10 Ways to Love Your Neighbor as You Love Yourself

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The modern world is forcing people to live in closer proximity to each other in large cities and towns all across the globe. More than ever it has become very important for the ummah to keep good relations with neighbors. Fortunately for Muslims, treating our neighbors is an honorable manner that has been highlighted in Islam. We are urged by our faith to be kind to our neighbors and treat them with the utmost respect and dignity.

Treating others well is an indication of one’s faith, while mistreating, and being careless and neglectful of others rights, is indicative of weak faith.

The Prophet (PBUH) said:

“The companion who is the best to Allah is the one who is best to his companion. And the neighbor that is the best to Allah is the one that is best to his neighbor.” (At-Tirmidhi 1944).

There are many ways and different methods through which a Muslim can win the heart of his neighbor, enjoy the highest point of love and share the honorable affection.

And what we notice in this day and age from lack of affection and good feelings, quarrels, mistreating and hostility in some cases between the neighbors, is only due to carelessness and negligence of lawful and helpful ways and methods that our true religion teaches us. Islam preserves the warmth relations between the neighbors and develops such relations on the basis of kindness, love, affection and mutual respect.

Among the many helpful and important ways and methods are the following 10 ways to love your neighbor as you love yourself :

  1. Avoiding the harm:

Being kind to neighbors is obligatory and harming them is unlawful. Harming the neighbors is not only unlawful but it one of the sins that make our good deeds be in vain. The Prophet (PBUH) said:

“Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him not annoy his neighbor.” (Muslim 47).

  1. Be first to greet the neighbors:

Being the first to greet the neighbors is a sign of humility and lowering the wings to the believers. Spreading Salam (greetings of peace) also increases the love in the hearts and it is one of the rights of the Muslim over his Muslim brother. The Prophet (PBUH) said:

“Shall I not tell you of something which, if you do it, you will love one another? Spread Salam (greetings of peace) among yourselves.” (Muslim 54).

  1. Meeting them with cheerful face:

One should have a cheerful face while meeting his neighbors and speak kind words to them. This was one of the characteristics of the beloved Prophet (PBUH) while he was meeting his companions. Jarir (RA) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) never screened me since I accepted Islam, nor did he looked at me except that he smiled.

The Prophet (PBUH) said:

“Your smiling in the face of your brother is charity.” (At-Tirmidhi 1956).

  1. Helping them in hardships and adversities:

The true neighbor can be known in the time of hardship and adversity not in the time of prosperity. Helping the neighbors in their hardships is also a sign of carrying out their rights.

The Prophet (PBUH) said:

“When the people of Ashari tribe ran short of food during the holy battles, or the food of their families in Al-Madinah ran short, they would collect all their remaining food in one sheet and then distribute it among themselves equally by measuring it with a bowl. So, these people are from me, and I am from them.”

(Al-Bukhari 2486).

Helping others, particularly to love your neighbor as you love yourself is one of the good manner that praised by the Prophet (PBUH) in the above-mentioned Hadith. It is such a good manner that the Prophet (PBUH) said these people are from me, and I am from them and it is enough for such people to be proud that the Prophet (PBUH) give such glad tidings to them.

  1. Respecting the privacy:

The major source that causes hostility among the neighbors, is interfering and interrupting the neighbor’s privacy. It is obligatory upon a Muslim that he should refrain from that which does not concern him or is not the object of his quest or need. In other words, he should abstain from needless talk and meaningless activities that does not concern him, such as: asking questions about neighbors’ privacy and interfering in their inner problems.

  1. Accepting the excuses:

Among the many ways that one can keep good relations with his neighbors, treating them well and being kind and generous, is to accept excuses for their shortcomings. Because every one of us has shortcomings and the one who apologizes to you knows that you are the real friend and neighbor who can accept his excuses for the crime he has committed.

  1. Being gentle in giving advice:

Most of people do not reject the good advice but many of them do not accept the harshness and rudeness in advice. One should be sincere and gentle in giving advice. Whoever is deprived of gentleness, he is deprived of all goodness. Gentleness is the beautification of everything and it is not removed from anything at all, except that it mars it. The Prophet (PBUH) said:

“Allah is Gentle and loves gentleness, and He grants with it that which He does not grant with harshness.” (Muslim 2593).

  1. Covering their faults:

One should cover the mistakes and faults of his neighbors that they have done neglectfully, mistakenly or forgetfully, due to their human weakness, and they are ashamed of their faults and afraid of being disclosed.

The Prophet (PBUH) said:

“And whoever covers (the faults) of a Muslim, Allah covers him in the world and in the Hereafter.” (Muslim 2699).

  1. Visiting the neighbors:

Visiting a brother-in-faith or a neighbor in his sickness and maintaining relations with him for the sake of Allah are acts that prompt the angel to supplicate for him. And since the angel is appointed by Allah, his supplication is sure to be answered by Allah. Moreover, when a Muslim goes to visit a sick person and consoles him and say mild words to solace his feelings he gets reward from Allah.

The Prophet (PBUH) said:

“A man visited a brother of his in another town, and Allah sent an angel to wait for him on the road. When he came to him, he said: ‘Where are you headed?’ He said: ‘I am headed to a brother of mine in this town.’ He said: ‘Have you done him any favor for which you hope to be recompensed?’ he said: ‘No, but I love him for the sake of Allah (the Mighty and Sublime).’ He said: ‘I am a messenger from Allah to you, to tell you that Allah loves you as you love him for His sake.” (Muslim 2567).

10. Showing kindness to them:

A Muslim should treat his neighbors with kind and mild words, or presenting them nice gifts or inviting them to share the meals. You should love your neighbor as you love yourself. All these types of methods can make the ties or relationship between the neighbors more strong.

Allah (SWT) said:

“Kind words and forgiving of faults are better than Sadaqah (charity) followed by injury.” (Al-Baqarah 2:263).

And the Prophet (PBUH) said:

“Exchange the gifts, you will love one another (the love will be increased among you).” (Al-Adab Al-Mufrad, Hadith: 594)

It is a social necessity and custom to exchange gifts and presents amongst neighbors and friends since it promotes mutual love and fellow-feeling. Such interactions also have the effect of healing the rifts in relations, if any, and removing mutual ill-feelings and misunderstandings.

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