Beginning with the name of Allah, the most Compassionate and Most Merciful.
I am on my neighborhood's HOA board masha'Allah. I am the only Muslim board member, by the grace of Allah, at this point. We are about 20% Muslim neighborhood. We have a Masjid at walking distance. We have an Evangelical church as well. A Sikh Gurdwara is not too far away. Masha'Allah a diverse neighborhood so to speak. Alhamdulillah all is usually well except sometimes.
We will sometimes have dogs without leashes. There is a park in front of my home. Some dog owners will use the park to exercise their dogs. It violates the HOA rules plus the city rules. I let it pass sometimes if the owner is mindful and doesn't let the dog walk elsewhere without a leash. The park doesn't have a fence so the dog has the potential to get outside the park. It has happened sometimes. I was working on my front garden flower bed, bending down, taking a weed out, and totally unaware of things around me. Suddenly, I see a big dog panting right at my back. I stood up and froze. I was attacked as a child in my backyard by our neighbor's dog. I was about 6 then. Later on, in another city, an Army uncle (we used to call any of our dad's colleagues in the Pakistan Army 'Uncle') would love to let his dog chase me in the cantonment. I release adrenaline very fast and dogs love to chase me for that reason. I have MANY dog stories from my life but that is for another time insha'Allah.
So this dog was panting and I was frozen. Luckily, the owners kept calling him and he went away. Coming back to the actual story - a Muslim neighbor reached out to me since I am in the HOA board and asked me if I could speak to the neighbor whose dog has been using this particular Muslim neighbor's backyard as potty grounds. The Muslim neighbor (let's call them A) tried to pay a visit to the non-Muslim neighbor (let's call them B) but B's wife didn't open the door. Fortunately for me (masha'Allah), I have known B for a while. Our garages face each other - a house off. I and B are both what conventional people will call 'Conspiracy Theorists'. We are aware of everything the US Government hatches regarding new unethical wars, 911's Controlled Demolition, COVID-19 vaccines, Israel's theft of land, yada yada. etc. We are ahead of the game and not one of the "Sheeple". Thank Allah for that. He is non-Muslim and I am Muslim but I call him "my brother from another mother".
B lost a son last year. His son passed away from cancer. We used to discuss our "Conspiracy Theories" - the name devised by sheeple of course and then suddenly we didn't get a chance to talk for a few months. During those months, B's son contracted cancer and passed away. He was 10. I remember B's son as a vivacious 10-year-old running around on his bike. I loved his bubbly personality. One evening when I came back with with my children from school, B came walking to my driveway and started talking about his son, I just couldn't believe that he was gone. I have told B that his son died at the age of Al-Fitrah. Such kids born to non-Muslim families along with the kids, born to Muslim families, reside with Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) in the Gardens of Eden/Paradise as dictated by many Ahadith.
So this complaint comes in, I send a text message to B and then a voicemail. No answer so I went to his house. It turns out that B was upset that he has been talked down by a Muslim neighbor who drove in front of his home, asking him to keep his dogs on the leash. I reminded B that it is the law of the neighborhood and the city. B agreed. I also let him know that Muslims consider dogs' saliva to be impure and that's why don't like dogs to lick them. B mentioned that he doesn't want other people's dogs to potty in his yard either but that there needs to be etiquette. You can't just stand your car in front of someone's home and talk down to them when they are standing by the window of the car. B, in response, shrieked at the neighbor in the car and asked him to bust off. All in all an ugly situation and avoidable. B was upset at my text too - I was too curt in asking him for his dog to not do it again. My defense - I am in the middle of many things and send curt messages everywhere. However, it's a reminder for me to be always aware. This family lost their son last year, and has not recovered at all from it, in fact have gone deeper into grief. I apologize that I have not provided them space of late. B promised that the dog thing was not a habit and was by error since the dog escaped. We caught up on the new developments, Vivek Ramaswamy - B doesn't trust him/ I don't- I am afraid he is a Hindu Nationalist in garb. The new COVID-19 vaccine is out - the horrors!
I sent a message to our Muslim men's group through my husband. I let them know about B's personal situation about his son passing away. We all need to be aware that sometimes we assume things of people of other faith where we may think that they may be doing something on purpose - they may not be. We are all co-existing. Let's park our cars when speaking to our neighbors, let's contain our dogs, let's know each other so when someone's son dies - we are aware. We COEXIST - let's remember.
May Allah lead us all to Sirat ul Mustaqeem, Ameen.
Thank you for reading an ordinary story with a heavy message. Image by Shona Corsten/Unsplash.