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Experts stress good neighborly relations.

Summary: RIYADH: Several Islamic teachings -- such as verses in the Qur'an and Hadith -- urge Muslims to maintain good relations with their neighbors, regardless of kinship or religious factors, and confirm the importance of neighborly relations in Islam. A Muslim is supposed to be kind, considerate, tolerant, and compassionate toward his neighbors. Rights and duties include the duty to greet your neighbor, to visit him if he is sick, to forgive his mistakes, and to show him the right path. However, in everyday life it is not always easy to live up to this ideal.

There are several examples of people who shift houses to far away places in order to get rid of disturbances and nuisances from their neighbors. On the other hand, there are many exemplary instances of the ideal relationship among neighbors. In certain cases, some people are eager to learn more about their future neighbors before choosing a new house. Their motto is "first neighbor, then house." A recent report published by Al-Riyadh Arabic daily sheds light on various aspects of the topic. Irked by the strange attitude of his neighbors, Abdul Wahab bin Yousuf, a Saudi car dealer, said that he was fed up with living in the area. He was particularly disturbed with the unusual behavior of a neighbor, who made it his business to know the personal affairs of everyone in the neighborhood. "Every day at dawn, this man in his 50s sets out for a walk and looks into the electricity bills of other neighbors, deposited in the boxes at their gates, to know the details of the electricity they used. He also uses his children to contact my children to know details of cars parked near the gate of my house as well as the sources of my income and other personal matters," he said. Abdul Wahab also shared his bitter experience with another neighbor involving a municipality trash can. "There is a trash can placed by the municipality on the street in front of the wall that separates my house with my neighbor's house.

Sometimes, municipality workers unintentionally put the trash can close to his house after unloading it. When seeing this, my neighbor gets angry and deliberately places it in front of my house, believing that the trash can was placed in front of his house by me," he said. Downplaying such hostile attitudes of neighbors, Saleh bin Saleem stressed that it is important to have good neighborly relations. "There should be love, compassion and reciprocal respect among neighbors. My neighbor's intervention helped me several times when there were attempts to steal my car," he said. Saleh recalled another experience when he was at his mother's house: "At 2:30 a.m. I was surprised to see my mother phoning her neighbor's wife. I thought that the woman would not answer my mother's call in the middle of the night, but she did. My mother informed her that she noticed a sparking from the electricity meters they shared. Then, both families became aware of it and informed the electricity emergency unit about it.

The Civil Defense was also called in to extinguish the fire that otherwise might have ignited the entire residential complex," he said. Ummu Muhammad, a Saudi woman, shared her bitter experience with a woman in the neighborhood. "Whenever she visited my house, she would pull my daughter aside and ask her about things happening in the house. She used to 'interrogate' my child about personal matters and even asked details about visits from my sisters," she said. Hussein Al-Dubyani, member of the academic faculty at the Sociology department at Taiba University, attributed such behavior to a lack of social understanding and preparedness for adjustment.

"There are several reasons for this. Some of these people are highly sensitive in nature and believe that their neighbors are out to hurt them. Therefore, they try to know about all personal matters of their neighbors," he said. Saleh Al-Shuraida, member of the Saudi National Society for Human Rights, said that there are some rights and duties of neighbors. He drew attention to the following Hadith: "Jibril kept on enjoining the good treatment of neighbors to the extent that I thought he would include neighbors as heirs." This shows the high status and utmost prominence that Islam gives to neighbors. The Prophet encouraged Muslims to honor neighbors and treat them well. For Muslims, there is no room for showing hostility and enmity toward their neighbors. A Muslim "likes for his neighbor what he likes for himself," in line with the teaching of the Prophet: "None of you truly believes until he likes for his brother what he likes for himself." Al-Shuraida underscored the significance of maintaining infinite reciprocal respect, understanding and consideration in every Muslim's dealings with his neighbors. "Imams as well as print and visual media must play a vital role in making the public aware of the paramount importance of maintaining good neighborly relations," he said.

Copyright: Arab News 2011 All rights reserved.

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Publication:Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
Date:Jun 11, 2011
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