Rights of Neighbours
Allah, the Exalted, says:
"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.'' (4:36)
Ibn `Umar and `Aishah (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "Jibril kept recommending treating neighbours with kindness until I thought he would assign a share of inheritance".
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Commentary: This Hadith illustrates the importance of nice treatment to neighbours in Islam.
Abu Dharr (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) commanded me thus, "O Abu Dharr! Whenever you prepare a broth, put plenty of water in it, and and give some of it to your neighbours".
In another narration of Muslim, narrated Abu Dharr (May Allah be pleased with him): My friend, (Messenger of Allah (PBUH)) advised me saying, "Whenever you prepare a broth, put plenty of water in it, and give some to your neighbours and then give them out of this with courtesy.''
This Hadith makes it clear that Islam does not like a Muslim to ignore his poor neighbour and eat up everything himself. It stresses that one must take care of his poor neighbours. If a person is not in a position to do more, he should at least add some water in the broth he cooks for his own food and send a portion of it to his deserving neighbour. It leads us to the conclusion that a Muslim should in no case be unmindful of his neighbour and if he is well-to-do, he should be all the more charitable to his neighbours.
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (PBUH) said, "By Allah, he is not a believer! By Allah, he is not a believer! By Allah, he is not a believer.'' It was asked, "Who is that, O Messenger of Allah?'' He said, "One whose neighbour does not feel safe from his evil".
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Another narration of Muslim is: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "He will not enter Jannah whose neighbour is not secure from his wrongful conduct".
Commentary: This Hadith reveals that hurting or troubling a neighbour is such a serious offence that it causes Allah's Wrath, and thus punishment in Hell.
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "O Muslim women! No one of you should consider insignificant (a gift) to give to her neighbour even if it is (a gift of) the trotters of a sheep".
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
This Hadith means that neighbours should present gifts to each other. The rich men and the poor according to their means. One who is poor should not think that what he is presenting to his neighbour is not worthy of giving. Even his humble gift, provided it is presented with sincerity, will find acceptance with Allah. According to the Noble Qur'an: "So whosoever does good equal to the weight of an ant (or a small ant) shall see it.'' (99:7)
It is, however, better for a rich person to present a gift which goes well with his means. He should not give anything to his neighbour which is stale or which he does not like for himself because apart from insincerity, such a thing shows his contempt for the neighbour while gift is, in fact, a token of sincerity and brotherhood.
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "No one should prohibit his neighbour from placing a peg in his wall". Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) added: Now I see you turning away from this (Sunnah), but by Allah, I shall go on proclaiming it.
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Commentary: The importance of the injunction contained in this Hadith comes into prominence in localities comprising huts and tents, or at places where the two neighbours still have common walls between their houses. (In big cities each house has its own independent walls.) In any case, it is evident from this Hadith that a Muslim should be considerate of his neighbours. Islam ordains us to co-operate and sympathize with them. All Muslims are likened to a body each organ of which is linked with the other. In the light of this injunction, one can very well understand the rights of the neighbours in Islam.
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "He who believes in Allah and the Last Day let him not harm his neighbour; and he who believes in Allah and the Last Day let him show hospitality to his guest; and he who believes in Allah and the Last Day let him speak good or remain silent".
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Commentary: This Hadith unfolds the fruits of Faith. One who does not have the qualities mentioned in it, is deprived of the blessings of the Faith. Faith of such a person is like a fruitless tree, or a flower without fragrance, or a body without soul.
Abu Shuraih Al-Khuza`i (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (PBUH) said, "He who believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him be kind to his neighbour; and he who believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him show hospitality to his guest; and he who believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him either speak good or remain silent".
`Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported: I said, "O Messenger of Allah (PBUH), I have two neighbours, to which of them should I send a present?'' He (PBUH) replied, "To the one whose door is nearer to you".
Commentary: When a Muslim does not have the means to present gifts to his neighbours and wants to present a gift only to one of them, he should go by the principle laid down in this Hadith. The principle enunciated here is: "One who is the nearest neighbour, should have precedence over all others.''
Abdullah bin `Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "The best of companions with Allah is the one who is best to his companions, and the best of neighbours to Allah is the one who is the best of them to his neighbour".
Commentary: Companion is a common word which covers companions in journey and stay. Muslims are ordained to treat all of them nicely. But one's neighbour has precedence over others. Nice treatment to him is the best means to attain a distinctive place with Allah.
This hadeeth shows that Angel Jibra'il (A.S.) brought commandments from Allah, concerning the rights of the neighbour so frequently and stressed the need to be kind and courteous to him with such force and regularity that the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) thought that the neighbour also will be made an heir i.e. just as parents, children and near relatives inherit the property left by the deceased, he thought that the neighbour, too, will be given a share in it.
Allah informed us that neighbours are an important part of society. Without having good neighbours, people can have a difficult and miserable life. Accordingly, Allah Taa'la informed us to look after our neighbours, to care for them, to keep good relationships with them and to ensure that we have good neighbours. In taking care of our neighbours, Allah Taa'la associated them with the categories of parents, relatives, orphans, poor and needy. In Surah An-Nisa, Allah Taa'la says:
"Serve God, and join not any partners with Him, and do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, those in need, neighbours who are near, neighbours who are strangers, the companions by your side, the way-farer and what your right hand possesses: for God loveth not the arrogant, the vain glorious. ( 4:36 )
In this verse, Allah Taa'la categorised for us three types of neighbours that we should take care of. They are:
1) A relative neighbour
2) A strong fellow neighbour
3) A friend neighbour
All of these neighbours, be they Muslim or non-Muslim, are to be taken care of in the best form and in the best manner.
Our beloved Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam informed us that the best person is the one who is good to his neighbour. It is narrated by Ibn Umar (May Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said:
"The best friend in the sight of Allah is the one who is good to his companions, and the best neighbour in the sight of Allah is the one who is good to his neighbours." (Tirmizi)
We are living in a rat-race society with very few people who are concerned for others, a society where people are treating one another without due respect, where neighbours don't know one another. Neighbours in the same building may not even know one another . People are scared of one another and the rate of crime has increased tremendously. People may see one another being abused, hurt and even killed but their answer would be, 'It's not my business to get involved.' They may hear someone screaming for help and no one would respond; everyone will only selfishly think of themselves.
If we wish to reduce the rate of crime in society, then we should establish a neighbourhood where everyone knows one another. We should get together with our neighbours to protect our society, our families and our properties. We should protect our children from drugs, alcohol, rape, adultery and other vices. It is high time that we take the initiative to correct vice in society. There are enough people from the silent majority who would be willing to help and work together to protect society from harm. Neighbourhood watch schemes are a prime example
In a car driven society we tend to drive past our neighbours, parking as close to our houses as possible without taking a moment to greet and talk to our neighbours. Let us help each other and be sociable without contravening Allah's commands. May Allah guide us. Ameen.