Monday 29 May 2023 \


The Neighbor’s Rights in Islam

The Almighty Allah ordered the believers to keep the ties of kinship intact and forbade them from being ungrateful. He further confirmed the right of a Muslim over another Muslim. The neighbor has a right over his neighbor even if he is not a Muslim or is a sinner.

The neighbor’s right is proven in many verses of the Quran and Ahadith. It was even said that the angel Jibreel kept emphasizing upon Muhammad the importance of the neighbor’s rights until the Prophet developed an impression that Jibreel was going to prescribe a share in the inheritance for the neighbor. No one harms his neighbor except an ill-mannered person who is wicked and evil. The Prophet said: 

“By Allah, he does not believe. By Allah, he does not believe. By Allah, he does not believe.” It was said: “O Messenger of Allah! Verily, he lost and failed. Who is he?” He said: “It is he whose neighbor does not feel safe from his Bawaaiq.” They asked: “What is his Bawaaiq?” He said: “His evil.” (Agreed upon)

The Arabs before and after Islam were proud of being kind to their neighbors. They even priced their houses according to how valuable their neighbor was. Furthermore, Islam has made it incumbent upon Muslims to be kind and benevolent to their neighbors regardless of their neighbors’ religion. It was even ruled that the wicked person is he whom people avoid for his ill-manners, terrible behavior and his harmful actions. The most disgusting and revolting neighbors are those who search for people’s (and also their neighbor’s) faults and deficiencies. They would not mind looking into people’s privacy. Thus they cannot be entrusted with people’s lives, religion, money, or property. The Messenger of Allah said:

“He who believes in Allah and the Last Day should show hospitality to his neighbor; he who believes in Allah and the Last Day should show hospitality to his guest; and he who believes in Allah and the Last Day should speak good or remain silent.” (Agreed upon)

In another hadith the Messenger of Allah said:

“The believer is he who the people feel safe with. The Muslim is he who the Muslims are protected from his tongue and hand. The Emigrant is he who abandons evil. By Him in Whose Hand is my soul, he will not enter Paradise whose neighbor is not secure from his evil.”

It is really shameful to go to sleep with a full stomach while one’s neighbor is hungry. It is shameful to always wear new clothes, yet be so stingy that one would not even give his neighbor used clothes to cover his nudity. It is shameful to enjoy all the good things one has — food, clothes, perfume, and much more — while his or her neighbors long for bones and dry bread. The Prophet encouraged giving things away to neighbors even if it were a little thing? He said:

“Certainly, a woman should not belittle what her neighbor gives her, even if it is a sheep’s intestines.”

He addressed his companion Abu Dhar saying:

“O Abu Dhar! When you cook, add more water (i.e., to make enough soup) and take care of your neighbors (by sending them some of it).”

It is important to remember that a neighbor has rights upon his/her neighbor, which must be fulfilled! These rights are easy to fulfill. When meeting a neighbor or running into him accidentally, one should greet him by saying Salam (Assalamu Alaikum). When he falls sick, one should visit him. When he dies, one should attend his funeral and look after his children after his death as if it were their father looking after them. A neighbor must stand by his neighbor in happiness, grief, hardship and ease. The Prophet said:

“The best of companions with Allah is the one who is good to his companion, and the best of neighbors with Allah is the one who is good to his neighbor.” 

Islam Prohibits to Harm Neighbours

It is prohibited for one to peek into his neighbor’s house, especially while he is not paying attention. One should know that he, who looks into his neighbor’s house without his permission, would have his eyes filled from Hellfire. It is forbidden to try to listen to what one’s neighbor says in his house like spies do, which would make him insecure with you being his neighbor and never trust you with what he says or does.

If you are not able to be good and kind with your neighbor or acknowledge his favor upon you, then do not harm him and keep your evil away from him. Let him relax in his home and visit him when he invites you. When he consults you, advise him. If he is oppressed, give him your help, support and defense. Yet if he is the oppressor, help him by stopping him from oppression. If he does well, hail and compliment him and if he does wrong, pardon him. If he corrupts, do not approve of his corruption and remember that on Judgement Day many will be grabbing their neighbors, each one saying: “O Lord! This is my neighbor who closed his door in my face and deprived me of his good advice while witnessing my evil.”

Once ‘A man asked the Prophet about a woman who made many prayers and fasted much. Yet she would hurt her neighbors. The Prophet answered: ‘She is in the fire of Hell.” The man asked again about another woman who only did her obligations in terms of praying and fasting, yet she gave charity with big pieces of Aqit (yogurt or cheese) and never harmed her neighbors. The Prophet said: ‘She is in Paradise.’”

The Prophet said: 

“Four are from happiness: a good wife, a spacious residence, a good neighbor and a comfortable vehicle. And four are from misery: a bad neighbor, a bad wife, a bad vehicle, and a small (stifling) residence.”

Almighty Allah likes the neighbor who is patient upon his neighbor’s harms until one day Allah will help him, either by moving him away from that neighbor or by that neighbor’s death. It is idiocy and stupidity for people to file complaints with the authorities against their neighbors for the bickering and quarrels that occur among the women or children. The Prophet also forbade building walls or raising the houses so high that such would cause harm for the neighbor and might block the wind from reaching the neighbor’s property or expose of the neighbor’s privacy. The Prophet used to say:

“O Allah, I seek refuge with you from the bad neighbor in a permanent residence, as the neighbor in the nomadic residence is always moving (i.e., he does not stay in one place).”

In another hadith the Prophet said:

“Beware of the prohibitions then you are the best of worshippers. Be satisfied with which Allah has given you, then you are the richest of people. Be kind to your neighbor, then you are a believer. Love for the people what you love for yourself, then you are a Muslim. And do not laugh too much, for laughing too much kills the heart.”

Some people do not care about others if they themselves are comfortable. They would not mind if all the people were annoyed by them and angry with them. They would not mind even if their reputation was hurt so long as they satisfy their lusts and joys. Their lusts and desires are fulfilled and their needs are met, so it does not matter if all these were satisfied at the expense of their honor, dignity, or reputation. For that reason, these people are despised by others, hated by their neighbors and have a disgusting reputation among their beers. The Prophet said:“If you feel no shame, then do whatever you wish.” He also said:

“Allah has divided your manners among you as he has divided your provisions. Verily Allah gives (the pleasures of this) life to whom He loves and whom He does not. Yet, He does not give the faith except to whom He loves. He who is given the faith, verily Allah has loved him. By Him in Whose Hand is my soul, a person does not become a Muslim until his heart and tongue submit and surrender (to Allah), and does not believe until his neighbor is safe from his evil.”

What more could be said on the importance of upholding the neighbors rights which is decreed by Allah in the Holy Quran:

 “Worship Allah and join none with Him (in worship); and do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, al-Masakin (the poor), the neighbor who is near of kin, the neighbor who is a stranger, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (you meet), and those (slaves) whom your right hands possess. Verily, Allah does not like such as are proud and boastful.” (4:36)


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