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In many motivational speeches or writings, one thing the speaker or author encourages his/her audience to do is answer this question: “What is my purpose in life?”
It is as simple and complex as it is. The question automatically brings about more question to mind. Like; why am I doing what I’m doing? Is it what I was meant to do? Do i benefit from it? Are my loved ones benefiting from it? Does it make the world a better place? Etcetera etcetera.

But when we come back to the book of Allah, He states clearly;
“And I created not the Jinn and mankind except that they should worship Me (alone)”
When you look at it this way doesn’t it seem easier? Well it does when you look at “worship” only in terms of the five daily prayers, fasting, zakat and hajj. But in addition to the latter there are numerous way of worshipping Allah. Isn’t it in the same Qur’an that Allah reminds us that He has given us minds and challenges us to actually think? That we should go out and explore the world? That we shoud seek knowledge? Thus personally, I define worship as that which pleases Allah. In this way , I easily find my purpose in life and be able to broaden it from the five pillars of islam to much more.

Still, the question is not what is your purpose in life? The real question is why aren’t you after it? If the main reason I am in this world is to please Allah then why am I not doing that?

Fear… it holds us back in achieving our purpose of living. I am not going to be the one to initiate peace between my arguing friends because I fear I might get caught up in the middle of it. I am not going to write the book because I fear they might not like it. I won’t be a public speaker because I fear I might lose my words. I am not going to start that business because I fear the risks and loss that I might encounter…and it goes on and on.

Most of us already know what we ought to be doing in order to please our Creator, to leave behind a great legacy, to create a better world but we let fear prevent us from acting. May be if we start thinking about our purpose in life being directly linked to pleasing our Creator, it will help us fight our fears. At the end of it all, Allah does not look at how great you did what you did, He is more interested in the struggle and intention of your actions. So, stop worrying about being good, being enough or being good enough and just be. Be among those who pleases their Creator.

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People who know me very well know two truths about me. One is that food and I don’t get along. Truth number two, food and I can’t really stay apart. We tend to have this love-hate relationship that never ends. You know, like Tom and Jerry? So most of the times it would roll out like this.

Me: “Aarghh, I’m starviingg” or “Yeepyyy can’t wait to have my delicious food!”

Two minutes into eating: “Really food? Really? All that joy, excitement, tears, anticipation and blood sacrifice yet this is all you offer?!! You and I are soo done!”

Also me: (every two hours) “I need you food 🙁 ” (There should have been the kermit meme image over here lol)

So automatically, truth number three is that fasting is my hardest ibadah.

Just the other day (4th of Ramadhan) I was walking in town headed home from work with a tiny flower between my fingers. So I was swirling it playfully, my mind so far deep in thoughts it took me time to realize there was an elderly man looking at me right ahead. He was in his traditional Swahili clothing of kikoi, shirt and kofia and he was looking into my face with such scrunity. I thought perhaps he is mistaking me for someone else so I went ahead and said the salam.
“Saumu inkushika?” He said, still giving me a concerned look. I just laughed it off and went on walking but I could still hear his voice behind me, “Saumu inkushika eh?! Nakuona…nakuona vile inkushika” *Face palm* I know right? And I just happen to be this frequent victim of having awkward embarrassing moments with strangers. But that’s a story for another day. Back to fasting…

Due to how much fasting drains me, at work and even at home, I always get comments like, “Can you walk? Lest you fall on the way.”
“Can you do this? Can you carry this?”
So every Ramadhan I’m subconsciously fully prepared to such teasing. Yet Ramadhan is still the best time for me.

You know, you walk around and see Muslims and you can greet each other, smile with that look like, ‘We know each other’s ‘suffering’ (not per say, but you know what I mean :p ) or like we are one people, we are partners in crime, something of the sort. The Ramadhan ambiance is special and it does feel so. Food stalls all over the streets during the evenings, people sending the kids to take a plate of goodies to the other neighbour and the other neighbour takes to the other and when known to be an awful cook, your food just seems to go in circles; forever trying to get a ‘mstiri’. Taraweh, tahajjud…the list is endless.

It’s that time where our mango trees produce in abundance. My mum would fill the bucket with mangoes and ask my brother to take to our neighbours. I would hear my dad get excited, reminding my brother of which neighbours to NOT miss. I would be standing there half-thrilled half-sorry that I am not the one to do that. You know, introvert problems? Mum would ensure to spice it up; ‘Ukigonga kila mlango, give them the mangoes then say Ramadhan kareem’ 😀 My brother puts on his kofia and sets out to knock doors. Then with a sigh and a smile, “I wish all year was Ramadhan.”

Muslims walking around just before Maghrib, sharing dates and water to fellow Muslims on the way. Some stranger passing dates to you to the back seat of a public vehicle so you can break your fast. I mean, any other random day we would probably pass by one another and I would mumble salaam and I wouldn’t even get a response or perhaps you’d mumble back or vice versa. But then Ramadhan, we have something making all of us familiar to one another such that we can strike random conversations with strangers on the way.

I am super delighted of how humanity is at its peak. We remember the orphans, the old, the sick…we remember to pray, to be more gentle, to read qur’an a lot, to hold back our insults, to donate, to forgive and most importantly, work on ourselves.

