Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Rights of the Neighbor Part 4&5

Asalam Wa Alikum



Third Topic

Boundaries of the neighbor
There are different opinions among scholars about who are neighbors; among them are:
1-       It is reported that `Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, said: "He who hears the call to prayer is a neighbor." So, whoever hears the voice of the district muezzin who calls to prayer without using the loudspeaker is regarded as a neighbor.
2-       It is said that he who hears the second call (Iqamah) to prayer is regarded as a neighbor.
3-       It is said that he who performs the Fajr (Dawn) prayer with you in the mosque is regarded as a neighbor.
4-       It is said that those who live with each other in a quarter or district are regarded as neighbors.
5-       It is said that the boundary of the neighborhood is forty houses from every side. This is the saying of `Aa'isha, Al-Awzaa`i, Al-Hasan Al-Basri, Az-Zuhri and others. [6]
6-       The preponderant opinion is that the boundary of the neighborhood is referred to the custom [7]; as the shariah rule says: "What is mentioned by the Islamic law in general, and has not a criterion in it or in the language, then, it will be referred to the custom (Al-Urf)." [8]

On this basis he who is regarded by the custom as a neighbor, he is a neighbor. This neighbor has the right of neighborhood regarding treating him kindly, giving him generously, abstaining from harming him and the like.

Fourth Topic

The greatness of the neighbor's right
Allah, the Almighty, says: {"Worship Allah and join none with Him in worship, and do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, the poor, the neighbor who is near of kin, the neighbor who is a stranger, the companion by your side…"} [An-Nisaa': 36]. In this verse, Allah has enjoined people to treat all neighbors with kindness, be relative or stranger, adjacent or remote, pious or impious, Muslim or non-Muslim. This includes all of them according to their proximity, need and what is suitable in this situation.

As to the Prophetic Sunnah, it is abounded with many texts which call upon treating the neighbor kindly, emphasize his right, enjoin people to treat him kindly and generously, threaten people to be punished if they harm and treat him unkindly.

Ibn `Umar and `A'ishah, may Allah be pleased with them, reported that the Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: "Gabriel kept recommending treating neighbor with kindness until I thought he would assign him a share of inheritance." [9]

It is narrated that `Abdullah Ibn `Amr Ibnul-`Aas, may Allah be pleased with them, slaughtered a ewe, and said thrice to his family: "Did you give from it to our Jewish neighbor." Then, he said that I heard the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, saying: "Gabriel kept recommending treating neighbor with kindness until I thought he would assign him a share of inheritance." [10]

The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: "Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, should treat his neighbor generously." In another narration: "…, should treat his neighbor kindly." [11]

This points out that treating the neighbor kindly and generously is from among the branches of Faith and the characteristics of the faithful and that he who does not treat his neighbor kindly, his faith will be incomplete.

The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, has confirmed this meaning by saying: "By Him in Whose Hand is my life, no slave (truly) believes till he loves for his neighbor, or he (the Prophet) said: for his brother, whatever he loves for himself." [12]

In this Hadith, the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, has made clear that the completeness of the obligatory Faith is not accomplished except by that a Muslim loves for his neighbor whatever he loves for himself. This also necessitates that he hates for his neighbor whatever he hates for himself.

Rather, the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, has clarified that the best of people is the one who is the best to his neighbor and companion. He, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: "The best of companions in Allah's sight, is the best to his companion, and the best of neighbors in Allah's sight, is the best to his neighbor." [13] This blessed Hadith is a great Prophetic balance that shows the preference criterion between people in Allah's sight. It indicates that he who is the best in his treatment with his neighbors, companions and mates, is a sign that he is the best in Allah's sight as well as a sign of Allah's guidance and love of him. Rather, it is a sign that he is the best of people in Allah's sight according to the Prophet's testimony.

Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: "He who receives these words from me so that he shall implement them or teach the one who implements them." Abu Hurayrah said: "I am, O the Messenger of Allah." Then he, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, held my hand and counted five matters. He, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: "Avoid violating the prohibited things and you will be the best of worshippers; satisfy with what Allah has predestined for you and you will be the richest of people; treat your neighbor kindly and you will be a (true) faithful; love for people whatever you love for yourself you will be a (true) Muslim; do not laugh much as laughing much causes the death of heart." [14]

In this Hadith, the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, has clarified that treating the neighbor kindly is a sign of the truthfulness of Faith, one of its branches and one of the causes behind its increase and strength.

Some of the wise persons said: "If three characteristics are found in a person, so there is no doubt about his intelligence and grace: if he is praised by his neighbor, by his kin and by his companion." [15]

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