The Rights of Non-Muslim Neighbors in Islam

Islam gives great importance to healthy relationship with the neighbors. It encourages Muslims to treat their neighbors in a friendly and polite manner. It does not matter, if the neighbor is a Muslim or Non-Muslim, Islam demands its followers to treat them with respect and kindness.  The mother of believers, Aisha (R.A), stated that she once inquired the Prophet (PBUH), “O Messenger of Allah! I have two neighbors. To whom shall I send my gifts?” He said, “To the one whose gate is nearer to you.”

It is evident from the Hadith quoted above that Muslims are not only encouraged to maintain cordial relationship with their neighbors but they are also asked to exchange gifts with them. It does not indicate that if it is prohibited to share gifts with Non-Muslim neighbors.

Your neighbors have three rights on you, if they are Muslim and relatives:

  1. The right of neighbor
  2. The right of Kin
  3. The right of being fellow Muslim (Co Religionist)

Your neighbors have two rights on you, if they are non-Muslim and relatives:

  1. The right of neighbor
  2. The right of Kin

Your neighbors have only one right on you, if they are non-Muslim and not related to you:

  1. The right of neighbor

The Almighty Allah said: “And serve Allah. Ascribe no thing as partner unto Him. (Show) kindness unto parents, and unto near kindred, and orphans, and the needy, and into the neighbor who is of kin (unto you) and the neighbor who is not of kin and the fellow traveler…” [An-Nisaa’ 4:34]

In one of his Ahadith, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said that angel Jibraeel (Gabriel) kept pushing him to treat neighbors gently and with compassion to the extent that it was imagined by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that one neighbor could inherit from another neighbor.

Shared under are some tips on how to approach your Non-Muslim neighbors in a way that portrays Islamic mannerism:

1. Keep in mind that not only the person who lives next to you. Your dorm roommate, person sitting next to you in a buss, your co-workers should also be treated as neighbors. They should be treated nicely while remaining within the boundaries of Shariah.

2. Whenever you move to a new place or new neighbors move in, introduce yourself and your family to the neighbors. Invite them over for lunch or dinner. This will not only help you build up a good relationship with them but will also help you relieve any form of fears that they might have associated with Muslims.

3. Always be there for them, especially at the times of need. If your neighbor is elderly, you can run errands for them or help them do grocery shopping.

4. It is better that you deal with the neighbor of similar sex. However, it does not imply that you should stop socializing with your Non-Muslim neighbors belonging to the opposite sex. Watch out for the satanic snares while dealing with the opposite sex.

5. Don’t get angry when they offer you alcohol or something that is prohibited in Islam. Refuse them politely. Stick to the Islamic principles and they will respect you more.

6. Make sure that you represent Islam in the best possible manner while dealing with your Non-Muslim neighbors. Do not lose patience, if you are faced with a tough question about Islam. If you don’t know the answer, don’t feel shy to share the truth and tell them that you will ask knowledgeable person to seek the guidance over the question your neighbor has asked.

7. Don’t force your neighbor to convert to Islam. If they show interest in Islam, only then invite them to Islamic events and invite them to accompany you to the mosque. Help them to gain better understanding of Islam and remove all sorts of misconception. Leave the rest in the hands of Allah. If your neighbors invite you to visit their religious centers (Church, Temples, etc.) go with them, but do not indulge in activities which are prohibited by Islam.

8. Keep reminding yourself that Allah Almighty has stored big rewards for you in the Hereafter for treating your neighbor with kindness.

Featured Image Courtesy: AFS USA

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