Input by Ustazah Nuurunnuur
Ramadan is here! It is a time for Muslims to increase in their good deeds and reconnect with friends and family.
“And spend in the way of Allah and do not throw [yourselves] with your [own] hands into destruction [by refraining]. And do good; indeed, Allah loves the doers of good.”
However, whether you are Muslim or not, perhaps you have realised that you have not really spoken much to your fellow Muslim neighbours. You know, the ones who live on the floors above or below you - or even the ones next door.
So this year, perhaps it is time that you show your appreciation and positive regards toward them for being such good neighbours.
“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.”
This Ramadan, what are some of the ways that you can show your appreciation towards them?
Dates are the fruit most commonly associated with Muslims, especially during Ramadan. Why?
Well, this dates back to ancient Islamic tradition (I know, so punny). Anas bin Malik narrated that the Prophet s.a.w. said:
"Whoever has dried dates, then let him break the fast with that, and whoever does not, then let him break the fast with water, for indeed water is purifying."
Other than tradition, dates were also an important food among the Arabs and early Muslims. Apparently, they are a quick source of energy and nutrients, which is great for restoring the blood glucose levels of a person who has been fasting. Fresh dates are high in sugar, fibre, minerals, phytonutrients, and vitamin C.
So what are you waiting for? Bring some over to your Muslim neighbours this Ramadan – one cannot have too many dates. (Or can you?)
For your hungry, fasting Muslim neighbours, almost any food would be good food. In my humble opinion though, home cooked food is the best because it comes straight from the heart (especially if you’re a good cook!).
It was narrated from Abu Dharr that the Prophet s.a.w. said:
“When you make broth, add more water and give some to your neighbor.”
For non-Muslims (and Muslims bringing bought food), just ensure that the food that you bring is halal. And if that status is questionable, or you are unsure of your neighbour’s particular preferences, then heed the way of caution and look for that stamp of approval on the food you are bringing (halal-certification sign).
Giving cards may seem cliché, but it is amazing how much a thoughtful and personalised written message can touch a person’s heart, no matter how many cards they have received.
Abdullah bin Amr narrated that the Messenger of Allah said:
"The companion who is the best to Allah is the one who is best to his companion. And the neighbor that is the best to Allah is the one that is best to his neighbor."
Showing rahmah towards the people around us can make this world a much friendlier and joyful place to live in. So this Ramadan, let us begin by exchanging gifts and taking more steps to nurture goodwill amongst the people living closest to us.