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Let us change 4 – patience / steadfastness

IQBAL EBRAHIM
UNDERSTANDING ISLAM

Following in the series of the values and qualities that make up the character of an ideal Muslim, this column will continue with another aspect of this personality that we should all aspire to mould our lives around. However change comes from within and it may not be an overnight thing but something of a ‘journey’.

Patience / Steadfastness

There is a saying that surely many of us may have heard and still remember; it goes like this, ‘patience is a virtue’, without doubt it is a virtue that we all have to develop over time. However it is easier said than done because it requires a strong belief in our Creator, a belief in ourselves and the ability to remain calm when all else seems to be collapsing around us. It revolves around will power, our ability to bear misfortunes in times of hardship and the acceptance of Allah’s Divine Decree and Fate. Regardless of your religion, faith or belief we must remember that whatever happens in our daily lives we have to turn to our Lord be it during good times or during trying times.

‘And We shall undoubtedly test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss of wealth and lives and fruits. But give glad tidings to the patient who say when afflicted with calamity, ‘to Allah we belong and to Him is our return’. They are those upon whom is Allah’s Blessing and Mercy, and they are the ones who are guided (Quran 2:155-157).

Without doubt it will be difficult to find a person who can truthfully say that they have not been confronted and challenged with periods of misfortune, hardship and adversity. Be it sickness, a tragedy in the family, marital problems or even  a marriage break up, losing one’s livelihood, losing one’s home, family problems and all the other daily challenges that life brings or throws our way. Some of us are mentally stronger, thus better equipped to face those challenges, naturally there are those of us who are unable to cope with them.

These are the trying times and in these situations Islam teaches us to bear life’s challenges with fortitude and courage, remain firm of heart and put our trust in Allah Almighty. … …be firm and patient in pain or suffering and adversity and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, the Allah fearing (Quran 2:177). The bible says Romans 12; 12: ‘… rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing in prayer’.

As humans undoubtedly from cradle to grave, life will every now and then throw curve balls our way, it will have its challenges, adversities and hardships bringing with it challenging times – but then again let’s not forget that when fortune smiles upon us, there will be periods of comfort, ease, joy and happiness – that is life with its roller coaster of ups and downs.

Let us honestly consider this; when things are going tough many of us rightly turn to our Lord in prayer, we become steadfastly ‘religious’, set aside a lot of time to pray, regularly go to our places of worship and do all the good things. There are times when our problems seem so insurmountable and of such magnitude and difficulty that some of us are liable to become extremely worried, breakdown, cry, beat our chests, become frantic or are even tempted to say, ‘why me Lord?’

Let’s face it our everyday life has its challenges, twists and turns but they are to be expected in this life of ours.  But Islam and every other religion / faith teaches us to be unwavering and place our trust in the Lord, because Allah says: ‘O ye who believe seek help with patient perseverance and prayer for Allah is with those who patiently persevere’ (Quran 2:153) and further ‘On no shoulder does Allah place a burden greater than it can bear ‘(Quran 2:286).   

But when our prayers are answered and the Lord eases our burdens, Lo and behold, we tend to lose our steadfastness, forget how we prayed, pleaded and cried to our Lord and we then revert back to our usual carefree lifestyles as if nothing ever happened. ‘When trouble touches a man, he cries unto us in all postures – lying down, on his side, or sitting or standing. But when We have solved his trouble, he passes on his way as if he had never cried to Us for a trouble that touched him! (Quran 10 : 12)

Even in the Bible in Galatians, patience is listed as part of the "fruit of the Spirit" which includes: ‘….love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law". (Galatians 5:21-23).

However think about it, when we have live a prosperous life, with good health and of happiness, ease, comfort and joy, how many of us ever pause to count our Blessings or even to say ‘Thank You Lord for Blessing me with the good things in my life and for the ease in my life’? Not many of us unfortunately, because as mere mortals some of us tend to forget easily, or sometimes at the extreme end, we get delusions of grandeur and put our good fortune down to our own achievements in having attained worldly wealth and status.    

The message of Islam is simple: when your life is going well and you seem to have no problems, be grateful to the Lord for His Blessings…….’ Verily Allah is full of Grace and Bounty to men; yet most men give no thanks. (Quran 40:61)….’if good befalls them, they are therewith, well content; but if a trial comes to them, they turn on their faces; they lose both this world and the Hereafter (Quran 22: 11). Therefore when you are faced with trials and tribulations, we have to instil patience into our lives, and face those challenges with patience, to be steadfast and turn to our Lord with sincere faith and prayer. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said ‘patience is half Imaan (faith)’.

No matter who you are or what station you may hold in life the fact is that our daily life has its ups and downs but we must always remember that all things in life are temporary. If things are going well, be thankful and enjoy them because they cannot last forever. If they are going wrong, be patient, have faith and don’t worry, they can’t last long either. Turn to your Lord in prayer, guidance and comfort because yesterday is gone, today is here and tomorrow is yet to come.

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Export Processing Zones: How to Get SEZA to Sizzle

23rd September 2020
Export Processing Zone (EPZ) factory in Kenya

In 2005, the Business & Economic Advisory Council (BEAC) pitched the idea of the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to the Mogae Administration.

It took five years before the SEZ policy was formulated, another five years before the relevant law was enacted, and a full three years before the Special Economic Zones Authority (SEZA) became operational.

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Egypt Bagged Again

23rd September 2020
Samson

… courtesy of infiltration stratagem by Jehovah-Enlil’s clan

With the passing of Joshua’s generation, General Atiku, the promised peace and prosperity of a land flowing with milk and honey disappeared, giving way to chaos and confusion.

