A Muslim Neighbor Usurped My Land: What to Do?

28 December, 2016
Q As-salamu `alaykum. My dear brother, I am really confused and my family is in problem. My neighbor is a Muslim and peoples of our village are Muslims. They did injustice to our family by taking our land and causing problems daily. What should I do? If a Muslim attacks a Muslim, what should he do? Please, reply as soon as possible.

Answer

Wa `alaykum as-salamu wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.

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.

Brother, thank you for your good question and concern about your rights.

Islam calls for justice and forbids all forms of oppression. One should defend his rights by all possible legal means. The community should help the oppressed regain his rights. The oppressor should repent and return back people’s rights; otherwise Allah’s anger and punishment will befall him.

Responding to your question, Dr. Wael Shihab, PhD in Islamic Studies from Al-Azhar University, and currently the Imam of the Downtown Toronto Masjid in Canada, states:

In fact, Islam explicitly forbids all forms of oppression. Injustice and oppression cannot be justified under any pretext. So, a Muslim should steer clear of all forms of oppression.

Jabir Ibn `Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him) quoted the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) as saying: “Be on your guard against committing oppression, for oppression is a darkness on the Day of Resurrection…” (Muslim)

On the authority of Abu Dharr Al-Ghifari (may Allah be pleased with him) from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) that among the sayings he relates from his Lord (may He be glorified) is that He said: “O My servants, I have forbidden oppression for Myself and have made it forbidden amongst you, so do not oppress one another.” (Muslim, At-Tirmidhi, and Ibn Majah)

Injustice may be exercised by stealing or usurping people’s property, offending and insulting them, or by violating and overbearing the weak persons.

Allah Almighty says, “The blame is only against those who oppress men with wrong-doing and insolently transgress beyond bounds through the land, defying right and justice: for such there will be a chastisement grievous.” (Ash-Shura 42:42)

Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Whoever usurps even one span of the land of somebody, his neck will be encircled with it down to the seven earths on the Day of Resurrection.” (Muslim)

A person who wrongs or usurps others’ properties should repent to Allah before it’s too late. He should return back people’s rights, feel remorse for his sins, stop his wrongdoings, and resolve not to commit such sins again. These are the conditions of true and sincere repentance. If an oppressor fails to meet these conditions, he will definitely expose himself to Allah’s anger and severe punishment.

As for the oppressed person, he should resort to all legal channels and authorities to get his rights back. He should defend and regain his rights by all possible available means. The community should help him regain his usurped rights.

Allah Almighty knows best.