What Constitutes a Neighbour From an Islamic Perspective

CategoriesMiscellaneous [667]

Fatwa ID: 05789

 

Answered by: Maulana Tammim Mohamadou

 

Question:

 

I have heard many Hadith about neighbours and the right of neighbours in Islam.

 

1) Can you please share and guide us on the Islamic practice of Muslim and non-Muslim neighbours and their rights upon us?

 

2) How big area is covered/ considered as the neighbourhood? Some that forty homes at the front, back, left, and right totalling to 160 house is a neighbourhood, is this a hadith.

 

3) How to calculate the neighbours when in this era we live in condominiums or townships or mixed areas (Residential and commercial as habitat together) or in our lane we have some houses and back lane we have houses, front lane also has house/apartments.

 

4) Is the person living/receding next to our house is the only neighbour or does anyone have a shop or office near to our house that is also considered as a neighbour?

 

5) Are the rights of neighbourhoods considered only in terms of homes or also these rights will be applicable for neighbours at our working spaces in markets/offices in commercial towers?

 

6) Is there any hadith with has “waeed” if we eat food and neighbours sleep hungry, in this era where communication is extremely tough with neighbours as all people have their own priorities, how can we know if our neighbours are in need of food or something else, and if any practising Muslim wants to follow this how can this is initiated, and what to do if any Muslim / non-Muslim neighbour doesn’t support in this.

 

 

 

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

 

Answer:

 

Allah ﷻ says in the Holy Qur’an:

 

“Worship Allah and join none with Him in worship, and do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, Al-Masakin (the poor), the neighbour who is near to kin, the neighbour who is a stranger, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (you meet), and those (slaves) whom your right hands possess. Verily, Allah does not like such as are proud and boastful” (Surah an-Nisa, 36)

 

In the above verse, Allah ﷻ has commanded us to do good and mentioned the neighbour be it near kin or a stranger.

 

These two kinds have been explained variously by the noble Companions (may Allah be pleased with them all). Commentators say that “a close neighbour” is one who lives next to your house, and “the distant neighbour” is one who lives at some distance from it. [ CITATION All951 \l 1033 ]

 

Sayyiduna ʿAbdullah ibn ʿAbbās (رضي الله عنهما) said that “a close relative” means one who is a neighbour and a relative at the same time which makes him the holder of two rights; and “the distant neighbour” means one who is simply a neighbour and is no relative and who has, therefore, been mentioned later. [ CITATION All951 \l 1033 ]

 

Some commentators have said that “a close neighbour” is one who is part of the Muslim community and is a Muslim while “a distant neighbour” refers to a non-Muslim neighbour. [ CITATION All951 \l 1033 ]

 

So, Allah ﷻ commanded us to show goodness to Muslim and non-Muslim neighbour.

 

Despite having different views among scholars, the truth is all of them are applicable and the neighbour clearly has rights over us whether close or distant, related, or unrelated, Muslim, or non-Muslim and that he should be helped and cared for to the best of one’s ability.

 

Nevertheless, the neighbours will have amongst them some degree of precedence. The Holy Prophet (ﷺ) has himself explained this when He (ﷺ) said: “Some neighbours have one right, some others have two, still some others have three. The neighbour with one right is a non-Muslim with no bond of kinship; the neighbour with two rights is not only a neighbour but a Muslim too; the neighbour with three rights is a neighbour, a Muslim and a relative, all in one.” [ CITATION All951 \l 1033 ]

 

The Holy Prophet (ﷺ) said: “Jibril has always been telling me to be helpful and caring with one’s neighbour, so much so that I started thinking that may be the neighbours will also be included as sharers in inheritance.” (al-Bukhari and Muslim) [ CITATION All951 \l 1033 ]

 

According to another narration in al-Tirmidhi and the Musnad of Ahmad, the Holy Prophet (ﷺ) said: “The best and the most superior is the best in relationship with his neighbours.” And another hadith in the Musnad of Ahmad reports: “It is not permissible for a neighbour to eat his fill while his next-door neighbour is hungry.” [ CITATION All951 \l 1033 ]

 

Having demonstrated that the neighbour has rights, and he should be honoured, cared for, and treated with goodness to the extent of one’s ability, let us answer your questions in shā Allah.

