Friday, May 7, 2021

What is it about Friday....?

The non-Muslims among us must be wondering, especially those living around the Umoja Estate in Nyali, that while mercifully the whole week, at least two Mosques among the umpteen ones we are surrounded by, have reduced their noise level, Alhamdulillah, comes Friday, and we are inundated by the racket!

So, my question, since I too, am a Muslim, what is it about Friday that they should make more noise than normal? While the Qur'an tells the believers to especially treat the mid-day prayer on Friday as very important and to leave everything aside when they hear the call to prayer and attend congregational worship in the mosque. More so for the men which is a MUST. 

Nowhere in the entire Qur'an nor in the Sunnah of the Prophet (saw), does it say that the prayer should be extra-loud or even the sermon (which is counted as part of the prayer). All of this is supposed to be heard only by the attendees in the mosque/s, just like any other day or prayer.

Therefore, my question is, why are these Imams and Muslims in general changing the rules? 

If one is not even supposed to disturb the person/s standing in line next to us while praying, who gives you the right to disturb those of us who are living in the vicinity of mosques, and who are also trying to say our prayers (those of us who are females, Muslims and not attending mosques)? By the way, it's optional for women to attend mosques for prayers.

What is the matter with the authorities like NEMA and the County Environment Dept., that they continue to let religious noise pollution carry on? When talking to them one gets the impression that they are either scared stiff of applying this law regarding noise pollution or don't know much about what Islam actually says regarding this loud leading of prayers in all the mosques. They should first and foremost separate freedom of religion from senseless noise-making and then carry on from there. If they don't know what Islam allows and doesn't allow, they should educate themselves.

And don't ask residents who are getting disturbed that they sign a letter to them which is when they will take action. Regarding this, if Islam really allowed loud leading of prayers, etc., our signatures would have scant effect on these people. And if they accepted our signatures, it would show that our religion does not allow disturbing others! Also, how do they manage in other countries which are more law-abiding and don't tolerate noise? Such places don't even allow the loud call to prayer on the PA system.

So, will something be done about this, please?

Thursday, April 15, 2021

What we all feared, has started happening....!

Today is just the 2nd day of Ramadhan and one of our neighbourhood mosques (Umoja Estate is surrounded by them), is leading the late night prayers over the PA system, again!

For the past week there's been some peace during prayer times when ONLY the calls to prayer have been on the PA systems and as I write this it is 9.00 pm and the special prayers that one says during Ramadhan called Tarawih, are being led very loudly on the PA system of one of the mosques.

Does this mean that our peace and quiet is now gone and since this mosque has started disturbing the whole neighbourhood, others will follow in its wake?

May I again remind this Imam and the various attendees who are praying in these mosques to PLEASE, have consideration for their neighbours as well as the fact that nowhere in the practice of the Holy Prophet (saw), was this done nor is it allowed in the Holy Qur'an to disturb others. It is NOT VALID for others to follow him and therefore, only the ones INSIDE THE MOSQUE are supposed to hear him and so the PA system should be switched inside and NOT OUTSIDE for everyone to be disturbed. 

Please, do remember that most of your neighbours would like to go to bed early and whom you are keeping awake with your loud prayers.... or are you trying to show off to others that you are so holy and as proof you are leading these loud prayers?!

If that is the case, then the Qur'an speaks of people like you - you have little of faith and would just like to be seen and heard by men, i.e. show off how holy you are!!! Then, shame on you, all. What you are practicing is definitely NOT the ISLAM THAT THE HOLY PROPHET (saw), came with!

Have consideration for your neighbours for there are many non-muslims living amongst us and even the Muslims are getting disturbed and cannot do what they would like. Which can be their own prayers, sleep, etc.

Friday, April 9, 2021

The offensive and disturbing noises continue....

 It is beyond me to understand, why some of my muslim brothers are so insistent on having a peaceful and quiet neighbourhood erupt into incoherent noise comes Friday mid-day prayers.

