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How to Deal with My Non-Muslim Neighbors?


New Mulims

Reply Date

Apr 18, 2017


I’m new to Islam, and I was told that being good neighbors is very important in Islam. How should I deal with my non-Muslim neighbors? How friendly should I be with them? Could you kindly elaborate on the importance of neighborhood in Islam? Thank you.



Salam (Peace),

Thank you for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.

It is a very beautiful thing to realize that out of all people on the face of the earth, Allah (God) has called us to be Muslims. In fact, that was His plan right from the beginning of time.

The first thing for us to remember, though, when we embrace Islam and become Muslims is that we don’t stop being members of the human race.

Muslims didn’t drop out of the sky. Nor do they have two heads. They are, in fact, men and women like anyone else. The big difference to anyone else, though, is that their lives have been touched by an extraordinary message.

In the Quran, we read:

{O mankind! We created you from a single soul, male and female, and We made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other. Verily, the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is the greatest of you in piety. Allah is All-knowing, All-aware.} (Al-Hujurat 49:13)

In other words, Allah has made people different. That was His choice. It wasn’t a mistake, but part of His plan.

As Muslims, we are not called to judge anyone. Nor are we given the authority to judge anyone to go to heaven or hell. That is for Allah alone.

If He tells us, then, that He made us into nations and tribes as part of His plan for mankind, and that His reason for doing this was so we might get to know each other, it seems pretty clear that we should get on quite well with those who are different to us, starting with our neighbors.

The verse doesn’t tell us that Arabs are better than anyone else. It doesn’t say white people are better than black or fat people are better than thin. It says that the most honored in His eyes are the ones who are the most pious.

The temptation for some new to Islam might be to begin dressing in Moroccan clothes and to see themselves as different from the rest of the world, but we need to see ourselves in perspective.

It is our hearts that God will look at. And He will look at the hearts of our neighbors, too. Our neighbors won’t be very impressed by Islam if all of a sudden we stop talking to them.

Our neighbors were made by God, just as much as we were. As part of our common humanity, then, created by the same Creator, we need to be courteous and respectful of our neighbors. This starts with the way we behave.

Our TV and Radio shouldn’t be too loud so that it disturbs them.

We shouldn’t bang the door when we leave or disturb them when we get home late at night. These are common courtesies that all civilized people show to one another. They are also the hallmarks of Muslim behavior, which is considerate and kind.

Our dealings with our neighbors, though, should go beyond this. We can greet them with a friendly greeting. Depending on the circumstances of the society where we live, we can invite them to join us for iftar in Ramadan.

We can be good neighbors to them in looking out for their property and the well-being of their children.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was so kind to those around him that he even showed kindness and forbearance to those non-Muslims who treated him badly.

It is a sad fact that many people have completely the wrong idea about Islam and Muslims. Their only knowledge of Islam comes from the TV and newspapers. It is equally true that they will most probably never open the Quran or visit a mosque or read a book about Islam.

The only Quran they will ever see is you. Prophet Muhammad was described by his wife Aisha as “a walking Quran”. This, in fact, is what we are called to be.

People should see in us, in the way we speak and behave, as embodying everything good in Islam. It may be that our good behavior towards our neighbors will change their minds about Islam.

It may even be that they come to Islam as a result of our good example. It is important for us to have Muslim friends, especially if we are new to Islam, and we should treasure them above all things.

They are the ones who will help and guide us. We should try to find good friends, whose lives as Muslims can inspire and teach us to be better ourselves. If we don’t know anyone who is Muslim, it will be difficult for us to be Muslims.

This does not mean, though, that we have to abandon former friends, if they are prepared to accept our choice of embracing Islam. Nor does it mean that we have to reject our neighbors.

In fact, as Muslims, we should be the very best of neighbors. We should stand out in our building or on our street as the ones who are truly good neighbors to those around us.

Islam is not a threat to any culture or any society. In fact, if given the chance, Muslims are indeed a blessing to the place where they live.

In contrary to the stereotypes provided by different media sources, our neighbors should see us as good and loyal citizens, and even more they should see us as honest men and women who bring a smile to the faces of those they meet.

The message of Islam is beautiful, gentle, and sweet. We might never get the chance to travel to distant lands telling others about Islam. But we do get the chance, today, to let our neighbors see how beautiful and gentle and sweet it really is.

I hope this answers your question. Thank you and keep in touch.


Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

How did the Prophet Deal with his Neighbors?

Good Manners – A Key to Paradise

New Muslims – All You Need in Your New Life

About Idris Tawfiq

Idris Tawfiq was a British writer, public speaker and consultant.He became a Muslim around 15 years ago.For many years, he was head of religious education in different schools in the United Kingdom.Before embracing Islam, he was a Roman Catholic priest.He passed away in peace in the UK in February 2016 after a period of illness.May Allah (SWT) have mercy on him, and accept his good deeds. Ameen.

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