By S. Arshad, New Age Islam
18 December 2020
Islam has laid special emphasis on individual as well as collective rights of the people. It has laid down principles for good relationship between different groups of people so that peace, harmony and order can be established and maintained in the society. Islam stresses on fellow-feeling, love and sympathy among the members of society and while doing so, it does not discriminate between Muslims and non-Muslims.
Among the rights of different sections of the society, the rights of the neighbours assume special importance in both Quran and Hadith. The Quran asks Muslims to treat the neighbours well and not to cause them pain or trouble. According to the Quran, neighbours fall in two categories --- Next door neighbours and distant neighbours (Jar-e-zil qurba and jar il junub). In Surah Al Nisa:36, the holy Quran says:
"....and be kind to parents, relatives, orphans, the poor, near and distant neighbours, close friends and travellers."
The Hadiths also lay emphasis on good treatment of the neighbours. There are a number of hadiths that enjoin Muslims to be kind to the neighbours. Here is a hadith:
Hazrat Ayesha narrated, the holy prophet pbuh said that Gabriel repeatedly instructed me to treat the neighbours so much so that I thought he would make them successors (inheritors). (Sahih Bukhari, Babul Adab 580)
According to another hadith:
Hazrat Shareeh narrated, the holy Prophet said By Allah! By Allah! By Allah! One cannot be a Muslim if his neighbours fear torture by him. (Sahih Bukhari, Babul Adab 581)
Another hadith narrated by Hazrat Ayesha r.a.: She said to the holy Prophet pbuh that she had two neighbours. Whom should she send the share to? The holy Prophet pbuh replied, to one whose door is nearer to yours. (Sahih Bukhari, Babul Adab 584)
Here the next door neighbour should be given preference if some gift or the share of sacrificial meat is to be distributed and one cannot give gift or sacrificial meat to all his neighbours. In this case, jar-e-zil qurba (next door neighbour) will be prefered.
But in terms of treatment, a Muslim will always keep the wellbeing of all his neighbours in mind. He will not cause any discomfort or harassment to any of his neighbours, near or distant.
Therefore, Islam has clear cut guidelines on the treatment of neighbours. One cannot be a true Muslim unless he cares for the wellbeing or comfort of his neighbours irrespective of his religion, caste or sect.
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