Photo Courtesy: Majdermind

Buzz! Buzz! You check your phone for the fiftieth time. You scroll lazily through the messages; Eid Mubarak, Eid Saeed! Each one more similar than the previous. You create a quick broadcast of all close friends, family and colleagues and forward the last message you just received. Okay done, one less thing to worry about. It is almost midnight but the house couldn’t be livelier. The smell of fresh paint, oud and freshly baked cookies choke your throat. Your elder brother is changing the curtains, your mother is still whining about the slightly burnt cake and your teenage brother has made himself the designated taster, picking the well laid snacks one plate after another. The kitchen is a big mess. The sitting room however, is spick and span. If your nosey neighbours were to come as early as 6 a.m. you’d be proud of your little home. We can worry about the kitchen in the morning, everyone suggests. Yet everyone knows that the morning would be more hectic than the last ten days combined.

You try to sleep but your anxious mind wouldn’t let you close your eyes. Did I return the remaining milk in the fridge? Ah, I forgot to send an Eid message to aunty. I should do that first thing in the morning. Now what will we do about the burnt cake? Your eyes finally shut but your mind is still racing with thoughts. Your back is aching from bending over at the traditional ‘mbuzi’, grating several coconuts to prepare mkate wa sinia. You remember your pretty, flowery dress and smile, satisfied. It doesn’t even last you a minute, your mother knocks at your door. ‘Minal aidin!’ she wakes you up. You have barely slept and you have too many reasons to whine about. But it is Eid isn’t it? It is a big day and plus, there’s no time to ask for more time to sleep. So you jump out of bed and kiss your mother, ‘Minal faizeen’.

The entire family is awake for the dawn prayer. Your father and brothers go to the mosque while you, your mother and sisters pray at home. Everyone thereafter disperses to a corner; your brother is ironing his kanzu for the Eid prayer about to happen in almost two hours. Your younger sister is laying out her entire attire from head to toe, ready for a shower while your younger brother is still ‘tasting’. Your father is watching the Eid celebrations in Makkah while your mother is setting up the table. You are in between cleaning the kitchen, checking social media, sharing Eid messages and taking bites here and there.

The table is a beautiful sight. All kind of food is laid out from your slightly burnt cake, to cookies, to donuts, to samosas, to home-made chocolate, to mkate wa sinia to meat pies. Coffee and dates wouldn’t miss either. No one has the time to sit and eat yet so everyone is picking a bite in between doing other things. The phones keep ringing; aunties, friends, cousins, all calling to wish your family Eid Mubarak. The kitchen is finally clean and one by one, each dresses up for the special occasion.

Oud fragrance fills the air and soon enough, we’re all taking photos. The entire family heads to the open-ground where the Eid prayer would be performed. There’s a lot of laughter, hugs, kisses and merry everywhere. Little children are running around in cute dresses and kanzus, greeting almost every elder they meet. It is a reunion; old friends, relatives, all neighbours are there. A beautiful moment. A memorable time. The takbiras can be heard all over the area, people chanting and chorusing, ‘Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, La ilaha illa Llahu. Wa Llahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar wa lillahi Lhamd…’ (Allah is the greatest, Allah is the greatest, there is no god but Allah. And Allah is the greatest, Allah is the greatest and to Allah belongs all praise.)

The prayers are done and a multitude of people walk home together; many white and coloured kanzus and bright buibuis. There’s a heavy traffic jam, cars hooting and lots of smiles on the road.
Back home, your mother sets aside plates with food for the neighbours and your younger brother is tasked to make the deliveries. You’re not sure if the food will arrive safely without him ‘tasting’ some more but you’ve given him enough warning to scare his ever-hungry stomach. You can’t wait for the plates to be brought back from the neighbours’ because they never come back empty. You’re eyeing for the very sweet ‘mkate wa mayai’ and kebabs that mama Zeinab makes.

You now all sit down to officially feast and taste the fruits of your labour, literally! Children soon come knocking on the door asking for ‘Eidi mbarak’ and your mother has all these coins and sweets prepared for them. After the heavy, palatable breakfast, you now have the energy to go visit your relatives one after another.
You decide with your siblings on the map to follow, from house to house. Everywhere you go, you are fed once more and the juices are enough to last you the entire week. Your baby sister is given ‘eidi’ with your aunties and uncles and you see her boasting to other cousins the amount she has received yet. It makes you nostalgic. Gone were the days when you’d be the one receiving the money. Ironically, aren’t you the one needing the money more than your baby sister?! You sigh. Before you drown in your financial crisis thoughts, your mother pulls your baby sister aside and whispers, ‘let me keep the money safely for you. If you need anything you’ll tell me.’ You laugh. You know the trick but your naïve sister hasn’t learnt yet. So she gives out the money not knowing she’ll never see it again. You can’t wait to do that to your own kids someday…just for the culture!

