Allah the most exalted and the most revered Prophet (SAW) have amply laid down the rights and duties of neighbours. A neighbour deserves affection, courtesy and fair treatment especially in a place like Kashmir that witnessed massive devastation during 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 and have nobody to fall back upon. The indifference of the neighbours has made life hell for them. This is something which must be taken note of now. 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? The importance of neighbours has been made amply clear by the following hadith. “Gabriel did not stop to advice me about neighbor till I thought that he would soon make him an heir”. – (Agreed upon).
The most revered Prophet (SAW) said: that a person who enjoys a full meal while his neighbor is starving really possesses no faith in Islam. This hadith casts a duty on the Muslims to look into their neighbourhod. A Muslim has to ensure that the widow living in his neighbourhod 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 fruits for his children he should either send some to his neighbors as a gift or at least not throw the peelings outside the door so that the neighbors may not have a feeling of deprivation.
Amr Ibn Shueib who reproved from his father who reproved from his grandfather that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “Do you know what the duties of a neighbor are?” Help him if he seeks your help, give him succor if he seeks your succor, 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, sympathize 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 neighbourhod where a Muslim’s faith is put to test. And, the plight of a person who does not take this test at all can only be imagined. It is in the neighborhood where one reserves a paradise for him. And, it is the neighbourhod which can land one in hell. The Holy Prophet (SAW) was once informed of a woman who used to offer prayers regularly and keep fasts very often and gives alms frequently, but her neighbors were sick of her abusive tongue. The Prophet (SAW) 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 neighbors either, and the Prophet (peace be upon him) 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 neighbors 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 (peace be upon him) said: When you hear your neighbors 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)