 

Q1:

 

To explain the details of these rights in this answer will be long and lengthy. Therefore, we advise you to purchase a book that specifically discusses the matter, in shā Allah.

 

Here below are some points extracted from Imam al-Ghazali (رحمه الله) magnum opus “Ihya Uloom al-Din” where Imam said: “In short, the rights of a neighbour on you are the following: “Salute him first, don’t talk with him for long, don’t ask about his condition long. Call on him when he is ill, show sympathy in his distress, be sorry in his sorrows, be happy in his happiness, share enjoyments in his happiness, pardon his faults, don’t look at the inner side of his house from the top of your roof, don’t trouble him by replacing your rafters on his wall, don’t let water flow down his courtyard, don’t shut up the outflow of water of his house through your boundary, don’t make the path to his house narrow, cover his fault if it is out, try to remove his distress as soon as possible, take care of his house in his absence, don’t hear his back-biting, talk with his sons and daughters with affection and read out to him “What he is ignorant” of the worldly and religious matters.” [ CITATION Ima93 \l 1033 ]

 

Q2:

 

Indeed, this is from a Hadith narrated by Sayyiduna Abu Huraira (رضي الله عنه) that Rasulullah (ﷺ) said: “The rights of neighbours extend to forty homes. He then indicated to the right, left, back and front.” (Majmu’ Zawā’id 8/171; Musnad Abu Ya’la 5982; and others)

 

There is another Hadith narrated by Sayyidah Aisha (رضي الله عنها) that Rasulullah (ﷺ) said: “Jibril (عليه السلام) instructed me regarding the neighbour unto forty houses: ten from this side, ten from that side, ten from this side and ten from that side (i.e., on his right, left, front and back)” (Sunan al-Bayhaqi Vol 2/276) [ CITATION البلِ \l 1033 ]

 

There is a Mursal narration from Imam Ibn Shihab al-Zuhri (رحمه الله) who said something similar where Imam explained that forty houses meaning (ten) from his right, (ten) from his left, (ten) from his front and (ten) from his back. [ CITATION البلِ \l 1033 ][ CITATION ابنَة1 \l 1033 ]

 

Imam al-Hafidh Ibn Hajar (رحمه الله) said in his great commentary of Sahih al-Bukhari that the forty houses is meant in a distributed manner i.e., ten from each side. [ CITATION ابنَة1 \l 1033 ]

 

So, the area considered as mentioned above is ten houses or its equivalent distance on each side, in shā Allah.

 

Q3:

 

As mentioned in the previous question, we consider houses but considering our time where we live in apartments in modern cities, thus apartments can also be deemed as separate houses in our view, in shā Allah.

 

Q4:

 

Whoever lives within the mentioned area be it houses or shops or else will be deemed as a neighbour, in shā Allah.

 

Q5:

 

Same answer as above, if they are within the fixed area then they will be considered as neighbours thus deserving the rights, in shā Allah.

 

Q6:

 

There is a Hadith narrated by Sayyiduna Abu Dhar (رضي الله عنه) that the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Abu Dhar! If you cook some stew, make a lot of it and fulfil your duty to your neighbours (or divide it among your neighbours).” (Mishkaat al-Masabih 1937; Al-Adab Al-Mufrad 114)

 

In another narration, Imam Mujahid (رحمه الله) reported that a sheep was slaughtered for ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr. He asked his slave, “Have you given any to our Jewish neighbour? Have you given any to our Jewish neighbour? I heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) say, ‘Jibril kept on recommending that I treat my neighbours well until I thought that he would order me to treat them as my heirs.'” (Al-Adab Al-Mufrad 105)

 

Finally, it is narrated on the authority of Sayyiduna Abu Huraira (رضي الله عنه) that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) observed: “He will not enter Paradise whose neighbour is not secure from his wrongful conduct.” (Sahih Muslim 46)

 

So, indeed the right of neighbour and goodness towards him is a matter of utmost importance. It should be done to the extent of one’s ability as there are numerous Ahādith encouraging us towards it and that one may be barred from Jannah for his wrongful conduct with his neighbour. (May Allah Taala protect us from this!)