Lunch hour, the extended family gathers at the eldest uncle’s house for his famous biryani. The house is full, the stomachs are fuller and the hearts are fullest. The elders sit together at the sitting room conversing endlessly and laughing loudly. The children are running around. The young adults are confused as usual, trying to be everywhere with everyone.

The afternoon sets in and Eid is never complete without the gwaride. Drums and trumpets blowing loudly within the Old town. The team moves from one household to another in their red, blue and black uniforms and ugly masks. Children and adults altogether following the troupe as the kids jump up and down, singing and chorusing along, ‘twataka leo leo!’ When they’ve had enough of the singing and the troupe has gone further way from home, the children come back.

Your baby sister comes and whispers in your mother’s ears while the other children wait at the door anxiously. They want to go ‘bembeani’ at the famous Makadara grounds. As usual, you and your other cousin who’s your age mate are the allocated baby sitters. You are given some money to spend on your baby sister’s games, play and food. Off you set with your group of naughty kids, babysitting them at home is hectic enough let alone in a public, crowded space. However, you and your age mate have plans to have fun too because who said swings have an age limit?! You just have cross your fingers that you don’t lose any of your ‘ducklings’!

Eid Mubaraaaak!


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By: Abdulqadir Mahmoud


Alhamdulillah, here we are in another year, another month, where in less than ten days we will get to offer a sunnah of Nabi Ibrahim (as) and enjoy all that comes after it in shaa Allah. Yes people, it is the month of Hajj and slate forgiveness; it is the 1st of Dhul Hijjah, 1437. But before the meat, clothes and joy, we have the first ten days of this month that come before it. But they are not just any first ten days,

Allah swt says in the Noble Qur’an;

“I swear by the daybreak, And the ten nights, And the even and the odd, And the night when it departs. Truly in that there is an oath for those who possess understanding.”  (Q 89: 1-5)

Allah swt specifies His words to those who understand because they are the ones who truly know their value, as Ibn Abbas RA reported that the Prophet s.a.w said:

“There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allaah than these ten days.” The people asked, “Not even jihaad for the sake of Allah?” He said, “Not even jihaad for the sake of Allaah, except in the case of a man who went out to fight giving himself and his wealth up for the cause, and came back with nothing.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 2/457).

Now, most of us have not realized this great opportunity because, even though some may blame it on the rainy weather, we haven’t internalized how great of a breather it is.

In this era of today, wrong has become so opened and celebrated that it has engraved in our mental capacitors that it’s of norm. Whether it is from those strokes of keys on the keyboard or that glance you throw when no one’s looking, or frankly everyone, all the things we do in secrecy or in public, alone or with others, they are still wrong, and we know it. You know the mere aspect of us being Muslim is such a big ne3ma and blessing, subhanallah. Having a Lord that you know looks at you, sees you and completely understands you and still loves you anyway. He swt knows how much temptation and tests, how much trouble we are in just trying to maintain our identities as Muslims, how thin of a thread we are hanging on to them and for that, even after giving us a whole month free from shaytaan with gates of Jannah wide open, Rahma oozing out from His Mercy (Month of Ramadhan), He decided to put aside another 10 days…10 days that He will make more dearer to Him than any other day of every other day that will be existent on this Earth. Subhanallah, how much of a ne3ma is this…no other religion bears any favors of such immensity, proportions, Alhamdulillah 3alaa ne3matil Islaam.

Now you understand what Allah swt was referring to as ‘those who understand’? Good. If not, re-read that paragraph until you do.

During these days, shaytaan will be on steroids trying to woo everyone because he knows their worth so stay sharp. The Prophet (saw) advices us to increase Takbeer (Allaahu akbar), Tahmeed (Al-hamdu Lillah), Tahleel (La ilaha ill-Allaah) and Tasbeeh (Subhaan Allaah). The easiest way to do all these is to recite the dhikr done on the day of eid. Besides, gets the spirit of Eid going. You know that feeling you get in the early morning when the mosques are doing the takbeers and mum’s busy in the kitchen and then you smile to yourself as you realize that it’s the day of eid, Alhamdulillah. So I want you to be saying these dhikr when you walk, stand, sit, lean…Man I want you to be snoring these dhikr. It is also sunnah to recite them out loud, helps to keep your tongues busy and free from shaytaan’s control.

