Good neighbours enhance lives of others
Last week my neighbour moved out from her apartment she had resided in for at least two decades.
She was sad to leave but had to because of circumstances beyond her control. You see the last two years have been a horror for her and her family. They weren’t able to enjoy a peaceful and harmonious existence, their sleep and peace of mind had been compromised dramatically and drastically. Her only recourse was to move; to leave a home she loved and neighbours who were like family.
Are you curious as to what caused this family to make the heart-rending decision to move from a home and an area they love?
The upstairs apartment had been taken over by “neighbours from hell”. They were nothing short of a nightmare.
Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) stated: “Whoever believes in God and the Final Day should not trouble his neighbours.”
Good neighbours are a positive contribution to one’s life and of course, everything in existence has an opposite. So yes, neighbours can and do impact massively on one’s peace of mind or lack thereof.
In the case of my friend, it seemed the noise and fighting would occur at night and last until daybreak. Of course the days were quiet, I suppose due to the nocturnal perpetrators sleeping their days peacefully away – a luxury and basic human need their downstairs neighbours were perpetually denied.
Not only was it noise that these neighbours created but they had no care for the cleanliness of their environment. They just trashed the place with empty cans and bottles, general litter and unsightly overgrown grass and weeds. The place was literally reduced to a dump.
Unfortunately, because they were relatives of the landlord, there was no real intervention. What a shame. Makes one feel like the good guys always come last.
In one narration, someone complained to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) about his neighbour. The Prophet (pbuh) reportedly turned his face away from him, and then stated to those around him: “Go and publicly announce that the curse of God and the angels is on one who troubles his neighbour.” (Mustadrak al-Wasa’il, v.2, pp.78-79)
The Bible also speaks on how one should treat their neighbour. Proverbs 3:29 says: “Do not plot harm against your neighbour, who lives trustfully near you.” Also in Mark 12:31: “Love your neighbour as yourself.”
There is no commandment greater than these.
Islam gives high and utmost importance to good and respectful treatment of one’s neighbours. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) reported that the rights of the neighbour were so important as was told to him by the Angel Jibraeel that he feared that neighbours might be made part of one’s inheritance, like that of kin! Another Hadith narrates that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) said that a man whose neighbour is not safe from his misdeeds, is not a believer in Islam.
Indeed a good neighbour is one who guarantees comfort, harmony, safety and peace. Therefore, it is important that one who believes in Islam and obeys Allah is always mindful of being considerate and generous to their neighbours.
“Serve God, and join not any partners with Him; and do good – to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, those in need, neighbours who are near, neighbours who are strangers, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (ye meet), and what your right hands possess.” The Holy Koran, al-Nisaa 4:36
I pray that my friend’s new neighbours make up for the neighbours from hell that she had to move away from.
I remember as a child my neighbour always borrowed a cup of milk, butter, sugar, rice, flour, cocoa, tea bags, coffee or whatever, if they ran out and we did likewise. It was always a pleasant and willing exchange. Neighbours today don’t even know each other, much less borrow a cup of anything from each other. The following Hadith indicates the bond of neighbours:
“When asked what the rights of the neighbour are, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) answered: ‘The least of a neighbour’s rights on him is that if he asks him for a loan he should grant it to him. If he asks for help, he should help him. If he wants to borrow something from him, he should lend it to him. If he needs him to donate something to him, he should do so. If he invites him, he should accept his invitation. If he gets sick, he should go and visit him. If he passes away, he should attend his funeral procession.’” Mustadrak al-Wasa’il, v.2, p.79.
Being a neighbour, but most specifically being a good neighbour, is a heavy but rewarding responsibility.
My dear people of Bermuda, may you always be good neighbours and may you always be surrounded by good neighbours. Let us be on a mission to create the best neighbourhoods we can as dictated by Allah the Lord of the worlds. Ameen.
As salaam alaikum (peace be unto you).
• Linda Walia Ming is a member of the Bermuda Hijab Dawah team, a group of Muslim women who reside in Bermuda and have a goal of educating the community about the religion of Islam