“That man is not from me who sleeps contentedly while his neighbor sleeps hungry,” our Holy Prophet (SAW) says.
To know your neighbor and to treat your neighbor well is considered a very important duty in Islam. A neighbor is not just the person who lives next door to us, but can include those who live up to forty houses in all directions. In this book, we highlight two key lessons about developing and maintaining good relationships with our neighbors.
First, we are encouraged to be kind and considerate to our neighbors, regardless of whether they are Muslim or not, and even if they are not nice to us. We may encounter unfriendly neighbors or those who discriminate against us due to misconceptions they may have about Islam or Muslims. Even in these trials, we are reminded by Prophet Mohammed’s (SAW) example to be patient and steadfast. Persevering in our practice of being a good neighbor is a noble trait, and Allah (SWT) promises its reward in this world and in the hereafter. In our first story, “A New Neighbor,” Amira learns this lesson when Zaid moves in next door and doesn’t treat her nicely.
Second, Allah (SWT) holds us accountable to interact with and serve our neighbors in a gentle way that reflects the true and genuine spirit of Islam. In doing so, it promotes a positive relationship and fosters a sense of community. We must also care for our neighbors as they have rights on us. Therefore, we should visit them when they are sick, be supportive in their hardships, and look out for their property and belongings. We should be considerate of our neighbors when we go about our everyday lives, and we hope that they respond with the same kindness, inshaAllah. Our second story, “Not in My Neighborhood,” illustrates this lesson when Asad must choose whether or not he will stand up for and help Mr. DeSousa, a new shop-owner in Maple Grove.
Being a good neighbor is being a good Muslim. So next time say hello, share a cookie or samosa, or make any effort with your neighbors. This will not only earn you a friend in this life, but it will also please Allah (SWT).