Neighbors: Up to Seven Doors Away

By IOL Team

The Qur’an tells us that all of mankind is descended from one couple, Adam and Eve. Thus we are all brothers and sisters, and our differences in languages and colors are but a mercy that we might know one another. Language and race should never be a reason for discriminating against people.

A Muslim should maintain good relations with his relatives, but he should not unjustly favor them over others. Further, a Muslim must be good to his neighbors, no matter their religion. But the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) taught us that a “neighbor” is not just the one next door but includes all those up to seven doors away - effectively a whole neighborhood.

This concern for our neighbors can take many forms. It means to ensure that our neighbors have the basic necessities, for a Muslim should not eat if his or her neighbor is going hungry. It means that Muslims should wish for their neighbors what they wish for themselves. It means sharing their happiness and sorrow. Further, it means to not spy on them and respect their privacy, to not gossip about them, to not harm them in any way, and to keep common use areas — such as apartment building entrances, streets and sidewalks — clean.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was told of a woman who prayed and fasted a lot and gave alms generously, but whose neighbors complained of her abusive tongue. He said that she would be in Hellfire. When he was told of another woman who did not do all those extra acts of worship but whose neighbors were happy with her, he said that she would be in Paradise . Thus we see the importance of being good to our neighbors, both in actions and words.


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