach as his mode of offence. And in order to incentivise the soldiers, they were given the green light to keep the spoils of war. It seems Achan and his family had died a vain death after all, for the crime they were accused of ceased to be a crime literally overnight.
However, it seems Joshua’s meticulous preparations this time around were not sufficient for the purpose anyway. The Aian army might have been a small force, but they were a magnificent fighting machine and BOTH JOSHUA AND HIS GOD ADAD WERE AWARE THAT THE ISRAELITES SIMPLY COULD NOT DEFEAT THE AIANS USING CONVENTIONAL WARFARE ALONE. Joshua and his god therefore decided to resort to magic, as was the case when the Israelites fought the Amalekites under Moses at Rephidim.
If you recall, Moses had to have his hands kept aloft for the Israelites to win that war: as long as he held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but when he lowered them, the Amalekites were winning. Two compatriots, Aaron and Hur, actually had to assist him to keep the momentum of his posture going. It was pure witchcraft at play here and Adad now was about to replay it albeit in a slightly altered form.
ADAD INSTRUCTED JOSHUA TO HOLD OUT HIS JAVELIN TOWARDS AI THROUGHOUT THE DURATION OF THE WAR (JOSHUA 8:18). Joshua did not draw back the hand that held his javelin until all the Aians, along with their allies, the Bethelians, had been annihilated (JOSHUA 8:26). Joshua’s sorcerous gesture worked. Over 12,000 Aians, including women and children, were killed: the Luciferian god that was Adad really revelled in bloodshed. The king himself was given a “special” treat: he was captured alive, brought to Joshua, and sadistically impaled on a tree.
Following the destruction of Ai, Joshua led the people of Israel to two mountains in the centre of the land. In what amounted to a satanic ritual of some sort, they divided into two groups, one standing on Mount Gerizim shouting blessings of Moses’ covenant with Adad, and the other on Mount Ebal shouting the curses. Joshua also built an altar to Adad on Mount Ebal.
THE GIBEONITE DECEPTION
The news of the defeat of Jericho and Ai spread rapidly and engendered fear in many Canaanite kings. They naturally began to work on survival strategies. Some of them chose to work together to stop the Israelite army. The kings of the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perites, Hivites, and Jebusites set aside their differences and agreed to form a united alliance against Israel.
However, a nation of the Hittites known as Gibeonites, knowing that they had no hope of defeating Israel opted for a different approach. They decided to use deception. Gibeon was an important city because it guarded the Beth Horon Pass, which was on a major trade route to the coastal lowlands to the west. It was also like one of the royal cities in that it provided a safe haven for royal leaders. Gibeon was even stronger than Ai and had good fighters. So when its ambassadors approached Joshua to seek an alliance, Joshua was surprised but he trusted them anyway.
The Gibeonites said they sought to ally with the Israelites having heard of their record of conquests under their mighty god Ishkur-Adad. The Gibeonites’ aim was to somehow undermine the Israelites, that is, strategically emasculate them so that the Canaanite coalition would have a field day when they attacked the nation. The unsuspecting Joshua was taken in and proceeded to make a peace treaty with them agreeing not to harm them in any way and even swearing to that so that the promise was irrevocable.
However, about three days later, Joshua discovered that the Gibeonites were not sincere and he confronted their leaders about this. Joshua however, could not exact retribution on them in that he had promised not to inflict any kind of harm on them under oath. Instead, he imposed on them slave labour. The Gibeonites were to serve as Israel’s servants. They were to be woodcutters and water-carriers for the entire community and their four city-states now became the Israelites’ vassal states.
UNUSUALLY LENGTHY DAY AIDS JOSHUA’S WAR EFFORT
The turncoat peace pact the Gibeonites had made with the Israelites revolted the other Canaanite kings, particularly King Adoni-Zedek (“Lord of Righteousness”) of the Jebusites of the city-state of Jerusalem. The king rapidly got in touch with four other Amorite kings and soon they had combined forces and were poised to launch an attack on Gibeon.
The Gibeonites there and then sent an SOS message to General Joshua, who was presently based at Gilgal. “Do not abandon your servants; come up to us quickly, and save us, and help us; for all the kings of the Amorites who live in the hill country are gathered against us.” (JOSHUA 10:6). Joshua wasted no time in answering to the appeal.
