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How to behave with neighbours

The Prophet once said, “To God the best companion is one who is best for his companion and the best neighbour is one who is best for his neighbour.” The Quran goes further with the more specific injunction: “Show kindness to near and distant neighbours, to fellow travellers and to the wayfarers” (4:36).

This means that it is incumbent upon us to behave well towards all kinds of neighbours, whether they are permanent residents of the neighbourhood, or are only living there temporarily for the purposes of education, business or travel, etc. Wherever one is living in close proximity to others, one must feel obliged to observe their rights as human being. No one should be the cause of trouble to his neighbour.

On separate occasion, the Prophet observed, “One who believes in God should not give trouble to his neighbour” and “one who believes in God should accord due respect to his neighbours.” As an individual, therefore, a Muslim must be a good neighbour, while, on the larger scale of the community, Muslims should prove to be good neighbours at the national level as well.

The Prophet, again on two separate occasions, thus defined the essence of good neighbourliness: “By God, a person cannot be a believer until he likes for his neighbours and for his brother what he likes for himself.” Similarly, he is also reported to have said: “A person from whose evils his neighbour is not safe will not go to heaven.”

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