The Quran guides man with regard to his dealing with other individuals of the society. It lays emphasis on
justice, trust, respect for life and property, patience, humility, thankfulness and forgiveness. The
fundamental relation between a man and other individuals are those of parents and children, husband
and wife. It also includes relation between relatives, neighbours, the poor and needy, orphans and non-
Muslims. The Quran says:

وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ اِحْسَانًا وَّذِي الْقُرْبٰى وَالْيَتٰمٰى وَالْمَسٰكِيْنِ وَقُوْلُوْا لِلنَّاسِ حُسْـنًا [سورۃ البقرۃ :83 ]
“Treat with kindness your parents and kindered and orphans and those in need; Speak fair to
the people.” (2:83)
Who is “neighbor” in Islam?
Whoever lives with a man in a locality or city is a neighbor.
Al-Auzai and Ibn Shihab said: “Forty houses in each direction”
Ali Ibn Abi Talib said: “Whoever hears the call (for prayer) is a neighbor”

Categories of Neighbors

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said that neighbors are of three kinds:

  • The neighbor with only one right is a non-Muslim neighbor with whom there are no family ties.
  • The neighbor with two rights is the neighbor who is also a Muslim (as such he has a claim as a
    neighbor as well as a fellow Muslim)
  • The neighbor with three rights is the neighbor who is a Muslim and a Relative – he has a claim as a
    neighbor, as a fellow Muslim and as a relative

The Quranic verse enjoins the doing of good to neighbours who are near, neighbours who are
strangers,
وَّبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ اِحْسَانًا وَّبِذِي الْقُرْبٰى وَالْيَتٰمٰي وَالْمَسٰكِيْنِ وَالْجَارِ ذِي الْقُرْبٰى وَالْجَارِ الْجُنُبِ وَالصَّاحِبِ بِالْجَـنْۢبِ وَابْنِ السَّبِيْلِ [ سورۃ النساء : 36 ]
And do good- to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, those in need, neighbours who are near,
neighbours who are strangers, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (ye meet), (04: 36)

Condemnation of some Neighbours

The another verse of Quran condemns those who refuse (to supply) neighbourly need

وَيَمْنَعُوْنَ الْمَاعُوْنَ [سورۃ الماعون: 07 ]

“But refuse (to supply) (even) neighbourly needs” (107:07)

It is reported that the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) laid so much emphasis on the rights of
neighbours that some of his Companions thought that neighbours might be included in the list of
heirs. The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him said):

“‏ مَا زَالَ جِبْرَائِيلُ يُوصِينِي بِالْجَارِ حَتَّى ظَنَنْتُ أَنَّهُ سَيُوَرِّثُهُ ‏”‏ ‏.‏[ سنن ابن ماجہ: 3674 ]
“Jibra’il kept enjoining good treatment of neighbours until I thought he would make neighbours
heirs.”

Perfection of Faith

There are number of sayings of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) in connection with the
rights of neighbours. He declared the well treatment to the neighbours, as a part of Ima’n (faith).
وَمَنْ كَانَ يُؤْمِنُ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الآخِرِ فَلْيُكْرِمْ جَارَهُ [صحیح المسلم: 24]
“And he who believes in Allah and the Last Day should treat his neighbour with kindness”

لَيْسَ الْمُؤْمِنُ الَّذِي يَشْبَعُ وَجَارُهُ جَائِعٌ‏.‏ [السنن الكبرى للبيهقي: 18099 ]

He who is well- fed, with his neighbors starving, is not a (true) believer.

خَيْرُ الأَصْحَابِ عِنْدَ اللهِ تَعَالَى خَيْرُهُمْ لِصَاحِبِهِ، وَخَيْرُ الْجِيرَانِ عِنْدَ اللهِ تَعَالَى خَيْرُهُمْ لِجَارِهِ [ جامع الترمذی: 1944 ]
“”The best of companions in the sight of Allah Almighty is the best of them towards his
companion, and the best of neighbours in the sight of Allah is the best of them towards his
neighbour.”

“‏ مَا زَالَ جِبْرَائِيلُ يُوصِينِي بِالْجَارِ حَتَّى ظَنَنْتُ أَنَّهُ سَيُوَرِّثُهُ ‏”‏ ‏.‏[ سنن ابن ماجہ: 3674 ]
“Jibra’il kept enjoining good treatment of neighbours until I thought he would make neighbours
heirs.”