Connect with us
Advertisement

Our fate and destiny

IQBAL EBRAHIM
UNDERSTANDING ISLAM

There are times in our lives when everything seems to go wrong and as mere mortals we go tend to get befuddled and go almost haywire and are left wondering; why me? Why now? What have I done to deserve this? We are all tested with adversity, hardship and pain, but these tribulations are the Almighty’s way of transforming us and help us develop spiritually.

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].As people 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 their righteous deeds and actions. One person may receive blessings and goodness with gratitude and accepts the bad 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.

But the bottom line is that as a Muslim we believe in Divine Decree (qadar in Arabic) and also in destiny / fate (Taqdeer). When Allah created all things, He determined when it would come into existence and when it would cease to exist, He also determined its qualities and nature. And everything in the universe, the seen and the unseen, is completely subject to the overriding power of Allah – nothing can take place or happen outside His Will. That is Divine Decree. “Nothing will happen to us except for what Allah has decreed for us, He is our protector” Quran 9 : 51

As a human we have been created by the Almighty with two opposing yet complementary qualities: the spiritual and the physical. On the one hand is our mind, we can think anything we wish; there are simply no boundaries to this thinking.

Yet, in our physical existence, we are extremely limited. We are limited by all kinds of constraints. The greatest limiting factor which a human faces is death. Death nullifies all greatness in our lives.

As human beings, we are not completely masters of our own fate, nor are we mere puppets waiting for our destiny. Allah gave humans limited power and great freedom, including the freedom of choice and of thought. From all of Allah’s creation it is the human being that has been blessed with intellect and the wisdom with the capacity to think and make logical and rational choices. That self-sufficiency places upon us the responsibility to make conscious decisions and choices for which each individual is liable and accountable for.

We will never know what our life or the future holds for us, and, to a large extent, we cannot control it. But we can make decisions within the limits of what we can control, based on our understanding of the way the world works. For example if I choose to bang my fist into a brick wall, I cannot claim any injustice when it hurts. I know that the wall exists and that it is hard and I am liable to get hurt. That is the reality that I have to deal with. Yet the ultimate reality is that Allah could make the wall disappear just before my fist reaches it.

Just as Allah created nature and its laws, He made moral laws, and we cannot claim any injustice if we get punished for disobeying or ignoring those moral laws when we have been blessed with ability to make those choices – good or bad. The concept of faith, therefore, dictates that we must seek harmony with Allah’s rules of human nature and nature at large, and consciously submit to His will. Destiny as perceived in Islam, does not take away our freedom of choice and action. Rather it is how we use those choices and thinking for actions that are in harmony with Allah’s will that earns us our reward from Allah.

When Allah sets certain rules in His decree as to how things change and progress, even these things / events that we may consider impossible and improbable can be changed through prayers. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) stressed that only sincere prayers can change the way events unfold, and that true worship and sincere submission to Allah can raise the believer above the normal ways of nature. Prayers can and do result in “personal miracles”

From an Islamic point of view, human beings are free for all practical purposes to use their thinking and logic to make their choices and decisions. A person has no excuse for making the wrong choice and then blaming Decree or destiny/fate, any more than a man slamming his fist into a wall can blame the laws of nature. He knows the consequences of his actions and he shouldn’t expect a miracle!

We should not worry about what Allah has written for us, since we will never be privy to it. But our duty is to strive for the best in this world and more importantly in the next, we therefore have to lead a life that is in harmony with the religious and moral code of behaviour that the Almighty has shown to us. That responsibility rest squarely with us – it is not only the action that is important but the intention in our hearts and minds.

You will hear a Muslim utter the words ‘Insha-Allah’ that means ‘if Allah so wills’. This is the acceptance by Muslims that everything and every action can only happen by the will of the Almighty. However this does not mean that we should resign ourselves to our fate – there are many instances when we are faced with choices – it is how we react to and make those choices that is important.  “Nor say of anything, I shall be sure to do so and so tomorrow without adding ‘if Allah Wills’ (Quran 18:24)

As for the question of whether humans are predestined to enter Paradise or Hell, we must remember that Allah transcends the limits of time. He is All-Knowing of the past, present and future. Thus He knows in advance which path — good or evil — each individual will choose and what will be his or her final destination — Paradise or Hell. But such knowledge does not mean that He makes each person choose a certain path.

This is man’s severest test. In all his apparent greatness, he must acknowledge how insignificant his condition is. That means responsibility is upon the believer to ensure that he lives his life according to the laws of his Maker to ensure that the final destination will be of everlasting peace in that Heavenly City promised to us. 

‘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) 

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. The bottom line is that we are all born…..to die eventually.  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. The choice is yours.

Continue Reading

Columns

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.

This content is locked

Login To Unlock The Content!

 

Continue Reading

Columns

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.

This content is locked

Login To Unlock The Content!

 

Continue Reading

Columns

‘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”!

Continue Reading
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!