Showing Love for Our Neighbors |

Showing Love for Our Neighbors

In Islam, neighbors are not just the people who live nearby – strangers whose mail we occasionally receive by accident or whose pets or children sometimes run into our yard. Our neighbors have rights on us, and Allah commands us to be kind to them:

 “Serve God, and join not any partners with Him; and do good – to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, those in need, neighbors who are near, neighbors who are strangers, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (ye meet), and what your right hands possess.” 

(Surah An-Nisa, 4:36)

When asked what the rights of the neighbor are, the Prophet Mohammed, peace and blessings be upon him, answered: 

“The least of a neighbor’s rights on [a Muslim] 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)

In many parts of the world today, though, neighbors barely get to know each other. Advances in technology and changes to lifestyle mean that fewer people are socializing with the folks who live on their streets. Instead of shopping in local stores and frequenting corner cafes, many people nowadays have their goods, clothes, and meals delivered to their door. Rather than playing outside with neighbors, many children entertain themselves indoors or participate in extracurricular activities outside of their neighborhood. In addition to all this, perhaps more than ever before, there is a general mistrust of strangers that dissuades people from knocking on each other’s doors to even introduce themselves. As a result, some people don’t get to know a single neighbor, and ties of trust and kindness that should exist among community members are absent. 

Despite all this, there are Muslims here and abroad who are honoring the Islamic tradition of cultivating a positive relationship with their neighbors. In many cases, the people next door are non-Muslims, so the acts of kindness are doubly impactful; they are pleasing Allah while also demonstrating that Muslims are generous, trustworthy, responsible, and caring. 

For this article, I interviewed several Muslims around the world. They shared the ways they are showing love to their neighbors. Their stories are inspirational and encourage the rest of us to make more efforts to show love and respect to the people who live around us. 

In the U.S. 

Every Ramadan, Lail Hossain, Founder and CEO of WithASpin, delivers gifts and a small card explaining Islam’s holiest month to the non-Muslim families in her Dallas, Texas neighborhood. She also regularly shares flowers, fruits, and vegetables from her garden with them. “My motivation comes from the Islamic teaching of treating neighbors with kindness, compassion, and respect, regardless of their background or beliefs,” Hossain writes. “It is about being a good Muslim neighbor following the example of the Prophet [peace and blessings be upon him], and ultimately my intention is to please Allah.” 

Another sister, we will call her Amina from California, had a heartwarming story to share. “When we first moved into our former home,” she writes, “we noticed that our next-door neighbors were not very friendly. They were an older couple who were not the type to smile or wave. Our neighbors on the other side said they’d had several unpleasant encounters with them as well, so they were known to be unfriendly. One day, around Eid, I was making kaak, a Palestinian cookie filled with dates, and I thought it was worth a shot to send some over to them. The next day, my kids came in with a plate of cookies for our family, baked by the same neighbors! Ever since that day, they would greet us with smiles, spend time talking with our kids, teach them about gardening, and even help them with math since the elderly gentleman used to be a math teacher.” 

“Our current neighbors are also elderly,” continues Amina, “and the man is a cancer patient. We send them food once in a while, and they share food with us sometimes, too. When he is not doing well, we send him flowers, and he is always so appreciative. When the events in Gaza started, he made it a point to ask how we were doing. He took the time to listen and get an idea of what was really happening. He said, ‘You know, they don’t tell us that on the news.’” 

SubhanAllah,” notes Amina, “showing kindness to our neighbors opens huge opportunities for conversation, challenging stereotypes, and spreading awareness. And of course dawah starts with acts of kindness.” 

Aasma, also in California, had heard some unsavory rumors about the two women who moved in next door to her. But Aasma believes everyone deserves respect, kindness, and the benefit of the doubt, so she always had a smile and kind words for her neighbors. It turns out that they are delightful, warm, and supportive people. They ask questions about Islam and listen respectfully to the answers. They invite Aasma and her family to use their swimming pool and carefully avoid serving pork and alcohol when hosting them. Aasma knows that if she had listened to the rumors and shunned her neighbors, she would have missed out on a mutually beneficial relationship and an excellent opportunity to give dawah

Emily Sutcliffe in Pennsylvania writes, “We always host Eid parties and invite all the neighbors and we often host at least one iftar per Ramadan and invite neighbors, as well. More generally, we have a great relationship with our neighbors. We watch their pets, and they watch ours. We have all their keys/door codes, and they have ours. Whenever anyone needs anything, each neighbor helps. All of them,” she clarifies, “are Christian.” 

In Australia 

Rania writes, “I am the only Muslim with a Catholic neighbor, a Hindu neighbor, and some non-religious people also. We have a group chat set up so if someone is feeling unsafe, some of the guys will go to their house to check if everything is ok. We also organize to care for the gardens together, cook for each other if someone is unwell, and water plants for each other if we travel.”

In Scotland 

Maryam Yousaf writes, “My neighbors who are Christians have trusted me with their house key. I’ve looked after their pets whilst they’ve been away, and they have done the same for me. Growing up, my mom would always make sure we shared food with neighbors and sent some special sweets over whenever there was some kind of celebration. During Christmas and Easter, some of them send gifts to us, too.” 

In England 

Samina Uddin, an author in Surrey, says, “My family always delivers boxes of chocolates and dates to our non-Muslim neighbors for both Eids. My daughter used to make up little boxes with ‘Eid Mubarak’ messages. We live in a cul-du-sac, so we make a gift packet for all ten families who live here. And our neighbors are kind to us, too. When I was ill, one of my neighbors visited me in hospital, and another did shopping for me.”  

It is wonderful to know that Muslims all over the world are giving a beautiful example of Islam to the people in their community. We should all remember that showing love and kindness to our neighbors is not just an optional act of worship, but a necessity. 

Laura El Alam is a freelance writer and editor and the author of the book Made From the Same Dough, as well as over 100 published articles. A wife and mother of five, Laura lives with her family in Massachusetts. You can visit her online at

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