On what basis do they insist on doing this? If, as some on social media, have rudely told us (muslims and non-muslim alike), to move or that they are trying to 'spread' Islam by giving loud and incoherent sermons on the PA systems, I would like to again ask them where in the practice of our beloved Prophet (saw), was this the case. 

Again, I would like to point out to them that there are a multitude of different kinds of people living within hearing distance of these loud sermons followed by prayers and they are disturbing EVERYBODY. I, being a Muslim, myself, was disturbed by this nearly half an hour of sermons being given in the mosques surrounding us. Since, they are ALL loudly given, we cannot make sense of anything. The ONLY thing it does is interfere in our prayers and/or anything else we might be doing at the time. 

Now, imagine the effect these loud (and competing sermons), will have on those fasting from next week. We are told in the Qur'an and the Seerah of the Prophet (saw), to observe more ibadah during this month. Therefore, we will be doing more prayers and especially reciting the Holy Qur'an more than usual, but, these mosques will probably be making more noise than ever, thereby incurring Allah's wrath because they'll be disturbing their neighbours.

So, for what purpose do you do this? You are DEFINITELY NOT doing ANYTHING meritorious by inconveniencing your neighbours, believe me. Again, I would beseech you all to look up what the rights of neighbours are......, not what you're practicing!

By rudely telling us to move, is highly offensive and uncalled-for and akin to giving threats. And I would remind you that Islam was never spread by threats and violence but by adhering to the Qur'anic teachings and practice of the Prophet (saw). 

Islam stands for PEACE and your behaviour is anything but, that. So, PLEASE stop being pests!

Friday, April 2, 2021

Noisy Mosques...continued from the last post....

While the mosques around Umoja estate have considerably reduced their noise levels, and we thought that the bliss would continue, but unfortunately it all lasted only till today, a Friday, 2nd April 2021!

Today, the noise level increased considerably and the sermon after the Adhan, was again given using the outside PA system. This is not allowed. Like the prayer which is to be done only for those within the mosque, the sermon, too is only for them, NOT for the public.

Now, I wonder if this is in preparation for the coming Holy month of Ramadhan? Are we all going to be inundated with noise from all the mosques surrounding us on a daily basis?

I would again, like to ask these imams, why do they do this? First, even if we were inclined to listen (which we are NOT AT ALL!), to their noisy sermons/prayers, etc., we cannot understand or hear what they are saying due to other mosques competing with each other on who can be the loudest. In fact, they sound more like they are telling off their congregants and whoever is listening to them and that they are quarrelling!

The other thing I would like to remind these noisemakers is the fact, that when they are reciting the Qur'an, we, Muslims are told to listen to it. Now, they are putting the non-mosque going Muslim public in a dilemma - we cannot make out a thing other than noise, when they are reciting the Qur'an on PA systems and others are also doing the same. Therefore, they are making a mockery of the Qur'an.

Can they please, stop this? You are disturbing your neighbours which is against Islam! Please do not confuse the freedom of religion with that of noise pollution.

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Noisy mosques and religious noises in general

While Umoja Estate in Nyali is surrounded by umpteen numbers of mosques, there's a new one that's been built within hearing and visual distance from us and which has since Thursday, 25th March 2021, acquired one of the LOUDEST public address systems around. The 2nd loudest one is the mosque at Ratna Square.

After having suffered from the EXTREMELY LOUD call to prayer at 4.30 am on the 25th of March 2021 over an hour nearly before the actual morning prayers, the imam then gave another call about 45 minutes later and another one after 5 to 10 minutes. Soon after the actual prayer started which is normally led by the imam.

Now, can anybody tell me (I am a muslim, too, who gets up for prayers in the mornings), what is the point of leading prayers so loudly that the whole neighbourhood and those farther afield can hear, depending on how loud is the PA system that is being used? For the information of non-muslims and quite a few fellow ignorant Muslims, this is invalid. It is invalid for me for example to follow this offensive imam. Since we cannot follow that loud imam who seems to think that what he's doing is a meritorious act, what is the point of him doing this? The ONLY people who have to hear him are the ones inside the mosque! So why are these mosques heard leading entire prayers and sermons outside the mosques? Why not have speakers inside the prayer hall/s so that all the congregants can hear him and not the entire neighbourhood?