IT SO HAPPENED THAT THIS PARTICULAR DAY WAS A UNIQUE DAY NOT ONLY TO THE ISRAELITES BUT TO THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD AS A WHOLE. Various cultures have documented this day. This is how the day panned out according to JOSHUA 10:12-14: “Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon.
And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the LORD hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the LORD fought for Israel.”
On this particular day, the sun appears to have stood still for nearly 24 hours, thus lengthening hours of daylight and curtailing hours of darkness. And not only that: the day was punctuated by hailstones, with the result that more of Israel’s enemies were killed by the hailstones than by the sword according to the Bible. Both the stationary sun and the hailstones are attributed to the intervention of “Yahweh” in the Bible.
Ancient Peruvians of South America’s Inca Kingdom also document that one day in the third year of the reign of King Pachachuti II, the fifteenth monarch of the iconic empire, “there was no dawn for 20 hours”. Whereas in Palestine the sun delayed to set by about a whole day, in South America the sun delayed to dawn for 20 hours, which is to be expected since these are opposite sides of the global.
Exactly how did this phenomenon come about? It cannot be explained by a possible solar eclipse because solar eclipses do not last that long: the longest on record went on for about 7 minutes. THE MOST LIKELY EXPLANATION AS PER MANY AN ASTRONOMER IS THAT A COMET CAME TOO CLOSE TO EARTH, DISINTEGRATING IN THE PROCESS AND DISRUPTING EARTH’S ROTATION ON ITS AXIS. The aftermath was for Earth’s rotation to slow down. The disintegration of the comet may explain the “hailstones” in the Joshua account: it was the comet’s debris.
SCIENCE CONFIRMS OCCURRENCE OF JOSHUA’S DAY!
Interestingly, the stationary sun of Joshua’s day has been scientifically attested. Harold Hill was the president of the Curtis Engine Company of the US, a consultant to the American Space Programme. He wrote the following article (only quoted in part) in the Evening World newspaper in Spencer Indiana, which later appeared in another newspaper called The English Churchman on January 15, 1971:
“I think one of the most amazing things that God has for us happened recently to our astronauts and space scientists at Green Belt, Indiana. They were checking the position of the sun, moon, and planets out in space where they should be in 100 years and 1000 years from now. We have to know this in order that we do not send up a satellite and it collides with something later on, on one of its orbits…
“They ran the computer measurements backwards and forwards over the centuries and it came to a halt. ‘Well, we have found there’s a day missing in space in a lapsed time,’ the scientists noted. They were puzzled and there seemed no answer. Then one man on the team remembered he had been taught at Sunday School of the sun standing still. They didn’t believe him but as no alternative was forthcoming, they asked him to get a Bible and find it, which he did in the book of JOSHUA 10:12-14 …
“Well, they checked the computers going back into time. The elapsed time that was missing back in Joshua’s day was 23 hours and 20 minutes – not a whole day. They read the Bible again and it said ‘about a day’. These little words in the Bible are important. But they were still in trouble because if you can’t account for 40 minutes, you will be in trouble 100 years from now. Forty minutes had to be found because it can be multiplied many times over in orbits.
“It was the same man who remembered that somewhere in the Bible it said the sun went backwards. The spacemen told him he was out of his mind but they got out the Bible and found how Hezekiah on his deathbed was visited by the prophet Isaiah who told him he was not going to die and Hezekiah asked what the promise should be. And Isaiah said, “This sign thou shalt have of the Lord, that the Lord will do the thing that he has spoken: shall the shadow go forward 10 degrees or back ten degrees?’
“And Hezekiah answered, ‘It’s a light thing for the shadow to go down 10 degrees: nay, but let the shadow return backward 10 degrees’. And Isaiah cried unto the Lord and he brought the shadow 10 degrees backward by which it had gone down in the dial of Ahaz (2 KINGS 20). “Ten degrees is exactly 40 minutes. So 23 hours and 20 minutes in Joshua plus 40 minutes in 2 Kings make the missing 24 hours which they had to log in the log book as being the missing day in the universe.” The Anunnaki, the Old Testament gods, were not all-knowing divine beings but they understood nature so well they were able either to toy with it so they project themselves as gods or to utilise it to hoodwink mankind that they indeed were deities.
