#26 – Rights of the Neighbors
Jan 31 – Feb 6, 2022
Jumaada Thaaniyah 28 – Rajab 5, 1443


Rights of the Neighbors

What have Allah and His Messenger said about

Rights of the Neighbors

۞ وَٱعْبُدُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ وَلَا تُشْرِكُوا۟ بِهِۦ شَيْـًٔا ۖ وَبِٱلْوَٰلِدَيْنِ إِحْسَـٰنًا وَبِذِى ٱلْقُرْبَىٰ وَٱلْيَتَـٰمَىٰ وَٱلْمَسَـٰكِينِ وَٱلْجَارِ ذِى ٱلْقُرْبَىٰ وَٱلْجَارِ ٱلْجُنُبِ وَٱلصَّاحِبِ بِٱلْجَنۢبِ وَٱبْنِ ٱلسَّبِيلِ وَمَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَـٰنُكُمْ ۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ مَن كَانَ مُخْتَالًا فَخُورًا
Worship Allah and associate nothing with Him, and to parents do good, and to relatives, orphans, the needy, the near neighbour, the neighbour farther away, the companion at your side, the traveller, and those whom your right hands possess. Indeed, Allah does not like those who are self-deluding and boastful,

[Surah Al-Nisa, Ayah 36]
حَدَّثَنَا إِسْمَاعِيلُ بْنُ أَبِي أُوَيْسٍ قَالَ‏:‏ حَدَّثَنِي مَالِكٌ، عَنْ يَحْيَى بْنِ سَعِيدٍ قَالَ‏:‏ أَخْبَرَنِي أَبُو بَكْرِ بْنُ مُحَمَّدٍ، عَنْ عَمْرَةَ، عَنْ عَائِشَةَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهَا، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ‏:‏ مَا زَالَ جِبْرِيلُ صلى الله عليه وسلم يُوصِينِي بِالْجَارِ حَتَّى ظَنَنْتُ أَنَّهُ سَيُوَرِّثُهُ‏.‏
‘A’isha reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Jibril, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, advised me so excessively about treating neighbours well that I thought he would even order me to treat them as my heirs.”

[Al-Adab Al-Mufrad 101 – Sahih]
حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ كَثِيرٍ، قَالَ‏:‏ أَخْبَرَنَا سُفْيَانُ، عَنْ عَبْدِ الْمَلِكِ بْنِ أَبِي بَشِيرٍ، عَنْ عَبْدِ اللهِ بْنِ الْمُسَاوِرِ قَالَ‏:‏ سَمِعْتُ ابْنَ عَبَّاسٍ يُخْبِرُ ابْنَ الزُّبَيْرِ يَقُولُ‏:‏ سَمِعْتُ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ‏:‏ لَيْسَ الْمُؤْمِنُ الَّذِي يَشْبَعُ وَجَارُهُ جَائِعٌ‏.‏
Ibn ‘Abbas informed Ibn az-Zubayr, “I heard the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say, ‘He is not a believer whose stomach is filled while his neighbor goes hungry.'”

[Al-Adab Al-Mufrad 112]

The Reason Why Tauhid Precedes Rights

There are many wise considerations in opening the roster of rights with the exhortation to worship Allah alone and not to associate with Him anything in that worship. One of these, and a basic one indeed, is having the fear of Allah and the conscious concern to fulfill His rights. A person who is – neglectful on that score can hardly be expected to remain particular about fulfilling the rights of anybody else. He will find one or the other excuse to satisfy his immediate circle of relatives and friends, to keep his prestige in the society or to escape the law of the government. What really forces him to honor human rights, watched or unwatched, is nothing but the fear of Allah and the sense of responsibility before Him. This fear and this taqwa is achieved through nothing but tauhid, the firm belief in the Oneness of Allah to the total exclusion of everything else in that unicity. This is why it was appropriate to remind man about the Oneness of Allah and the need to worship Him before describing the rights of relatives and others.

