As I’ve mentioned before, we will have had over 4 months of summer vacation this year. School does not resume until the middle of October. This means that many people have traveled and took extended vacations. Many are still away. It’s very quiet around here and kind of lonely. Be that as it may, I had one neighbor send a pot of soup over and some pastries today. Another neighbor (about 4 blocks away*) called to ask if she could come and introduce herself to me. She stayed long enough for a little chit chat, some tea and sweets. Not to mention she brought a dish. Then she left to go to the Masjid for the special Ramadan night prayers. Islam attaches great importance to kindness, concern and good treatment between neighbors.

*According to this hadeeth, the Prophet was asked, “Who is a neighbor?” He answered, “Your neighbors are 40 houses ahead of you, 40 houses to your back, 40 houses to your right, and 40 houses to your left.”

`Abdullah ibn `Abbas, a Companion and a cousin of the Prophet, stated that he heard the Prophet say,”A believer is not the one who eats his fill when his neighbor is hungry” (Al-Bukhari in Al-Adab Al-Mufrad, Al-Hakim, and Al-Baihaqi).

In another hadeeth, “If you cook something with gravy, increase the gravy and send some of it to your neighbors” (Ahmad, Al-Bukhari, and Muslim).

Abdullah ibn `Amr (may Allah be pleased with him) had a sheep slaughtered. He repeatedly asked his servant, “Have you sent some meat [as a present] to our Jewish neighbor?” When he said that, he added, “I heard Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) say, ‘Gabriel has repeatedly recommended me to be good to my neighbor to the extent that I thought that he would include him [my neighbor] among my heirs’ “ (Ahmad and At-Tirmidhi).

It is also said that,

“Neighbors are three [types]: a neighbor with one right – that is the disbeliever neighbor – they have the rights of neighbors, a neighbor with two rights – that is the Muslim neighbor – they have the rights of neighbors and of Islam and a neighbor with three rights – they are the Muslim relatives – they have the rights of neighbors, of Islam and of family ties.”

“Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day let him not annoy his neighbor.” Muslim & Bukhari

“By Allah he has not believed, by Allah he has not believed, by Allah he has not believed.” It was said: Who, O Allah’s Messenger? He (sas) said: “He whose neighbor is not safe from his treachery.” Muslim & Bukhari

I love these narrations of how our righteous predecessors implemented these instructions. Ibn Abbas said:”Three issues of characters which were loved in the jahiliya and the Muslims are more appropriate to them: when a neighbor was in debt or difficulties or hardship, the neighbors worked together to pay off that debt or to get him out of that difficulty.”

Al-Hassan Al-Basri said:”Good neighborliness is not just withholding your harm from your neighbors. Good neighborliness includes being patient with irritations from your neighbors.”

and last but certainly not least

Allah said In The Quran:

{And worship Allah and do not associate anything with Him. And be good to your two parents, to your relatives, to orphans, to the poor, to the neighbor who is a relative, to the neighbor who is just near you, to the companion by proximity, to the traveller and to that which your right hand possesses. Verily, Allah does not love anyone who is arrogant and boastful. (36) Those who are miserly and who order the people with miserliness and who hide the favors which Allah has given them. And we have created for the disbelievers a humiliating punishment.}