RIGHTS OF NEIGHBORS
Allah (SWT) has created us to live among people from birth to death. In this life, we sometimes fall into trouble and are overcome with sadness; at other times, we are blessed with goodness and are filled with joy. At such times, we look for people around us to share our feelings with. We want our neighbors to be with us as much as our parents, spouse, and children, relatives, and kin.
A neighborhood is not just about having shared spaces. Neighborhood means the joining of hearts rather than the walls standing together. It means being a good neighbor before looking for a good neighbor. It means being respectful and sharing, altruistic and sensitive. It entails not oppressing our neighbors and not speaking ill of their honor, dignity, and chastity. In one of his hadiths, our Prophet (saw) says, “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him not harm or annoy his neighbor!”1
Unfortunately, increased focus on worldliness, individualism, and selfishness are weakening our neighborly relations day by day. The Messenger of Allah’s (saw)warning, however, is very clear: “Be kind to your neighbor and you shall be a believer.”2
When asked about the rights of neighbors, the Prophet (saw) replied, “If he gets sick, he should go and visit him. If he passes away, he should attend his funeral procession. If he asks him for a loan, he should grant it to him. If he asks for help, he should help him. If he receives some blessings, he should be happy and not envious of him. If a tragedy befalls him, he should grieve for his grief.”3 So, let us be aware of how great our responsibility is towards our neighbors. Let us observe and uphold the rights of neighbors. Let us open our hearts to each other, and share affection and sincerity. Let us not pass by each other without saying “salam alaikum”. Let us avoid all kinds of improper words and behaviors that may harm neighborly relations. Let us remain patient and tolerant. Let us not forget that “The best of neighbors in the sight of Allah is the best of them towards his neighbor.”4
 Bukhari, Riqaq, 23.
 Tirmizî, Zühd, 2.
 Tabarani, Mu’jam al-Kabir, XIX, 419.
 Tirmidhi, Birr, 28.