AL-TANZIL
The
Revelation
 
[26:192]


Islam is Good Neighborliness to All, Believers and Unbelievers


By Abu Amina Elias for FaithinAllah.org

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Islam teaches us to be good neighbors to everyone, both Muslims and non-Muslims.

Allah said:

وَاعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ وَلَا تُشْرِكُوا بِهِ شَيْئًا ۖ وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانًا وَبِذِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَالْيَتَامَىٰ وَالْمَسَاكِينِ وَالْجَارِ ذِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَالْجَارِ الْجُنُبِ

Worship Allah and associate nothing with Him, and to parents do good, and to relatives, orphans, the needy, the near neighbor, the neighbor farther away…

Surah An-Nisa 4:36

Al-Qurtubi comments on this verse, saying:

قُلْتُ وَعَلَى هَذَا فَالْوَصَاةُ بِالْجَارِ مَأْمُورٌ بِهَا مَنْدُوبٌ إِلَيْهَا مُسْلِمًا كَانَ أَوْ كَافِرًا وَهُوَ الصَّحِيحُ وَالْإِحْسَانُ قَدْ يَكُونُ بِمَعْنَى الْمُوَاسَاةِ وَقَدْ يَكُونُ بِمَعْنَى حُسْنِ الْعِشْرَةِ وَكَفِّ الْأَذَى وَالْمُحَامَاةِ دُونَهُ

I say: based upon this, kind treatment of neighbors is enjoined and is recommended, whether they are Muslim or an unbeliever, and this is the right thing to do. Kind treatment may be in the sense of helping or it may be in the sense of being kind, refraining from annoyance, and supporting them.

Source: Tafseer Al-Qurtubi, verse 4:36

A Muslims should love for his neighbor what he loves for himself; that is, to treat his neighbor the way he would like to be treated.

Anas ibn Malik reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

لَا يُؤْمِنُ أَحَدُكُمْ حَتَّى يُحِبَّ لِأَخِيهِ أَوْ قَالَ لِجَارِهِ مَا يُحِبُّ لِنَفْسِهِ

None of you has faith until he loves for his brother or his neighbor what he loves for himself.

Source: Sahih Muslim 45, Grade: Mutaffaqun Alayhi

An-Nawawi comments on this tradition, saying:

الأولى أن يحمل ذلك على عموم الأخوة حتى يشمل الكافر والمسلم

This is to be interpreted as brotherhood in general, such that it includes the Muslim and the unbeliever.

Source: Sharh Arba’een An-Nawawi

A Muslim should behave towards his neighbor as if he were an extended member of his family, even if the neighbor is not a Muslim.

Aisha reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

مَا زَالَ جِبْرِيلُ يُوصِينِي بِالْجَارِ حَتَّى ظَنَنْتُ أَنَّهُ لَيُوَرِّثَنَّهُ

Gabriel continued to advise me to treat neighbors well until I thought he would make them my heirs.

Source: Sahih Muslim 2624, Grade: Sahih

Mujahid reported: I was with Abdullah ibn Amr while his servant was skinning a sheep. He said, “O boy, when you finish up, then start with the Jewish neighbor.” A man there exclaimed, “Jewish? May Allah correct you!” He replied:

إِنِّي سَمِعْتُ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم يُوصِي بِالْجَارِ حَتَّى خَشِينَا أَوْ رُئِينَا أَنَّهُ سَيُوَرِّثُهُ

I heard the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, recommending that we treat our neighbors well until we thought that he would order us to make them our heirs.

Source: Al-Adab Al-Mufrad 128, Grade: Hasan

Therefore, Muslims should not annoy their neighbors, for whoever does so will not have complete faith.

Abu Shuraih reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

وَاللَّهِ لَا يُؤْمِنُ وَاللَّهِ لَا يُؤْمِنُ وَاللَّهِ لَا يُؤْمِنُ

By Allah, he does not believe! By Allah, he does not believe! By Allah, he does not believe!

It was said, “Who is it, O Messenger of Allah?” He said:

الَّذِي لَا يَأْمَنُ جَارُهُ بَوَايِقَهُ

He whose neighbor is not safe from his evil.

Source: Sahih Bukhari 5670, Grade: Sahih

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

لَا يَدْخُلُ الْجَنَّةَ مَنْ لَا يَأْمَنُ جَارُهُ بَوَائِقَهُ

He will not enter Paradise whose neighbor is not secure from his evil.

Source: Sahih Muslim 46, Grade: Sahih

Likewise, a Muslim’s ritual acts of worship will not save him from the Hellfire if he is evil to his neighbor.

Abu Huraira reported: A man said, “O Messenger of Allah, a woman prays, fasts, and gives charity often but she annoys her neighbor with her sharp tongue.” The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

هِيَ فِي النَّارِ

She will be in the Hellfire.

He said, “O Messenger of Allah, another woman prays, fasts, and gives in charity very little but she does give some cheese in charity and she does not annoy her neighbor with her tongue.” He said:

هِيَ فِي الْجَنَّةِ

She will be in Paradise.

Source: Musnad Ahmad 9383, Grade: Sahih

Furthermore, a Muslim should never allow his neighbor to go hungry while he himself has food.

Ibn Az-Zubair reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

لَيْسَ الْمُؤْمِنُ الَّذِي يَشْبَعُ وَجَارُهُ جَائِعٌ إِلَى جَنْبِهِ

He is not a believer whose stomach is filled while the neighbor to his side goes hungry.

Source: Sunan Al-Kubra Al-Bayhaqi 19049, Grade: Sahih

All of this can be summarized in the principle that the best neighbor to Allah is the one who is best to his neighbors.

Abdullah ibn Amr reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

خَيْرُ الأَصْحَابِ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ خَيْرُهُمْ لِصَاحِبِهِ وَخَيْرُ الْجِيرَانِ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ خَيْرُهُمْ لِجَارِهِ

The best companion to Allah is the best to his companions, and the best neighbor to Allah is the best to his neighbors.

Source: Sunan At-Tirmidhi 1944, Grade: Sahih

In conclusion, a Muslim must honor all of his neighbors, whether Muslim or non-Muslim. He must fulfill their basic rights, ensure their well-being, refrain from causing annoyance, and generally treat them with the same respect and kindness he expects for himself.

Success comes from Allah, and Allah knows best.

Edited from:
http://www.faithinallah.org/islam-is-good-neighborliness-to-all-believers-and-unbelievers/
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