Why I want to live in a village

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It is the norm for people to migrate from towns and villages to large cities in search for better job opportunities and higher standards of living. Big cities have major attractions such as malls, parks and good restaurants; they also have better schools and housing. However, I decided to go against the norm and migrate to a small village. This is a decision that many of my friends and relatives found strange and which they spoke out about. However, to my surprise, it was the best decision I ever made.

I am sure that my experience of living in a small village is similar to that of someone who lives in a small community away from a large metropolis anywhere in the world. Due to my experience of living in major cities and traveling the globe, I came to the conclusion that life is not very comfortable in large urban areas.

For many years, I listened to my father and his elderly friends say that families are not as close as they used to be in the period before the Kingdom’s economic boom, which was followed by the growth of cities and the mass migration of people searching for better standards of life. I heard stories of how mosques were at the heart of village communities and this is something I have found to be true. Village mosques are where people assemble. They also house informal committees of people who look after village affairs and the welfare of the inhabitants.

People meet and greet each other daily inside mosques and it is often easy to know that someone is unwell because people do not attend mosque when they are ill. Elders are respected and their wisdom and opinions regarding decisions in life are sought after. It is in small villages where families know each other and share both the good and bad times.

From my observations, people in cities are often disconnected from each other and in most cases avoid each other as much as possible. I have seen, with my own eyes, how some of my friends do not know their next-door neighbors. Not only that, they tend to avoid meeting them as much as possible and a good percentage of them would never think twice of filing cases against their neighbors in the event of a dispute. This is totally contrary to the concept of being a good neighbor and attempting to peacefully resolve matters.

The interpersonal connection between people is missing in cities. People do not smile at each other or greet strangers on the street. They only greet people they know. We are in a desperate need to reassert these values – smiling and being friendly to one’s neighbor goes a very long way. Neighbors should try to maintain good relations with each other.

I believe that leaving the city and heading for a village where social values remain strong has been a positive step for me. My children, who are young, also supported me in my decision. Around 10 kilometers from the city of Unaizah in the Qasim region of the Kingdom is a small village called Al-Awshaziyah – this is where I now call home. It is an ideal stress-free village, far from the pollution of the Kingdom’s major urban centers.

I remember people who would wait for the weekend to escape city life and go out into the wilderness for some peace. I, however, live it every day. I am now living the life my father used to tell me about, something that was for me then in the distant past but is now a reality. I know all my neighbors and meet them daily. All of the families in the village are well connected with each other to the level that we share our daily food.

Unlike people in the city where life is fast paced, we take our time to greet each other, ask about one another and visit each other. We have learned how to spend quality time. I began recording my daily life and the lives of my children inside the village and sharing with my family and friends. All of the responses I have received so far from them have been positive and they also yearn for a similar life. They often visit me at the first opportunity in order to experience the quality of life we are living.

A day does not go by without my meeting or talking to my neighbors. I remember the Prophet (peace be upon him) who said, “Jibril, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, kept on recommending that I treat neighbors well until I thought that he would order me to treat them as my heirs.” In another hadith, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Anyone who believes in Allah and the Last Day should be good to his neighbors. Anyone who believes in Allah and the Last Day should be generous to his guest. Anyone who believes in Allah and the Last Day should say what is good or be silent.”

Adhering to these values while living in a city is extremely difficult. There are far too many obstacles. Nevertheless, there is a great reward from the Almighty for simply trying to implement them. Let us reinstall these values within ourselves and try to have a positive effect on those around us. Let us make city life resemble the life in small villages.

Muhammad Thamer Al-Matroodi,

Al-Awshaziyah

Twitter: @M7mmdthamer Email: M7mmdthamer@gmail.com


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