Islam enjoins neighbours to love and cooperative with each other and share sorrows and happiness. It commands neighbours to establish social relations in which one could depend upon the other and regard his life, honour and property safe among his neighbours. A society in which two persons, separated only by a wall, remain unacquainted with one another for years and those living in the same area of a town having no interest or confidence in each other shall be taken to task on the day of judgement.
Kashmir witnessed massive devastation during the past two decades. The number of orphans and widows is increasing with every passing day. Many of them go to bed without taking food. They suffer silently. The indifference of the neighbours has made life hell for them. This is something, which must be taken note of. Why wait for a time when widows will be forced to indulge in prostitution? Why not act now to prevent the orphans from joining the ranks of anti-social elements?
A neighbour deserves affection, courtesy, care and fair treatment. Hazrat Ayesha (RA) and Ibn Omar (RA) reported from the Messenger of Allah (SAW) who said: Gabriel (AS) did not stop to advise me about neighbours until I thought that he would soon make him an heir. (Agreed upon). This hadith reflects the importance of neighbours.
Again, the most revered Prophet (SAW) said: That a person who enjoys a full meal while his neighbour is starving really possesses no faith in Islam. This hadith casts a duty on Muslims to look into their neighbourhood. A Muslim has to ensure that the widow living in his neighbourhood has sufficient food to survive.
The beloved Prophet (SAW) has laid so much emphasis on this virtue that he advised that whenever a Muslim brings fruit for his children he should either send some to his neighbours as a gift or at least not throw the peelings outside the door so that the neighbours may not have a feeling of deprivation.
Amr Ibn Shueib, who reported from his father, who reported from his grandfather that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “Do you know what the duties of a neighbour are?” Help him if he seeks your help, give him succour if he seeks your succour, give him loan if he seeks loan, give him relief if he is needy, nurse him if he falls ill, follow his bier if he dies, cheer him if he meets any good, sympathise with him if any calamity befalls him, raise not your building higher so as to obstruct his air without his permission, harass him not, give him when you purchase a fruit, if you do not do it, take it secretly; and let not your children take it out to excite thereby the anger of his children.”
It is in the neighbourhood where the faith of a Muslim is put to test. And, it is the neighbourhood which can land one into ever burning hell. The Holy Prophet (SAW) was once informed of a woman who used to offer prayers regularly and keep fasts very often and give alms frequently, but her neighbours were sick of her abusive tongue. The Prophet (SAW) said that woman deserved only the fire of hell. He was also told of another woman who did not possess these virtues but did not trouble her neighbours either, and the Prophet (SAW) said that she will be rewarded with paradise. (Ahmad).
Abu Huraira (RA) reported from the Messenger of Allah (SAW) who said: “By Allah he does not believe, by Allah he does not believe, by Allah he does not believe”. The companions asked who is he O Prophet of Allah? The Holy Prophet (SAW) replied, “One whose neighbour is not immune against his mischief”.
If one needs to ascertain the character of a person he must consult his neighbours. On one occasion the Holy Prophet (SAW) said that a man is really good if his neighbours regard him as such and he is bad if they consider him so. Ibn Mas’ud (RA) reported that a man asked the Holy Prophet (SAW): “O Messenger of Allah (SAW)! how can I know when I do good and when I do bad? The Holy Prophet (SAW) said: When you hear your neighbours say– you have done good, you have done good, and when you hear them say– you have done bad, you have done bad.” (Ibn Majah)