Prophet Muhammed (ﷺ) - The Greatest Neighbor | Prophetic advice on dealing with a neighbor, & his own practical approach

Prophet Muhammed (ﷺ) - The Greatest Neighbor | Prophetic advice on dealing with a neighbor, & his own practical approach

Prophet Muhammed ﷺ - The Greatest Neighbor  Prophetic advice on dealing with a neighbor, & his own practical approach

The Prophet ﷺ used to often advise His ﷺ followers to be good to their neighbors, and encouraged them to take care of their needs and setting down their rights. 

Being good to neighbors is not limited to only Muslim neighbors, as the Prophet ﷺ advised us to be good to all neighbors, Muslims and Non-Muslims. 

Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Amar (ra) slaughtered a sheep and then said (to someone), ‘Have you given some to my Jewish neighbor, as I heard the Prophet ﷺ say, " Sayyiduna Jibra’eel (a.s.) kept advising us to be good to our neighbor, so much that I thought he would inherit from us."’ [Abu Da’ood].

The Prophet ﷺ told us to be generous to neighbors and treat them well. He even said there was a connection between good treatment of neighbors and one’s faith. The holy Prophet ﷺ said, “Whoever believers in Allah and the Last Day should be good to his neighbors.” [Bukhari and Muslim].

The Prophet ﷺ said, “The best companion, in Allah’s sight, is the one who is best to his companion. And the best neighbor, in Allah’s sight, is the one who is best to his neighbor.” [Ibn Hibban].

The Prophet ﷺ encouraged his followers to be friendly to their neighbors by giving them food which is related in this hadith: “If you cook food, increase the amount of water in it; remember your neighbors and give them from it.” [Muslim].

Dealing with a bad neighbor

Islam advises its followers to be kind and considerate of neighbors. What happens, however, if one has a neighbor who behaves badly and does not show the respect inherent in the teachings of Islam? Believers are patient and tolerant and do not hold grudges. They strive to mend the broken relationship through good morals, manners and forgiving attitude in the hope that this will bring about great reward from Almighty Allah. Hence, they patiently bear the annoyances as much as they can. If the situation becomes intolerable, they can take all the necessary options as a last resort. However, they do not publicize a bad behavior.

One day, a man came to the Prophet ﷺ complaining about his neighbor. The Prophet ﷺ said, ‘Be patient.’ But the man returned two or three times (with the same complaint). The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, ‘Go and put your belongings on a public road.’ Therefore he put his belongings on the path. Consequently, people asked him what had happened. He told them what had happened (how he was troubled with his neighbor) and as a result the people started to curse his neighbor, saying, ‘May Allah harm him (his neighbor).’ Eventually, his neighbor went to him and said, ‘Return to your home; you will not see anything you dislike from me [again] [Abu Da’ood]. *There was no fight!*

Giving gifts for mutual support & friendliness

A believer is encouraged to give gifts even if they are of little monetary value. The true value of the gift is the generous spirit with which it is given. The giving of gifts fosters friendship and mutual support. One day Sayyida Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) asked the Prophet ﷺ which neighbor had more right to good treatment and close relations with her. She asked, ‘Oh Prophet ﷺ, I have two neighbors. Therefore, which one should I be better with.’ The Prophet ﷺ said, ‘The one whose door is nearer to you [Al-Buhkari].

The Prophet ﷺ visited neighbors when they were ill

One day, the Prophet’s ﷺ Jewish neighbor became ill, so the Prophet ﷺ visited him. Sayyiduna Anas (ra) reported this incident, saying, “A Jewish youth used to serve the Prophet ﷺ. The youth became ill, so the Prophet ﷺ went to visit him. The Prophet ﷺ sat at his head and said, ‘Enter Islam.’ The youth looked at his father who was near him. His father said, ‘Obey Abu Qasim.’ Consequently, the youth entered Islam. When the Prophet ﷺ left, he said, ‘Praise be to Allah Who saved him from the hell-fire’ [Al-Bukhari].

Be particular in visiting your neighbor and keeping good relations with them, especially if he is ill or has a special celebration, as this was the habit of the Prophet ﷺ

Thus Prophet Muhammed ﷺ always treated His ﷺ neighbors with extreme kindness and consideration. Commanding the good treatment of neighbors in the Qur’an, Almighty Allah says:

“Worship Allah and join none with Him in worship, and do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, the poor, the neighbor who is near of kin, the neighbor who is a stranger, the companion by your side, the wayfarer, and those whom your right hands possess. Verily, Allah does not like those who are self-deluding and boastful.” (An-Nisa’ 4:36)

When one truly understands the teachings of Islam, he or she begins to see that if one member of a community suffers, the whole community feels the pain. After family, neighbors are the people that we depend on the most in times of need and trouble. A bad relationship with neighbors can make life miserable. It is important that people who share a neighborhood be able to trust and rely on each other, regardless of their religion or ethnicity. 

Prophet Muhammed’s ﷺ Teachings – Neighbor’s Rights

The essence of Prophet Muhammed’s ﷺ teachings tells us that the balance and moral development of any society lies on everyone’s involvement in promoting goodness, engaging in sympathetic communication, and in promoting selflessness and sacrifice for others.

In order to promote these invaluable moral values in a society, Prophet Muhammed ﷺ laid down the rights of neighbors, and emphasized them so much in Islam that seemingly a neighbor looks very close to being a relative.

It is narrated in Sahih Bukhari (and with some paraphrased words in Musnad Ahmad) that the Prophet ﷺ said: “Jibreel always kept (passing on divine orders from Allah) regarding (the rights of) neighbors, until I thought that he would be made one of the inheritors (apart from one’s family members).” _Ref: 1 & 2_

Most importantly, Prophet Muhammed ﷺ it a part of faith to treat a neighbor with goodness. He ﷺ said: “By Allah he is not a believer! By Allah, he is not a believer! By Allah, he is not a believer.” He ﷺ was asked: “Who, o Messenger of Allah ﷺ!” He ﷺ replied: “The one whose neighbor is unsafe from his ill-treatment.” _Ref: 3_

The noble Prophet ﷺ also said: “It is important for anyone who believes in Allah and the Day of Judgement to not to trouble his neighbor, honor his guests, say good - else remain silent.” _Ref: 4_

Not just the rights, Prophet Muhammed ﷺ also taught us to be considerate of the self-esteem of the neighbor. He ﷺ said: “O Muslim women! None amongst you should humiliate and disrespect your neighbor (even if she does not look good).” _Ref 5_

1. Sahih Bukhari, 5:2239
2. Musnad Ahmad, 5:32
3. Sahih Bukhari, 5:2240
4. Sahih Bukhari, 5:2240
5. Sahih Tirmidhi, 4:345; Musnad Ahmad: 4:31

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