By: Naima Baghozi

A girl in our school named Kela was the most selfish person anyone can come across. Read on and you will understand what I mean…

My name is Malu and I see myself as a very friendly and outgoing girl. This, you will know from the uncountable friends that I have. I couldn’t see anyone in a bad way; in fact I took everyone as friendly, outgoing and kind as myself. Therefore, it was a surprise to me when almost everybody tried to convince me what a bad and selfish girl the new student named Kela was. I just couldn’t believe nor accept it and I kept telling everyone that it can’t be true. That she is just shy, being new in the school and in town too for she and her parents had just moved from a neighboring town. I kept on finding excuses for her. However, my friends just would not understand why I wouldn’t believe them. This is because I am the sort of person who has to see things for myself without being told to believe, so I decided to keep my eyes wide open on Kela.

Luckily it so happened that Kela was placed in the same class as I and I decided to be my usual friendly self. I went over to where she was sitting and extended my hand in order to introduce myself. ‘Hello, my name is Malu and what is yours?’ I said with a big smile on my face but…

She just looked at my hand with such disgust on her face that one would have thought my hand was a snake ready to strike her. I felt so horrible and walked away slowly wondering what was wrong with her!?

That was my first experience with her but I refused to give up on her because I am not used to people snubbing me – so it was like a challenge for me and I decided to face it… She didn’t know what was coming, he, he, he…

All the way home and far into the night while lying on my bed open eyed, I kept trying to figure Kela out, wondering why she was like this or what made her be this way??? Questions, questions and more questions kept on revolving around my head. I decided there and then that I will do everything in my power to find out. I then fell into a deep sleep right away as I was very tired.

“Kela, Kela come play with me skipping rope please.”

“No Malu, I don’t want to.”

“Oh! Please, please, it is going to be a lot of fun.”

“I said no. I don’t want.” continued Kela with a long face and then even stuck her tongue out at me. That was very rude but I wouldn’t take no for an answer and kept urging her to go and play together…

“Come on Kela, I am just trying to be your friend…”

“I don’t have any friends” Kela replied.

“I know that, that’s why I want to be the first one.” I continued, “Please Kela! Here, shake my hand so we can truly be friends!”

Reluctantly at first a small smile started on Kela’s face and she actually looked pretty instead of her usual long face. She then took my hand in hers and her face lightened up with this beautiful smile and just said “thanks friend…”

“Malu, Malu – what’s wrong with you? Malu, can you hear me?”

I got up with a start and confusion, for a minute not knowing where I was and then I realized I was in my bed. My mother was hovering over me with a worried look on her face and I then realized all that was a dream.

My mom asked me, “Are you alright?”

“Oh! I am fine mom; I was just in a deep sleep and having a dream.” I replied.

“Well, you better get up, breakfast is ready or you will be late for school,” said my mom.

Strangely enough this dream gave me more courage to face Kela and make sure she becomes my friend because I felt there must be something sad that has made her become the sort of person she is now and I was going to make sure I find out what it was.

I quickly got out of bed and did my morning rituals, then right after breakfast picked up my school bag and off I went to school. On the way I met up with a couple of my friends and we went on chattering all the way to school.

The day was as normal a school day usually is. I decided I won’t be too forward with Kela and that I will take things as slow as I can so as not to give her the impression of my being pushy. So I greeted her and moved on.

I decided it would be best to just observe her and her habits and then and only then make my moves in trying to convince her to mend her ways.

It wasn’t long before I found out, for I sit right in the next desk from her, and I could see how terribly rude she was to almost every student who tried to be friendly with her. She would even make faces at their backs and this is a very bad habit for anyone to have.

As days went by I couldn’t help noticing how much she preferred to keep to herself and do everything by herself. She would come to school alone and walk home alone. I felt very sorry for this girl, I don’t know why but I just thought to myself what a miserable life she must be living!

To give credit to my friends, I must accept their opinion about Kela, for she did turn out to be exactly what my friends branded her to be:

She wouldn’t even share anything of hers with anybody in class; not a rubber, a ruler or even a text book. If anybody dares request her to lend them one or any other of these things – then that person will definitely get a rude plain answer of “NO”.

