National Cohesion

Why The End of Ramadhan Should Provide Key Lessons for All Kenyans

The Holy Month of Ramadan is gra­cious­ly over. But the lessons of the month should remain ingrained in us. This applies even to non-Mus­lims like myself.

By fast­ing dur­ing the month of Ramadan, Mus­lims inten­tion­al­ly step into the shoes of those who endure hunger on a dai­ly basis. When you can feel some of the pinch of the wear­er of shoes, you are able to empathize with them and tru­ly help them.

In light of this, we should all ask our­selves whether we can feel the pain of fel­low Kenyans, espe­cial­ly the mil­lions who live below the pover­ty line.

To some of us, the pover­ty line is an abstract con­cept. But to mil­lions of Kenyans, the pover­ty line is a dai­ly real­i­ty. They live below rough­ly Sh290 or much less per day. Accord­ing to the World Bank 19 mil­lion Kenyans live below the pover­ty line.

Please pause for a moment and imag­ine what exact­ly Sh290 can do in a day. It’s not enough even for some­one who stays alone. How are you sup­posed to pay rent, pay trans­port, buy food and sus­tain your health­care on Sh290? It’s impos­si­ble. Yet 19 mil­lion Kenyans sur­vive on this amount every day.

The les­son of Ramadan should help us to remem­ber these Kenyans every sin­gle day. Our leg­is­la­tors must enact poli­cies that will dras­ti­cal­ly reduce pover­ty in the country.

There are three addi­tion­al lessons that Islam can teach us.

First­ly, Mus­lims have a devout com­mit­ment to a set of beliefs that are anchored in the five pil­lars of Islam. For instance, because they are required to pray five times a day, they do so regard­less of when or where the time finds them. Indeed, prayer should be a cen­tral part of our lives, not just a fringe reli­gious rite. Chris­tians should emu­late the exam­ple of Jesus Christ who used to pray habit­u­al­ly at dawn.

Sec­ond­ly, we should learn from the sim­plic­i­ty of Mus­lim buri­als. A few years ago, two well respect­ed Kenyans who had been in pub­lic ser­vice for many decades passed away with­in a span of two weeks. One of them was a Mus­lim while the oth­er one was a Chris­t­ian. The Mus­lim leader was buried in a sim­ple grave on the same day, with­out much fan­fare. Mean­while, the Chris­t­ian leader was buried a cou­ple of weeks lat­er in a char­ac­ter­is­ti­cal­ly expen­sive ceremony.

Am not say­ing that Chris­tians should start bury­ing peo­ple like Mus­lims. Rather, we should learn some­thing from the sheer sim­plic­i­ty of Mus­lim buri­als and apply that les­son of sim­plic­i­ty in our lives.

Third­ly, a tru­ly gen­er­ous spir­it doesn’t have to broad­cast its generosity.

Have you ever noticed that there are not as many incom­plete mosques as church­es? This tes­ti­fies to the giv­ing spir­it that is preva­lent in Islam. I find it quite refresh­ing that they also don’t scream about their giv­ing from their rooftops the way some Chris­tians are prone to do.  Indeed, one of the most ignored vers­es in the Bible is Math­ew 6:3 – But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Giv­ing should be our sec­ond, silent nature.

Let me fin­ish by most sin­cere­ly remind­ing our lead­ers that it is bet­ter for them to learn such lessons from Islam than to seem­ing­ly mim­ic Islam­ic rites and rit­u­als for main­ly polit­i­cal gain.

It was dis­grace­ful and depress­ing to see some of our Chris­t­ian lead­ers go to a deep extent of bow­ing in prayer the Islam­ic way dur­ing recent Islam­ic prayers. We can pro­found­ly respect each oth­er with­out tem­porar­i­ly imi­tat­ing our respec­tive beliefs or prac­tices just for the optics. Not only is that insin­cere, it can also be mis­con­strued to be gross­ly disrespectful.

I pray that our Mus­lim broth­ers and sis­ters can also learn life lessons from Chris­tian­i­ty. We can learn from one anoth­er, respect and even vis­it each oth­er in our places of wor­ship while remain­ing 100% com­mit­ted to our spir­i­tu­al jour­ney. Think green, act green.

About Dr. Kalua Green

He is the Chief Stew­ard of Green Africa Group, a con­glom­er­ate that was envi­sioned in 1991 to con­nect, pro­duce and impact var­i­ous aspi­ra­tions of human­i­ty through Sus­tain­able Mobil­i­ty & Safe­ty Solu­tions, Eco­pre­neur­ship & Agribusi­ness, Ship­ping & Logis­tics, Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Ini­tia­tives, as well as Hos­pi­tal­i­ty & fur­nish­ings sectors

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