Monday, July 1, 2013

Al Jaar Qabl Ad Daar

Typically when someone looks for a home one looks at the intrinsic qualities of the property and the amenities that come with it. So if one finds a nice place with parking, swimming pool and gym one often considers this sufficient. To a practicing Muslim, this is not so. There is an Arabic proverb - Al Jaar Qabl Ad Daar - which literally means the neighbor before the home; meaning we should consider the neighbor(hood) before the actual home.

Among the primary considerations is whether the neighborhood is good and peaceful. It should have a masjid which would be walking distance to your home to be. The masjid should be well managed with weekly activities for the whole family. There should be a weekly lecture other than the Friday sermon. The imam should be a person of knowledge and upright character who should have great people skills. Similarly the security guard / watchman of the place should be a good fellow with whom you can have a good rapport. You will need his services for interfacing with the landlord and maintenance issues. You should find out how good the maintenance of the property is.

The location of your dwelling should be such that you can fulfill all your needs at a walking distance or short commute. Thus your workplace, your kids’ school and your relatives' homes should be near as should the access to major highways and the city public bus stop. If the neighborhood grocery store delivers to your home it will be very convenient. Having a hypermarket in the neighborhood means you can do your weekly groceries shopping within 30 minutes. Having your bank nearby means that you can inquire about any financial transaction in person and you do not get charged extra for using out of network ATMs. A nearby outdoor walking track will keep you active. Other services that you may regularly use include tailors, carpenters, shoemakers, opticians, money exchangers, barber, ladies saloons, laundry, bakery, sweet shop, pharmacy, photo studio, etc. Having a diversity of restaurants in the neighborhood means quick delivery of speciality breads and meals. In the Gulf, it is essential to have Khaleeji, Lebanese, Pakistani and Malabari outlets close by. Having speciality shops in your neighborhood means that you will establish social bonds with their owners - something that is not always possible in the mall culture being promoted these days.

You should make sure that the financial transaction that you made to have access to the home is halaal. Before you start living in the place you should play / recite Surah Al Baqarah there. It is also recommended to have an Islamic house warming feast - called wakeerah.

The actual place is important. It should have plenty of sunshine and satisfy various other criteria that you have, but the neighbors and neighborhood should be the foremost in our choice of accommodation. Al Jaar Qabl Ad Daar.