Kindness to one’s Neighbour
Rasoolullah Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam has said that whoever believes in Allah Ta’ala and the Last Day should refrain from causing harm to his neighbour. (Mishkaat)
Among the important rules of a Muslim home is being kind and considerate to one’s neighbours. There are numerous Ahaadith that explain the rights of the neighbour. Rasoolullah Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam once mentioned that Hadhrat Jibreel Alayhis Salaam repeatedly stressed upon the rights of the neighbour to such an extent that he thought the neighbour would soon be made to inherit in one’s estate.
In one Hadith it is stated that once Rasoolullah Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam asked the Sahaabah Radhiyallaahu Anhum, “Do you know what the rights of the neighbour are? He then said;
1. Assist him when he asks for assistance.
2. Give him a loan if he needs it.
3. Help him if he is needy.
4. Visit him when he is ill.
5. Accompany his funeral when he dies.
6. Congratulate him on happy occasions.
7. Console him in adversity.
8. Do not build your house higher than his without his permission lest his ventilation may be obstructed.
9. If you buy fruit, send some for him as a present. If you cannot do so, take the fruit into your house concealed so that he cannot see it. Don’t allow your children to take it out and eat openly in case his children see it and become grieved.
10. Don’t let the smoke from your house get into his house causing him annoyance.
These are the rights of the neighbours.”
Thereafter Rasoolullah Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam took a Qasam (oath), “By Allah, no one will ever understand these rights unless Allah Ta’ala has mercy on him.” [Fathul Bari]
In another Hadith it is mentioned that once Rasoolullah Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam took an oath thrice saying, “By Allah he is not a Believer, By Allah he is not a Believer, By Allah he is not a Believer.” Someone asked, “Who is not a Believer?” Rasoolullah Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam said, “The person who causes suffering to his neighbour.” Another Hadith mentions that such a person will never enter Jannah.
Allah Ta’ala has ordered us in the Qur’aan
Be kind to the near and distant neighbour (S:Nisa V;36)
The near neighbour refers to the person living directly next to you and the distant neighbour, according to Hazrat Hasan Basri (RA), refers to forty houses in front of you, forty houses behind you and forty houses to your right and left.
In one Hadith it is mentioned that a woman was once described to Rasoolullah Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam that she is very punctual on her Tahajjud and keep fasts also frequently but she is unkind to her neighbour. Rasoolullah Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam said, “She will enter into Jahannum though she may be taken out after some time.”
Imaam Ghazaali (RA) has said that it is the neighbour’s right that he is not troubled in any way. However it is also his right that any trouble from him is borne patiently.
When Moulana Qaasim Ally (RA), a prominent Aalim of South Africa, moved to a new residential area in Gauteng, he went to all his neighbours greeting them and introducing himself to them. He also left his name and phone number saying to them that if ever they needed any help at any time they should contact him immediately.
Abdullah bin Mubarak’s (RA) neighbour was a Jew. He would always feed him before feeding his own children and would provide clothing for him first then for his children. Some people said to the Jew, “Sell us your house.”
He answered, “My house is for two thousand dinars.” They responded, “But your house is only worth one thousand dinars.
The Jew replied, “One thousand is for the house and one thousand is for having Ibn Mubarak as a neighbour!
A Thought Provoking Incident
Hadhrat Moulana Mia Asghar Husain Saahib (RA) was a great, pious, saintly Aalim of India. He lived in a mud hut in his village among other poor people. Every year, during the rainy season, part of his house would get washed away and it would cost him lots of money to repair the damage. Once, one of his students, Hadhrat Mufti Muhammad Shafee Saahib (RA), suggested to him, “Hadhrat, why don’t you spend some money and build a brick structure. In this way you won’t have to take the trouble of repairing the damaged house every year and in a few years time you will recover your monies.”
Hadhrat Moulana replied, “Yes. Indeed that is a very good idea. I never thought about it before.” Then, after some time he spoke up, “The truth of the matter is, my neighbours are all very poor. They cannot afford living in a brick house. If I build a solid home for myself, my neighbours may feel grieved at the fact that they cannot live in such a home due to their poverty and I don’t wish to cause any kind of hurt to them in the least.”
Eventually, after many years, when all his neighbours could afford building solid homes for themselves, then only did he renovate his house.
May Allah Ta’ala bless us with the ability of fulfilling the rights of our neighbours, Aameen.