Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura
15 March 2013 / 2 Jamadilawal 1434
Treating Your Neighbours With Good Manners
Dear Friday jemaah,
Let us increase our taqwa towards Allah s.w.t. and continue to heed His commandments and avoid what He has forbidden upon us in order to attain Allah’s pleasure. Let us instill and maintain good relations with one another, just as how Allah has showered us with His blessings and love.
As a gesture of our appreciation Allah’s compassion forus, we are required to be compassionate to Allah’s creations. This includes our neighbours and those who are weak such as the poor and needy. Allah s.w.t. says in the Quran in surah An-Nisaa’ verse 36:
Which means: “Worship Allah and associate nothing with Him, and to parents do good, and to relatives, orphans, the needy, the near neighbour, the neighbour farther away, the companion at your side, the traveler, and those whom your right hands possess. Indeed, Allah does not like those who are self-deluding and boastful.”
My dear brothers,
The commandment to do good to one another is so crucial that Allah s.w.t has linked it with the command to not associate Allah with others.
In fact, among the earliest transformation that Rasulullah s.a.w. brought with him was to encourage the Companions to be be caring and concerned towards one another, especially to their neighbours.
Rasulullah s.a.w. once said in a hadith, which means:
“By Allah, a believer’s faith is not complete, By Allah a believer’s faith is not complete”, and he was asked, “Who do you mean ya Rasulullah?” (The person whose faith is not complete), and the Prophet replied, “It is the person whose neighbour is not secure from his wrongful conduct”. [Bukhari & Muslim]
What are the steps that we can take to instill good manners towards our neighbours, in today’s context?
First, build good relations with our neighbours, especially those who stay beside us.
With our hectic work schedules, commitments outside the house, and the fact that many people these days are more comfortable interacting through social media, we may find it all the more challenging to interact with our neighbours. This is unfortunate because physically, they are the closest to us. They are also the first ones to help us if there is an emergency at home. Thus, how can we bridge the gap between ourselves and our neighbours?
My brothers, why don’t we take the first step by approaching our neighbours and getting to know them, or strengthen our relationship with them by sharing with them somedishes and cakes that we prepare during Ramadan, or even during Eidulfitri or Eiduladha?
Or perhaps, we can buy them a souvenir when we go overseas for a holiday. This gesture may seem small but it will definitely leave a lasting impact on our neighbours.
“Give gifts and you will love one another” [Al-Adab Al-Mufrad by Imam Bukhari]
Second, Be concerned about the well-being of our neighbours, especially those who are in need and facing hardship.
My brothers, there are some people who like to make comments about how there are still many more efforts that need to be done to instill the spirit of helping others, or those who complain that the community is severely lacking the spirit of volunteerism, and not enough people are coming forward to offer assistance.
However, have we ourselves taken the initiative to volunteer and help others? Remember that it starts with ourselves. We can start by extending help to our neighbours who are close to us, regardless of their religion and race. We can begin by making it a point to find out about the well-being of our elderly neighbours, especially those who stay alone because they do not have any relatives, or have been abandoned by their family members.
As neighbours, the Muslim community should spread goodness to those around them. This was encouraged by Rasulullah s.a.w. who was sent as a blessing to all. As his ummah, we should strive to spread blessings to those around us and it is not a dream that cannot be fulfilled.
There are many opportunities for us to show others that Muslims are well-mannered and courteous people, for example when we meet our neighbours along the corridor, or while waiting for the lift, it is not a difficult task to offer them a smile and ask how they are doing.
If they are carryying heavy items, why not offer to help them carry their things? These acts may seem trivial, but it will leave a lasting impression on our neighbours.
Let us strive to renew and strengthen our ties with our neighbours today. May Allah s.w.t. reward us generously for our efforts and may we become a peaceful society. Amin, Ya Rabbal ‘Alamin.