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.
Moses returns to Egypt to reclaim the Pharaonic throne
When Moses was deposed as Pharaoh Akhenaten of Egypt in 1352 BC, General Atiku, he was not officially banished from Egypt: he was obliged to flee Egypt as he was not hundred percent sure of his safety.
Ideally, the place he should have headed to was Harran, in modern-day Turkey. Harran was apt in that not only was it the place of his ancestry but it was the major domicile of the Hykso-Hebrews. There, the Hykso-Hebrews abounded more than in any other place on the globe, including Canaan.
Monday the 27th Parliament will resume its July meeting. What is specifically on the agenda of Parliament in this coming meeting? A lot! There will be government and Private Bills, policy proposals, questions, themes and motions.
The meeting is also likely to be punctuated by statements from ministers on a variety of issues. Some statements may come as preemptive strikes to prevent the opposition from either making speeches on the subjects ahead of the government or to simply forestall questions on same. The House is expected to be active for five weeks nonstop. It is obviously a very short time considering the agenda.
Before its adjournment sine die in March, Parliament was supposed to discuss the National Development Plan 11 Midterm Review. This is what will become a priority of the government in its order of Business or scheduling. The government is expected to table an addendum to the already tabled review document.
The reason is simple, COVID-19 has not only gobbled funds from the fiscus, but has also resulted in a sharp decline in government revenue. The mainstay of the economy is mining, particularly diamonds revenue. These germs are mainly luxury commodities which are prone to international market changes.
Diamonds and other precious goods are seldom needed in large quantities during turbulent times such as these. Those countries that depend on them, such as Botswana, are always at high risk of external shocks. Southern African Customs Union revenue is also likely to decline because of slump in trade.
Tax collection has gone down due to many obvious reasons. Tourism has been shattered. Non-mining sector has also been negatively affected. Therefore, the estimated revenue has declined, necessitating a serious review of the development plan.
Which Bills are likely to be debated in this coming meeting? Two Botswana Defence Force Amendment Bills have been Gazetted; one is Private and the other a government proposal.
The private Bill is proposing to rectify the injustice of not fully paying soldiers who are on indictments or suspensions. The government Bill is a minor amendment relating to the BDF Court Marshall Judge Advocate General position.
Other government Bills include Income Tax Amendment, BURS Amendment, Citizenship Amendment, Legal Practitioners Bill, Environment Assessment Amendment, Financial Reporting Amendment, Accountants Amendment, Citizen Economic Empowerment Bill and a controversial one on Floor Crossing.
More interest will be on the anti-defection Bill and perhaps the citizen economic empowerment proposal. Other Private Bills to be tabled include Police and Prisons Amendment and the Media Practitioners Repeal Bill. Parliament will also debate the following policies; Climate Change, Tourism, National Energy and Minerals.
Whilst there is nothing on COVID-19, MPs are likely to ask questions on the pandemic. So many things come to mind as possibilities of issues likely to be raised. MPs are likely to ask the Ministry of Health, Office of the President and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development about the whole pandemic fighting strategy.
There may be questions on the capacity and reliability of COVID-19 testing. Questions may be asked on positive cases that quickly become negative and or false alarms cases etcetera.
More focus may be on the budget and procurement. Some controversial tenders are likely to be questioned by MPs. It is expected that given the chance, MPs will likely lament the stoppage of food rations distribution by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.
MPs will raise other miscellaneous issues on corona virus related policy decisions. These include the terms of engagement of the COVID Task Force and enlisting of the public relations private persons team from outside the government to help.
There may be questions by MPs on the business dealings of the President and his intention to acquire a government ranch, Banyana Farm. Clarity may be vehemently sought on these issues. Corruption related issues may be on the agenda of Private Business. So many issues have been reported; direct appointment of the 100KM NSC water pipe tender and other controversies may crop up.
There may be clarification required from the ministry responsible for international relations on the implications of the engagement of an Advocate working for Afri-Forum white supremacist organisation. The consequent and seeming tension between South Africa and Botswana will probably be on the agenda of MPs.
Recently the country has experienced serious fuel shortages. It is likely that parliament will raise issues on this matter and get the Minister to explain further.
Whilst this issue has been all over the media with clarifications offered by the Minister and the Permanent Secretary, parliament is likely to engage on the matter to get assurances into the record.
Answers will be demanded on the exact cause of the shortage, policy failures to predict the crisis and to avert it as well as the way forward.
Power issues have also irked MPs, particularly the recent tariff increases and recent threats to increase them even. All is definitely not well at Botswana Power Corporation, so MPs are probably going to probe these matters further. It is clear that there is a lot that Parliament will deal with.
The disheartening fact to note is that most of the Government Business will be expected, by the executive, to pass through parliament rather than be passed by it. There is condescension for free and adequate debate as well as ostensible intolerance of alternative views from the backbench and the opposition by the frontbench.
The ruling party caucus will discuss all these matters and once explained fully by technocrats, the expectation will be for MPs to swiftly rubberstamp executive ideas without raising controversial issues or simply reasoning on the floor.
There will be no time to reason! There is likely to be limited time allocation, in terms of minutes allocated to individual MPs per debate, on all these matters aforementioned. The Speakership, which traditionally is the gatekeeper of the executive, is likely to fully cooperate and not protect the MPs against the executive wrath.
The executive will reason that five weeks is too short and that all business must be dispensed with before time elapses. Whilst the backbench will be unhappy with these decisions, there’s nothing it will do, it is numerically weak in the caucus.
The opposition will face the whole ruling party bench and be defeated in their protest for adequate debate time. That’s just how things work in Botswana parliament. The legislature is a governing tool of the executive; it is used to pass through policies, laws and budgets for the ruling party’s own political ends.
It is not an independent institution which can hold the executive accountable effectively. If Bills or policies are not completed and there’s about week remaining, everything could be squeezed into that one last week. It has happened before; the House can pass many Bills in one sitting, even if it means staying up until late night or wee hours of the morning.
There are private motions which if not withdrawn and replaced with new ones, may not address topical issues that arose as a result of or during COVID-19. These are motions which may seek accountability of the government on corona virus related policies.
One of the likely motions is the motion touted by one of the opposition parties; motion of no confidence on the government. If this motion comes on urgency, it may die on arrival.
The ruling party MPs will be under strict instructions to kill it the moment a question is put on whether the agenda should be changed to allow a debate on it.
The only way it can be debated is if it comes in through the normal process. Even that way there is no guarantee; the ruling party MPs may stay outside to kill the quorum like they do with motions they don’t want debated.
They may also debate it and unleash their ‘attack dogs’ and put their views across before defeating it. Other motions which may be tabled include COVID-19 related motions. Expectations of the general public should be managed; the next meeting may be the usual ruling party show to do as they please.