#122: Prioritizing One’s Neighbor

Question:

Assalamualaikum ustaz. I have a lot of neighbours in my residential area. Who should I prioritize in giving in charity?

Answer:

Alhamdulillah, praise and gratitude to Allah SWT for His countless blessings for us all. Praise and salutations to our beloved Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his family, companions and all those who follow his footsteps until the Last Day.

Honouring one’s neighbours is a commendable and encouraged act. Rasullullah PBUH said:

وَمَنْ كَانَ يُؤْمِنُ بِاَللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ فَلْيُكْرِمْ جَارَهُ،

“He who believes in God and the last day should honour his neighbour,” [1]

Honouring one’s neighbour is not limited to treating them as guests when they visit our house and give in charity if they are from amongst the needy, but it is more general than that:

  • Treating them properly and not harming them
  • Ask about their well-being and visit them when they are sick
  • Give salam to them
  • Gifting them with presents even if they don’t need it and letting them borrow from you when they are in need
  • Improve how you treat them
  • Avoid hurting them and bear patience if they wronged you
  • Congratulate then if they are blessed and offer your condolences when calamity struck them
  • Attend their funeral and follow their funeral procession when they pass away [2]

Likewise, it is also stated in a hadith:

مَا زَالَ جِبْرِيلُ يُوصِينِي بِالْجَارِ، حَتَّى ظَنَنْتُ أَنَّهُ سَيُوَرِّثُهُ

“Gabriel impressed upon me (the kind treatment) towards the neighbour (so much) that I thought as if he would soon confer upon him the (right) of inheritance.”

Sahih al-Bukhari (6015)

Imam al-Nawawi cited the words of al-Qadhi ‘Iyadh, saying, the meaning of this hadith is that whoever who believes in the shariah of Islam, then it is obligatory for him to honour or do good towards his guests and neighbours. All of this shows the importance of the rights of a neighbour and the encouragement to maintain them. The reason is Allah SWT advised us to do good to them through His statement in the Quran and the hadith of the Prophet PBUH. [3]

Rasullullah PBUH once advised to Abu Zar RA regarding neighbour, saying:

يَا أَبَا ذَرٍّ إِذَا طَبَخْتَ مَرَقَةً فَأَكْثِرْ مَاءَهَا وَتَعَاهَدْ جِيرَانَكَ

“When you make soup put in a lot of water and be mindful of your neighbours.” [4]

Rasullullah PBUH specifically reminded Muslim women to do good to their neighbours where he said:

يَا نِسَاءَ الْمُسْلِمَاتِ لاَ تَحْقِرَنَّ جَارَةٌ لِجَارَتِهَا وَلَوْ فِرْسِنَ شَاةٍ

“None of you Muslim women must consider even a sheep’s trotter too insignificant a gift to give to her neighbour.” [5]

In answering the above question, Ummul Mukminin Aisyah R.Anha once asked the Messenger PBUH saying: “I had two neighbours and which of them should I send a present to?” The Prophet PBUH answered:

إِلَى أَقْرَبِهِمَا مِنْكِ بَابًا

“To the one who lives nearer you.” [6]

Hence, choose the neighbour closest to you in giving food, charity or present and if there is more, then give to your other neighbours.

May Allah make us from the people who honour our neighbours to make us eligible to be amongst those who truly tahqiq the attributed of Allah SWT’s believers and the Last day. Amin.

Wallahu a’lam.

 

[1] Narrated by al-Bukhari (6475) and Muslim (47)

[2] See al-Kafi Syarah Hadis 40, pg. 152

[3] See al-Minhaj ‘ala Syarh Sahih Muslim, 18/2

[4] Narrated by Muslim (2625)

[5] Narrated by al-Bukhari (2566) and Muslim (1030)

[6] Narrated by al-Bukhari (2259)

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