In fact, he's disturbing others who are praying and also the non-muslims among us not to mention the sick, the elderly, and the children.

When I went to see the mosque imam the next day to request him to lower the volume of everything including the call to prayer, him and his companions (there were several guys with him), completely denied that the racket emanates from their mosque! My neighbours have all heard them and this mosque, Al Buraq, is awfully loud and we are ALL fearing what they are going to do during Ramadhan when almost ALL mosques will become even louder for an entire month!!!

One of the guys there challenged me to make a recording and then go there to accuse them of being loud. Unfortunately, I cannot do this since I am praying at this time, too. I would also like to ask all those Muslims who seem to find my post offensive to please let me know where in the Qur'an or the practice of the Prophet (saw), is this behaviour allowed and THEN come back to me with your accusations.

Other than the call to prayer, no other part of the prayer is supposed to be heard outside! Also, since there are so many mosques around there's no need for the call to prayer to be so loud that the sound from other mosques overlaps it! It is TERRIBLE. One would think that the various PA systems are competing with each other.

Will somebody in authority please act on this?

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Being a member of NHIF... BEWARE!!!

I have just spent most of the morning and a part of my lunchtime trying to untangle the things that NHIF DOES NOT tell its subscribers!!!

It does NOT tell us that all those NHIF accredited places are NOT for ALL subscribers of NHIF. They tell all Kenyans to subscribe to them even with as little as they can afford e.g. 500/- per month which will cover their out-patients bills, too.

Ah, but there's a catch as I found out today - that not all facilities that advertise at their entrances that they are NHIF accredited are really so. Only SOME of them will agree to see you despite you paying their monthly subscription. The reason you'll be told is that ONLY civil servants and the police are going to be seen there. Not the rest of us common Kenyans!

In case, you have downloaded their 'application', there's no end to the frustration you'll encounter to get information, though it claims that it is there for our convenience. Believe me, it is anything but that.

This 'app' only tells you that you're paid up or not, but not how long you are paid up, for, i.e. there's no way to find out up to what month you have paid. You send them a message from the same app and you'll NEVER get a reply!

Next, since they tell you that you are also covered for out-patient services, you have to choose from a long line of clinics and hospitals that are the most convenient for you. Well, there's a catch there. 

At no place does NHIF inform you that you can register yourself only at certain clinics and hospitals - not all of those that are listed there. Unfortunately, since they don't and I did not know that Premier Hospital in Nyali was not the one for me because it did not tell me so when I was registering there from their app, I went there today when I was in a lot of pain.

Soon after I presented my ID and NHIF card to them, I was told very politely by one of the girls working there that they only entertained and treated civil servants and cops NOT a commoner like me!

So now, I had to find another place that would accept my card, but since their app does not tell us which those are, I, and they (the two girls at Premier Hospital who were helping me out), were at a loss. They even tried calling NHIF and told them about my predicament, but didn't get any proper answer. In fact, they told the girls that I should go to their town offices to get sorted out!

Do these unfeeling people have any sense? How is somebody who is a senior citizen and not mobile, supposed to do all that? And also when I was in pain?

Therefore, I then chose to go to another clinic, where I used to go, and they had my record and which, the NHIF app told us accepted my card. I had no way of knowing if they really would.

Well, when I got there, they confirmed that they now accepted my type of NHIF card though previously they hadn't and I could now register with them. It was a relief, but again there was a catch. When the receptionist tried to register me there, it took her quite a while, but she managed it and I also got a confirmation that I was now registered there. Only problem was that I would ONLY BE ABLE TO USE MY CARD FROM 1ST JAN 2021!!!! 

Now, through no fault of mine I had to go through this run-around and that it is the fault of NHIF that I had registered myself at the 'wrong' place. So my question to this questionable outfit is - why don't they specify at their accredited facilities  that they list on their app as to which are available to the general Kenyan public and which are for the 'special people', only?! 

