N is for ‘Neighbours who are your brothers too’. The Holy Prophet said, ‘He who believes in Allah and the Last Day should do good to his neighbour and he who believes in Allah and the Last Day should show hospitality to the guest and he who believes in Allah and the Last Day should either speak good or better remain silent.”
So for our Letter ‘N’ that we learnt today, we chose to talk about etiquettes to being an ideal neighbour.
Ramadan is a fantastic time to teach your children about treating your neighbours as family. We can do so many things in this month like sharing food, inviting people, celebrating, praying together as well as practicing tolerance. Even if you are not doing the A-Z of Akhlaaq series with us, I still recommend that you talk about this topic with your children.
There are many authentic Hadith that talk about the importance that is placed upon this subject, therefore I talked about the manners in Islam regarding neighbours by quoting these ahadith. You are welcome to print these points out (I’ll share the link below) so that your family can learn about these hadith together. I have found that sticking charts like these help remind children easily.
Islam encourages Muslims to treat their neighbours in a gentle way that reflects the true and genuine spirit of Islam as exemplified in its tolerant aspect especially with people of other faiths. It makes no difference whether the neighbours are Muslim or non-Muslim.
While discussing this topic, I talked about the following with examples from daily life that they can relate to. The key take away from this topic discussed are as follows.
- Ways to help neighbours: We talked about how our family helps our immediate neighbours. Like bringing food in illness, remembering them when we make something special, we watch out for the younger ones when we play, etc.
- What being an ideal neighbour means. We talked about ways we can help each other out. Again we discussed about C is for Charity and how in everything we do, we are rewarded.
- Not throwing things in the paths. We talked about boundaries and how keeping cleanliness in the surroundings is also being good neighbours.
- Not disturbing them . We talked about the right and wrong time to go knocking on doors. (So much needed when you have kids who want to play all the time!!!)
- Being kind. What kindness you can show to neighbours. Watering their plants in their absense, taking their newspaper in on a rainy day, helping them in any manner they need.
- Helping them in their need. The importance of maintaining good communications with others in this relation. How we can know if they need help. My children were full of questions as to how to know someone needed help
- Looking after them out of humanity. The question that my eldest had was ‘what if they aren’t very close to us?’ or ‘what if they don’t like us?’ Well… just be good yourself and don’t expect anything in return.
- Treating their property with respect. Not parking in front of their door, not throwing stuff on their property, not plucking their fruits or flowers…
- Treating them fairly and justly. If you have kids then I am sure you must know… when there are same age kids, squabbles are common. We talked about ways how youcan be nice even after a ‘diasagreement’…
- Mentioned in the Quran : Worship Allah and associate nothing with Him, and to parents do good, and to relatives, orphans, the needy, the near neighbor, the neighbor farther away, the companion at your side, the traveler, and those whom your right hands possess… (Surah An-Nisaa’ 4:36)
- From the hadith: “He who believes in Allah and the Last Day should do good to his neighbor and he who believes in Allah and the Last Day should show hospitality to the guest and he who believes in Allah and the Last Day should either speak good or better remain silent.” (Sahih al Muslim)
Please note that the above are just conversation starters.. You can use these points to discuss the topic with examples from your own daily life.
Rules to being a good neighbours
- Do not harm your neighbour, with your tongue, with your hand or even with your intentions. The Prophet, (Peace and blessings be upon him) said: “By Allah, he is not a believer! By Allah, he is not a believer! By Allah, he is not a believer.’’ It was asked, “Who is that, O Messenger of Allah?’’ He said, “One whose neighbour does not feel safe from his evil” (Sahih Bukhari).
- Be as kind as you would be to your family. The Messenger of Allah, (Peace and blessings be upon him), said: “Jibril kept recommending me to treat my neighbour well until I thought that he would tell me to make him one of my heirs” (Bukhari: 6014).
- Share your food, your love. Abu Dharr, May Allah be pleased with him, reported: The Messenger of Allah, (Peace and blessings be upon him), commanded me thus, “O Abu Dharr! Whenever you prepare a broth, put plenty of water in it, and give some of it to your neighbours” (Sahih Muslim).
- Get along with them. Do not create undue difficulties. Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that the messenger of Allah, (Peace and blessings be upon him), said: “No-one should prevent his neighbour from fixing a wooden peg in his wall.” Abu Huraira said (to his companions), “Why do I find you averse to it? By Allah, I certainly will narrate it to you” (Sahih Bukhari),
- Look after them: The Messenger of Allah, (Peace and blessings be upon him) says:” He is not a believer who eats his fill whilst his neighbour beside him goes hungry” (Bukhari).
- Practice the art of gifting: Sahih Abu Hurayrah reported that the Prophet, (Peace and blessings be upon him), used to say: “O Muslim women! No one should scorn the gift of a neighbour, even if it is (only) a sheep’s foot” (Bukhari: 6017).
- Speak Good or Stay silent: Abu Hurayra, may Allah be pleased with him reported: A man asked, “O Messenger of Allah! There is a woman who prays, gives charity and fasts a great deal, but she harms her neighbours with her speech (by insulting them)” He said: “She will go to hell”. The man said: “O messenger of Allah! There is (another) woman who is well-known for how little she fasts and prays, but she gives charity from the dried yoghurt she makes and she does not harm her neighbours”. He said: “She will go to paradise” (Ahmad, vol. 4, p. 166, Ibn Hibban, hadith no. 2054).
- Who shall you give priority over: Ayesha (r.a), the Mother of the Believers, stated that she once asked Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), “O Messenger of Allah! I have two neighbours. To whom shall I send my gifts?” Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “To the one whose gate is nearer to you.”
Activity for N is for Neighbours:
The best way to act out or practice what the children have learnt is to prepare a meal and share it with your neighbours.
I helped my children make a simple dish by themselves. They decorated their own plates and took them around to distribute to the neighbours around us.
I hope you are enjoying our A-Z of Akhlaaq series. Please click here to find the remaining letters.