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I'm sure that wherever you live in Kenya you have experienced this. You've been in one way or another, a victim or a perpetrator of it. I don't know what to call it because it is so many things in one. Hop along. Let me take you through this journey so that you can contemplate our calamity...

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It's so cold

Chilly winds strike from front to back

It’s so foggy I can't make out my way

Negative vibes fly from left to right

Everything pulls me down

I can't take it any more

I know no other way except to escape

I run helter skelter and this is where I reach

This place,

it’s so beautiful in a mysterious way

The clouds are grey, the air is chilly

But there is light,there is warmth

There is jolting positive energy wherever my eyes fall

Smiles shine at me from right and left

Everyone seems so happy and content

This place is peculiar in a fantastic way.

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Imagine this:

I get hungry and see a cosy restaurant nearby. As I approach the counter, I see people paying extra and free meal coupons are displayed on the wall. I proceed to order and the very amiable face at the counter, in jargon, asks me if I will pay extra: “Pay the exact amount or eat for free. These coupons are charity for anyone who might be short of money and cannot afford to eat. Everyone must eat you know?'' he said, with a warm smile on his face after seeing my confusion. ''You must be new here. Welcome.''

The occupants, each and every one of them, are beautiful people. It seems like everyone is looking for an opportunity to help. On residential streets, I see refrigerators with drinks inside. I learn that they are for any passers-by who might be thirsty. A stranger could give you a ride and both your hearts would be clear of mistrust.

I know no one here but I feel like they are family. I could go on and on...but I'm perturbed. Unpleasant thoughts line up. Unfortunately, I’m quickly brought back to reality.

Suddenly, it feels ten times colder. It was cold before but the pleasant thoughts had brought on some warmth. Now as I walk out the door, it seems like people have vowed to be rude. Busy faces fill the streets. Everyone has their hearts in their mouths because a matatu may come out of nowhere onto the pavement and hit you. The person walking next to you may grab your valuables. If you get lost, it could be disastrous. It’s difficult to trust anyone.

If you get mobbed, no one would care because it won’t be happening to them. Everything seems to disconnect you from people. We share many similarities as people but nothing seems to unite you or connect you to anyone.

Unbelievably, this is more or less the situation we are in now. What I was imagining before was a utopia. We live in this current cold. Whether we like it or not, we have to put on a guard, or an unfriendly face, so that we are not taken advantage of.

We are afraid to help for the one in need may be a con artist. We have to be aggressive or even bribe because no one will give us our rights if we don't.

We forget that part of our Islamic duty is engaging with our society. It advises us to reach out to those in need and find ways to make our home, Kenya, a better place.

 

A good Muslim is equally defined by his worship as he is by his good manners. Our beloved Prophet (SAW) said: “The believers with the most complete faith are those who have the best

 

manners” (Sunan Al-Tirmidhî (1162) and Sunan Abî Dâwûd (4682)).

Good manners entail interacting with people in a pleasant way, whether you know them or not.

It takes courage to be able to care, love, and be kind after being mistreated. I believe that we can rekindle a change if we become courageous. We can create a warm environment. It can start from you and I. It can start with the simplest of things such as a smile, a kind word, standing up to give space to an elderly woman in public transportation vehicles, paying fare for a stranded passenger, and standing up for an oppressed person.

Similarly, having an intention to help raise up our society is crucial. With that intention in mind, one will look for every small opportunity to engage in uplifting our community. We’ll raise our children teaching them to be productive members of society.

We can continue what our Prophet (SAW) did. His interactions with people were magnificent that he inspired everyone around him to be the best. He won thousands over by his kindness. Muslims can be the initiators of a revolution in Kenya, don't you think so?


photo credit: Mancha Extraña via photopin cc

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