The Rights of The Neighbor

Then appears ‘the close neighbor’ at number four, and the distant neighbor,’ at five. The Arabic word, ‘al-jar’ means ‘the neighbor’. The verse describes its two kinds – the close and the distant. These two kinds have been explained variously by the noble Companions may Allah be pleased with them all.

Generally, commentators say that ‘a close neighbor’ is one who lives next to your house, and ‘the distant neighbor’ is one who lives at some distance from it. The truth of the matter is that the words of the Holy Qur’an lend to all these probable meanings. It is no doubt reasonable and lawful to have a difference in degrees between different neighbors, either on the basis of their being relative or non-relative, or on the basis of their being Muslim or non-Muslim. However, it is agreed upon that a neighbor, close or distant, related or unrelated, Muslim or non-Muslim, has the essential right that he be helped and cared for to the best of one’s ability.

However, a person who has some other right as well, besides his right as a neighbor, he will have a degree of precedence as compared to others. The Holy Prophet (SAW) has himself explained this when he said:

الجيران ثلاثة: جارٌ له حق واحد، و هو أدنى الجيران حقا. و جارٌ له حقَّان، و جارٌ له ثلاثةُ حقوق، و هو أفضل الجيران حقا. فأما الذي له حق واحد فجار مشرك لا رَحِم له، له حَقُّ الجوار. و أما الذي له حقَّان فجارٌ مسلم، له حقُّ الإسلام و حقُّ الجوار، و أما الذي له ثلاثة حقوق فجار مسلم ذو رَحِم، له حقُّ الجوار و حقُّ الإسلام و حقُّ الرحم

‘Some neighbors have one right, some others have two, still some others have three. The neighbor with one right is a non-Muslim with no bond of kinship; the neighbor with two rights is not only a neighbor but a Muslim too; the neighbor with three rights is a neighbor, a Muslim and a relative, all in one. (Ibn Kathir)

[Maarif ul Quran Vol-2 (pg 432 & 435), Maktabah Dar al Uloom, Translation by Prof. Muhammad Hasan Askari & Prof. Muhammad Shamim]

Spiritual Reminders

Honoring Your Brothers
It was reported that the prophet (SAW) was once performing tawaaf when he looked at the Ka’bah and said,

مَا أَطْيَبَكِ وَأَطْيَبَ رِيحَكِ مَا أَعْظَمَكِ وَأَعْظَمَ حُرْمَتَكِ وَالَّذِي نَفْسُ مُحَمَّدٍ بِيَدِهِ لَحُرْمَةُ الْمُؤْمِنِ أَعْظَمُ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ حُرْمَةً مِنْكِ مَالِهِ وَدَمِهِ وَأَنْ نَظُنَّ بِهِ إِلاَّ خَيْرًا

‘How good you are and how good your fragrance; how great you are and how great your sanctity. By the One in Whose Hand is the soul of Muhammad, the sanctity of the believer is greater before Allah than your sanctity, his blood and his wealth, and to think anything but good of him.’

A believer’s wealth cannot be taken without permission, their blood cannot be shed, and it goes even beyond that – their honor and reputation is also sacred and no one is allowed to tamper with someone else’s reputation, just like we cannot tamper with someone else’s wealth. This hadith goes on to say, “It is even haram for us to have incorrect judgements and assumptions about other Muslims.” We cannot pass a judgement about someone without having facts in front of us and we cannot assume bad things or view others in a negative light. The prophet (SAW) taught us how sacred each person is. What does this mean? It means that it is our responsibility to look at each other with an eye of love and respect. We must respect each others’ life, reputation and respect. We must respect that every person is entitled to their own respect. Everyone is entitled to that and no one has the right to take that away from them. Everyone has the right to be looked at in a positive way instead of being judged on hearsay and false rumors. We are not allowed to mistreat each other.

