Rights and Duties of Neighbors in Islam
What Quran Says about the Neighbors?
Allah has assigned some duties to every Muslim and there are some rights too, of every Muslim over other Muslims. As parents and children have some rights and duties over one another, Teachers and students have some rights and duties over one another, similarly there are some rights and duties of neighbors also. Rights of neighbors are heavily emphasized in Islam. Allah says clearly in Surah Al-Nisa, verse 36:
“And (show) fairest (companionship) to parents, and to the near kinsman, and the orphans and the indigent, and the neighbor who is near kinsman, and the neighbor who is a stranger, (i.e. not of the family or creed or "nationality") and the companion at your side, and the wayfarer, and what your right hands possess. Surely Allah does not love whoever has been conceited (and) constantly boastful”. [4:36].
What Hadith says about Neighbors?
Allah’s messenger, Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H) says in this regard,
“One who believes in Allah (the Glorified and the Exalted) and the Day of Judgment must not cause hardship and inconvenience to his neighbor; and he who believes in Allah (the Glorified and the Exalted) and the Day of Judgment must respect his guest; and he who believes in Allah (the Glorified and the Exalted) and the Day of Judgment must speak well or keep quiet”. [Bukhari and Muslim]
Thus, the good Muslim is one who is best to his companions and neighbors. Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H) says,
“The best friend in the sight of Allah is he who is the well-wisher of his companions, and the best neighbor is one who behaves best towards his neighbors”. [Al-Tirmidhi, Number 120]
Types of Neighbors
Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H) has further explained the three kinds of neighbors who have rights upon us:
1. First are those who have one right upon us.
2. Second are those who have two rights upon us.
3. Third kinds of neighbors have three rights upon us.
Neighbors, who are Muslim and relative both, possess three rights upon us. Neighbors who are either a non-Muslim or a non-relative possess two rights upon us. Those who are neither a Muslim nor a relative but, they have all the claims of neighborhood possess one right upon us.
These statements show that Islam is the religion of humanity and so it has not declared rights to Muslim neighbors only. Hence, neighbors are of great importance and so they must be respected and taken care as we are told in Islam.
Duties of Neighbors
Hazrat Ali (R.A) says about the duties of neighbors, “being a Muslim it is our duty to protect the respect of neighbors when they are absent or not around. When, they are present then it is our duty to respect them, and if they face any sort of injustice then it is our responsibility to help in solving their matters. Furthermore, if we come to know about any fault in our neighbor, then we should try our best to hide those faults from others and if those faults are minor then we must overlook them. On the other hand if we know that our neighbors are doing things which are morally, socially, and religiously wrong, then our loyalty towards them is to desist or stop them by every possible effort. If they have committed a mistake then forgive them and live a happy content life with them”.
Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H) has also said,
“The neighbour is most entitled to the right of pre-emption, and he should wait for its exercise even if he is absent, when the two properties have one road”. [Sunan Abu Dawood, 1557]
Rights of Neighbors
Following are the some crucial rights of Muslims:
- Help in their hard times
- Be a source of relief for them when they live the difficult time
- Lend them money whenever they need money
- Never raise your building high, if your building could become the reason of their air blockage and reason of trouble.
- Do not harass them
- Share with them when you buy fruits or any good meal
- It is an obligation on a Muslim to visit his neighbor when he is ill
- And if the neighbors die then you must need to attend their funeral
- When they commit sin then prevent them from doing that
- When something good happens to them in regard to business success or any other kind of happiness, then congratulate them for the good fortune
- If some tragedy happens to them and you are unable to help them, then grieve in sympathy
Neighborhood is the mutual thing in which both parties should take care of each other. To protect the rights of neighbor is important but at the same time it is also one of the major things to be a good neighbor.
When Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H) performed ablution one day and his companion began to wipe them with the water he has used. The Prophet (P.B.U.H) asked them what induced them to do that, and when they replied that it was love for Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) he said, "If anyone is pleased to love Allah and His Messenger, (peace be upon him) or rather to have Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) love him, he should speak the truth when he tells anything, fulfil his trust when he is put in a position of trust, and be a good neighbour." [Al-Tirmidhi, Number 1289]
Hence, being a good neighbor and take care of your neighbor is one of the highly emphasized things in Islam.