For me, besides it being the time for more Ibadah, Ramadhan is a time for me to work on my inner self. Get the peace of mind. Submit totally to Allah. And this is something many take for granted; our inner health. How composed are we to life? How much at peace are we with our fate? How much do we actually and sincerely talk to Allah? This is the time. It is my time to unleash my heart to Allah. It is my time to be a better human being not just for this month but for the rest of the year.

And as much as fasting is hard for me, Ramadhan has meant progress for me. I remember a time I would really admire people who could fast Monday and Thursday, Ayamil bayth or sitta min shawwal simply because I couldn’t do it. But then with every coming of Ramadhan, I tried more sunnah fasts and I keep trying over and over again. My biggest push has always been the thought that ‘If this is hard for me, then the rewards will definitely be more’ and that remains my motto as I keep trying.

Ramadhan means a lot of things to me; it means kindness, love and compassion. It means submission, forgiveness and willpower. It means struggle, endurance and success. Ramadhan means a lot to me. What about you? What does it mean to you??


On another note, my partner and I are embarking on another business journey, the branding of strokes of my pen. So alhamdulilah we have the first bunch of shirts out. We kindly ask for your support. Besides that, 10% of each shirt goes to Ahmad, a young boy who is undergoing kidney dialysis treatment yet he has a large outstanding balance at Pandya hospital to pay. If not the shirt then you can always mpesa their family directly (no. shown in image).Remember your reward is multiplied in this month so don’t hesitate to support in any little way in shaa Allah.


For the shirts, they come in colours of black, white, blue, grey and yellow. For more info: contact us via this no: 0734 201 665 or view our page: https://www.facebook.com/simplex.styles/. More is to come biidhnillah!

P.S. Please remember me in your duas! Whatever you pray for me, may you get just that a thousand more times. Ameen! Ramadhan Mubarak!

Photo Courtesy: data:image/jpeg

By Imran Abdallah Said

“What’s in a name?

That which we call a rose

By any other name would

Smell as sweet.”

-William Shakespeare

 In my quest to find the meaning of the name given to my hometown, I stumbled upon a rather funny story. It must have been my granny who told it to me. She said long ago, when the ‘wazungus’ arrived in our country, they sought the name of their new settlement from the locals. For some odd reason, they didn’t just go ahead and decide to name it after one of their kings or queens like they always do.

 Anyway, for obvious reasons, inter-cultural communication during the Middle Ages presented a major challenge to all citizens of the world as there was considerably less contact between people from different continents back then. So, as the story goes, the locals resorted to asking this honest question, and I quote: “Mwambaze?” Which translates to “What are you saying?” in one of the Mijikenda dialects.

So the visitors clung to the first word they heard, maybe they really believed that the locals had understood their question or they simply found the name catchy, who knows? What matters is that the name stuck and as it was passed on from one accent-heavy tongue to the next, it evolved over the centuries into the name we’ve all come to adore: “Mombasa”.

 Soon this got me thinking, what is the story behind the names of other places, or even people? In spirit of the Greek aphorism “Know Thyself”, I set off to find the essence of my own name first, hoping there might be a glamorous story behind its origins too. It means “one with long life and abundant wisdom” by the way, thanks very much for asking. Note that ‘abundant wisdom’ is the key phrase here.

 The history of names in general is quite obscure so its origin is not really easy to pinpoint. For the religious among us, it is likely very easy to describe the origin of all names. As with all things it must be tied to the story of the creation of the entire universe, when all things were named by God and then taught to Adam, Adam being the first name ever given to a human, end of the story.

For the not-so-religious, the origin is yet to be discovered conclusively. Historians however place the earliest instance of using names between 6600 to 6200BC when the Chinese used an intricate system of symbols on their pottery to mark ownership. The symbols, called Jiahu Symbols, were not really part of any particular language, just personalized symbols to distinguish your property from your neighbour’s, like a family crest, you see? It turns out the earliest name ever recorded was Gal-Sal (3200-3100 BC), which belonged to a slaver (not such happy origins after all).

 Earlier names seemed to have a descriptive meaning behind them, like Neithhotep (“Neith is satisfied”) the first ever recorded name for a woman according to historians. Such names still exist among many communities the world over, most notably the Native Indians of America who can boast such names as Mikasi(“White Moon”) and Miwok(“Bear walking into Shade”) or less honourable names like Eskaminzim (“Big Mouth”) or Arapoosh (“Stomach Ache”).

 You might be curious about your name too, maybe you should ask your parents and if they can’t tell you maybe you should kick their butt proper. What if your name means something horrible and they just blindly tagged it to you? But please don’t; there is a better alternative. The internet is filled with seemingly infinite resources on origins and meaning of names. Look yours up. Who knows your name might be synonymous to “headache” which might give insight to how you were such a bully at the hospital nursery when you were born. Or you might have one of those “Awww, mum and dad, you guys are awesome” moment when you realize your name means “Child who will conquer the world with his golden heart.” Or something of that sort.

 Right then, thank you for taking your time to read this. I hope you enjoyed it, I certainly enjoyed doing the research.  Bye bye.