Come break time when all of the girls don’t mind sharing whatever delicacies we bring from home, she would definitely refuse to even come near us, leave alone sharing her own which we never knew what it was anyway. Oh God! She is such a SNOB, we finally decided.

Thus the days kept dragging on in the same pattern more or less until…

Until one day I decided now this has to stop and I took it in my hands to just follow her home and see where she lives or what sort of life she was living in order for me to make some sense out of all this.

So, after school on this particular day I told my friends to just go on home and that I won’t be long before I join them. Luckily they didn’t question me as to why and why not.

After they left, I hid behind a huge tree which was near our school gate. Not long after, I saw Kela coming out. She first did a strange thing; she looked around all sides as though checking to see if anyone was looking at her. Thank God for the big tree which hid me well, for she passed right by me without even noticing that I was there.

As luck would have it, the path she was taking was quite the opposite of the one leading to my home. I was so glad because this way my friends won’t see me following Kela. My curiosity was driving me crazy about this girl; I just hoped it won’t kill me like it did the cat…

This was my very first time to take this route, so I tried to be very discreet so that Kela may not notice me. I kept quite a small distance between us and I hid behind trees and bushes as we went along – it was quite a distance but I kept on until we came to a little hill which I let Kela climb up and then she disappeared over it, I slowly climbed over it and at the top of it I stood still in shock with my mouth wide open with wonder seeing Kela slowly drawing her legs towards what one can call a home.

You see, what was down there was the worst horrific site of a slum village. So many lousily built box and paper houses clustered so unhealthily together, one would even wonder how anyone can know which one is hers or his.

Tears were rolling down my cheeks and a huge painful lump clogged in my throat wondering if Kela did even have any meal at all. I felt so sad for her and such strong feelings of pity filled the whole of me and for the first time in my life I lifted my face up to the sky and thanked God so much for the privileges that I had, which those people living down that hill never had. I vowed there and then to help this girl in what ever means I can.

Now, everything fell right in place in explanation to her misery and to her attitude in general. One thing impressed me though about her and which made me wonder “how does she manage to come to school so clean every day?!”
I looked down once more and then dragged my feet home like in slow motion, my heart feeling so heavy in sadness…

What will Malu do about Kela?? Wait for the next piece soon in shaa Allah!

If you see a person depressed, a person hungry, a person crying in pain, a person who is homeless, a person suffering what happens to you? What is it that happens to your heart? When you see a Muslim drinking alcohol, a lady walking half naked or in tight clothing with full make up, a child cursing and using swear words, when you commit a sin what happens to you?? Do you feel the pinch in your heart or do you just throw your arms and say ‘I don’t care. It’s none of my business?’ Do you feel the urge to help or would you rather say, ‘ I have my own problems?’ Sweetheart, if you don’t feel it; if you don’t feel the ‘ouch’ and the pinch or the burn in your stomach then do know, there is something really wrong with you.

The word imaan can be used in different concepts. One could be used to describe faith but the one I mean here is the one on mercy or rather, having pity; being humane. When all you care about is you and yourself, If all that’s happening in the world; all this bloodshed, refugees, hunger, suffering does not move anything in your heart, if it has become okay and very normal to see fellow Muslims go astray, if your own sins no longer bother you then maybe you should really reflect on what your life and living is really like.

The prophet p.b.u.h said: whoever amongst you sees some evil/wrongdoing then he should change it with his hand, if he can’t then he should stop the evil by his tongue and if he can’t then he should do it within his heart (by hating it) and that is the lowest level of imaan. So where is your imaan? Where is your hatred for evil? Where is your mercy on other mankind? What if that homeless was your child? What if that girl gone bad is your sister? What if that person crying for help was your own mother? What if the boy not praying was your brother? Would it change? Would you now feel the pinch in your heart?

Truth is that we will always care about the people dearest to us but as we continue living while ignoring all that happens to everyone else then eventually we even lose the little imaan that we have.

Small things like how you treat your house help so badly, how you compliment the girl in her wrong clothing, how you sin without repenting, how you insult your neighbour, how you are totally okay even after knowing that your sister is hanging around with some guy out there, how your heart has grown so cold you don’t even realize it, all make a very big difference in your heart. So where is your imaan? Where is your mercy upon fellow mankind? Keep thinking…