Princess Diana was at once a child of destiny and a victim of fate
It is no secret, General Atiku, that the British monarch constitutes one of the most moneyed families on this scandalously uneven planet of the perennial haves on the one hand and the goddamn havenots (such as you and me General) on the other hand.
In terms of residences alone, the House of Windsor lays claim to some 19 homes, some official, such as Buckingham Place and Windsor Castle, for instance, and the greater majority privately owned. Arguably the most eminent of its private residences is Sandringham House at Sandringham Estate in Norfolk, England.
It is at this sprawling, 8,100-hectare estate the Queen spends two months each winter, at once commemorates her father King George VI’s death and her own accession to the throne, and more often than not celebrates Christmas. King George VI and his father King George V both drew their last breath here.
A 19th century Prince of Wales, Albert Edward (who would later become King Edward VII), acquired Sandringham in 1862 and it has remained royal property ever since. On the death of King George VI in February 1952, the property passed to his successor Queen Elizabeth II, the incumbent monarch, who assigned her husband Prince Phillip its management and upkeep. The estate also houses a parish, St. Mary Magdalene Church, which the outwardly religious Queen attends every Sunday.
Albert, General, had several additional properties built on the estate the year after he acquired it, one of which was the ten-bedroomed Park House. The house was built to accommodate the overflow of guests at Sandringham House. In the 1930s, King George V leased Park House to Maurice Roche, an Irishman and a bosom friend to his second son, who at the time was Duke of York but would in future be King George VI.
Roche was the 4th Baron Fermoy, a title in the Peerage of Ireland created by Queen Victoria way back in 1856. He and his wife Ruth had three children born at Park House, the second-born of whom was Frances Ruth Roche (futuristically Frances Shand Kydd), born in January 1936.
In 1956, Frances married John Spencer, a fellow noble, and following an “uneasy spell” at Althorp, the Spencer family estate of 500 years, the couple took up residence at Park House, which would be their home for the next 19 years. On July 1, 1961, Frances, then aged 25, and John, then aged 37, welcomed into the world their thirdborn child and youngest daughter, Diana Frances Spencer.
She would, on a positive note, become Her Royal Highness Princess Diana of Wales and the most famous and popular member of the Royal family. On the flip side of the coin, she would, as you well know General, become the most tragic member of the Royal family.
GIRL CHILD WHO SHOULD HAVE BEEN A BOY
If there was one thought that constantly nagged at Diana as a youngster, General, it was the “guilt” of having been born anyway. Her parents first had two daughters in succession, namely Elizabeth Sarah, born in 1955, and Cynthia Jane, born in 1957. Johnnie was displeasured, if not downright incensed, that his wife seemed incapable of producing a male child – a heir – who he desperately needed as an aristocrat.
He even took the trouble of having his wife see a series of doctors in a bid to establish whatever deficiency she possessed in her genetic make-up and whether it was possible to correct it. At the time, General, it was not known that it is the man who determines a child’s sex and not the woman.
John’s prayers, if we can call them that General, were as much answered as they were unanswered. The longed-for male heir was born on January 12, 1960. Named John after his father, he was, as per the official version of things, practically stillborn, being so piteously deformed and gravely ill that he was dead in a matter of only ten hours, a development of which Earl Spencer would in future remark thus, albeit with tongue-in-cheek: “It was a dreadful time for my parents and probably the root of their divorce because I don’t think they ever got over it.”
Again as per the official version, General, John was gutted and hurriedly got into stride, this time around utterly positive that having had two daughters in succession, it would be two sons in succession. But nature, General, is seldom that predictable or orderly.
The next child was in fact a daughter, the now iconic Diana, for the third time around. Although John is recorded as having marvelled at what a “perfect physical specimen” her newly-born daughter was, he was forlorn beneath the façade, as a result of which Diana, who as a child did sense a lingering frustration on the part of her father on her account, would openly intuit that she was an unwelcome child, a “nuisance to have around”, thanks to her “failure” to be born a boy. From a very age thus, General, Diana had concluded that she was not well-fated and presciently so!
