In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
In this fatwa:
1- You should know that Islam lays much emphasis on keeping good relations with neighbors.
2– Severing ties with neighbors and showing ill conduct to them is highly condemned in Islam.
3- It is important for us to try our best to look for good neighbors before choosing a place to live.
Responding to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:
It is important for us to try our best to look for good neighbors before choosing a place to live. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) told us to avoid bad neighbors; he used to consider good neighbors as a good omen, and he used to seek refuge in Allah from bad neighbors.
So try your best to carefully consider the neighborhood you are moving into before choosing to buy or rent a residence. I am sure you will not be disappointed in your search If you cannot find Muslim neighbors, you will still find non-Muslim neighbors who do not belong in the category you have mentioned.
It is also important for us to remember that we must establish good neighborly relations regardless of whether they are Muslims or non-Muslims.
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “No one can be a true believer if his neighbors cannot feel safe and secure from him.? (At-Tabarani)
Once you have done your best to find a place and if you still end up in a bad neighborhood, then you should develop an attitude of patience and surround yourself with things or work that are beneficial and rewarding in this world and the Hereafter which would consume your total attention.
Sometimes, we may be dwelling on one thing, too, and thus it may become larger and larger in our minds. So focus on good things and learn to take your mind away from negative thoughts.
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “There are two blessings most people are deceived by: leisure and health.”? (Al-Bukhari)
In other words, never allow yourself to be idle; rather become engaged in good works. Once you become totally preoccupied with them, you will find less and less time for complaints or bad feelings.
It is not clear from your question whether you are in the habit of praying regularly or not. If you are not, then that could be one major reason why you are suffering from insecurity and irrational fears. Allah says, “Verily, human beings are created fretful, when evil afflicts them they are complaining, and when good comes their way, they are withholding, except those who are diligent in their prayers.” (Al-Ma`arij 70:19-23)
So establish regular prayer and seek comfort and consolation from Allah. When we move into a house, the best thing we could do to bless it is read the Qur’an. It is especially recommended to read surat Al-Baqarah. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Satan will run away from a house where surat Al-Baqarah is recited.”? (Ibn Hibban)
So revive your house with prayer and recitation of the Qur’an on a regular basis.
You should also read the following duaas on a regular basis:
Bismillaahi alladhee laa yadhurr ma` ismihi shay’un fi-l-ardi wa la fi-s-sama’ wahuwa as-samee` al-`aleem.
(In the name of Allah; with His name nothing whatsoever on earth or heaven can do any harm; He is the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing.)
Rabbi innee a`udhu bika min hamazati ash-shayateeni wa a`udhu bika rabbi an yahdurun.
(My Lord, I seek refuge in You from whisperings of devils and their presence around me.)
Hasbiya Allahu la ilaha illa huwa `alayhi tawakkaltu wahuwa rabbu al-`arshi al-`azheem.
(Allah is sufficient for me; there is no other god but Him; in Him alone I place my trust; He is the Lord of the Mighty Throne.)
Almighty Allah knows best.
Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.