The Quran is the foundation stone and the ultimate guide for a Muslim from cradle to grave. We are expected to follow and live by its decrees, teachings, values, commands and moral principles and infuse them into our daily lives.
The Holy Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) was given the Quran and he spread its message to each and every one of us so that we live by the values and commands that the Almighty Allah wants us to live by Regrettably, in these times, many of us live our lives in a manner that we see ‘fit’; forgetting that every religion, faith and religious beliefs have and are built on Divine guidance and Scriptures.
A Muslim should have a full belief, faith, trust, reverence, fear and obeisance of Allah. By reading, believing and practicing the guidance that the Quran gives us will bring us closer to our Lord and Creator. We are expected to live a life in such a way that we follow the guidance contained therein. This will bring us closer to our Lord and Creator. ‘O you who believe, Fear Allah as He should be feared and die not except in a state of Islamic belief’ (Quran 3:102).
Once we have put our full faith and trust in Allah, not only do we have to live by the Quranic guidance and injunctions, but we have to practice and live by the values espoused therein. In putting our trust in Allah we have to know that He has decreed our life for us and He is the sole decision maker. ‘If Allah helps you, none can overcome you; if He forsakes you, who is there after that, that can help you? In Allah then, let the believers put their trust’ (Quran 3: 160)
A true Muslim believer should live a life to fulfil those responsibilities because as humans we have the greatest blessings of our mind and a conscience to interrogate and decide between what is right and what is wrong. By doing so, we will be able to purify our souls so as to reach our final destination in the Hereafter.
We must be aware that each one of us to a certain degree is susceptible to the ‘evil’ thoughts and machinations of our inner self. The struggle with one’s soul is the biggest struggle for a believer. We should guard against this weakness that exists deep within our souls. For example, sometimes we are prompted by selfishness, arrogance, greed, jealousy, and other worldly desires and passions.
These can drive us to act in ways that are in variance with our religious beliefs and foundation. ‘By the soul and Him Who perfected it in proportion and inspired it to understand what is right and wrong for it. Truly he succeeds that purifies it; and he that fails, corrupts it’ (Quran 91: 7 – 10).
To be able to do this we need to be leading a life of sincerity and of good and pure intention. Our intention must be to lead a life that is in congruence and corresponds with the teachings of the Quran. We will be judged by the Almighty not only on our outwardly actions but also on our inner intentions. Many of us spend our lives leading a ‘double life’, by this it means we can deceive others and also we too can be deluded by them because we sometimes act and do things for outward appearances but inwardly we have ulterior motives and other intentions.
We cannot be living a life that has the aims of only gaining worldly desires such as fame and fortune for ourselves. And they have been commanded no more than this: to worship Allah, offering Him sincere devotion, being true in faith; to establish regular prayers and to practice regular charity; and that is the religion right and straight.’ (Quran 98: 5)
Unfortunately the society and times that we live in create some challenges for us because it has become a ‘competitive’ world. By this I mean that we try to live by and up to the standards of others. We tend to compete with others in might and glory by the accumulation of worldly wealth and other luxuries just to be ‘seen’ by others. We compete in owning luxurious abodes, fancy cars and wearing only designer wear and other worldly passions. In following this path we can easily be led astray because we tend to cut corners as it were, whereby we may do things that are in direct conflict with our religious beliefs, laws and teachings or even illegal in our worldly laws.
Believers should be aware that all these evil thoughts that come to our mind are through the machinations of Satan. Satan is our greatest enemy because if we are weak in faith then we can easily be led astray by him. We have to avoid Satan by all means because Satan makes promises, only to deceive us and to lead us astray with evil thoughts and deeds.
Allah warns us to keep away from the clutches of Satan. Verily Satan is an enemy to you: so treat him as an enemy. He only invites his adherents that they may become companions of the Blazing Fire. (Quran 35: 6). ‘Verily those who are pious, when an evil thought comes to them from Satan, they remember Allah, and indeed they then see right’ (Quran 7: 201)
Another of the values of the Quran that we should follow is that of patience. Patience can come in many packages; showing steadfastness in trying situations, resistance to temptations, enduring calamities, showing patience in realising our hope , plans and desires. Without doubt every living being will in their daily living will come across many trying situations and experiences that test our patience.
Some of these situations can make us or break us. But for the believer we should remain firm and steadfast and put our trust in the Hands of our Creator. ‘Seek help through patience and through prayer’ (Quran 2: 45). And: ‘Be steadfast in patience, for verily Allah will not suffer the reward of the righteous to perish’ (Quran 11: 115).
One of the important values is that we should be grateful to our Creator for every Blessing we have been endowed with. Yes we think that others are more blessed than ourselves in terms of worldly ‘gains’ but we have to be grateful for the other necessities that we tend to overlook. Our life, faith, sustenance, our health, the air that we breath and the countless other blessings that we receive in our daily lives. We tend to forget many of those every day blessings, and as the Quran says: ‘If you would count up the favours of Allah, never would you be able to number them….’ (Verse 16: 8).
Sometimes, those of us have who have been more ‘blessed’ than others tend to become impertinent and arrogant over those blessings. But we are warned: ‘……..If you are grateful, I will add more favours unto you, but if you show ingratitude truly My punishment is terrible indeed’ (Quran 14: 7). Those Blessings should not only be shown merely with words, but we should use them to live a life in the way of Allah..
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.
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”
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.”
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.
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.
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.