Imam Nawawi: “Forty Hadeeth” – Are You an Amiable Neighbour?

مَنْ كَانَ يُؤْمِنُ بِاللهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الآخِرِ فَلْيَقُلْ خَيْراً أَوْ لِيَصْمُتْ، وَمَنْ كَانَ يُؤْمِنُ بِاللهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الآخِرِ فَلْيُكْرِمْ جَارَهُ، وَمَنْ كَانَ يُؤْمِنُ بِاللهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الآخِرِ فَلْيُكْرِمْ ضَيْفَهُ

رَوَاهُ البُخَارِيُّ وَمُسْلِمٌ

Abu Hurairah (rta) narrated: “Let whosoever believes in Allah and in the Last Day either speak good or be silent. Let whosoever believes in Allah and in the Last Day honour his neighbour. Let whosoever believes in Allah and in the Last Day honour his guest.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

There are four kinds of neigneighbourshbours:
1) people living with you (husband, children, sister-in-law or other in-laws living with you),
2) people living next door to your home,
3) 40 houses next to you in all directions,
4) people living in the same country.

“Worship Allah and join none with Him in worship, and do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, AlMasakin (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. Verily, Allah does not like such as are proud and boastful.” (An-Nisa 4:36)

The neighbours included here can be believers, disbelievers, evil, good or whoever.

The Neighbours’ Rights in Islam

Ibn Umar and Aisha (rta) reported: Messenger of Allah (sa) said: “Jibreel kept recommending treating neighbours with kindness until I thought he would assign a share of inheritance.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

How can we be good to our neighbours? Here are a few guidelines:

1) Ahsaan ilaih الا حسان ال We need to do Ahsaan to the neighbours.

Narrated by Abu Dharr (rta): Allah’s Apostle (sa) said: “Abu Dharr, when you prepare the broth, add water to that and give that (as a present) to your neighbour.” (Muslim)

Narrated by Abdullah ibn Umar: the Prophet (sa) said: “The best friend in the sight of Allah is he who is the well-wisher of his companions, and the best neighbour is one who behaves best towards his neighbours.” (Tirmidhi)

For example, don’t have loud music in your home, park in front of your neighbour’s gate or cook with strong smell. Honour the neighbours by smiling, giving gifts, etc.

2) We should not harm the neighbours.

Narrated by Abdullah ibn Mas’ud: “Allah’s Messenger (sa) said: “By Him in Whose hand my soul is, a man is not a Muslim till his heart and tongue are submissive, and he is not a believer till his neighbour is safe from injurious behaviour on his part.” (Ahmad and Bayhaqi, Al-Tirmidhi

So, to harm the neighbours is a MAJOR SIN, and the effect of harming neighbours nullifies the best righteous deeds!

How can you harm the neighbour? By pushing them or doing any other type of harm (even loud sounds, hurtful words). So don’t hurt your neighbour, your husband, your children, the people living in your house!.

3) Islam teaches us to be patient even to evil neighbours. We live for a short time, do good and die in good.

4) Guard and protect the neighbour, his honour and his property. If there is no electricity, then help them by providing candles, inform them of any impending harm.

We must protect their honour by not peeping into their homes or spying on them.

As a Khalifa, Umar bin Khattab (rta) would test people before giving them any responsibility. Once, he sent a messenger with 400 Dinars to be given to Abu Ubaidah ibn Jarrah (rta) and he asked the messenger to watch what Abu Ubaidah does with the money. The messenger saw Abu Ubaidah distributing the money to all his neighbours, until he had nothing left for him.

Then Umar (rta) also sent the same 400 Dinars with a messenger to Muadh ibn Jabal (rta); this time, the messenger found that Muadh also distributed the money to all the neighbours, until nothing was left with him.

5) The Prophet (sa) said that a person is not considered a believer, if his neighbour is hungry, while he has eaten and his stomach is full. We have to be considerate towards our neighbours, especially about food and drink.

6) It is good to participate in the happiness and sorrow of the neighbours, but not to be part of their Haram activities, like un-Islamic parties or Bidat (innovations in Deen).

7) We can advise them, but in a very gentle way!

8) We should inform the neighbour before moving out of the house. If he is interested, he can buy our home.

9) If your neighbour asks you for something, especially related to the borders, you should allow him. If you want to raise the wall in a way that the sunlight would not reach your neighbour’s home, or their home may not get air — in such cases, we need to seek the neighbour’s permission.

Based on a class conducted by Sister Eman of Al-Huda Sisters, Dubai.