In the name of God the Most Gracious, The Most Compassionate. Peace and blessings be upon the Prophet Muhammad, upon his family, upon his companions and all those that follow them with goodness until the last day.
Islamic law has put much emphasis on the perfecting of good character and made it one of the ways in which a person can get close to God. The Prophet, peace be upon him said ‘Verily, I was only sent to complete the perfection of good character’. This good character is not limited to one’s own family but should extend into the local community. The word for neighbour in arabic is جار which means to be adjacent to something and there is a difference of opinion on who one’s neighbour is. Imam Al Shafi’ and Imam Ahmed Bin Hanbal were of the opinion that it was 40 houses from every side; right, left, behind and in front using the hadith narrated by Abu Hurayra in which he said the Prophet, peace be upon him said ‘The right of the neighbour extends 40 houses this way, that way and this way’. Other scholars have held that it is only the houses which are connected closely to you on all 4 sides. However one defines their neighbour, if both the near and far neighbour is to be considered. As indicated in the Qur’an, chapter 4, verse 36,
“Worship God and associate nothing with Him and to parents do good and to relatives, orphans, the needy, the near neighbour, the neighbour further away, the companion at your side, the traveler and those whom your right hand possess. Indeed God does not like those who are self deluding and boastful”
In this verse doing good to one’s neighbour is mentioned after parents, relatives, orphans and the needy showing how important of an issue this is within Islam.
The Prophet, peace be upon him mentioned in a Hadith narrated by Abdullah bin Umar when he said
‘Gabriel would keep coming to me advising me about the neighbour until I thought that they would inherit from me ‘ie that the neighbour would inherit from them after their passing’.
The scholars are agreed that the rights of a neighbour exist irrespective of their religion or way of life and include such things as; giving to them if they are poor, loaning them money if they need it, congratulating them if they have received some good news, giving condolences if something difficult has happened, visiting them if they are sick and attending their funeral prayer if they pass away. To fall short of these manners for a Muslim can lead them to a dangerous state. The wife of the Prophet, peace be upon him, Aisha said to the Prophet, peace be upon him,
‘Oh messenger of God, indeed I have two neighbours so which one should I be most concerned with?’
and the Prophet, peace be upon him, said
‘The one whose door is closer to you’.
Once the Prophet, peace be upon him, was seen to have said
‘By God he has not truly believed, by God he has not truly believed by God he has not truly believed’
repeating this 3 times. The companions asked Him
“and who is that for Oh Messenger of God?”
‘The neighbour who does not protect his neighbour from evil’
and in another statement he said
‘A believer is not one who eats whilst their neighbour is hungry’.
For those of you reading this article you are most likely to have experienced both good and not so good neighbours and will know the blessing of having people who live around you with good character. There is an Arabic proverb which states الجار قبل الدار، و الرفيق قبل الطريق which translates as
‘One should choose their neighbour before buying a house and choose their friend before going on a journey’.
One of the companions, Muhammad bin Al Jahem had a neighbour Saeed bin Alaz. Muhammad put his house up for sale for 50,000 dirhams and when people gathered around him to consider buying it he said to them,
‘Who will buy the adjacency of Saeed?’,
who was his neighbour. So they all said,
‘And can adjacency be sold?’
To which he replied,
‘How can it not be sold when you would profit so much from it; he is a neighbour that if you asked him, he would give, that if your houses were to fall down he would start by rebuilding yours and even if you were bad towards him he would be good towards you’.
This reply reached the ears of Saeed who went to him with 100,000 dirhams and said, ‘Take this to remain in your home’. Through reciting and learning about the Quran in this competition, we pray that our characters are infused with its advice and examples in the Sunnah and that our neighbours and neighbourhoods are beautified by this character.
Possible Questions Adults
How can YOU encourage a cohesive, co-operative and pleasant environment amongst all of your neighbours?
What area do YOU need to improve in how you treat your neighbours?
We all have neighbours. Neighbours are most often thought of as those who live beside you, but in it’s greatest sense it is much more. Neighbours are the people in our workplace, those we sit beside in our classroom, on the train or bus.
Allah says in the Quran:
“Serve God, and join not any partners with Him; and do good
—to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, those in need,
neighbours who are near, neighbours who are strangers,
and the companion by your side, the way-farer, and what your right hands possess:
for God loveth not the arrogant, the boastful.” – Quran 4:36
As someone who reads the Qur’an you will know that Allah puts great importance on our neighbours and the rights they have. So as Muslims we have a great responsibility to our neighbours, those of all faiths, cultures, the old and the young. Being a good neighbour is more than a quick “hello”. We must return their greetings with better, ask how their family are and refrain from harming them in any way.
The Sahabah would regularly check up on their neighbours and make efforts to make sure they were ok. Sometimes a companion of the Prophet would receive a gift, he would send the gift onto his neighbour, who would send it to another neighbour, who would send it to another neighbour, and it would circulate around more than ten houses until it finally reached back to the original recipient!
A’isha, may Allah be pleased with her, asked the messenger of Allah,
“I have two neighbours, to which of them should I offer a gift?”
“To the one whose door is nearer to you.”
Abu Shurayh al-Khuza’i reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said;
”Anyone who believes in Allah and the Last Day should be good to his neighbours. Anyone who believes in Allah and the Last Day should be generous to his guest. Anyone who believes in Allah and the Last Day should say what is good or be silent.”
Finally, we should be try to understand that to create an environment of kindness, unity and care amongst our neighbours, we need to make the effort from ourselves first. It starts with you.
Possible Questions Children
What could you do to encourage a nice environment amongst all of your neighbours?
What do YOU need to improve in how you treat your neighbours?
Below are the winners names for the 2018 Read & Rise Qur'an Competition.
To all who entered once again 'Well Done' may Allah (swt) accept your efforts. We look forward to welcoming you all back for the 2019 competition inshaAllah.
In the meantime Keep Practicing!
The names are in alphabetical order, positions will be known at the awards ceremony!
ABDUL RAHIM MOHAMMAD DITTA
AHMED DAYAH FARAH ALI
ANWAR MATAAN NOH
FATIMA JAMAL ABDI
MUHAMMAD IMRAN AZIZI
MUHAMMED HUMAYANUR RASHID
MUSTAFA AHMED AADAN
RAGAA IBRAHIM ABOU SAKRAN
TASMEEM ABDULRABB MAHMUD
UMM KULTHUM ABDULLAH AHMED