this behalf as well. The Quran calls upon us to be good and courteous in our behaviour towards our neighbor in the same way as it has commanded us to maintain the best of conduct towards our parents, brothers and sisters and towards our other near relatives:

Neighbors who are near, neighbors who are strangers, the companions by your side.

Three categories of neighbors have been spoken of in this verse and it is expected of us to maintain cordial relations with all of them.

The phrase ‘neighbors who are near’ denotes neighbors who may also happen to be our relatives; ‘neighbors who are strangers’ denotes those with whom we have no family ties, and ‘companions by your side’ means persons with whom we come into contact temporarily in the course of our daily activities, like a casual acquaintance, in intimate friend, a fellow-traveler, a classmate and a colleague, whatever their religious denomination. Islam reminds us that we have an obligation to be friendly and sympathetic towards all the three categories of neighbor. Says the Holy Prophet (Peace be upon him):

“He who believes in Allah (Subhaanahu Wata’aalaa) and the Day of Recompense will never harm his neighbor.”

“He is not a Muslim who eats his fill and lets his neighbor go hungry.”

It is narrated that the Apostle of Allah (Subhaanahu Wata’aalaa) once emphatically exclaimed, “He- He is not a believer in Allah (Subhaanahu Wata’aalaa).” The question was asked, “O Apostle of Allah (Subhaanahu Wata’aalaa)! Who is not a believer in Allah (Subhaanahu Wata’aalaa)? ” The Prophet (Peace be upon him) observed, “Whose neighbor does not feel secure on his account.”

Yet another Tradition reads:

“He shall not go to Heaven from whose mischief his neighbor does not feel secure.”

It is reported that once a Companion said to the Prophet (Peace be upon him), “Sir, there is a woman about whom it is said that she offers a great deal of prayers, observes a great deal of fasts and does a great deal of charity, but she also causes a great deal of trouble to her neighbor owing to the sharpness of her tongue.” The Holy Prophet (Peace be upon him) observed: “She will go to Hell.” The Companion then said, “O Apostle of Allah (Subhaanahu Wata’aalaa)! There is another woman about whom it is said that she engages herself little in prayers, fasting and charity (that is, she observes the supererogatory prayers, fasts and charity less than the first woman) but never offends her neighbor by her tongue: ” The Holy Prophet (Peace be upon him) observed, “She will be in Heaven.”

Brothers, such are the rights of neighbors in Islam. Alas, how heedless have we now grown to them!

Rights of the Weak and Poor

So far we have dealt with the rights of men with whom we have an intimate personal connection of some kind, whether of family or neighborhood or business or friendship. In addition to these, Islam has conferred certain special rights on the weaker and the poorer sections of the society and on every kind of a needy person. It has been made the duty of all well-to-do people to look after their well-being and to serve them in whatever way they can. The more prosperous among Muslims should realize that their less fortunate

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