Although the heir, Charles Spencer (the future Earl Spencer) finally arrived on May 20, 1964, Diana perceived very little if any change in the way she was contemplated by her parents. In fact, both she and Charles could not desist from wondering whether had John lived, they would have been born at all. Seemingly, they came to be simply because their father was desperate for a heir and not necessarily that he wanted two more children. With the birth of Charles, General, John called it a day as far as the process of procreation was concerned.
GODDESS OF THE HUNT
Why was Diana so named, General? Throughout her life, it was taken as an article of faith that her name derived from Lady Diana Spencer, a member of the Spencer clan who lived between 1710 and 1735, dying at a pitifully tender age of only 25. Certainly, the two namesakes turned out to have precious much in common as we shall unpack at a later stage, as if the latter-day Diana’s life was deliberately manoeuvred to more or less sync with the ancestral Diana.
It emerged, however, General, that the connection to an ancestor was actually secondary, or maybe incidental. The primary inspiration of the name was at long last disclosed by Earl Spencer on September 7, 1997, the day of Princess Diana’s burial. Delivering the elegantly crafted eulogy, Earl Spencer had this to say in relation to her naming: “It is a point to remember that of all the ironies about Diana, perhaps the greatest was this – a girl given the name of the ancient goddess of hunting was, in the end, the most hunted person of the modern age.”
It is significant, if not curious, General, that of John’s three daughters, only Diana was given the name of a goddess. Clearly, there must have been a special reason for this as aristocrats do not confer names casually: every name carries a metaphorical, symbolic, or intentional message. Typically, it honours an iconic personage or spirit or somebody lesser but who evokes memories anyway.
Elizabeth Sarah, for instance, was in all probability named after the Queen’s mother, whose decades-long inner circle included Diana’s paternal and maternal grandmothers, and an ancestor going by the name Sarah Jennings (1760-1744). Charles Spencer was named after the family’s greatest forbearer, King Charles 1 of England, Scotland, and Ireland from 1625-1649. The ill-fated John was of course named after his father, who in turn was likely named after the 5th Earl Spencer, John Poyntz Spencer (1835-1910).
On occasion in occultic families, as the Spencer family latterly have been, a name, General, connotes a bad futuristic omen associated with its bearer and that was precisely the case with Diana.
THE FIRST DIANA
In its ancient rendering, the name Diana meant “The Heavenly One”, or goddess being a feminine style. The first Diana, General, was Inanna, an Anunnaki goddess whose Akkadian name was Ishtar – Esther in English. As you well know General, the Anunnaki are the Old Testament gods, Aliens from the planet Nibiru, the Solar System’s little-known planet which is seen only once in 3600 years, and who came to Earth 432,000 years ago as we comprehensively set down in the Earth Chronicles series.
The name Inanna is Sumerian, the Sumerians being the best-known civilisation of old who thrived around modern-day Iraq (called Sumer in ancient times) about 6000 years ago and who were indirectly governed by the Anunnaki. It was abbreviated from Nin-An-Ak, meaning “Lady of Heaven and Earth” or “Lady of the God of Heaven and Earth”.
She was so-called, General, not because she had particularly special godly qualities but owing to the fact that she was the earthly mistress of Anu, “Our Father Who Art In Heaven”, the King of the planet Nibiru, which humans of the day perceived as Heaven.
Anu was the father of Enlil, the principal Jehovah of the Bible. Enlil in turn had a second-born son called Nannar-Sin, the first Anunnaki to be born on Earth and who eventually became the Allah of Islam. It was Sin who fathered Inanna. Thus Inanna was Anu’s great-granddaughter but every time he visited Earth, Anu was sexually entertained by the stunningly beautiful Inanna, an act which in Anunnaki culture was not frowned upon.
Inanna was amongst other appellations known as the Goddess of Hunting (because of her penchant for, and skill in, waging war) and the Goddess of Love (in the sense of licentious love-making and not conventional moral love). Her other names in different parts of the world and across the ages were Irnin; Anunitu (Beloved of Anu); Aphrodite; Ashtoreth; Astarte; and Artemis, to mention only a few.
