Rubina Ahmedi, Manchester, UK
Do you know who lives next door to you? Above you or they may live on the floor below?
When I was a young girl we all had street parties, we knew everyone in our street. If my mum was baking a cake and we ran out of eggs or sugar we popped over to one of the neighbours and borrowed some, we didn’t think twice and they often did the same. It saved you going out to the shops and more importantly there was a feeling of unity in the neighbourhood.
Let’s face it these days many of us don’t know the people who live next door let alone in our street. Sometimes we are so busy in our “rat race” that we forget to smile or share things with the people who often live closer to us than our own family and relatives.
Just think for a moment’; do you have an elderly neighbour who is sat alone for most of the day and doesn’t have any visitors? Or maybe your neighbour is a young family that have small children and frequently visit your local food bank for essentials. Can we spare a few minutes to say hello and have a chat, offer to go to the shops or share some soup or a cake?
The Holy Founder of Islam (peace and blessings of Allah be on him ) often advised his Companions and said:
“O Abu Dharr! Whenever you prepare a broth, put plenty of water in it and give some of it to your neighbours,”
We shouldn’t feel shy to be the first to put out our hand of friendship as this is the way to reach people’s hearts.
In Islam, as in all faiths, we are taught to share and be big hearted. You might welcome a new neighbour, lend one of your gardening tools or offer to sweep the path.
The Holy Quran teaches us to love our neighbours. In Chapter 4 verse 37 we read:
“…do good to your neighbours who are near and neighbours who are unknown to you.”
‘…show kindness…to the neighbour that is a kinsman and the neighbour that is a stranger…’
The Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) taught us that a “neighbour” is not just the one next door but includes all those up to forty houses in all directions – effectively a whole neighbourhood.
Life is full of uncertainty and risky situations can arise any time. If a problem arises in our house then the most reachable person indeed is our neighbour. And they will help us but only if we are good to them.
So let’s make a prayer for all our neighbours be they of any race, faith or no faith, be they known to us or strangers better off than us or worse off, be they locals or migrants, male or female, young or old.
May God enable us to fulfil the rights of our neighbours.