Monday, 16 April 2007

The Rights of Neighbours

If one wants to live in peace and harmony in his/her home, he/she should find a house where there are good neighbours in a safe neighbourhood and decent society.

Allah informed us that neighbours are an important part of society. Without having good neighbours, people can have a difficult and miserable life. Accordingly, Allah SWT has commanded us to look after our neighbours, to care for them, to keep good relationships with them and to ensure that we have good neighbours.

In taking care of our neighbours, Allah SWT associates them with the categories of parents, relatives, orphans, the poor and the needy.

In Surah An-Nisaa, Allah SWT says:

"Serve Allah, 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, the companions by your side, the wayfarer and what your right hand possesses; for Allah loves not the arrogant, the vain glorious." ( Surah An-Nisaa: Ayat 36 )

In this verse, Allah SWT categorised for us three types of neighbours that we should take care of.

They are:

1. A relative neighbour
2. A strong fellow neighbour
3. A friend neighbour

All of these neighbours, be they Muslim or non-Muslim, are to be taken care of in the best form and in the best manner.

Our beloved Prophet Muhammad SAW informed us that the best person is the one who is good to his neighbour.

It is narrated by Abdullah ibn Umar RA that the Prophet Muhammad SAW said:

"The best friend in the sight of Allah is the one who is good to his companions, and the best neighbour in the sight of Allah is the one who is good to his neighbours." (Riwayat Tirmidhi)

We are living in a rat-race society with very few people who are concerned for others, a society where people are treating one another without due respect, where neighbours don't know one another.

Today, neighbours in the same building may not even know one another. People are scared of one another and the rate of crime has increased tremendously. People may see one another being abused, hurt and even killed but their answer would be, "It's not my business to get involved". They may hear someone screaming for help and no one would respond; everyone will only selfishly think of themselves.

If we wish to reduce the rate of crime in our society, then we must establish a neighbourhood where everyone knows one another. We should get together with our neighbours to protect our society, our families and our properties. We should protect our children from drugs, alcohol, rape, adultery and other vices. It is high time that we take the initiative to correct vice in society. There are enough people from the silent majority who would be willing to help and work together to protect society from harm. Neighbourhood watch schemes are a prime example.

In a car driven society we tend to drive past our neighbours, parking as close to our houses as possible without taking a moment to greet and talk to our neighbours.

Let us help each other and be sociable without contravening Allah's commands. This implies many things. For example only the womenfolk should speak to the womenfolk. The menfolk will communicate with the menfolk. We should not peep into other people's houses; nor enter their houses without permission. While being aware of the various injunctions and ruling in Shari'ah we all must try our best to fulfill the rights of our neighbours.

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