 

We hope that we have answered your questions as they deserved to be answered and we seek forgiveness from Allah Taala for our shortcomings, Āmīn.

 

 

Only Allah (ﷻ) knows best.

Written by Maulana Tammim Mohamadou

Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah

Darul Ifta Birmingham

 

 

 

 

References:

[1] Allamah Shafi Uthmani, Maarif-ul-Quran, Karachi, Pakistan: Maktaba-e-Darul-Uloom, 1995.
[2] Imam al-Ghazzali, “Revival of religious learnings,” in IHYA UL UM-ID-DIN, Karachi, Pakistan, Darul-Ishaat, 1993, pp. Vol. II, pg. 132.
[3] البيهقي، “ص451 – كتاب السنن الكبرى البيهقي ط العلمية – باب الرجل يقول ثلث مالي إلى فلان يضعه حيث أراه الله وما يختار للموصى إليه أن يعطيه أهل الحاجة من قرابة الميت حتى يغنيهم ثم رضعاءه ثم جيرانه،” قَالَ إِسْمَاعِيلُ: عَنْ يَمِينِهِ، وَعَنْ يَسَارِهِ، وَقُبَالَهُ وَخَلْفَهُ. فِي هَذَيْنِ الْإِسْنَادَيْنِ ضَعْفٌ وَإِنَّمَا يُعْرَفُ مِنْ حَدِيثِ ابْنِ شِهَابٍ الزُّهْرِيِّ عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ مُرْسَلًا: ” أَرْبَعِينَ دَارًا جَارٌ ” قِيلَ لِابْنِ شِهَابٍ: وَكَيْفَ أَرْبَعِينَ دَارًا؟ قَالَ: أَرْبَعِينَ عَنْ يَمِينِهِ، وَعَنْ يَسَارِهِ، وَخَلْفَهُ، وَبَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ أَوْرَدَهُ أَبُو دَاوُدَ بِإِسْنَادِهِ عَنِ الزُّهْرِيِّ فِي الْمَرَاسِيلِ. [متصل]. Available: https://shamela.ws/book/7861/14516#p1.
[4] ابن حجر العسقلاني، “ص447 – كتاب فتح الباري لابن حجر – قوله باب حق الجوار في قرب الأبواب،” اخْتُلِفَ فِي حَدِّ الْجِوَارِ فَجَاءَ عَنْ عَلِيٍّ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ مَنْ سَمِعَ النِّدَاءَ فَهُوَ جَارٌ وَقِيلَ مَنْ صَلَّى مَعَكَ صَلَاةَ الصُّبْحِ فِي الْمَسْجِدِ فَهُوَ جَارٌ وَعَنْ عَائِشَةَ حَدُّ الْجِوَارِ أَرْبَعُونَ دَارًا مِنْ كُلِّ جَانِبٍ وَعَنِ الْأَوْزَاعِيِّ مِثْلَهُ وَأَخْرَجَ الْبُخَارِيُّ فِي الْأَدَبِ الْمُفْرَدِ مِثْلَهُ عَنِ الْحَسَنِ وَلِلطَّبَرَانِيِّ بِسَنَدٍ ضَعِيفٍ عَنْ كَعْبِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ مَرْفُوعًا أَلَا إِنَّ أَرْبَعِينَ دَارًا جَارٌ وَأخرج بن وهب عَن يُونُس عَن بن شِهَابٍ أَرْبَعُونَ دَارًا عَنْ يَمِينِهِ وَعَنْ يَسَارِهِ وَمِنْ خَلْفِهِ وَمِنْ بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ وَهَذَا يَحْتَمِلُ كَالْأُولَى وَيَحْتَمِلُ أَنْ يُرِيدَ التَّوْزِيعَ فَيَكُونُ مِنْ كل جَانب عشرَة. [متصل]. Available: https://shamela.ws/book/1673/6082#p3.

 

 

 

 

 

About the author