The Rights of a Neighbour

Islam is a religion that preaches and advocates humanity. It envisions us to dwell in a peaceful milieu with an abundance of love and unity. It instructs us to be harmonious and maintain best relationship with our neighbours. ALLAH SWT directs the command in holy Quran, “Worship ALLAH and associate nothing with HIM, and to parents do good, and to relatives, orphans, the needy, the near neighbour, the neighbour farther away, the companion at your side, the traveller, and those whom your right hand possess. Indeed, ALLAH does not like those who are self-deluding and boastful “ [An-Nisa 4: 36]. Narrated by ‘Aisha RA, that the Prophet PBUH said, “Gabriel continued to recommend me about treating the neighbours kindly and politely so much so that I thought he would order me to make them as my heirs”. (Bukhari)

Our rights towards a related neighbour are amplified, since besides being a neighbour, he is also a relative. In this respect, the closest neighbour is more rightful than a relatively far neighbour. Narrated by ‘Aisha RA: I queried, “O ALLAH’s Apostle! I have two neighbours. To whom shall I send my gifts?” He said, “To the one whose gate is nearer to you.” (Bukhari)

Our beloved Prophet PBUH mentioned, “Anybody who believes in ALLAH and the Last Day should not harm his neighbour.” (Bukhari). The harm stated in this hadith can be implied as physical, mental or even emotional. Narrated by Abu Hurairah, The Prophet used to say, “O Muslim ladies! A neighbour should not look down upon the present of her neighbour even it were the hooves of a sheep”. Looking down might hurt the neighbour emotionally. (Bukhari).

In another hadith, he said, “He cannot enter paradise whose neighbour is not safe from his evils” (Bukhari, Muslim). The evil constitutes major and minor vices. The greatest possible harm to a neighbour is the harm inflicted to his house members. Narrated by Ibn Masud: I said ‘O ALLAH’s Apostle! Which sin is the greatest?” He said, “To set up a rival unto ALLAH, though HE alone created you.” I said, “What next?” He said, “To kill your son lest he should share your food with you.” I further asked, “What next?” He said, “To commit illegal sexual intercourse with the wife of your neighbour.” (Bukhari)

The Prophet said, “The neighbour has more right to be taken care of by his neighbour (than anyone else).” (Bukhari). Abu Hurairah RA said that the Prophet PBUH mentioned, “No one should prevent his neighbour from fixing a wooden peg in his wall.” (Bukhari). However, if this wooden peg is bound to affect the wall of the owner, then it is not permitted.

Those who disregard Islam as a religion opposed to peace and humanity, are in fact prejudiced to demean such a beautiful and absolute way of life, i.e. Islam. This wonderful faith, while emphasizing on developing best terms with the neighbour, does not differ if the neighbour is a non-muslim or a foe. In fact, these humane manners may leave a good and lasting impact in attracting non-muslim towards Islam and may appeal the enemy to lend a hand of friendship. Imam Bukhari has mentioned in his book, ‘Al Adabul Mufrad’ that once a sheep was slaughtered for Abdullah bin Amr RA so he began asking his servant repeatedly, “Did you present (some of it) to our jew neighbour?” On similar lines, Prophet PBUH said, “A person who has eaten to his fill while his neighbour is starving of hunger cannot be a muslim”. Even during adverse condition, the Prophet PBUH has advised us to take care of our neighbour. The Prophet PBUH said, “O Abu Zar! If you happen to cook broth, then add some water in it so that you share it with your neighbour”. Glory be to ALLAH! Do they not yet feel ashamed to malign such a religion of high esteem?

In conclusion, upholding good relationship, and treating your neighbour appropriately is an aspect of faith in Islam. Only if we could translate the wise and blessed teachings illustrated in Quran and hadith into action, this world will certainly be a better place to live with peace and brotherhood dominating our daily lives.

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