Although her celestial counterpart was the planet Venus, she was also loosely associated with the constellation Virgo as well as the moon. Once upon a time, when she was a virgin, Virgo was dedicated to her by her grandfather Jehovah-Enlil, who was Earth’s Chief Executive until circa 2024 BC. With regard to the moon, it primarily had to do with her twin brother Utu-Shamash, whose celestial counterpart was the sun: as such, Inanna’s inevitably had to be the moon. That, however, was only in a putative sense in that the operative moon god of the day was her father Sin.
Since moonlight effectively turns darkness into relative daylight, Inanna has in legends been referred to as Diana Lucifera, the latter term meaning “light-bringer”. Inanna’s association with the moon, General, partly explains why she was called the “Heavenly One” since the moon is a heavenly body, that is, a firmament-based body. It also explains why she was also known as Luna, which is Latin for moon.
A STEERED LIFE FOR GOOD OR ILL
Now, children of royals, aristocrats and other such members of high society, General, are invariably named before they are born. True, when a Prince William or Prince George comes along, the word that is put out into the public domain is that several names have been bandied about and the preferred one will “soon be announced”. That, General, is utter hogwash.
No prince, princess, or any other member of the nobility for that matter, is named at or sometime after their birth. Two names, a feminine and a masculine one, are already finalised whilst the child is in the womb, so that the name the child eventually goes by will depend on no other factor beside its gender.
Princess Diana, General, was named a full week after her birth, as if consultations of some sort with certain overarching figures had to be concluded first and foremost. Apparently, the broader outlines of her future first had to be secretly mapped out and charted in the manner of a child of destiny, though in her case she was as much a child of destiny as she was a doomed child. In her childhood reminiscences, Diana does hint at having been tipped to the effect that she was a special child and therefore had to scrupulously preserve herself.
“I always felt very different from somebody else, very detached,” she told her biographer Andrew Morton as per his 1992 book Diana Her True Story – In Her Own Words. “I knew I was going somewhere different but had no idea where. I said to my father when I was 13, ‘I know I am going to marry someone in the public eye’.” That, General, speaks volumes on the deliberately designed grooming she was subjected to in the formative years of her pilgrimage in life.
Since it was repeatedly drummed in her highly impressionable mind that there was something big in store for her along the way, Diana, General, remained chaste throughout her upbringing, if not an outright virgin to in all probability conform to the profile of the goddess Diana/Inanna before she exploded into a lecherous, loose-mannered nymphomaniac in her adult life as we underscored in the Earth Chronicles series. “By the time I got to the top of the school,” Diana said to Morton, “all my friends had boyfriends but not me because I knew somehow that I had to keep myself very tidy for whatever was coming my way.”
A DISPARAGED BIRTH?
Unusual for an aristocrat, General, Diana was born not in the rather apt precincts of a high-end hospital but within the banality of Park House itself. Whether hired midwives were on hand to help usher her into the world or it was only her dad, mum and closer womenfolk relations who did we can only speculate.
If for one reason or the other her parents were desirous that she be delivered at home, what secret rites did they perform as her mother’s waters broke, General? What incantations, if at all, did John utter over her? Was her birth an occultic one with all the attendant paraphernalia as opposed to a conventional one?
That Diana’s arrival was not a particularly cherished event, General, is evidenced by the fact that she was christened within the Sandringham Estate, at St. Mary Magdalene Church, with only well-to-do commoners in attendance, whereas the more prized child, her younger brother Charles, was christened at Westminster Abbey, in the presence of the Queen, who was designated as his principal godmother.
Anyhow, it was just as well, General, that it was in the hallowed environs of St. Mary Magdalene Church that Diana was committed to the “The Lord” as she was in a manner of speaking the Mary Magdalene of our day.
Allah Almighty reminds us: ‘On no soul does Allah place a burden greater than it can bear’ (Qur’an 2:286). Also: “Be patient. Surely, Allah is with those who are the patient.” [Qur’an 8: 46].
Without fail, whether we like it or not there are times in our lives when many things seem to go wrong and as mere humans we go into a panic syndrome and are left wondering; why me? Why now? What have I done to deserve this? We are all tested with adversity, hard times and pain, but these tribulations are the Almighty’s way of transforming us and help us develop spiritually.
As mere humans we all have different reactions when something good or bad happens to us, and usually our reactions depend on the strength of our religious belief and of our righteous deeds and actions.
