Islamic Laws

Rights of Neighborhood

By: Sayyid Mahdi as-Sadr
Cooperation and Mutual sympathy
Islam has used all means for enjoining Muslims to cooperate and sympathize with each other so that they will be an ideal nation able of achieving its aims and defending its individuals against dangers. Islam has also worked diligently for planting such noble concepts in Muslims’ mentalities so as to be powerful bearing the feelings of love and fraternity: “Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah and those with him are stern to the disbelievers yet kind among themselves. (48:29).”
“Cooperate with each other in righteousness and piety, not in sin and hostility. (5:2)”
Within the aspects of cooperation and mutual sympathy is good neighborhood on which Islam has stressed for sake of changing neighbors into a united group exchanging feelings of kindness and cooperating for gaining benefits and preventing dangers: “Worship Allah and consider no one equal to Him. Be kind to your parents, relatives, orphans, the destitute, your near and distant neighbors, your companions, your mates, wayfarers, and your slaves. (4:36)”
The Prophet (S) said: “Forty houses from the front, the back, the right, and the left are neighbors1.”
“The Archangel Gabriel continued in instructing me to keep the neighbor so importunately that I thought the neighbor will be given a share of the heritage2.”
“Good neighborhood constructs the countries and postpones the deadline of ages3.”
“He that passes a single night with satiation while his neighbor is hungry has not believed in me. On the Day of Resurrection, Allah will not regard the inhabitants of a town one of whose individual passes a night with hunger4.”
Imam as-Sadiq (a) said: “He that violates neighborhood is not one of us5.”
Imam as-Sadiq (a) narrated: When he lost his second son, Benjamin, Prophet Jacob supplicated to the Lord: “O Lord, is it not time to have Your mercy upon me? You have taken my sight and taken my sons away from me.” Hence, Allah revealed to him: “Even if I cause them dead, I will certainly give them new life so as to gather you all in one situation. But, you should remember that ewe, which you slaughtered, fried, and ate, while you did not give anything of it to your neighbor who was observing fasting.”
After that, Prophet Jacob used to call his neighbors, including those who lived more than one mile away from him, to every meal he would make6.
Rights of Neighbors
Neighbor must be treated with kindness and courtesy, such as greeting him, visiting him during ailment, congratulating him in joys, consoling him in sorrows, casting the eyes down against his harem, overlooking his flaws, abstaining from harming him, aiding him if he his needy, borrowing him the household tools, and advising him when he goes astray from the right path.
It is related that one of the neighbors of Abu Dalaf, in Baghdad, had to sell his house because of debts and crises that had befallen him. ‘I sell it with one thousand dinars,’ he said to the purchasers. ‘But the real value of your house is only five hundred dinars,’ they said. ‘This is true,’ he asserted, ‘but the neighborhood of Abu Dalaf is the other five hundred dirhams.’
When Abu Dalaf heard this story, he defrayed the debts of his neighbor and aided him so as to save him from selling his house.
1. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 3 page 97 (as quoted from al-Kafi).
2. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 3 page 96 (as quoted from al-Kafi).
3. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 3 page 96 (as quoted from al-Kafi).
4. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 3 page 96 (as quoted from al-Kafi).
5. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 3 page 96 (as quoted from al-Kafi).
6. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 3 page 96 (as quoted from al-Kafi).

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