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Amr Ibn Hisham is so significant in the history of Islam such that every Muslim man and woman makes of him a model of unerringly what not to be; the whole Arabian isthmus widely knew Amr as Abu Jahal translated the father of ignorance, a name he earned out of his belligerence against the budding religion of monotheism. In a world of 6 billion people where Islam takes up 2 billion of them as its followers, Abu Jahl’s example is definitely not the best way to go down in history.

I am not a psychologist but I know a little about people, I have lived with them. For you to go to an extra mile to oppose change may mean one of two things, either you are human and change is something that is often not received with open arms or that the change being introduced will mean you stop enjoying certain benefits presented to you by the status quo. If your reason is the former, then all that you need is a little reasoning to make you see that such change is not only beneficial to you but also necessary for your survival. However, if your reason is the latter, then chances are high that you may die before giving in to the incoming change; so was the story of Abu Jahl.

The world as we know it thrives on all manner of ills; taking center stage are bad governance, drug lords, human traffickers, arms dealers and terrorists. Being the young couple my wife and I are and planning to raise kids in this present world pushes me to imagine how the world would be in the next twenty years leave alone centuries to come. Good news is, there exist a few good men and women among the evil many, let us call them Philanthropists. I recently learnt the word Philanthropy is etymologically described as “the love of humanity” and it is a practice that has been booked in history as early as 460 B.C. (For a Muslim however, it is something that dates as early as the first man landed on earth since every prophet that lived was to save humankind from self-distraction).

Excuse my excessive use of the word for the love ofphilanthropy since it is only common in sentences with names such as Warren Buffet and Bill Gates as circumstances give them the ability to donate millions of dollars in the pursuit of an AIDS cure or eradication of malaria. For me (true to its real meaning – love of humanity) I believe each and every one of us has the capacity to be a philanthropist even if it is as little as dedicating a minute in every twenty four hours to help our world become a better place. In a world where social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter alone have over 1.1billion and 500milllion respectively, it has become a beehive of well wishers meeting up over the internet with brilliant initiatives to curb ails. It goes without saying that villains still win but nevertheless, fighters for the good of the people still fight harder than ever.

I am currently involved with a great cause that has been brought about by a number of professionals dispersed in various corners of our wonderful earth (thanks to social media – among them in the UK and USA) all of whom come from Mombasa, a town that has lost the shine it once hosted. Our purpose is simple, help return Mombasa to its former glory. We run a Facebook Group and needless to say, the amount of interaction with the pubic is immense since the group has become widely popular in Mombasa with its users rapidly increasing by the day! It is a good thing!

What has caught my attention is that there exists a new breed of Abu Jahl quite different from the historical one out to sabotage good change for no apparent reason. It is not that they are human and they need to be reasoned with; for logic does not work with them and neither are they benefiting from the current state of affairs. Their resistance is not to gain them anything apart from mere “popularity” depicted by the kind of contribution they bring forth in either posts or comments that are controversial or steer fruitful conversations out of focus. They even go to great lengths to start harmful rumours about the initiative run by the group or engage in personal attacks to good willed members; I am yet to understand this behavior, as I said, I am not a psychologist.

Being millenniums after Jesus and Muhammad (may God be pleased with them), history has judged change resistors such as Judas and Abu Jahal harshly over the mountains of literature written against them; just like them why would anyone need to hinder change that is purely meant for the love of humanity? Furthermore, where social media has made it easier for non-billionaire folks like me to come forth and help make things better for generations to come by a simple contribution of ideas, why let such involvement reek of negativity only set out to make others fail?

Whatever the case, it is clear that philanthropy is here to stay and if you consider yourself a lover of humanity, fight on just as Martin Luther King said, Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree. If you think otherwise then think twice on the stand you have chosen as history repeats itself and it is never wrong.

Haytham Balo is a realist who believes in dreams, a son to great parents, a husband to a wonderful wife and above all, a Muslim. He writes about a variety of issues all being a reflection of the experiences he goes through.

Follow him on twitter at haythambhalo
Reach him at haytham.bhalo@gmail.com

photo credit: Samia Omar (Fetured Image)

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