The Neighbour’s Rights In Islam, By Imam Murtada Gusau

Kaaba_at_night

IN THE NAME OF ALLAH, THE MOST GRACIOUS, THE MOST MERCIFUL

All praise is for Allah (SWT) Who ordered us to keep the ties of kinship intact and forbade us from being ungrateful. He further confirmed the right of a Muslim over another Muslim. The neighbour has a right over his neighbour even if he is not a Muslim or is a sinner.

We praise Allah (SWT) and put our trust in Him. I bear witness that there is no god worthy of worship except Allah (SWT) alone having no partners with Him. He is the Creator who created everything other than Himself.

May peace and prayers be upon our beloved Master Muhammad (SAW) who spoke the best of speech. May peace and blessings be upon him, his family, and his Companions who fulfilled all of the people’s rights required from them and upon every one that follows their guidance till the Day of Judgement.

O servants of Allah!
Know that the nieghbour’s rights are proven in many Verses of the Qur’an and Ahadith of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW). It was even said that the angel jibreel kept emphasising upon Muhammad (SAW) the importance of the neighbour’s rights until the Prophet (SAW) developed an impression that Jibreel was going to prescribe a share in the inheritance for the neighbour. No one harms his neighbour except an ill-mannered person who is wicked and evil. The Prophet (SAW) said:

“By Allah, he does not believe. By Allah, he does not believe. By Allah, he does not believe.” It was said: “O Messenger of Allah! Verily, he lost and failed. Who is he?” He said: “it is he whose neighbour does not feel safe from his Bawaa’iq.” They asked: “What is Bawaa’iq?” He said: “His evil.” (Agreed upon)

The Arabs before and after Islam were proud of being kind to their neighbours. They even priced their houses according to how valuable their neighbour was. Furthermore, Islam has made it incumbent upon Muslims to be kind and benevolent to their neighbours, regardless of their neighbours’ religion. It was even ruled that the wicked person is he whom people avoid for his ill-manners, terrible behaviours and harmful actions. The most disgusting and revolting neighbours are those who search for people’s (and also their neighbour’s) faults and deficiencies. They would not mind looking into people’s privacy. Thus they cannot be entrusted with people’s lives, religion, money, or property. The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said:

“He who believes in Allah and the Last Day should show hospitality to his neighbour; he who believes in Allah and the Last Day should show hospitality to his guest; and he who believes in Allah and the Last Day should speak good or remain silent.” (Agreed upon)

He (SAW) also said:

“The believer is he who the people feel safe with. The Muslim is he who the Muslims are protected from his tongue and hand. The emigrant is he who abandons evil. By Him in Whose Hand is my soul, he will not enter paradise whose neighbour is not secure from his evil.”

O Muslims! O Nigerians!
It is really shameful to go to sleep with a full stomach while your neighbour is hungry. It is also shameful to always wear new clothes, yet be so stingy that you would not even give your neighbour your used clothes to cover his nudity. It is shameful to enjoy all the good things you have – food, clothes, perfume, and much more – while your neighbours long for bones and dry bread. Are you aware of what the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said regarding giving things away to your neighbours even if it were a little thing? He (SAW) said:

“Certainly, a woman should not belittle what her neighbour gives her, even if it is a sheep’s intestines.”

He (SAW) addressed Abu Dhar (RA) saying:

“O Abu Dhar! When you cook, add more water (i.e. to make enough soup) and take care of your neighbours (by sending them some of it).”

O Brothers in Islam! O Nigerians!
Your neighbour has rights upon you, which you must fulfill! These rights are easy to fulfill; I shall mention them as a reminder to me and you. When you meet with him (your neighbour) or run into him accidentally, you should greet him by saying Assalamu Alaikum. When he falls sick, you should visit him. When he dies, you should attend his funeral and look after his children after his death as if it were their father looking after them. You must stand by him in happiness, in grief, in hardship and ease. The Prophet (SAW) said:

“The best of companions with Allah is the one who is good to his companion, and the best of neighbour with Allah is the one who is good to his neighbour.”

O Muslims!
It is prohibited for you to peek into your neighbour’s house, especially while he is not paying attention. It is prohibited for you to cheat him (by having relations) with his wife or his daughter. You should know that he who looks into his neighbour’s house without his permission, would have his eyes filled from Hellfire. It is forbidden upon you to try to listen to what your neighbour says in his house like spies do, which would make him insecure with you being his neighbour and never trust you with what he says or does.

If you are not able to be good and kind with your neighbour or acknowledge his favour upon you, then do not harm him and keep your evil away from him. Let him relax in his home and visit him when he invites you. When he consults you, advise him sincerely. If he is oppressed, give him your help, support and defense. Yet if he is the oppressor, help him by stopping him from oppression. If he does well, hail and compliment him and if he does wrong, pardon him. If he corrupts, do not approve of his corruption and remember that on Judgment Day many will be grabbing their neighbours, each one saying:

“O Lord! This is my neighbour who closed his door in my face and deprived me of his good advice while witnessing my evil.”

“A man asked the Prophet (SAW) about a woman who made many prayers and fasted much. Yet she would hurt her neighbours. The Prophet (SAW) answered: She is in the fire of Hell. The man asked again about another woman who only did her obligations in terms of praying and fasting, yet she gave charity with big pieces of Aqit (yoghurt or cheese) and never harmed her neighbours. The Prophet said: ‘She is in Paradise.”

The Prophet (SAW) also said:

“Four are from happiness: a good wife, a spacious residence, a good neighbour and a comfortable vehicle. And four are from misery: a bad neighbour, a bad wife, a bad vehicle and a small (stifling) residence.”