I would appreciate an answer as soon as possible.

Friday, April 24, 2020

The decimating of one tree!

Since the 15th of April, somebody with our water company decided to cut down a very old Khungu tree just outside our (Umoja Estate), fence.

Why? So that our water company can put down water pipes for the complainant/s as they don't get water. All this is fine and they even got a permit to chop down the tree.

The cutting down started on the 15th, but my question is - how long does it take to cut a single tree? It seems, many, many days! Those of us who live right next to this ex-tree, now probably going to be firewood, have to put up with the terrible noise of the chainsaw used in chopping it up. It goes on for hours on end. We cannot talk, have a phone conversation, etc., without having to shout to be heard and are now getting very, very FED UP with the awful noise!

They were working even on a Sunday till nearly 6.00 pm. I tried calling our County control room where I was assured that someone was being sent out to deal with the situation, hours later when the noise persisted, I called again and was told that their vehicle was out and would come here when finished with whatever it was doing.

The long and the short of it all has been that our redoubtable County officialdom just gives us these numbers to call with over-polite people answering at the other end who make us feel that something will be done, but nothing really is!

Since I happen to be a member of the North Coase Rate-payers and Residents Association, I asked them for help and our office assistant immediately tried getting the help of the County Environment office who assured him that they would pay a visit the next day. Of course, nothing happened and to date, nothing has.

Now, my question to our various officials is this... Do they really work? And that too in a timely manner so that they are not too late. For example, in this case, it seems that they delay doing anything as they are waiting for the issue to pass them by and when they eventually do make their way to the offending place, everything will be over and the complainant will be told that they could not find anything going on...!

So, my question remains - how long does it take to chop up a single tree?

Friday, November 15, 2019

Downsizing at the cost of your clients

I have been an account holder with Standard Chartered Bank since the mid- 1970s and service has steadily been deteriorating over the years. Especially, the last ten to fifteen years. I am very disappointed and for the first time, am thinking of moving.

When you start making changes to your banking system, do you ever think about how you will inconvenience many of your older clients?

I have noticed that you are closing branches all over to the extent that places like Malindi do not have a single branch there, all in the name of trying to get your account holders to use your online banking services, which are not just limited, but highly insensitive to clients who are seniors and not very much into this online system which you are trying to promote by hook or by crook.

There are a whole lot of people who do not have access to online banking, are not very cyber friendly, prefer dealing with humans (like me), rather that machines and I have found this online thing has its limitations.

There is also the very real danger of doing online banking. Anyway, as mentioned above, it has its limitations, i.e. we cannot access cash nor bank cheques this way.

This brings me to another complaint, not only don't you have enough branches, but also the ATMs are not enough and the few that are available do not work efficiently. For example, the nearest one to where I live is the Nyali Plaza one and yesterday from the time that I reported it at just after 2.00 pm, it was not working till after 6.00 pm! The only other ATM you have available in Nyali is kilometers away at Nyali Centre and which is in a very disabled unfriendly location. This particular ATM is supposed to accept cash money, but not checks. Why?

To come back to the Nyali Plaza ATM, this is not the first time that it has inconvenienced your account holders by misbehaving. It frequently runs out of money, especially during public holidays, and packs up without any reason sometimes swallowing our cards. This is not just inconvenient, but quite a disaster if it happens during a holiday when ALL  your branches would be closed and we, in need of urgent access to money and cannot even pay for anything using the debit card since it was swallowed by the horrible ATM.

In such a scenario, how does one get back the card? And why are you compelling us to take a trip all the way into town to retrieve the card? You are DEFINITELY NOT being customer friendly. In fact, you are only being friendly towards yourselves!!!

My request - please think from the point of view of your account holders and stop compelling us to use your online banking system. It's highly frustrating and most senior citizens, like me, prefer dealing with humans made of flesh and blood and can interact with, as before. Give us a choice without it costing us an arm and a leg to do so.

