Your Neighbor

Allaah The Almighty  Says (what means): {O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another.} [Quran 49:13] The neighbor who lives adjacent to one’s house is the one whom Islam exhorts one to do most good to, confirms good treatment to, urges to be extremely kind to, and warns, very strictly, of harming or even hurting his honor. This was something familiar to many Arabs, due to their genuineness and good disposition, during the pre-Islamic era and after Islam, so much that they always vied each other in glory over being good neighbors, valued houses in accordance with the good etiquettes of neighbors, and further advised each other to choose the neighbor before choosing the house.

Islam has come to maintain for this neighbor his great right, as recommended by Allaah in His Noble Book when Allaah Says (what means): {Worship Allaah and associate nothing with Him, and to parents do good, and to relatives, orphans, the needy, the near neighbor, the neighbor farther away, the companion at your side.} [Quran 4:36] The Messenger of Allaah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “The best of companions in the sight of Allaah is the one who deals with his companion the best among you; and the best of neighbors in the sight of Allaah is the one who deals with his neighbor the best among you.” [At-Tirmithi & Ahmad]

Furthermore, the teachings of Islam make harming the neighbor a cause for which one would deserve to enter Hellfire – and we seek refuge with Allaah from that – even if the person who harms his neighbor is a devout worshipper. It is proven in a Hadeeth on the authority of Abu Hurayrah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him that somebody said, “O Messenger of Allaah, such and such (a women)…” and made a mention of her plentiful prayer, fasting, charity, and so on, “… but she offends her neighbors with her tongue.” On that he  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “She will be admitted to the Hellfire.” [Ahmad; Al-Albaani: Saheeh (Authentic)]

The chosen Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) also stripped the faith of one from whose evil his neighbors are not secure. He  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “By Allaah, he is not a believer! By Allaah, he is not a believer! By Allaah, he is not a believer!” People asked, “Who is that, O Messenger of Allaah?” He  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention )said: “The one from whose evil actions his neighbor does not feel safe.” [Al-Bukhaari]; this is because the Muslim is the one from the evil of whose tongue and hand the other Muslims are safe.

All this is intended to stress the neighbor’s high position and glorious standing. Then what would you do, O poor soul, when you stand in front of the Lord of the Worlds to meet the complaint of your neighbor against you, saying, “O Lord, this neighbor of mine neither observed the right of neighborliness with me, nor did he treat me well. He harmed me: with his eyes when he looked at my things that are unlawful for him to see, with his ears when he stealthily heard my secrets, and with his tongue when he made fun of my defects.”

O people of Islam, the right of your neighbor over you is great. Due to him from you is to visit him to inquire about his health when he falls ill, to escort his funeral procession when he dies, to lend to him when he asks you for a loan as long as you are able to do so, to relieve him when he is given to destitution, to congratulate him when something good happens to him, to console him when he is afflicted by a calamity, not to raise your building over his so as to harm him, to forbid him when you see him doing a shameful deed, and to help him when you see him doing good. It may be that he would hold on to your neck on the Day of Judgment and say, “O Lord, he saw me involved in evildoings and neither commanded me to do good nor forbade me from doing evil.”

It is also due to the neighbor upon his neighbor to detect his state, to inspect his living and affairs, and to suffice him against the humiliation of begging if he is destitute and needy. The Messenger of Allaah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “He has not believed in me who spends the night satiated while his neighbor at his side is hungry, and he knows that well.” [At-Tabaraani; Al-Albaani: Saheeh (Authentic)] This right is emphasized by the arrival of the blessed month of Ramadhaan with its fragrant days and nights.

If each of us cares for his neighbor and detects his affairs and states, then no doubt, the spirit of brotherhood would prevail among all individuals in the society, affection would cover the hearts of its members, whether young or old, and they would enjoy the best lives – and misery and hardship would disappear!

What would perfect the pleasure is to have a righteous neighbor adjacent to you. This is the brother whom your mother did not give birth to. This is, without doubt, the joy told of by the Messenger of Allaah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) in his statement: “Four things bring about happiness: a good (woman) wife, a large residence, a righteous neighbor, and a comfortable vehicle.” [Ibn Hibbaan: Al-Albaani: Saheeh (Authentic)] Do you know why? Because the righteous neighbor is motivated by his righteousness to defend your honor, realize your goodness, conceal your defects, rejoice whenever you are pleased, and grieve whenever you are sad.

It is quite unfortunate these days to see evasion from the neighbor in many districts and homes where the neighbor does not recognize his neighbor nor know his name, telephone, and whether he is fulfilled or destitute.
So, fear Allaah, my brother and sister, in your neighbor, whether he is your relative or a stranger.

We ask Allaah The Exalted, the Almighty, to help us fulfill the rights of neighbors, and to use us in the service of His good and pure servants.