Fasting. This is the most efficient way of both earning the pleasure of Allah and since shaytaan’s out and free, it’s another level keeping a clean slate. Fasting helps in this limitation. But just to put this ibaadah simply, can you imagine the Creator of the most humongous and continuously expanding universe to the smallest, tiny and most minute proton, neutron and electron of smallest atom, smile at the sound of your name, joy at the sight of you humbling yourself to Him through your fasting as He tells every creation to praise you and ask forgiveness for you, because you did that one ibaadah that only He can reward you, in the days that are most beloved to Him. What more better of a gift to your Lord than offering it on His favorite days?

Lastly, cannot emphasis any greater on Salah. This is the single most important ibaadah out there because its validity defines whether everything else you do in service of Allah matters, or not.

These days, they are a gold mine people. Try to utilize them aki. Fight that urge to get up from sujood, force yourself to recite word by word in that ruku’u, say dhikr everywhere you are and every time you remember to. These are special times, especially to Allah and pleasing Him… Every second counts ya akhy, yaa Ukhty, every second counts, every deed counts. Don’t ignore even the smile you give to your fellow muslim when you meet or to shake hands for your sins fall off as long as you have not retracted your hands. Take that dusty translation quran and read a chapter from juzuu 3ama, give charity, don’t argue with mum, help out dad, fight that urge that makes you want to open that music app or look at those hot and catchy pps, forgive that one who looks at you in that weird manner, it’s usually the small things, and they are shaytaan’s traps, don’t fall in, if you do, get straight back out and take this chance that only comes once in every allowed year.

Oh yeah, and do one good right here but sharing this to fellow Muslim friends and relatives. In shaa Allah you too will get a reward for that. Ameen.

Photo courtesy: lifeinmombasa.com

Celebration season comes with a lot of merry but we will all agree that without children, our events just seem incomplete. It is always very interesting to see cute and sweet children everywhere with those banana smiles full of excitement.

Since time immemorial, children would always anticipate such an event, get excited over their new clothes for the occasion and would go to the extent of hiding the clothes till the D-day as if a thief would take it away from them. When the day finally comes, we would be the first ones to wake up without our mothers having to drag us out of the bed like on school days. We would be anxious to bathe quickly and be fully dressed before anyone else and start showing off how pretty we look. The most interesting part of all this affair though is going visiting relatives whereby the children are keen enough to ensure that they greeted every single relative in order to get ‘good cash.’ I remember during my childhood when my older siblings would get more cash and my mother would always console me that when I grew up things would get better. Only to realize that, the older you grew, the less you are given. This however has been changing in generations and the lucky, remained so. Before the end of the day, the children would all huddle together; the siblings, cousins, neighbours and each would start boasting of the money in their pockets and of the long lists of things they would buy. Trust me, children turn into very skillful accountants on this day!

The unique thing in our coast region though, is the gwaride that goes round different parts of old town and Mombasa with their musical instrument as they move from one household to another. The team is quite interesting and entertaining in their red and white uniforms, sometimes red, blue and black uniforms, some in ugly masks as the trumpets and drums calls for attention everywhere. You would never miss a group of children following behind and jumping up and down to the rhythm of the drums. My very young niece was there singing all time ‘mama nataka gwaride! Mama nataka gwaride!’ and could barely eat well at the anticipation of the gwaride.



What follows next after the gwaride is the ‘makadara’ chorus by the children whereby they would whine and whine until they get a volunteer to take them to the swings playground at makadara grounds. This has been an old tradition at the coast and for the children, eid is not eid without going to makadara. The playgrounds would stay for as long as a week so that everyone equally has a chance to enjoy their days in the playgrounds.

With all that, eid would not be all that interesting without all these pretty children everywhere. If we imagine a scenario without them, then the adults would probably just visit the elders and just after having their lunch, they would probably go back to their beds for a nap. So cheers to all the cute children who just make our days!


Illustrations by : www.ayeina.com

Day 22: We are at the end of Ramadhan. We lost a few individuals on the way; people of our age and probably people who yearned for a brighter future. It’s a blessing to have lived to this day. Alhamdulilah. May we live to eid, to fast the six days of Shawwal and to the next Ramadhan as well biidhniLlah. May Allah shower His mercy upon all those who have died and grant them His jannah. Ameen.

Day 23: Alhamdulilah for the tests that Allah has put us through. For all the hardships and struggles because all these are His Mercy in disguise. Alhamdulilah that He gives us hard tests so that He can erase our mountains of sins. So that when we die, we can enter jannah like new born babies with no sin. Alhamdulilah.

