Your Neighbors Have Rights Over You!

Your Neighbors Have Rights Over You!

In Islam, neighbors have a high status and their own set of rights. In the hustle and bustle of life, don’t neglect the rights you owe to others. This is because as opposed to popular belief, religion is not only a personal effort. Islam is communal, and you must strive to serve your community and your Ummah. 

Amongst the rights that our neighbors have over us, the most important skill/ability/task that you have on your shoulders, as a Muslim, is to give Dawa. Dawa is calling towards that which is good and forbidding that which is evil. 

What rights do your neighbors have? 

  1. If s/he requests for assistance, you must assist him/her.
  2. If s/he comes to you for help, give it to him/her.
  3. If they need money, lend it to them.
  4. Without their permission, do not obstruct their air by erecting your building too high. 
  5. Do not bother them. 
  6. When you buy fruits, give them a share; if you don't, bring what you buy quietly and don't let your children carry them out to arouse their children's jealousy.
  7. When they are sick, you must pay them a visit (and take care of them).
  8. When they pass away, you must attend their funeral (and take part in burial arrangements)
  9. If they commit a sin, don't let it be known.
  10. If they have excellent fortune, congratulate them.
  11. If they suffer misfortune, support them. 

A good rule of thumb is your neighbors are eight houses to the left and right of your home. If you have houses across the streets, those are included as well. 

How can you start?  

With Covid-19 in the air, as well as the concept of community not being marketed as much, it may be difficult, even intimidating, to start building a relationship with your neighbors. Here’s a few things you can do to break the ice! 

1. Make it a family project  

Don’t attempt connecting with multiple homes all by yourself. Get your family involved, so that the work is divided and there is support. Most importantly, the children in your home will understand the importance of connecting and caring for their neighbors.

2. Buy fruits, desserts or a dish and share it

Everyone loves food! Use food to kickstart the connection. Food creates trust and a friendly approach. If your neighbors are reserved, this will help them not to get alarmed by you.

3. Exchange numbers, so in case of any need they can contact you 

When you introduce yourself to them, give them your number and be open that in case of any need you’re a text or call away. Whether it is securing a package or letting the children play or even a quick ingredient exchange - they can contact you. 

4. Using psychology: Ask for a very small doable favor.  

According to psychologists, people feel more warm and friendly when they know they can help you. Make sure you ask for a very small- and non-time-consuming favor. They will become aware that you trust them enough to ask!

5. Say hello, whenever you see them around  

Say hello when you see them on the streets in your local convenience store. People are social beings. Use this to your advantage! If you see them out and they don’t seem to be doing well, use this opportunity to ask if they need help.

6. Simply knock on their house and introduce yourself  

There is no better way to start the connection other than by just doing it! Take the leap and be the one to initiate it! Find a suitable time to greet them. Avoid early mornings and evenings. Afternoon or early evening is usually the time when people are home and aren’t resting. 

Note: It's from the Sunnah, to knock three times, while pausing in between knocks. If they don’t open after 3 times, you must leave. Make sure to face their door when you stand. Stand at an angle, in a way where they can see your face but it's not as if you are staring into their home. 

How can you give them Dawa? 

Your actions are Dawah! Simply by being willing to build a relationship with them, shows your character and manners. When mainstream media will do anything in their power to show Muslims as hostile beings, you need to respond by doing anything in your power to fight against that narrative.

Don’t start giving Dawa by calling them to Islam right away. You embody Islam and show it to them. This is how you start from there on. The journey then is only up. Make sure to not rush the process. It may take time. You may find neighbors who aren't concerned with building a connection with you, but you mustn't get discouraged by this.

If your actions and intentions are sincere and done only to please Allah, you will not find it difficult. 


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