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Neighborly Kindness in Islam

By No Comments7 min read

Wednesday 03 January 2024

by Ali

Discover the crucial importance of the relationship with neighbors

According to Ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with them), Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) taught:

“Gabriel continued to emphasize the importance of treating my neighbor kindly to the extent that I thought he might be entitled to a share in my inheritance.”

(Reported by Bukhari in his Sahih No. 6015 and Muslim in his Sahih No. 2624)

According to Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him), Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) declared:

“I swear by Allah, they are not believers, I swear by Allah, they are not believers, I swear by Allah, they are not believers.” When asked who was being referred to, O Messenger of Allah, he replied: “The one whose neighbor is not safe from his harm.”

(Reported by Bukhari in his Sahih No. 6016)

Allah emphasized in Surah An-Nisa (Chapter 4), verse 36:

“Worship Allah and associate nothing with Him, and to parents do good, and to relatives, orphans, the needy, the near neighbor, the neighbor farther away, the companion at your side, the traveler, and those whom your right hands possess. Indeed, Allah does not like those who are self-deluding and boastful.”

Let’s explore the meaning of these inspirational hadiths together.

  1. The first hadith, reported by Ibn Umar, underscores the significance of neighbors in a believer’s life. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) highlights the impact of Angel Gabriel’s recommendation on his attitude towards his neighbors, to the extent that he thought they might have a share in his inheritance. This emphasizes the depth of the relationship with neighbors in Islam.

  2. The second hadith, narrated by Abu Huraira, brings attention to a serious warning from the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) against those who neglect their neighbors. The repetition of the oath underscores the crucial importance of this matter. A true believer is one who ensures that their neighbor is not harmed or mistreated, thus highlighting the ethical and social dimensions of Islam.
  3. Finally, the Quranic verse from Surah An-Nisa reinforces these teachings by mentioning kindness to both near and distant neighbors among the recommended actions. Allah lists various categories of people towards whom believers should act kindly, placing neighbors among the relations to be treated with benevolence. This highlights the inclusive dimension of mercy and compassion in the daily practice of Islamic teachings.


In conclusion, these hadiths and the Quranic verse emphasize the fundamental importance of kindness towards neighbors in a believer’s life, encouraging a thoughtful and compassionate approach towards those around us. This aligns with the Islamic vision of a society where the love of good for others is a tangible manifestation of faith.

Find out how to incorporate these hadiths into your daily life through a practical case study.

Imagine a peaceful neighborhood, where streets are lined with well-kept gardens and houses. You move into this community, filled with enthusiasm but also with the responsibility of putting into practice the teachings of the Prophet regarding kindness towards neighbors.

Getting to Know Your Neighbors:
Before even unpacking your boxes, make an effort to get to know your neighbors. Apply the recommendation of Jibril, through which the Prophet encourages us to give such importance to our neighbors that one might think they are part of our family. This creates a strong sense of community.

Sharing and Support:
One day, you learn that one of your neighbors, Mr. Ahmed, has lost his job. Following the Prophet’s advice, be quick to offer your support. Share the resources you have and encourage other community members to do the same. Solidarity strengthens the bonds between neighbors.


Respect and Protection:
Another neighbor, Mrs. Fatima, is an elderly person living alone. Ensure you respect her needs and are vigilant about her safety. According to the hadith, one who does not protect their neighbor from harm is not a true believer. Therefore, watch over her and offer assistance when needed.


Religious Practice:
Surah An-Nisa emphasizes the importance of worshiping Allah without associating partners with Him. By incorporating this into your daily life, pray for the well-being of your neighbors and ask Allah to bless them. Show through your behavior that piety encompasses all aspects of life, including neighborhood relations.


Expanding the Circle of Kindness:
Do not limit your kindness to immediate neighbors. Following the advice of Surah An-Nisa, expand your circle of kindness to include orphans, the poor, travelers, and all those in need of your support. Create an atmosphere of love and respect in your neighborhood.


By integrating these teachings into your daily life, you honor the wisdom of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). Kindness towards neighbors is not just an obligation but an opportunity to elevate your faith and contribute to the creation of a society infused with compassion. May your neighborhood become a living example of prophetic harmony, where neighbors support each other in goodness.

Why did Jibril emphasize the importance of neighbors to Prophet Muhammad to the extent of prompting reflection on inheritance?

Jibril, as the angel of revelation, conveyed divine teachings aimed at establishing just and compassionate communities. By stressing the significance of relationships with neighbors, he underscored the crucial dimension of social cohesion and benevolence in the daily lives of believers.

How should we interpret Prophet Muhammad's serious warning regarding the faith of one whose neighbor is not safe from harm?

The Prophet (peace be upon him) warns against a deficiency in faith for one who neglects their neighbor. This emphasizes the importance of ethical and social behavior in evaluating an individual’s faith, indicating that kindness to others is intrinsically linked to piety.

What broader teachings can be gleaned from these hadiths beyond mere consideration for neighbors?

These hadiths impart fundamental values such as kindness, social ethics, and compassion that are not limited to neighbors alone. They highlight the need to extend these principles to all human relationships, thereby contributing to the building of a harmonious Islamic society.

How can we practically apply these teachings in our daily lives and develop benevolent relationships with our neighbors?

We can actualize these teachings by initiating acts of kindness towards our neighbors, sharing meals, offering assistance when needed, and creating an atmosphere of mutual respect. These simple actions strengthen community bonds and embody Islamic values.