Hoping this will result in some serious thinking on your part...

Sunday, March 24, 2019

An ALERT for people with disabilities!

I suffer from Multiple Sclerosis(MS), and have to contend with umpteen numbers of disabilities which can be both visible and invisible to the people around me. But, they ALL have a nasty impact on my daily life. 

Unfortunately, unlike many others, I live on my own without much help with my daily living and therefore cannot assign others to do my shopping for me, etc. This creates very frustrating problems for me due to the fact that I  have very limited energy and movement and get exhausted quite fast.

Therefore, shopping is quite a challenge and more so when our supermarkets not to mention our public transport system, DO NOT cater for disabled people. There are some supermarkets that provide manual wheelchairs, but others not even this, unfortunately.

The ones that provide the manual ones do so with the belief that the disabled person will arrive there with somebody in tow who will push the wheelchair and at most they would have to provide somebody to push the shopping cart (this makes quite a 'train'!). It never crosses the supermarkets' high command that people with disabilities can live alone and therefore when one arrives, like me, to shop, they waste a lot of time to look for 2 people to push the wheelchair and another to deal with the shopping cart. And they most times don't have people to spare to do  this.

I tried informing one such supermarket about half an hour in advance so that we would not waste each others time, but when I called, the person answering told me to come with a maid or something as they would not be able to avail one of their staff!!! When I talked to the manager, I was given the above explanation, but he was good enough to understand my predicament and provided the necessary people.

Naivas supermarkets (in Mombasa, Nyali branch), provides two wheelchairs, but they are only for show. ONLY an amputee would be capable of using those since they have no foot-rest on them! I have talked to the management umpteen numbers of times over the years since they opened their branch here to no avail. They don't care!!!

Carrefour at the 2 rivers branch, ironically provides carts to hook up to wheelchairs, but no wheelchairs! Again, I asked the manager and was told that it is not their policy to do so. Why? 

The ONLY place I found who cheerfully and kindly provides for disabled people is Sarit Centre. Here, from the disabled parking slot one can ask for a wheelchair and it will be brought by a minder who will very willingly take you where you want to go without expecting 'rewards' in return and back again. Thumbs up to Sarit centre for this provision.

Nakumatt is also the ONLY one which provides an automated wheelchair with an attached cart which allows the shopper complete freedom to do his/her shopping on their own.

Now, my question to these supermarkets is this - if they do not want to provide for disabled people, shouldn't they announce so to the public? That their branches will NOT cater or entertain disabled people....., especially the ones, like me, who shop alone?!

