About a year an a half ago, a new family moved in an apartment on our floor. Palestinians. Two grown up sons, and some other kids. The father was a nice man. Skinny, always in thobe. Looked young. I met him often in and around the building as I meet other neighbors. I used to chit-chat with him. He told me he had been here for 50 years. I was shocked. “BUT YOU LOOK 50!”.. he did look young and fit. He laughed, ” I am almost 70″.. What a cool guy , I thought to myself. I never talked to his sons, except for the usual Salam.
Today is friday.
I usually get up late and so I don’t pray in the neighborhood mosque. I go to the King Faisal Foundation where they start a bit late. So, I usually miss bumping into neighbors as I leave or return, because our timings are different. Today, however, I bumped into my neighbor’s son.
“Salam Aleykum, kef 7alak?” , I said
Tamam, he replied…
” Kef al walid? Wallah ma shufna ar rijaal min zaman? Safar? Bekhair hu??”
” Wallah, al walid tawaffa gabl sana.. Allah yar7amuhu”….
I stood in shock.
For those of you that don’t know Arabic: After salutations, I asked the son about his dad and told him how I missed seeing him, and if he had traveled because he used to complain about being here for 50 years and not ( I don’t even wanna start with that! lol)…….And, the son told me that his father passed away a year ago!
I prayed for my “new” neighbor and I did not even know his name.
All through friday prayers and until this minute, I have been thinking about something. Let me share it with you.
Do you know what kind of rights neighbors have over us? The Prophet PBUH told us of so many rights and he told us that he feared Allah would give them a share in our inheritance!.
We don’t care who lives next door. We don’t care if they have had dinner. We don’t care if they are happy or sad. We don’t even know when they died for God’s sake! We live in our own world. Away from everyone. We find faults in them. We resent some, and we avoid most. We are shameless in this.
We are too busy with everything else. With work, family and driving. We are busy chasing something. If we knew the importance of the neighbor, we would go out of our way to be nice to them. To enquire about them. To check on them. To send them gifts. To meet them and invite them. We do not do this anymore. We simply don’t have the time for this VERY important task.
Look around you. There is a whole neighborhood. Many people. Happy people and sad people. There is a party going on all the time and we just shut our door and ignore these very important people. Years pass, kids become old and we have no clue who lives across the corridor. How will we ever build productive communities?
Neighbors are part of us. They are like family. They are not strangers. Reach out and KNOW them. I made this promise to myself, to God.. I will check on my neighbors always. And, there is only one way to do it. I am sharing this with you all because some of you may benefit from this idea. Throw a dinner party ONLY for your neighbors. Invite them all, connect with them. I will do so. ..
May Allah guide us to be better people.
Have a wonderful Friday, dear reader.