One person may receive blessings and goodness with gratitude and accepts the bad challenges and patches in his life with perseverance and endurance. This positive attitude brings him peace of mind and happiness, causing his grief, anxiety and misery to ease. Thus, this positivity brings a balance and contentment in his life.
On the other hand another person receives blessings and goodness with arrogance and transgression; his manners degenerate and become evil; he receives this goodness and utilizes it in an unthinking and uncaring manner; it does not give him any peace of mind as his mind is always distressed, nervous and restless.
Thus when faced with loss and difficulty, due to his arrogant nature, he begins to ask why me? What have I done to deserve this and he may even damn and curse others and thinks that they are plotting his downfall.
But every now and then we should stop to ponder over the blessings both apparent and hidden from The Almighty upon us, it is only then that we will realise that our Lord has granted us abundant blessings and protected us from a number of evils; this will certainly ease our grief and anxiety and bring about a measure of happiness and contentment.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Look to those who are lower than you (those who possess less than you) and do not look to those higher than you; this will make you appreciate the bounties of Allah upon you.”
Whether we are believers or disbelievers, virtuous or sinful, most of us are to a certain degree able to adapt and condition ourselves to face adversity and remain calm during these moments of challenge, uncertainty and upheaval.
When people receive affliction with fear, discontent, sorrow and despair; their life becomes miserable, they panic and become short tempered. Such people are unable to exercise patience remain restless, stressed and cannot find contentment that could make life easier for them.
On the other hand, due to a believer’s strong faith and reliance on Allah, it makes him persevere and he emerges stronger than others in difficult situations as this reduces his fear and anxiety and that ultimately makes matters easier for him. If he is afflicted with sickness, poverty or any other affliction, he is tranquil and content and has no desire for anything which has not been decreed for him.
‘If Allah touches you with affliction, none can remove it but He; if He touches you with happiness, He has power over all things’ (Qur’an 6: 17).Therefore the believer prays to his Lord: ‘Our Lord, condemn us not if we forget or fall into error…lay not on us a burden greater than which we have the strength to bear’ (Qur’an 2:286)
However, the one who is weak in faith will be just the opposite; he becomes anxious, nervous, confused and full of fear. The anxiety and paranoia will team up against him because this person does not have the faith that could enable him to persevere during tough times, he is less likely to handle the pressures and will be left in a somewhat troubled and depressed state of mind.
It is natural that as humans we are always fearful of losing the things that we have acquired; we desire and cherish them and we are anxious to acquire more, because many of us will never reach a point where we are satisfied with the material things in life.
When certain frightening, disturbing or unsettling events occur, like emergencies or accidents we find that a person with sound faith is calm, steadfast, and able to cope with the situation and handle the hardship he is going through; such a person has conditioned himself to face afflictions and this makes his heart stronger and more steadfast, which gives him a level of tranquillity.
This shows the difference between a person who has strong belief and acts accordingly, and another who is not at this level of faith. Due to the strong belief of the true believer he is content with whatever Allah Almighty has decreed,
This life is full of ups and downs and uncertainties, but the only certain thing is that from the moment we are born we will be tested with life’s challenges throughout our entire lives, up to and to the final certainty, death. ‘Be sure We shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods or lives, or the fruits of your toil, but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere’ (Qur’an2:155).
The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “How wonderful is the matter of the believer! All of his matters are good and this is the case for nobody except a believer. If he is blessed with prosperity he thanks (Allah Almighty) and that is good for him; and if he is afflicted with adversity he is patient and perseveres and that is also good for him.”
During those challenging times you have three choices: either you can let them define you, let them destroy you; or you can let them strengthen you.
Here in Botswana we are in the throes of winter chills, currently experiencing the tail-end of a deep freeze in South Africa which has brought snow to parts of the Karoo. Conversely, over in the United Kingdom, they are moving into summer and there is a mini heatwave happening, with temperatures in the thirties.
Both countries have one thing in common – they are heavily reliant on tourism revenues and both have accordingly suffered due to Covid which severely curtailed all movement and travel, most of all for leisure and pleasure. However, earlier this year the UK cast off the last of its Covid restrictions and travel requirements and basically declared the pandemic to be over. Britain was back in business!