Allah (SWT) likes the neighbour who is patient upon his neighbour’s harms until one day Allah (SWT) will help him, either by moving him away from that neighbour or by that neighbour’s death. It is idiocy and stupidity for people to file complaints with the authorities against their neighbours for the bickering and quarrels that occur among the women or children. The prophet (SAW) also forbade building walls or raising the houses so high that such would cause harm for the neighbour and might block the wind from reaching the neighbour’s property or expose of the neighbour’s privacy. The prophet (SAW) used to say:

“O Allah, I seek refuge with you from the bad neighbour in a permanent residence, as the neighbour in the nomadic residence is always moving (i.e., he does not stay in one place).”

The prophet (SAW) said:

“Beware of the prohibitions then you are the best of worshippers. Be satisfied with which Allah has given you, then you are the richest of people. Be kind to your neighbour, and then you are a believer. Love for the people what you love for yourself, and then you are a Muslim. And do not laugh too much, for laughing too much kills the heart.”

Some people do not care about others if they themselves are comfortable. They would not mind if all the people were annoyed by them and angry with them. They would not mind even if their reputation was hurt so long as they satisfy their lusts and joys. Their lusts and desires are fulfilled and their needs are met, so it does not matter if all these were satisfied at the expense of their honour, dignity, or reputation. For that reason, these people are despised by others, hated by their neighbours and have a disgusting reputation among their peers. The prophet (SAW) said:

“If you feel no shame, then do whatever you wish.”

He (SAW) also said:

“Allah has divided your manners among you as he has divided your provisions. Verily Allah gives (the pleasures of this) life to whom He loves and whom He does not. Yet, He does not give the faith except to whom He loves. He who is given the faith, verily Allah has loved him. By Him in whose Hand is my soul, a person does not become a Muslim until his heart and tongue submit and surrender (to Allah), and does not believe until his neighbour is safe from his evil.”

Allah (SWT) says:

“Worship Allah and join none with Him (in worship); and do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, Al-Masaakin (the poor), the neighbour who is near of kin, the neighbour who is a stranger, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (you meet), and those (slaves) whom your right hands possess. Verily, Allah does not like such as are proud and boastful.” (4:36)

Servants of Allah!
I remind you and myself of the way of Allah’s Messenger (SAW) in the Month of Sha’aban. Sha’aban is the eight month of the Islamic lunar calendar. It is called so because in this month the Arabs used to disperse (tasha’aba) in search of water, or it was said that it is so called because it Sha’aba (branches out or emerges) i.e., it appears between the months of Rajab and Ramadan.

The month of Sha’aban falls between two sacred months, Rajab and Ramadan. Allah’s Messenger (SAW) used to spend most part of it by fasting. Imam Bukhari (Rahimahullah) reports in his Sahih that Aisha (RA) said:

“The Messenger of Allah (SAW) used to fast until we thought he would never break his fast, and he would not fast until we thought he would never fast. I never saw the Messenger of Allah fasting for an entire month except in Ramadan, and I never saw him fast more than he did in Sha’aban.” (Bukhari)

And when Allah’s Messenger (SAW) was asked, why he fasted so abundantly in the Month of Sha’aban? He (SAW) said:

“(Sha’aban) is a Month to which people do not pay attention, between Rajab and Ramadan, and it is a Month in which deeds are lifted up to the Lord of the worlds (Allah). I like for my deeds to be lifted up when I am fasting.”(An-Nasaa’i, see also Sahih al-Targheeb wat-Tarheeb, p. 425)

Servants of Allah!
Let us emulate and imitate the Allah’s Messenger in this blessed Month of Sha’aban by fasting much in it and start the preparation for the coming of the great Month of Ramadan. Oh Allah allows us to Witness Ramadan alive, wishing you Ramadan Mubaarak in advance and your loved ones.

Let us be aware of these blessed times in our times of need – let us pay attention to that which is neglected and make our Sha’aban and Ramadan our sources of salvation. O Allah! Bless us abundantly in Sha’aban and deliver us safely unto Ramadan, ameen.

May Allah make you and I among the best of His creatures, and May He bless us all with the good favours and provisions that he bestows upon us. May He protect you and me from harming the neighbour and from ignoring his rights upon us, because neighbourhood is trust so we must respect our neighbours even if they are not Muslims.

My Respected Brothers and Sisters! Fellow Nigerians!
As at today Friday, May 29, 2015, our President Alhaji Muhammadu Buhari and our state’s Governors are being sworn in. I ask Allah in His infinite Mercy to direct him and them and all our leaders to succeed in bringing about benefit to their subjects. I ask Allah, the Most Generous and Bounteous, the Lord of the Mighty Throne to guide them all to that which is right and beneficial to all of us. May He (SWT) hold their hands to that which is good to them and all the people of Nigeria. I ask you O Allah! To use them bring a real and true transformation in Nigeria. O Allah! Bring unity, peace, development and progress in our country. We hope for your mercy. Do not tire of us even for a moment. Place all of our affairs in order. There is no god but You O Allah! May Allah guide all our leaders to be successful and keep their hearts firm in the right way, enhance their good deeds, free them from the burden of sins, set right their affairs, free our country from the shackles of backwardness and destruction, purify us and them and reward us all with paradise. May Allah use them to help Nigeria recover from its present calamities, verily; You (Allah) are the Best of those who are sought, Oft-Forgiving, the Most Merciful.

Indeed all praise belongs to Allah, the Lord of all creation – and May peace and blessings be upon the prophet, his family, his Companions and those who follow him precisely until the Day of Judgment.

This Khutbah (Friday Sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Sha’aban 10, 1436 A.H (May 29, 2015), by Imam Murtada Muhammad Gusau, the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’at Mosque Okene, Kogi State Nigeria. He can be reached for an advice or correction via 08038289761.