How many times have you rang your neighbour’s doorbell to check on him? Maybe once a year to wish him Eid greetings? Or every Friday?
The Prophet ﷺ said, “Part of the happiness of the Muslim man includes a spacious dwelling, righteous neighbour and a good mount.” (Adab-Al-Mufrad, Sahih li ghayrihi)
In Islam our neighbours have rights over us, and being a bad neighbour is severely condemned. Some scholars have stated that the neighbours are forty houses in either direction. Others have stated that the neighbour is the one whose house is next to yours. Whichever opinion one favours, one should be good all those who live in their neighbourhood, as both the near and far neighbours have a high status and kind treatment towards them has been enjoined in the Qur’an,
“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 traveler, and those whom your right hands possess. Indeed, Allah does not like those who are self-deluding and boastful.” (An-Nisa, 4:36)
Hence neighbours have great rights over a person. Too often people couldn’t care less about their neighbour; they drop rubbish in the neighbour’s garden, make noise late into the night, bang on the walls, invade his privacy by peeping, park to obstruct his access to his property, blocking sunlight and pass by without even smiling or spreading salaam. Little do these people consider the following hadith,
“Abu Hurayrah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported, the Prophet (ﷺ) 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.” (Riyad-us-Saliheen)
It is forbidden to be a source of distress and problem to your neighbour. If one has a muslim neighbour they should be extra thankful to Allah, and be brotherly/sisterly towards them. They should encourage each other to goodness, and forbid the evil. They should not take advantage of their neighbour’s absence but should rather look out for their neighbour.
On another occasion our beloved teacher said, “He will not enter Paradise whose neighbour is not secure from his wrongful conduct.” (Muslim)
I’m sure we all desire Jannah. It is the culmination of our hopes, and the goal which we seek. So why deprive yourself of it by being a bad neighbour?!
Naturally being the final Messenger of Allah, and a mercy to humankind, he was inspired by revelation. He once said, “Jibra’il kept enjoining good treatment of neighbours until I thought he would make neighbours heirs.” (Ibn Majah, Sahih)
This indicates the great right that neighbours have over us. So be a good neighbour, be friendly, smile, give salams, exchange gifts ad share food. Food always brings people together, it breaks down barriers and eases the atmosphere,
The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Abu Dharr! If you cook some stew, make a lot of it and fulfil your duty to your neighbours (or divide it among your neighbours).” (Al-Adab Al-Mufrad, Saheeh)
Sharing is caring.
He also said, “O Muslim women, never belittle any gift you give your neighbour even if it is a hoof of a sheep.” (Riyad-us-Saliheen)
It is the thought that counts, in other words, every action is judged by its intention. Thus, if one gives a gift, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem, but intending to maintain ties and fulfil good treatment of their neighbour, then they will have a reward. And every small deed is recorded and will be accounted for.
To conclude our Prophet was given conciseness in speech, and he pertinently 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.” (Riyad-us-Saliheen, Tirmidhi, Hasan)