How is your neighbor? l Worship

By Aziz Junejo | Jan 16, 2019

Who couldn’t appreciate Fred Rogers in the PBS television show “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood”? He was an early role model of a friendly neighbor, singing, “Won’t you be my neighbor?”

Being neighborly in America in the 21st century has definitely changed over the years but the value of a good neighbor still remains the same.

Some of my best childhood memories took place while growing-up in a friendly neighborhood here close to the Puget Sound. I had wonderful caring neighbors who continually showed friendship toward my family and me, by simply smiling and taking the time to know us.

Being kind to neighbors is an integral part of all the Abrahamic faiths and I feel fortunate to have lived in a neighborhood where Muslims, Christians, Jews and other faiths lived as neighbors and fellow Americans sharing common values and concerns.

In Islam we are obligate to be good to our neighbors as Prophet Muhammad said, “He who believes in God and the Day of Judgment will never harm his neighbor and He is not a Muslim who eats his fill and lets his neighbor go hungry.”

During a recent cold spell and power outage our candle lit dinner table discussion turned to concern for our neighbors, especially the elders. So after supper we bundled up, gathered a couple of flashlights, and set out in the cold to check on a few neighbors.

Walking across the street and arriving at John’s dark doorways, we saw candles burning in an outside room and knocked. John is our most senior neighbor, a kind and thoughtful man who never misses and opportunity to wave and says hello to me when outside working in the yard or collecting his mail.

Opening the door with a lantern in hand he was delighted to see us and grateful we took the time to show concern for him. We ended up talking almost 30 minutes, during which he shared a couple stories with my children of growing up in America’s old south as their own grandmother had, and what being neighborly meant, the time spent was priceless.

Treating your neighbor like you would like to be treated is a simple recipe for making a better neighborhood. While I have irreplaceable neighbors I often wonder how I could possibly ever repay my neighbors for just being themselves; kind, considerate and friendly Americans?

Good neighbors were a big part of my childhood and today I truly feel I have the best neighbors anyone could. We are all busy, but taking the time to smile, give a friendly hello and get know neighbors around you can definitely bring a sense of security to you and your family.

Uniquely, ours is a society in which neighbors of one faith may live in peace and harmony next to neighbors of other faiths. By knowing the people who live around us it provides a strengthened sense of pride in our homes and neighborhoods; so coming home just feels good everyday.

 

 

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