Connect with us
Advertisement

Decline in religious belief?

IQBAL EBRAHIM
UNDERSTANDING ISLAM

In a very recent article in this column asked the question; ‘Are You a Believer?’ this was because there appears to be a worldwide decline in moral behaviour and the manner in which people lead and live their lives.  

Unfortunately in this day and age mankind because of its ‘enlightened knowledge which at times leads to ignorance’ has degenerated, degraded and sunk to such a low moral point that there are some doubting Thomas’ who are asking if religion still has relevance or a place in this new world that we live in. Nowadays some people hold the view and think that religion is outmoded and antiquated, literally ‘old fashioned’.  Without doubt there appears to be a ‘religious and moral vacuum’ in our societies.

Every major religion has its fair share of those who have a nonchalant and indifferent attitude and take religion in jest and brush it aside, forgetting that one day we all have to die and will be called to account for our actions and unbelief. ‘……as to those who reject faith, it is the same to them whether you warn them or do not warn them; they will not believe’. (Quran 2:6)

Regrettably many of us are hypnotized and mesmerized by the achievements of this fast changing world in science, technology and materialism and it is evident that there are some in this ‘educated’ society of ours who are facing, shall I say ‘A moral and religious crises’ because of an erosion of religious belief leading to a loss in moral values.

In Islam the Almighty Allah declares in the Holy Qur’an: “O mankind, worship your Lord who has created you and those before you, that you may become righteous.  It is He who has made the earth a resting-place for you and the sky a canopy, and has sent down water from the sky and thereby brought forth fruits for your sustenance.  Do not, then, claim that there is any power that could rival God, when you know.” (Quran 2: 21-22)

In this verse is the basic commandment of the Holy Quran, The Almighty speaks of the futility of worshipping others besides Him.  He addresses humanity to direct all acts of worship to Him alone. He is their Creator, Lord and overseer. Allah is the One who created us into being out of nothingness, giving us life in this world.

As humans we have been blessed with the power of reason and thought which distinguishes us from animals; thus many societies have grown up with moral values and a traditional upbringing that is people centred and corresponds with their religious beliefs. Regrettably  in our haste to become modernized and dare I say ‘westernized’ we have become so obsessed with this material world and its trappings that our religious beliefs, teachings and our morality has, literally been put aside.

We have separated and compartmentalized our daily lives away from our faith and it has become increasingly difficult to live by our religious and moral values. ‘Miserable is the price for which they have sold their souls, in that what they deny the revelation which God has sent down…and humiliating is the punishment of those who reject faith’ (Quran 2:90)

There is a vacuum in our societies because we seem to have lost our moral values somewhere along the line. The world is full of evil, violence, strife, war, poverty, immorality, broken homes, abuse of women and children, rape, adultery, alcoholism and drug/ substance abuse, self-proclaimed ‘prophets’ of dubious credentials and the other evils so common in our society today.

‘As to those who reject faith, I will punish them with terrible agony in this world and in the Hereafter, nor will they have anyone to help’ (Quran 3: 56). ‘Verily never will Allah change the condition of a people until they change it themselves (with their own souls) – (Quran 13:11)
Religion is not only based on a set of rituals and performing certain duties, but it is an all-embracing system that Muslims take as a way of life. It means that our intentions, deeds and actions must be based on firm belief, good intentions and the constant mindfulness that the Almighty Lord is ever-present. For this we are promised and ‘Heavenly Kingdom’ in the Hereafter.

‘Allah has promised to the believers, men and women, gardens under which rivers flow, to dwell therein, and beautiful mansions in Gardens of everlasting bliss. But the greatest bliss is the good pleasure of Allah’ (Quran 9; 72). and; ‘Give glad tidings to the believers who work deeds of righteousness, they shall have a magnificent reward.’ (Quran 17; 9)

Muslims are to offer five times daily prayers but some of us mistakenly think that our regular attendance of the once a week Friday (Jummah) prayers is sufficient to fulfil our obligation and duty as a good Muslim – let alone live by the other injunctions and instructions of the Quran. It seems that across the broad religious spectrum be it Muslim or Christian, we have the weak in faith and belief who believe that their once a week or even less attendance is obligation enough to their Creator. While some people wonder how we can go to the mosque or even pray at home five times a day.

As previously covered the time for compulsory prayers are as follows; just before sunrise (Fajar), lunch time (Zohar); late afternoon around 5 pm (Asr); as the sun sets (maghrieb); and around 8pm (eesha). Think about it: at sunrise to thank the Almighty for another day in this world; the lunch time one to remember the Almighty during our daily work chores; the late afternoon as we ‘leave’ work to go back home; the sun set prayer at the end of the day – in Islam the day ends and the new day begins at sunset; unlike the timing of the world calendar where the new day starts at midnight. Finally the night time prayer when we begin to ‘shut down’ the day and getting ready to sleep and hopefully wake up to perform the early morning prayers.

It is very simple the compulsory (faraz) prayers take on an average five minutes each – that means roughly half an hour a day to perform the 5 times daily prayers. If we cannot give the Almighty Allah half an hour from our daily 24 hours we need to introspect. I was chatting with a friend of mine (who is a Christian) who asked me if it was true that we offer our prayers five times a day, when I confirmed it he expressed surprise, then in his own unique style of mischievous sense of humour he said ‘that’s nothing some of my mates go to church three times’; thereafter bursting into laughter he said, ‘first, upon their baptism, then, when they get married and finally for the funeral service when they die’.

This world is but a passing phase we therefore have to change our lifestyles and bring God back into our lives, failure to do so will bring us eternal damnation ….’and if any of you turn back from their faith and die in unbelief, their works will bear them no fruit in this life and the Hereafter; they will be the companions of the fire and will abide therein’. (Quran 2:217).

It is the duty of a believer to make every effort to guide people to the right path by reminding them of their duty to their Creator; by spreading the ‘good word’ but more especially leading by example. We should remove the new ‘false gods’ that this life is imposing upon us.

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!