Whether we happen to be a Jew, Hindu, Christian, or Muslim a very common strong belief that is universal among us is “Love Thy Neighbour”. It signifies that there was one common primordial natural way of life for humanity and principles such as these are its remnants found in all major religions today.
In Judaism, the Torah commands, “Love your neighbor as yourself – I am God.” (Leviticus 19:18). The Hindu writings instruct, “This is the sum of duty; do naught onto others what you would not have them do unto you.” (Mahabharata 5,1517). Christian scripture speaks often about love of neighbor. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12, 30-31)
Muslims learn from the Qur’an, “Serve Allah, and join not any partners with Him; and do good- to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, those in need, neighbors who are near, neighbors who are strangers, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (ye meet)…(Qur’an 4:36).
In today’s global village connected through the internet, perhaps every human is a “neighbour” to the other. Applying this maxim, our humanity compels us to love the person with a skin colour that may be different from ours; the person whose political beliefs may not agree with ours; the homeless person sleeping on the sidewalk; the newcomer who migrated having hope in the basic “goodness” in all humanity; the thousands around the world suffering from the effects of war and famine. By loving others, we desire what is best for them and allow them to flourish.
Typically, when we search for a place to call home, we look at the intrinsic qualities of the property and the amenities that come with it. So if we find a nice place with parking, swimming pool and gym one often considers this sufficient. To a believer, this is not so. There is an Arabic proverb - Al Jaar Qabl Ad Daar- which literally means “the neighbor before the home” — meaning that we should consider the character of the neighbor before the suitability of the actual home.
We can try to ensure that the financial transaction that we make to have access to our new residence is legally earned and wholesome. Before we start living in the newplace we can remove Satanic influences from it by reciting specific sections from the Scriptures. While it is also from the tradition to have a house warming feast.
In humanity, the rights of our neighbors are many upon us, regardless how different they appear from us. According to natural living:
1. We must help them if they ask for our help
2. Give him relief if they seek out relief
3. Lend him if they need a
4. Do not block their air by raising our building high without their permission
5. Do not harass them
6. Visit (and take care of) them when they are ill
7. We attend their funeral when they die
8. If they commit a sin, we prevent it from being known
9. We congratulate them if they are met with good fortune
10. We grieve in sympathy if a calamity befalls them
The actual place is important. It should have plenty of sunshine and satisfy various other criteria, but the choice of neighbors should be the foremost in our choice of residence.
Al Jaar Qabl Ad Daar!