If you have lived in Mombasa, I am sure you have heard or come across certain group called Jamiat Tabligh. Basically, this group goes around in the neighbourhoods, to remind people (mostly Muslims) about Islam. I used to go around with them. Usually the rounds begin after Maghrib prayers. Immediately after Maghrib, one of the guys will stand up and announce to the whole jamaa that, there will be a halaqa after praying sunnah and then we will go in the neighbourhood and remind the ummah about the wajibaat of Islam. Majority of these guys are of Indian descent. In fact this movement began in India and then spread worldwide. Members of the jamaat tabligh live a very simple life, and try to literally copy the generation of the Prophet (SAW) in their simplicity. They also travel a lot. One thing that I really admire about this group is their persistence and patience. No insult or pessimistic statement or act can discourage them from doing the tabligh. Now after that introduction, I will narrate to you of an incident that I witnessed while going on the rounds with them in Kaloleni ya Mombasa.

            In Kaloleni, there is a mosque by the corner towards makaburi ya Kikowani. This mosque is maintained by the Memon society (I can’t remember the name of the mosque). Outside the mosque on the other side there are several benches that people sit and drink coffee, play dominoes, play card or just sit and have gumzo. The night in question was no exception. Afetr the routine of a short lecture in the mosque after the sunnah, a bunch of left the mosque with the intention of going to remind our brothers on Islam. The amir of our group decided that the first target should be the barza opposite the mosque. It is very difficult not to see us, as we are quite a big group. On crossing the street, most of the wazee got up and gave one reason after another that they have to leave and go home. You could hear on saying to the other,

 “ Ah, basi mimi nn’apitiwa kabisa yakhe. Mama watoto an’ambiya nikisha swali nipitie dukani nikamchukuliye mkate wa siniya, kwani animabiya autamani mno leo.”  Huyooo, he is gone. Then you hear another one shouting to someone that only he sees,

 “ Kwanini hukuniambiya jodari wanshuka bei leo bwanaa ah. Wacha nkimbiye dukani kabla hawajafunga.” In short by the time we arrived almost all the guys were gone, except for one who was sitting at the corner, mumbling to himself. The amir decided that we should approach him. Some guys from kaloleni advised the amir otherwise, but the amir insisted that we should approach him. When we were close to the guy, you could tell that they guy was totally drunk. He was a Muslim but at that moment alikuwa chakari hajifai. “ Assalamu Aleikum.” We started

“ Wwwwaaalekum ssssalaam.” He answered.

“ Najuwa leo sisi nakuja hapa ili nakumbushana mawaidha ya dini ili sote nafanza ile Mungu naamrisha sisi.” Started one of the Indian guys in the group. The mlevi looked at us with concern. He then started shaking his index finger as if about to say something but nothing was coming out from his mouth. All we could see was that he kept licking his lips and shaking his index finger. “ Basi inshaala takuja kusali na sisi leo Isha, vipi naona.” Continued our designated speaker. The mlevi shook his head and then went back to shaking his index finger. Some of the local kids and I who joined the tabligh group were somehow embarrassed by this mlevi, but we did not say a word. We just kept behind. One of us was just about to say to the amir that we should not waste our time with him, when the mlevi decided to speak.

“ Ssssikizzzeni mabwana. Mimi hii dini naijuwa saaaana. Hakuna hatta mmmmoja wenu awezae kunifundisha. Mmmushasikiya. Hii kuruwani na sura zake nazijuwa. Ukifunguwa kwa hivi utaona kullu huwa allahu ahad, kasha ukifunguwa kwa vile utaikuta inna aateinaka. Haya nambiyeni mutanambiya nini.” At the back we couldn’t help ourselves. We were laughing but discreetly of course. Nobody wanted to make the amir angry. As the mlevi continued with his jibberish, one of the local guys begged the amir to move to other guys. The amir agreed reluctantly. He therefore asked the guy, “ Where is this other place that he was talking about.” The guy said inside the neighbouthood there was a soccer club called Younger Africa ( In short Yanga). In this club you will always find youths either sitting idle or playing keram. So we moved internal. This group of tabligh of ours is nicknamed in the mitaa as “Msako.” So whenever you hear msako, one usually asks what type. If the response is ‘msako wa kanzu’ they know it is jamaa wa tabligh. If the response is msako msako, then they know it is the police force.

            By the time we were inside mtaa wa Kaloleni, word arrived to Yanga club that msako wa kanzu waja. Therefore all the guys in the club decided to put off the lights and to be totally quiet. For a new guy in the neighbourhood, you could think that the place is closed and there was noone around;but to someone who grew up in such neighbourhood, one knows that there are people in the club. When the club was within our sight, the amir was informed that there are people inside but they put off the light because they did not want us to go there. The amir gave the order that we should go right in nonetheless. So in we went. The amir started, “ Assalaamu aleikum nduguzangu.”

“ Waaleikum ssalaam warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.” The response came in chorus.

“Oye washa taa bwana, tushaonekana ala.” Someone asked for the lights to be put on. Then the daawa as usual went on.

            Another similar incident happened by a similar kind of group but this one in New York. I was not in the group, but a friend of mine was. He then narrated to me the incident, that in their group there was a new convert of Puerto Rico origin. Now these Latinos are known how passionate they are to their salsa music and merenge. While they were in the car, it was all tasbeeh, takbeer, and tahleel. There was total silence and a very serious atmosphere. The Puerto Rican was very uncomfortable, for he did not know much about Islam to begin with. While traveling around in Brooklyn, the driver came to a stop and came out of the car with his other tabligh guy to go inside a house to check on something. My friend and the new convert were in the car. Outside there was some Latino music coming very strongly through the radio. My friend told me that he could tell that the guy really wanted to dance. He therefore put on the car radio and let the latino sakata ngoma in the car, until the song finished. When my friend so theguys coming, he put off the radio, and the Latino guy said, “ Thank you brother. I really wanted to take it out.”