Islam teaches that we have to be good to our neighbours. Allah tells us in the Qur’an:
“…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… [4:36]
We have to be kind, friendly and helpful towards them, and we have to respect them, whether they are our relatives, friends or strangers, or whatever religion they belong to. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used to remind his companions to treat their neighbours well. He said:
‘Whoever believes in Allah (Most High) and the Last Day, let him treat his neighbour well; whoever believes in Allah (Most High) and the Last Day, let him honour his guest; whoever believes in Allah (Most High) and the Last Day, let him speak good or else remain silent.’ [sahih al-Bukhari and Muslim]
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
‘The best of friends in the sight of Allah (Most High) is the one who is best to his friend, and the best of neighbours in the sight of Allah (Most High) is the one who is best to his neighbour.’ [at-Tirmidhi]
The Prophet (peace be upon him) used told us to share our food with our neighbours. He said: ‘If you cook some soup, add extra water to it, then think of the families in your neighbourhood and send some of it to them.’
He also said: ‘He is not a believer, who eats his fill while his neighbour is hungry.’
It doesn’t matter our neighbours are are poor or rich, we still have to be kind and generous to them.
Once, Abdullah ibn Amr (may Allah be pleased with him), who was a great Companion of the Prophet (peace be upon him), asked after slaughtering a sheep, “Did you give some to our Jewish neighbour? Did you give some to our Jewish neighbour? For I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) say, ‘Jibril kept on commanding the good treatment of neighbours so much that I thought he would include neighbours as heirs’.” and ‘Abdullah didn’t eat the meat until he was sure that some had been given to his Jewish neighbour.
If your neighbour gives something to you, you must thank them. Even if you don’t like it, you mustn’t hurt their feelings. “The one who does not give thanks to people does not give thanks to Allah (Most High).’ [sahih al-Bukhari]
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: ‘He will not enter Paradise whose neighbour is not safe from his evil (or trouble).’ [Muslim] So we should never hurt them or damage their property. He also said:
‘Whoever believes in Allah (Most High) and the Last Day, let him not harm or annoy his neighbour… [sahih al-Bukhari]
See how wrong it is to treat your neighbours badly or hurt them? It might even stop you from going to Paradise! If you do all the other Islamic duties, like praying and fasting, but you are nasty to your neighbours, then you are not a good Muslim. Even things like listening in on their conversations is not allowed.
What if you have a neighbour who is rude to you and your family? Well, if you are patient and don’t answer back, don’t swear at them, forgive them if they make a mistake, then Allah will be happy with you.
Things you could do
Here are some things you could do to be good to your neighbours. Can you think of some more?
1. When you make nice food, make extra for your neighbour and give it to them
2. Try not to be noisy so you don’t disturb them
3. Always find out if they are okay if you haven’t seen them for a while