So the very hard-hit hospitality sectors finally had some good news. The crowds would be returning, needing hotel and bed & breakfast accommodation, snacks and sit-down meals, pub lunches and all manner of ancillary services. Other related sectors also put out the metaphorical flags – theatres, cinemas, theme parks, camping & caravan sites, all of which had suffered hugely during the pandemic and all could now re-open their doors to paying punters.
If you’ve ever visited the UK you will know of its many attractions. London is not only a vibrant, multi-cultural city, it is also very historic, with centuries-old palaces and cathedrals and world-class galleries and museums. Outside the capital, there is glorious scenery, from rolling pastures in the south to the breath-taking Lake District and the Highlands and lovely lochs to the far north in Scotland plus all manner of coastal delights and cultural experiences.
For everyone even remotely involved in leisure, hospitality and entertainment, it was cash registers and swipe machines at the ready!
But then green for go suddenly and without warning changed to red for stop. It began with misery for air passengers. Only last week the UK Guardian reported ‘It has been another ” week of chaos at UK airports, with hundreds of flights cancelled and holidaymakers facing long queues, with reports of waits of up to eight hours. Pent-up demand for travel and staff shortages have combined to put pressure on airports and airlines.’
The Prospect union, which represents thousands of aviation staff, ” warned on Tuesday that “things could get worse this summer before they get better”, quoting staff shortages across the industry, with a huge reliance on overtime to get by day to day. The problem stemmed from the massive, industry-wide lay-offs over Covid and a sector seemingly taken by surprise by the lifting of travel restrictions. Airlines are now scrambling to replace staff made redundant, many of whom were forced to find employment in other sectors.
In addition some specialised staff such are aircrew had no option but to let their licences lapse and now find themselves technically not fit for flying duties. Ironically, one of the country’s largest and longest-established airline – British Airways – appears to be the one most severely affected with many of their former cabin crew members reporting that they had been laid off during the downturn with the promise of potential re-employment later but who are now being told their services are not required.
One BA pilot has warned of potential staff exodus and further delays that could last through to winter. When talking about ongoing staff shortages in the industry he predicted: “We might be correctly crewed by winter time. There is no chance this will be sorted this summer.
The last month (August) might be okay.” UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps put the blame squarely on the industry for the widespread chaos, saying some airlines had cut too many staff during the pandemic. “The decisions as to whether or not to lay off in the end were airlines’ decisions. They clearly in the end, looking back, cut too far on that,” he told the BBC.
Lufthansa is also joining the party in announcing cancellations. The airline will be scrapping 900 flights from its schedule, from next month. Affected flights will predominantly be on Fridays and weekends to a number of European destinations, from Frankfurt and Munich.
The airline stated: “After …two years of the pandemic, Lufthansa group airlines report high demand for air travel this summer……At present, however, the infrastructure has not yet been fully restored. The entire aviation industry, especially in Europe, is currently suffering from bottlenecks and staff shortages. This affects airports, ground handling services, air traffic control, and also airlines.”
Of course some flights are taking place and some tourists are managing to make it into the UK on a much-needed holiday but for many of them sadly, the airport might be as far as they get because to add to the flight misery, members of two large transport union, the RMT and Unite, will bring the London Underground to a grinding halt next week with planned strike action.
Simultaneously, but in a separate dispute, other RMT members will also be staging a series of strikes on Network Rail and other mainline UK train operators. So should those tourists wish to proceed to some of the country’s top holiday destinations, they’d be well advised to seek an alternative means of transport.
Economists are already predicting this wave of strikes to cost the UK economy at least £91million, according to the Centre for Economics and Business Research, proving devastating for the night-time and hospitality industries in particular. Hospitality chiefs estimated the national rail strike alone will cost the sector £540million over the week amid a 20 per cent drop in sales, the combination of which will hit ‘fragile consumer confidence’ and could ‘deliver a fatal financial blow’ to some firms.
In response, Transport for London (TFL), presumably in all seriousness, said its teams from Santander Cycles will be ensuring hire bicycles are ‘distributed at key locations according to demand’ and told commuters that ‘walking or cycling may be quicker for some journeys’ during the strike action.