Maybe Joshua himself was to blame for this shambolic state of affairs. He had failed to mentor a successor in the manner Moses had mentored him. He had left the nation without a central government or a human head of state but as a confederacy of twelve independent tribes without any unifying force except their Anunnaki gods.

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‘RO, ‘RO ‘RO YOUR ‘BOT

23rd September 2020

If I say the word ‘robot’ to you,  I can guess what would immediately spring to mind –  a cute little Android or animal-like creature with human or pet animal characteristics and a ‘heart’, that is to say to say a battery, of gold, the sort we’ve all seen in various movies and  tv shows.  Think R2D2 or 3CPO in Star Wars, Wall-E in the movie of the same name,  Sonny in I Robot, loveable rogue Bender in Futurama,  Johnny 5 in Short Circuit…

Of course there are the evil ones too, the sort that want to rise up and eliminate us  inferior humans – Roy Batty in Blade Runner, Schwarzenegger’s T-800 in The Terminator,  Box in Logan’s Run,  Police robots in Elysium and  Otomo in Robocop.

And that’s to name but a few.  As a general rule of thumb, the closer the robot is to human form, the more dangerous it is and of course the ultimate threat in any Sci-Fi movie is that the robots will turn the tables and become the masters, not the mechanical slaves.  And whilst we are in reality a long way from robotic domination, there are an increasing number of examples of  robotics in the workplace.

ROBOT BLOODHOUNDS Sometimes by the time that one of us smells something the damage has already begun – the smell of burning rubber or even worse, the smell of deadly gas. Thank goodness for a robot capable of quickly detecting and analyzing a smell from our very own footprint.

A*Library Bot The A*Star (Singapore) developed library bot which when books are equipped with RFID location chips, can scan shelves quickly seeking out-of-place titles.  It manoeuvres with ease around corners, enhances the sorting and searching of books, and can self-navigate the library facility during non-open hours.

DRUG-COMPOUNDING ROBOT Automated medicine distribution system, connected to the hospital prescription system. It’s goal? To manipulate a large variety of objects (i.e.: drug vials, syringes, and IV bags) normally used in the manual process of drugs compounding to facilitate stronger standardisation, create higher levels of patient safety, and lower the risk of hospital staff exposed to toxic substances.

AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY ROBOTS Applications include screw-driving, assembling, painting, trimming/cutting, pouring hazardous substances, labelling, welding, handling, quality control applications as well as tasks that require extreme precision,

AGRICULTURAL ROBOTS Ecrobotix, a Swiss technology firm has a solar-controlled ‘bot that not only can identify weeds but thereafter can treat them. Naio Technologies based in southwestern France has developed a robot with the ability to weed, hoe, and assist during harvesting. Energid Technologies has developed a citrus picking system that retrieves one piece of fruit every 2-3 seconds and Spain-based Agrobot has taken the treachery out of strawberry picking. Meanwhile, Blue River Technology has developed the LettuceBot2 that attaches itself to a tractor to thin out lettuce fields as well as prevent herbicide-resistant weeds. And that’s only scratching the finely-tilled soil.

INDUSTRIAL FLOOR SCRUBBERS The Global Automatic Floor Scrubber Machine boasts a 1.6HP motor that offers 113″ water lift, 180 RPM and a coverage rate of 17,000 sq. ft. per hour

These examples all come from the aptly-named site www.willrobotstakemyjob.com    because while these functions are labour-saving and ripe for automation, the increasing use of artificial intelligence in the workplace will undoubtedly lead to increasing reliance on machines and a resulting swathe of human redundancies in a broad spectrum of industries and services.

This process has been greatly boosted by the global pandemic due to a combination of a workforce on furlough, whether by decree or by choice, and the obvious advantages of using virus-free machines – I don’t think computer viruses count!  For example, it was suggested recently that their use might have a beneficial effect in care homes for the elderly, solving short staffing issues and cheering up the old folks with the novelty of having their tea, coffee and medicines delivered by glorified model cars.  It’s a theory, at any rate.

Already, customers at the South-Korean  fast-food chain No Brand Burger can avoid any interaction with a human server during the pandemic.  The chain is using robots to take orders, prepare food and bring meals out to diners.  Customers order and pay via touchscreen, then their request is sent to the kitchen where a cooking machine heats up the buns and patties. When it’s ready, a robot ‘waiter’ brings out their takeout bag.   

‘This is the first time I’ve actually seen such robots, so they are really amazing and fun,’ Shin Hyun Soo, an office worker at No Brand in Seoul for the first time, told the AP. 

Human workers add toppings to the burgers and wrap them up in takeout bags before passing them over to yellow-and-black serving robots, which have been compared to Minions. 

Also in Korea, the Italian restaurant chain Mad for Garlic is using serving robots even for sit-down customers. Using 3D space mapping and other technology, the electronic ‘waiter,’ known as Aglio Kim, navigates between tables with up to five orders.  Mad for Garlic manager Lee Young-ho said kids especially like the robots, which can carry up to 66lbs in their trays.

These catering robots look nothing like their human counterparts – in fact they are nothing more than glorified food trolleys so using our thumb rule from the movies, mankind is safe from imminent takeover but clearly  Korean hospitality sector workers’ jobs are not.

And right there is the dichotomy – replacement by stealth.  Remote-controlled robotic waiters and waitresses don’t need to be paid, they don’t go on strike and they don’t spread disease so it’s a sure bet their army is already on the march.

But there may be more redundancies on the way as well.  Have you noticed how AI designers have an inability to use words of more than one syllable?  So ‘robot’ has become ‘bot’ and ‘android’ simply ‘droid?  Well, guys, if you continue to build machines ultimately smarter than yourselves you ‘rons  may find yourself surplus to requirements too – that’s ‘moron’ to us polysyllabic humans”!

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