By Alhaji Alhasan Abdulai
Islam places premium on neighborliness. Whether our neighbors are Muslims or not, whether they are related to us or not, we (Muslims) are enjoined by Allah to extend to them courtesy and support in times of need. In return our neighbors are required to reciprocate by extending respect and honor to us. in Ghana where Muslims and Christians live in harmony, Muslims and Christians are seen exchanging gifts during religious festivities like Christmas and New Year , Easter and Eid al Fitr to mark the end of the monthlong Ramadan fast and the Eid al Adha that coincides with the hajj pilgrimage to Makka. Muslims also tolerate cultural and religious activities of non Muslims in our neighborhoods that are allowed by the laws of the land.
Mallam Ibrahim Toure, resident Imam of the Ashongman Estates Mosque emphasized that neighbors are very important to Muslims. This is revealed in the respect shown to their neighbors leading to healthy relationship between Muslims and Christians in Ghana. Speaking during his ‘jumma Hutba’ (sermon) on Friday September 26 2014, the Imam said neighborliness is very important anywhere in the world. He said if one is to live in peace and harmony in his house, he should find out the best neighbors to him or her in a good neighborhood and society. The Imam said without having good neighbors’ people would have difficult and miserable life.
Mallam Toure said Allah (swt) informed us that neighbors are important segments of our societies. Accordingly Allah (swt) ordained us to take good care of our neighbors in order to get good treatment in return to ensure good neighborliness. In taking care of neighbors Allah directed Muslims to pay attention to our relatives such as our parents, brothers and sisters, orphans, the poor and needy. In Sura an Nisa in the holy Quran, Allah said as follows; all of your neighbors are to be taken care of in the best manner possible.
He said Prophet Mohammed (pbh) showed us how to take care of our neighbors insisting that we should do everything possible to make our neighbors happy and satisfied.
According to the Prophet (swt) the rights of the neighbors must be respected; when he or she is sick you must visit him or her; when he or she is bereaved you should attend the funeral of the departed souls; when you discover that your neighbor is poor lend him money; when he is in need protect him ; when your neighbor in the a state of happiness congratulate him and join him or her in merry making ; when he or she is struck by calamity you should condole him or her; don’t raise your building above his or hers to cut off the wind from him or her ;don’t harm him or her with the good smell of your food unless you are prepared to share the food with him or her
The Imam said, we are living in a ‘rat race’ society. We are living in a society where very few people have concern for others. We are living in a society where people are killing one another without due regard for their lives. We are living in a society where neighbors don’t know one another. Neighbors in a compound house or on the same apartment buildings may not know one another. People are scared of one another. The rate of crime has increased tremendously in our neighborhoods and we don’t seem to show concern. People may see one another being hurt and killed and their reaction would be that; it is not my business to get involved or intervene in what is happening.
The imam expressed the hope and prayed that all of us will try our best to practice good neighborliness as taught by Islam in our daily private and public lives. May Allah help us and guide us to the right path. Amen, he added
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