Sometimes, the intention is not to mistreat another person and just to joke around. Once, the prophet (SAW) was sitting with a group of his companions. One of them got up to do something. As he was gone, one of the companions took his slippers and put them underneath him. When this person who had left came back, he said, “My shoes were right here. Where did they go?” Everyone acted like they did not know where they went. Then, after some time, the one who had them said, “Here they are.” The prophet (SAW) was told that this happened in the gathering. The companion was told, “How could you frighten another believer?” Right away, he said, “O Prophet of Allah, I was just joking.” Again, the Prophet (SAW) repeated himself. Other incidents of this nature also happened in the time of the Prophet (SAW), and right away, he addressed it.
Once, a sahabi fell asleep on top of his animal on a journey. Another sahabi came by and took the arrows from his quiver. When he woke up, he felt that his quiver was empty and became scared. He was given the arrows back eventually, but when the prophet (SAW) learned of this, he was displeased. He said, “You frightened him.” The prophet (SAW) has showed us that, “If you are going to pass someone a sharp object, do not point the pointed end towards them.” If it is anything dangerous or anything that could possibly harm another person, keep the sharp point to yourself. He even taught us that if we must move from one place to another, we should not carry it with the sharp end sticking out so that we are not doing anything to frighten people.

The Prophet (SAW) had a great deal of love for his Ummah and he could not bear to see the pain and suffering of his Ummah. He also did not want people in this Ummah causing others pain and disturbance. The Prophet (SAW) how to deal with any unpleasant experience so that the people around us feel comfortable. This is how we must live amongst each other. These are the teachings we must implement in our movements. Everything becomes harmonious in this way. If we think, “Nobody can do that to me and get away with it.”, we are not making sure that we are not causing trouble for other people and we are not fulfilling the expectations that the Prophet (SAW) had for us. Remember that, when you cause that kind of emotion and fear to someone, it stays with them and we all have to face the consequences of our acts one day or another.

[Above section adapted from a talk delivered by Mufti Aasim Rashid titled “Honoring Your Brothers”]



How Islam Changed Lives
The Muslim emigrants had decided to tell the whole truth whatever the consequences were. Ja‘far bin Abi Talib stood up and addressed the king in the following words: “O king! we were plunged in the depth of ignorance and barbarism; we adored idols, we lived in unchastity, we ate the dead bodies, and we spoke abominations, we disregarded every feeling of humanity, and the duties of hospitality and neighbourhood were neglected; we knew no law but that of the strong, when Allah raised among us a man, of whose birth, truthfulness, honesty, and purity we were aware; and he called to the Oneness of Allah , and taught us not to associate anything with Him. He forbade us the worship of idols; and he enjoined us to speak the truth, to be faithful to our trusts, to be merciful and to regard the rights of the neighbours and kith and kin; he forbade us to speak evil of women, or to eat the substance of orphans; he ordered us to fly from the vices, and to abstain from evil; to offer prayers, to render alms, and to observe fast. We have believed in him, we have accepted his teachings and his injunctions to worship Allah , and not to associate anything with Him, and we have allowed what He has allowed, and prohibited what He has prohibited. For this reason, our people have risen against us, have persecuted us in order to make us forsake the worship of Allah? and return to the worship of idols and other abominations. They have tortured and injured us, until finding no safety among them, we have come to your country, and hope you will protect us from oppression.

[Al-Raheeq Al-Makhtum, page 65, Issam Diab’s English Translation]

Read Next Blog: The Virtues of Rajab

Sunnah Acts

Not Disdaining A Neighbor’s Gift
Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said,
“Muslim women! Muslim women! A woman should not disdain her female neighbor’s gift, even if it is only a sheep’s hoof (i.e. a small meal).”

[Al-Adab Al-Mufrad 123]


Dua of Nuh (AS)
رَّبِّ ٱغْفِرْ لِى وَلِوَٰلِدَىَّ وَلِمَن دَخَلَ بَيْتِىَ مُؤْمِنًا وَلِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَٱلْمُؤْمِنَـٰتِ وَلَا تَزِدِ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ إِلَّا تَبَارًۢا
A du’ā taught to us by Nūh (alayhis salam)::
My Lord, forgive me and my parents and whoever enters my house a believer and the believing men and believing women.”

[Surah Nuh, Ayah 28]

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