Islam has provided Muslims with a complete guidance on how we are to fulfil our social responsibilities and obligations in our dealings and relationships with those with whom we come into contact with in our daily lives.
To be a good and true Muslim one has to faithfully observe the social code of Islam that encompasses the rules and regulations that governs the manner of behaviour between man and man, and, man and society at large. It gives us a complete guidance on how we are to fulfil our social responsibilities in our dealings, relationships, behaviour and attitudes and how those relations should be towards our family, relatives, neighbours and the society at large.
Our behaviour and social conduct is judged by the manner in which we live our lives on a day to day basis. This does not necessarily mean only our ‘public’ conduct but also in our daily private lives and when there are no people around us to see our actions. It all has to come from within us.
Very often we are quick to judge people and their actions without knowing the reasons behinds their actions. Nevertheless many of us tend to judge others on their outward behaviour – sometimes not knowing the true reasons for their actions.
Just as we claim our rights from others we also have to recognize and accept that others too have a claim to their rights from us, and it is our responsibility to treat them with respect. ‘Worship God and join none with Him in Worship, and do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, the poor, the neighbour who is near of kin, the neighbour who is a stranger, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (you meet) ….. Verily God does not like such as are proud and boastful (Quran 4:36)
Rights of Parents: With his parents a Muslim is an example of sincere obedience and love. He treats them with kindness and respect, compassion, politeness and gratitude: ‘The Lord has ordained that ye worship none but Him; and to show kindness to your parents….say not a word of contempt to them neither reproach them; but speak to them in terms of honour’. (Quran 17-23).
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said ‘In the pleasure of parents lies the pleasure of Allah, and in their displeasure, the displeasure of Allah’. However nowadays it is very disappointing to see people treat their parents with disrespect, disdain and disregard. We should always remember that we were brought into this world ‘via’ them.
The mutual rights between husband and wife: With his spouse the Muslim exemplifies good and kind treatment, a deep understanding and the fulfilment of his responsibilities and duties. ‘Live with your wives on a footing of kindness and equity’ (Quran 4:19). And ‘they (wives) are your garments and you (husbands) are their garments’ (Quran 2:187). Prophet Muhammad said: ‘Good among you are those who are good to their wives. He is the most perfect believer in Allah, who is perfect in his manners and most affectionate to his wife and children’,
Needless to say many married homes of today are filled with strife and discord thus bringing in a divided family. Rights of Children: Islam has also laid emphasis on the responsibility of parents to look after and raise their children, to feed and clothe them and also to be responsible for their education both secular and their moral and religious upbringing so that they become active and constructive elements in society. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: ‘No better gift can there be from a father to his children than bringing them up properly’.
Rights of relatives: In Islam there is also a close tie of kinship between us and our relatives. We are urged to maintain close bonds of kinship. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: ‘he who violates the ties of kinsmen and show no respect for the bonds of kinship in his conduct, shall not go to Heaven’
Rights of the old on the young and the young on the old: It is a general principle in Islam that everyone should respect and treat with due deference his elders. In the same manner the old are required to treat those younger than them with kindness and affection. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) said: ‘for the young man who will honour and old man because of his age, Allah will appoint men who will honour him in his old age’ and ‘he is not of us who is not affectionate to those younger than himself and respectful to those who are older’.
Rights of neighbours: There is also an association between a Muslim and his neighbours. Islam requires us to be good, courteous in our behaviour towards our neighbour. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: ‘he who believes in Allah and the day of Recompense will never harm his neighbour’.
The rights of the weak and poor: The Qur’an has enjoined on Muslims that the needs of orphans, the poor, the weak, the indigent and other needy and destitute persons should be taken care of. ‘He who endeavours to relieve the widow, the depressed and the needy, is as one who strives in the way of Allah, and in reward he is as one who permanently fasts during the day and spends one’s nights in prayer’, said Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
Rights of Muslims on each other: Because of the common bond of Islam there is a special bond between Muslims. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: ‘Whoever among you will fulfil the need of his brother, Allah will take it upon Himself to fulfil his needs, and a Muslim who will remove the distress of a Muslim brother will, in return find a distress removed by Allah on the Day of Requital’.
Muslims are to live in harmony with fellow Muslims and with the wider community. ‘And the believers, men and women, are protecting friends to one another. They enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong……as for these Allah will have mercy on them’ (Quran 9:71)
We should lead our lives in a manner that is not only to ‘show’ the world ‘who we are’ but in a manner that shows our inner self.
In brief terms these are some of the characteristics of a Muslim’s social relationship; civil, modest, well mannered, patient, avoiding being envious, not interfering in that which does not concern him, avoiding gossiping, and not stirring up trouble – only in this manner will society enjoy true peace and happiness.
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.