Friends and Neighbors
Beyond our own families, there are others who are deserving of our respect and attention. Part of being a good Muslim is paying particular attention to one's neighbors. When sharing a common area with someone, regardless of their religious affiliation, Muslims strive to be friendly and kind. Robert Frost's expression, “Good fences make good neighbors,” does not apply in Islam. Rather, Islam subscribes to the “neighborhood watch” attitude toward neighborly relations.
Islam teaches that neighbors should be attentive to each other and protect each other. Our close proximity to our neighbors can result in either friendship or conflict. The Prophet Muhammad once said, “He is not a believer, who eats his fill while his neighbor beside him is hungry.” Neighbors should check on each other, and assist each other. Another time, the Prophet Muhammad forcefully said, “He is not a believer! He is not a believer! He is not a believer!” When the people asked him what he meant, he said that he was speaking of “the one whose neighbor does not feel safe from his evil.”