By Rahma Uneeb
“Worship Allah and associate nothing with Him, and to parents do good, and to relatives, orphans, the needy, the near neighbour, the neighbour farther away, the companion at your side, the traveller, and those whom your right hands possess. Indeed, Allah does not like those who are self-deluding and boastful.” [Quran, 4:36]
When was the last time you talked to your neighbour? OMG! Do you even remember their name? I certainly don’t.
We can’t blame anyone but ourselves for this rift in our community. Our society is fractured beyond repair because we are so caught up in our own problems, our own storms and our own worries that we never even make the effort to find out about people literally living right next to us. It’s gradually becoming a culture; the threat of a communal collapse buzzes in our ears every day. I cannot even personally go visit my neighbours because I haven’t even met them once! I should form the acquaintance but I comfort myself by blaming my family for not taking us to visit neighbours or I blame the neighbours for not making the effort.
I’m sick and tired of feeling isolated; my relatives don’t live this city and my best friends don’t live a footstep away either. I automatically assumed that there weren’t ‘my type’ of people in my area. But then where were all these people in taraweeh coming from? All the way from the other side of Karachi? Such stupid stereotypes and irrationalities my little brain harbours!
I resolved to make the effort, despite my social anxiety, to converse with someone at taraweeh. I decided I would go early and sit in ambush. Maybe that way I would be able to tell at-least someone about my library. Seriously, did I just bring it back to myself again? Selfie culture taking over!
I’ll also be making Eid goodie bags Insha’Allah and try not to sleep Eid away but visit people in my locality.
I don’t care about what the outcome is; I just know that Allah (SWT) sees the effort. If He has put extra emphasis on it, then I’ll try my best to prioritize it.
So after I made this firm resolution, here’s what happened:
I won’t say it was easy mustering the courage to talk to complete strangers but I’ve gotten to know quite a few people since I made this resolve. I met people who were doing such interesting things with their lives – people working in myriad fields or people here from abroad etc. And I have high hopes that our neighbourly love will blossom inshaAllah now that I’ve gone through the initial step, i.e., got to know them!
The other way I was pretty cool and nice with my neighbours was I didn’t get annoyed when an old auntie commanded me to get her a chair or someone just pushed me and squeezed in right beside me. I was all smiles despite how irritated I felt. And it dawned on me that I had been missing out on the gems of Prophet Muhammad’s ﷺ sunnah (way) for so long. <3
This Ramadan I challenge you to zero-in on a few neighbours, meet them, greet them, and do something nice for them (like sending them a gift or something to eat etc.) and then stay connected in a good manner!
You might just find friends for life with whom you can practice the deen together in your community and initiate cool projects for the benefit of your society and the ummah at large!