Day 24: Sometimes we cry and whine about our unanswered prayers. We ask why the duas we made in tahajjud and taraweh and itikaf haven’t been answered for years. But wallahy some day you are going to thank Allah for these unanswered duas. Just this month of Ramadhan, I came to realize the harm that Allah was preventing me from by not answering two of my duas. You can’t jut imagine my joy on realizing that Allah has saved me from great trial. Alhamdulilah. Perhaps this is why we should always have faith; deep faith in all that He has planned for us. We should always pray that He grants us only that is best for us. Ameen to that.

Day 25: Alhamdulilah for every relief that Allah grants us after hardship. For every happiness after sadness. For every peace after storms of the soul. For every great decisions made after confusion. Alhamdulilah for everything that He made easy for us even when we are undeserving.

Day 26: My family, they are my world. I can never thank Allah enough for them. May Allah grant my parents and my family long lives full of joy, sacrifice, patience, joining hands and love for the sake of Allah. Ameen.

Day 27: My pen has been my ‘realest’ friend. I don’t know how I would survive any of my grief or even my happy moments without writing. I am really grateful for the talent of the pen. I am thankful that I got a gift from Allah that can be very useful not just to me but to many other people. Alhamdulilah for this ne3ma.

Day 28: I am indeed happy that I was able to fulfill my promise of taking part in this challenge and to the very end of it. Alhamdulilah for not forgetting my commitment and for completing this Ramadhan series. May Allah accept it from me. Ameen.

As we go into eid season I pray that Allah accepts all your good deeds that you worked on in Ramadhan. May He accept your repentance and make you amongst His beloved servants. Same goes to me in shaa Allah.

Please let us not rush into eid and forget what we are just from. Ramadhan. All that you worked for, don’t let it go to waste by breaking all rules in eid. Please check my article ‘etiquette of eid’: https://lubnah.me.ke/etiquette-of-celebrating-eid/
And finally: eid mubarak. Taqaballa Llahu Minna wa minkum a3mal aswaliha. Ameen. Happy eid season ?

Photo Courtesy: Unknown

Eid is the happy day. The day we go meet our families and have a get together for the day. It is the day we value each other as brothers and sisters, and as family, and enjoy our time together. It is also the day we make time to visit the sick in the hospitals and go to the orphanages to give charity to the less able so that they may as well have a chance to eat and wear well and be happy on this particular day.

Every child anticipates the wearing of a new dress or cloth for the event and not only the children, but the adults as well. Majority of the people save money for this special occasion and ensure they have beautiful clothes and accessories to wear. But there is always a limit to everything and God doesn’t like the spendthrifts. Some people go to the extents of getting big loans for the occasion and yet they know very well it will be difficult to pay back the amount. You can still celebrate and be happy just as simple as you are.

More on this festive season, most people organize parties with friends or families to celebrate. But are we doing it the right way? Are we going to have fun and have the limits as per God wants from us or are we going to start doing all those acts that annoy God. Are we going to forget that just the previous days we were crying humbly so we may be granted the mercy and forgiveness of God and now just two days after, we are back to our old ways as if the God of Ramadhan is not the same God of all the other months?

Muslims should work to ensure they celebrate the right way. There are a lot of good deeds one can still do in this festive season. Apart from what I previously mentioned, Muslims can go to the graveyards and make a dua for their dead relatives so God may have mercy on them. Muslims shouldn’t get too engrossed in the eid excitement and forget to pay zakatul fitr to the needy which is to be paid before swalatul Eid.

Eid does not, and I emphasis, does NOT mark the return to our old bad, evil habits which we restrained from during the month of Ramadhan. It does not mark the day for the ladies to start walking around with their over worn make up, fancy hair styles exposed and meeting with boys and men who are non mahram in secrecy. This day neither marks the day for anyone to start chewing miraa again or get their lose tongue into action or anything else. We are not celebrating the return of Shaitan, are we?? Because if this is what we do, then we are definitely making him a welcome back home party!The end of Ramadhan is always a saddening moment, since we are forced to wave it goodbye till next year if God wills but God gave us a joyful event to mark the end of it so we may be happy for the completion of the holy month. Eid comes with its own anticipation and excitement, with everyone having their own way and plans to celebrate the grand day, but the important question is, do we do it the right way?

Remember, sinning on the day of eid is like sinning on yaumul waeed (yaumul qiyamah), so, are we going to risk it to sin on such a day really?? This is food for thought for everyone. Wishing you all a happy festive season and in sha Allah we all try to fast the six days of Shawwal for more blessings. May Allah guide us always, ameen. As for Ramadhan, we will be anxiously awaiting for your next visit and we hope to live and see you again in shaa Allah!