My next door Neighbour and the rubbish bin
by Dr Abdel Aziz Belattar
The story started when my daughter phoned last week and gave me the sad news that my next door neighbour lady (non muslim) who was almost 92 years has passed away. I usually take the rubbish bins out for my neighbours including her's at night and my next door neighbour will take them back in the morning the following day. I have known her for almost 20 years. As I was away from Manchester, I was not doing this any more but the lady continued to do it. Few days ago, my opposite neighbour who know her well noticed that her rubbish bin was not out as usual. She thought that she might be ill and she went and paid her a visit to find out that she was very ill and not looked after well. She called her sister and son to come and visit her. Although she asked her to take to hospital, she refused and she was given few days to see if she can recover but her condition got worse and the GP was called to see and an ambulance was called to her home to take her to hospital as her condition deteriorated as she was very ill and she was not eating and drinking well. Eventually, She died in hospitals few days later.
I remembered that our Prophet Muhammed (prayers of Allah and His greeting upon him) was also speaking about next door neighbour until the companions were afraid that he/she might be eligible to inheritance. The Prophet (prayers of Allah and His greeting upon him) mentioned next door neighbour and he did not specify if he/she was a Muslim and not which meant that being good to neighbours is something which applied to all neighbours regardless their faith or status. In fact next door neighbour is a blessing from Allah (Glorified be He) and includes almost 40 doors on your left, right, behind, front, up & down. These constitute your neighbours. However, in our time do we have this sense of understanding?
My next door neighbour was a very good lady who was living alone after her husband passed away who left her a dog who was keeping her company until he died as well.
Although she was old, her mind and heart were always good and she used to have a good relationship with everybody especially young children. I remember that I use to pay her a visit or give some food during Ramadan and cakes during Eid. One day my wife told me that she came to visit her and she had tea with her. My wife gave her the book of Sheikh Aedh Al Qarni titled: "Don't be Sad" in English and she took it and returned two weeks later; and told my wife this is a good book and the author should receive a noble prize. This lady used to give gifts to my children in Christmas and new year for years and her kindness was always appreciated by my children.
In this time and age, do you care about your next door neighbour?
Do you visit them like the prophet (prayers of Allah and His greeting upon him) used to visit his neighbour even though they were cruel to him?
As human beings, we should always make sure that our next door neighbour is all right; especially if they are old and on their own.
The following story comes to my mind also: that of the house owner who wanted to sell his house and he asked 2000 dinars for a house which cost only 1000 dinars. The seller said that 1000 dinars is for the house but the other is for my neighbour who used to be the Scholar Ibn Mubarak.
In this life, there is a lot of blessings and one of them is a good neighbour, it is why it is recommend that you choose your neighbour before you choose your house. In conclusion, I would like everybody to get to know their next door neighbour and be kind to them as something might happen to them and then we might regret why you have not done anything about it.
The Prophet (prayers of Allah and His greeting upon him) said that you are NOT a true believer, if you eat to the fill and your neighbour is hungry. This is a true story that by taking the rubbish bin of my next door neighbour, we have found out about her situation and help her although at the end she passed away.