Sunday, February 17, 2019

The Muslim Warrior Admired by Abraham Lincoln and Napoleon Bonaparte

The Muslim Warrior Admired by Abraham Lincoln and Napoleon Bonaparte

Emir Abd Elkader is unknown to most people in the west. He was a Muslim scholar, warrior and leader who earned the respect and praise of high figures of his time (1807-1883) such as Abraham Lincoln, the Pope, Napoleon Bonaparte III, Victor Hugo and Lord Londonderry. In 1846 Timothy Davis, John Thompson and Chester Sage were so impressed by his fight against French colonial power that they named their new settlement after him. The town of Elkader still bears the name of the emir and is located in Clayton County, Iowa.
Town of Elkader Iowa
Abd Elkader was born on September 6, 1808 to a devout Muslim family in Mascara, Algeria. When he was 22 years old, France invaded and occupied Algeria. The Algerians who were no match to the French Army, fought back ferociously. Two years into the occupation Abdelkader was chosen by the Algerian fighters to lead their armed resistance against the French.
To subdue the Algerian people the French commited countless atrocities. They were mutilating Algerian prisoners, severing heads and displaying them as trophies of war, wiping out entire villages, burning men, women, and children alive.
In the book “La chasse a l’homme” the French Count de Crisson writes “We would bring back a barrel full of ears harvested, pair by pair, from prisoners, friends or foes,”. In 1883 a French Government Inquiry Commission said: “We massacred people carrying [French] passes. On a suspicion we slit the throats of entire populations who were later on proven to be innocent; we tried men famous for their holiness in the land, venerated men, because they had enough courage to come and meet our rage in order to intercede on behalf of their unfortunate fellow countrymen.”
Abd Elkader led the resistance for 15 years and initially made great progress by liberating the western provinces of Algeria and setting up a state with its own currency “the muhammadiya” and administrative departments.
Despite the French army’s savagery Emir Abd Elkader fought within the confines of Islamic warfare, strictly adhering to its rules and principles. Long before the Geneva conventions of the treatment of prisoners of war, he issued the following edict: “Every Arab who captures alive a French soldier will receive as reward eight douros. Every Arab who has in his possession a Frenchman is bound to treat him well and to take him to either his commander or the Emir himself, as soon as possible. In cases where the prisoner complains of ill treatment, the Arab will have no right to any reward.” When asked what the reward was for a severed French head, the Emir replied “twenty-five blows of the baton on the soles of the feet”.
Abd Elkader made sure his prisoners were protected against violent reprisals on the part of outraged tribesmen seeking to avenge loved ones. He also invited a Christian priest to minister to their religious needs. In a letter to Dupuch, Bishop of Algeria, with whom he had entered into negotiations regarding prisoners generally, he wrote “Send a priest to my camp, he will lack nothing”. In one instance he even freed prisoners when he did not have enough food for them.
Likewise, as regards female prisoners, he exercised the most sensitive treatment, having them placed under the protective care of his mother, lodging them in a tent permanently guarded against any would be molesters. It is hardly surprising that some of these prisoners of war embraced Islam, while others, once they were freed, sought to remain with the Emir and serve under him.
The Emir’s humane treatment of French prisoners was kept secret from the French forces; had it leaked out, the result would have been devastating for the morale of the French forces, who had been told that they were fighting a war for the sake of civilization, and that their adversaries were barbarians. As Colonel Gery confided in the Bishop of Algeria, “We are obliged to try as hard as we can to hide these things [the treatment accorded French prisoners by the Emir] from our soldiers. For if they so much as suspected such things, they would not hasten with such fury against Abd el-Kader.”
After 15 years of fierce resistance against one of the most advanced armies of the time, the emir was at last defeated and in 1847 he negotiated his surrender in exchange for exile in Egypt. But the French didn’t keep their word and instead sent him to prison in France. There he learned French and studied the works of Greek and Muslim philosophers. He later wrote his first book “Call to the Intelligent”. Hundreds of French admirers who had heard of his bravery and his nobility visited him and he was most deeply touched by the French officers who came to thank him for the treatment they received at his hands when they were his prisoners in Algeria.
A few years later he was exiled to Damascus and on a day of July 1860 his true character was again tested. The civil war that was raging in Lebanon had reached Damascus and the Christian population found themselves surrounded by the Syrian Druze who arrived brandishing swords and knives determined to slaughter them all.
The French newspaper ‘Le Siecle’ on 2 August 1869 documented what happened on that day “We were in consternation, all of us quite convinced that our last hour had arrived. In that expectation of death, in those indescribable moments of anguish, Heaven, however, sent us a savior! Abd el-Kader appeared, surrounded by his Algerians, around forty of them. He was on horseback and without arms: his handsome figure calm and imposing made a strange contrast with the noise and disorder that reigned everywhere. For five days and nights he and his band of Algerians neither slept nor rested, battling out in the streets and guiding Christians to his large mansion where they could dwell in safety. By the time they were finished, they had managed to save over 15,000 Christians, the majority of which were the very same European people who had colonized his native land and were in the process of colonizing others. An Arab leader had, with his life, protected and saved the elite of Europe.”
When France later bestowed on him its highest honor, the “Legion D’honneur” he said: “The good that we did to the Christians was what we were obliged to do, out of fidelity to Islamic law and out of respect for the rights of humanity. For all creatures are the family of God, and those most beloved of God are those who are most beneficial to his family.”