The rights of Relatives and Neighbours

The rights of Relatives and Neighbours

A Muslim is required to maintain a good relationship with his relatives. According to a saying of the Prophet, we should visit our relatives, inquire about their circumstance, spend on them and give them sadaqa (voluntary charity) if they are poor.

According to another hadith, if any one of our relatives does not treat us well, even then we have to treat him well. As we know, Islam enjoins us not only to be good to those who are good to us, but also to be good to those who are not good to us. This shows exemplary moral character according to the standard of Islam.

Here are some relevant verses of the Qur’an:

“Give your relatives their due…” (17:26)

“Allah commands justice, kindness and giving to near relatives….” (16:90)

“…And show kindness to your parents and to near relatives…” (4:36)

The essence of Islam is thus to serve Allah and do good to our fellow creatures, including the animals. The worship of Allah is linked up with kindness to parents, kindred, and those in want. It is not a matter of verbal kindness. They have certain rights which must be fulfilled.

From the Qur’an and traditions we find that the institution of the family can only be maintained by feelings of well-wishing and kindness. So the Islamic laws of morality and decency must be observed. If we want to earn Allah’s pleasure and blessings we must abide by the Qur’anic injunctions, and extend our full support to our relatives.

Rights of Neighbours

“Do you know what the rights of neighbours are?” asked the Prophet. And then he went on to give a list:

“Help him if he asks for your help.” “Give him relief if he seeks relief from you.” Give him a loan if he needs one. Show him concern if he is distressed. Nurse him when he is ill. Attend his funeral if he dies. Congratulate him if he meets with any good. Sympathise with him if any calamity befalls him.”

This tradition shows that we are not only supposed to have good will towards our neighbours but we should also offer practical help whenever they are in need. Nobody can be a believer, said the Prophet, if his neighbours pass the night hungry, while he has his stomach full.

This hadith tells us that nobody can be a true believer unless his neighbours feel secure from his hands and tongue. We are urged to be good and helpful to our neighbours in particular for they, being near, have more right to our goodness and assistance.

Such great emphasis laid by the Prophet on our good treatment of our neighbours shows that the aim of Islam is to awaken the springs of goodness in the human heart. If we can become good to our immediate neighbours, then that will be a guarantee of our being good to other people. For constant good conduct will surely develop a good moral character in us and that will surely reflect in our dealings with whoever we come in contact with.

If we observe the injunction of the Prophet in this matter, then without doubt we shall contribute to strengthening society with the bonds of love, affection and brotherhood.

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