Undoubtedly, Islam is a humble and loving religion that has prescribed good treatment to everyone and everything. Neighbors are held in very high regard in Islam and they have many rights over us that we are religiously obliged to fulfil. Islam is a comprehensive religion and has specifically defined that neighbors are those who live up to forty houses from us in all directions.
As we have all descended from Adam and Eve, this makes us all brothers and sisters to each other. Hence, our neighbors are also like our relatives regardless of their color and religion and have rights over us. There are three types of neighbors according to Islam:
- The neighbor with one right upon you. This neighbor is neither your relative nor a Muslim
- The neighbor with two rights upon you. He is either not a Muslim or not a relative.
- The neighbor with three rights upon you. He is a Muslim as well as relative.
Our Prophet (saw) has emphasized as well as showed through his actions the importance that our neighbors hold in Islam. They are to be treated with respect, brotherhood and kindness. Two hadiths of the Prophet (saw) for neighbors that can further elaborate their importance are:
“That man is not from me who sleeps contentedly while his neighbor sleeps hungry.”
The rights of neighbors prescribed in Islam are as follows:
- A believer must help his neighbor if they ask for help. This help can be physical as well as financial.
- A Muslim must provide relief to their neighbor if they ask for relief.
- It is non-permissible to block your neighbor’s air by raising your building without his permission.
- You must take care of your neighbor when he is unwell.
- A Muslim must take part in the funeral preps and funeral when his/her neighbor passes away.
- You should be sincerely happy for your neighbor in their good fortune and wish him well.
- In case a tragedy befalls on your neighbor, you must grieve with him and offer sincere condolences. Also, you must help them out in any way possible to ease them through this difficult time.
- Do not publicize your neighbor’s sins and other bad habits in front of others.
- Do not harass and bother your neighbor unnecessarily.
- Share your fruits with your neighbors. If you do not want to share, then do not let your children eat them outside to prevent jealousy and melancholy in your neighbor’s children.
Islam is such a beautiful religion that it teaches us such thorough kindness to our neighbors. Moreover, it offers tremendous benefits to those who comply with these teachings of the Quran and our beloved Prophet (saw). I hope this small article can give birth to a new zeal and zest among us to care more for our neighbors.