The Neighbour My Smiling Friend


The past few days I have been absent from the internet world after having a very real experience.  READ HERE

I previously wrote about the extreme weather here and briefly explained the situation. While many have come to me asking for help for themself or telling me of others who need help I had become so busy that I had forgotten those close to me.

I was talking to a friend who mentioned another friend of mine that I have missed lately and wanted to catch up with her so I asked my friend how is she etc etc. My friend doesn’t have a mobile phone and while that is pretty normal for some women here others just can’t afford it.

My friend asked me, she said,’ do you know her home?’ I said, ‘yes I have been there before’ ( mind you where I live has only about 80 houses and the neighbouring place has about 100 so everyone knows everyone) My friend then continued to tell me about my other friends situation. I was aware that her husband suffers kidney problems and has 2 inflamed discs in his back making any form of labour work impossible for his declining health. He lives off the simple wage of teaching children Quran and how to read and write.

I nodded with my friend in agreeing  with her as I knew these things, she then told me what made me feel like my heart would break. My friend , my close friend who I have taken her children into my home like my own, who has always smiled and spoke such beautiful words to me. She was the one who stayed with me by my side when my neighbour attacked me she has made food for me and come to visit me when I was sick. She is that one friend many people have who suffers silently.

My friend informs me she has gallbladder issues and needs medical treatment but due to their situation she can’t get the help she needs. I pause my mind wasnt even thinking anymore I literally think I blanked out for a second to then hear her say that the downstairs of their home is the only part of the home they have.

I stop her stumbling to find the right word to start a sentence as arabic isn’t my first language, huh, what ??? My friend, her 4 daughters and her husband all literally sleep in the same room which is their lounge room. Their house consists of a front door, stairs to the roof top, a corridor, lounge room, kitchen and toilet. On occasions she can’t afford to feed her children and would visit someones home usually mine or  her neighbour as the culture here is if someone comes to your home you feed them something, but if they come in the late afternoon or night-time you cook food to eat with them.

My heart fluttering with sadness while I felt some anger at my friend, why didn’t she tell me, she knows we distribute for those in need here but I also understand some people just wont ever ask .While I know that I can’t help everyone and yes, some people don’t want help they want to ‘work’ for it themself, but to know someone so close to me was so humble in her struggling and suffering. I start to recall moments in my mind when she would refuse to eat certain foods but would insist her daughters to eat well, now I realise it was because of her gallbladder. I felt tears flushing from my eyes and a need to beg my friend to forgive me for overlooking what was infront of me.

On top of everything happening I feel so sad that my friend didn’t tell me what the reality of her life was but I feel more sad that I can’t be the friend to solve her problem.

”Worship Allah and join none with Him in worship, and do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, Al-Masakin (the poor), the neighbour who is near of kin, the neighbour who is a stranger, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (you meet), and those (slaves) whom your right hands possess. Verily, Allah does not like such as are proud and boastful”

[an-Nisa’ 4:36].

While my friend is certainly less than 40 houses from mine ( due to the opinion of scholars that a neighbour is 40 houses to the left and 40 houses to the right, in front and behind) she is a poor woman, a friend and neighbour. I felt a sense of betrayal, that I had neglected my friend and betrayed her to help others who had less rights over me who are total strangers.

If you have a friend who is close to you or just an acquaintance ask them sincerely if they are ok, be sure to be a true friend and allow them to open their heart to you and dispel their problems.


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