Rights of Neighbours (Neighbors)
Noble Qur'an tells us that all of mankind is descended from one couple, Adam and Eve. Thus we are all brothers and sisters, and our differences in languages and colors are but a mercy that we might know one another. Language and race should never be a reason for discriminating against people.A Muslim should maintain good relations with his relatives, but he should not unjustly favor them over others. Further, a Muslim must be good to his neighbors, no matter their religion. But the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) taught us that a "neighbor" is not just the one next door but includes all those up to forty houses in all directions - effectively a whole neighborhood.
An Ansar (emigrant) came to Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) and said that he has recently purchased a house in a particular area and that his nearest person was such that he had no hope of any goodness from him and that he felt unsafe from his mischief. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) told Imam Ali (as), Salman Al-Farsi, Abu Zar Ghaffari and Miqdad ibn Aswad to go to the Mosque and announce: "He is not a believer whose neighbour is unsafe from his mischief." They announced it thrice and then to Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) pointed towards forty doors to his right and forty to the left indicating that forty houses in every direction constitute ones neighbourhood. One is obliged to observe their rights.
This concern for our neighbors can take many forms. It means to ensure that our neighbors have the basic necessities, for a Muslim should not eat if his or her neighbor is going hungry. It means that Muslims should wish for their neighbors what they wish for themselves. It means sharing their happiness and sorrow. Further, it means to not spy on them and respect their privacy, to not gossip about them, to not harm them in any way, and to keep common use areas - such as apartment building entrances, streets and sidewalks - clean.
Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was told of a woman who prayed during night and fasted a lot during day and gave alms generously, but whose neighbors complained of her abusive tongue. He said that she would be in Hellfire. When Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was told of another woman who did not do all those extra acts of worship other than just compulsory (Wajib) but whose neighbors were happy with her, he said that she would be in Paradise. Thus we see the importance of being good to our neighbors, both in actions and words.
Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) on the rights of the neighbour, said: "It is to help him if he asks your help, to lend him if he asks to borrow from you, to satisfy his needs if he becomes poor, to console him if he is visited by an affliction, to congratulate him if is met with good fortune, to visit him if he becomes ill, to attend his funeral if he dies, not to make your house higher than his without his consent lest you deny him the breeze, to offer him fruit when you buy some or to take it to your home secretly if you do not do that, nor to send out your children with it so as not to upset his children, nor to bother him by the tempting smell of your food unless you send him some." The Scale of Wisdom, P.234/235 no.1308
Imam Ali (as) says: A person is either your brother in faith, or your equal in humanity.
Neighbours in Islam (Neighborhood Story)
Worship Allah and join none with Him (in worship); and do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, Al-Masakin (the poor), the neighbour who is near of kin, the neighbour who is a stranger, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (you meet), and those (slaves) whom your right hands possess. (Noble Qur'an, 4:36)Sayyed Jawad Ameli, a great Mujtahid, was having his dinner when someone knocked at his door. A servant from his master, Ayatullah Sayyed Mehdi Bahrul Uloom, appeared and said: "Your master has sent for you to come immediately. He has just sat down for his dinner but refuses to eat until he sees you."
There was no time to lose. Sayyed Jawad Ameli left his dinner and rushed to Ayatullah Sayyed Mehdi Bahrul Uloom's residence. Just as he entered, the master looked disapprovingly at him and said: "Sayyed Jawad! You have no fear of Allah! Don't you feel ashamed in front of Allah?"
This came as a shock to him, as he could not remember doing anything to incur the wrath of his master. Sayyed Jawad Ameli said: "My master may guide me where I have failed."
Ayatullah Sayyed Mehdi Bahrul Uloom replied: "It is now a week that your neighbor and his family are without wheat and rice. He was trying to buy some dates from a shop on credit but the shopkeeper refused to grant him any more credit. He returned home empty-handed and the family is without a morsel of food."
Sayyed Jawad Ameli was taken by surprise. "By Allah", he said, "I have no knowledge about this."
That is why I am displeased all the more.
How can you be unaware of your own neighbor? Seven days of difficulties have passed and you tell me you do not know about it. Well, If you had known and ignored him despite your knowledge, then you would not even he a Muslim," Ayatullah Sayyed Mehdi Bahrul Uloom adjoined.
Then he instructed him to take all the dishes of food before him to his neighbor. "Sit with him to eat, so that he does not feel ashamed. And take this sum for his future ration. Place it under his pillow or carpet so that he is not humiliated, and inform me when this work is completed, for not until then shall I eat."
Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "There are Three categories of neighbours. First: one who has Three rights upon you. This is the one who is a Muslim neighbour and also a relative. Second: One who has two rights. A Muslim neighbour and third: The Kafir neighbour who has only the rights of a neighbour."
Did You Thank Allah for Your Eyesight?
A blind boy sat on the steps of a building with a hat by his feet. He held up a sign which said: "I am blind, please help." There were only a few coins in the hat.
A man was walking by. He took a few coins from his pocket and dropped them into the hat. He then took the sign, turned it around, and wrote some words. He put the sign back so that everyone who walked by would see the new words.
Soon the hat began to fill up. A lot more people were giving money to the blind boy. That afternoon the man who had changed the sign came to see how things were. The boy recognized his footsteps and asked, "Were you the one who changed my sign this morning? What did you write?"
The man said, "I only wrote the truth. I said what you said but in a different way."
What he had written was: "Today is a beautiful day and I cannot see it."
Do you think the first sign and the second sign were saying the same thing?
Of course both signs told people the boy was blind. But the first sign simply said the boy was blind. The second sign told people they were so lucky that they were not blind. Should we be surprised that the second sign was more effective?
"It is He, Who has created for you (the sense of) hearing (ears), sight (eyes), and hearts (understanding). Little thanks you give." [surah Al-Mu'minun; 78]