GOOD FAITH: Our Neighbor and his rights irrespective of his religion and race

Dr. Qayum Hamid Changal

Let’s live with harmony, peace and euphony with our neighbors. And, give them the reason to smile and the shoulder of support.

When we talk about our neighbors, it does not include Muslims only. Irrespective of any religion, creed, caste and sex, we have to stand by his shoulders in his thick and thin.

In this age of technology and nimble-footed life, the purpose of our life is subjected to degrading treatment. We prefer dwelling in our abodes invisible, cramping the idea of compassion and comfort restricted to ourselves only.

Though literacy rate is on the rise, but the sense of accountability and standards of education is hibernating in our tapering minds. Actually we know juggling with the alphabets and words, education is miles away.

We talk big, discuss the pros and cons of everything, write on modesty, cohesion and honesty. But, the whole of ‘Being Human First’ is jerry-built, a fatally flawed strategy, sugar coated outside but bitter and fretful inside. And, of all the flaws we inherit, keeping distance from our neighbors has caused fracture of the relationships that once blossomed with love and concern for each other. Alas! It’s mostly the past tense now.

Al-Qurtubi (may Allah have mercy on him) said, “I say: based on that, kind treatment of neighbors is enjoined and is recommended, whether they are Muslim or not. And this is the right thing to do. Kind treatment may be in the sense of helping or it may be in the sense of being kind, refraining from annoyance and standing by them”.

Are we following it? Where do we stand? Aren’t we growing up as ‘I, me and myself’ kind of species? In good old days neighbors lived together as a well knit family.

Good or bad times, rain or sun, crests or troughs, standing by each other was followed strictly. I learned from my parents how previously neighbors would regularly visit one another just to make sure that everything was alright. But nowadays, pulling each other down is considered as part of so called sophistication.

If our neighbor is richer than us, we feel a twinge of envy for them. And, if poor, our soul is satisfied and we appraise it as the tranquility or motivation. I’m not over-exaggerating it, look around and most of you won’t disagree.

There is a Haddith narrated from Abu Shurayh that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) 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, who is that? He said: “The one whose neighbor is not safe from his annoyance.”

These days we notice there’s a constant hassle between the neighbors, be it about an inch of land or unable to digest each other’s state of satisfaction or rise. Instead of solving the disputes, if any, peacefully we don’t hesitate throwing filth on each other, and prefer character assassination to tolerance.

If our neighbor fetches an expensive car or buys a shop or house, we at the speed of light start drawing offensive conclusions out of it. And, instead of genuinely congratulating him on his success, we derive all sorts of negative probabilities that could have led to it.

At the end of the day we fall the prey of mad rat race, thus dismantle our peace of mind alongside theirs.

Our Prophet Mohammed (Sallalahu Alaihi Wasalam) would encourage the people to visit their neighbors regularly, especially at the time of need and distress. We do have the obligations toward our neighbor that we can’t avoid or deny.

Some of them are:

1) Supporting sincerely, be it morally or financially, should be exercised relentlessly.
2) Don’t block the air by building your house or office too high without his permission.
3) Put a necessary fire gap. It’s crucial.
4) Do not harass him by any means, physically or mentally.
5) Share your favorite food with them. Make sure your neighbor doesn’t sleep empty stomach.
6) If you can’t share the things, eatables or other, with your neighbor, make sure bring what you buy quietly and let not your children take them out to excite the jealousy of his children.
7) No pomp and show.
8) Must visit your neighbor when he’s ill. Make sure he has enough resources to see the doctor and buy necessary medication.
9) When your neighbor dies, it’s obligatory to attend his funeral and make them feel comfortable.
10) Grieve in sympathy if a calamity befalls him. Congratulate him at the time of joy.
1) Hide his sins, don’t publicize them.
12) Greet with love and compassion.
13) Above all, whatever you try to do for your neighbor, make sure that God is happy with it. Fear Him.

At last I would like to share another Hadith with you. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Jibreel kept on enjoining the good treatment of neighbors to the extent that I thought that he would include neighbors as heirs.” (Agreed upon. Narrated by Muslim, 2625).

Let’s live with harmony, peace and euphony with our neighbors. And, give them the reason to smile and the shoulder of support.

Not the least, let us introspect and act. Remember, being a good neighbor is one the stronger signs of being a good Muslim, thus a good human being.

Dr. Qayum Hamid Changal is a regular columnist for Rising Kashmir and other News Magazines.

He can be reached at qhchangal@gmail.com.