My problem seems to be normal but as a matter of fact, it is crucial and complex because my neighbor -who is at the same time my sister-in-law- used to annoy me with noise day and night which she believes her right. She lives above me and does all things that irritate and provoke me. She is trying by all means to raise a problem or a quarrel, and she is not ready for dialogue; even her children do the same thing, could you kindly help?
Dear sister, may Allah preserve your life, and welcome to Alukah Network. When Gabriel (peace be upon him) commended our generous Messenger (peace be upon him) with neighbors, he said: "Gabriel kept on recommending me about treating the neighbors in a kind and polite manner, so much so that I thought that he would order (me) to make them (my) heirs." [Reported by Al Bukhari].
That is due to the great rights of neighbors upon one another, so what if the neighbor one of the nearest kin?!
Allah (may He be Exalted) says: "Worship Allâh and join none with Him (in worship); and do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, Al-Masâkîn (the needy), the neighbour who is near of kin, the neighbor who is a stranger, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (you meet), and those (slaves) whom your right hands possess. Verily, Allâh does not like such as are proud and boastful." [Surat An-Nisa': 36].
Al Qurtuby commented in his Tafsir on this Ayah saying: Scholars have agreed that this Ayah is one of the firm and the perfect Ayahs which are agreed upon among scholars, nothing is abrogated of it, and it is mentioned in all books.
Then he explained Allah's Saying: "The neighbor who is near of kin, the neighbor who is a stranger." by his saying: As for the neighbor, Allah (Glory be to Him) commanded Muslims to protect, maintain, and caring for him whether in the book of Allah or in the speech of His Prophet; do not you see that He mentioned it directly after the mention of parents and relatives?! Allah (may He be Exalted) says: "The neighbor who is near of kin." i.e., the near, "The neighbor who is a stranger," i.e., the strange as Ibn `Abbas said, and it is reported in the book of Al Lughah.
Al Baghawy commented in his exegesis (Tafsir) on this Ayah saying: "The neighbor who is near of kin." i.e., a relative.
It is reported in Ad-Dur Al Manthur of As-Suyuty: Ibn Jarir, Ibn Al Mundhir, and Ibn Abu Hatim in Shu`ab Al Iman from the ways of Ibn `Abbas in his saying: "The neighbor who is near of kin." with whom you have a kinship relation.
It is reported in Fathul-Qadir of Ash-Shawkany, "The neighbor who is near of kin." adjacent neighbor. Others said: He is the one who is a neighbor and at the same time a relative.
As-Sa`dy said in his Tafsir: "The neighbor who is near of kin." i.e., the near neighbor who has two rights: The right of neighborhood and the right of kinship, so he has a right as being a neighbor that is acknowledged by custom.
At-Tabarany reported from the Hadith of Jabir: Neighbors are of three types: A neighbor who has a right: The polytheist who has the right of neighborhood. A neighbor who has two rights: The Muslim who has the right of neighborhood along with Islam. A neighbor who has three rights: A Muslim who is a relative who has the right of neighborhood, Islam, and kinship."
So, you have every right to complain of your neighbor's harm even if it has become something normal nowadays, but according to the Shari`ah it is a great issue that has rulings, rights, reward, and threat. Abu Shurayh narrated that Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "By Allah, he does not believe! By Allah, he does not believe! By Allah, he does not believe!" It was said: "Who is that, O Allah's Messenger?" He said: "That person whose neighbor does not feel safe from his evil." [Reported by Al Bukhari].
Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should not hurt (or insult) his neighbor. Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should entertain his guest generously and anybody who believes in Allah and the Last Day should talk what is good or keep quiet. (i.e., abstain from all kinds of evil and dirty talk)." [Reported by Al Bukhari].
Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) saying: "O Muslim women! None of you should look down upon the gift sent by her she-neighbor even if it were the trotters of the sheep (fleshless part of legs)." [Reported by Al Bukhari].
`Abdullah ibn `Amr narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "The best of companions in the sight of Allah is he who is the best for his companions, and the best of neighbors in Allah's sight is the best of them for his neighbor." [Reported by At-Tirmidhy and said: Hadith Hassan Gharib (a good Hadith that is strange to come from this chain of narration).
Psychological tension which we are witnessing today is enough, so modern studies confirm that 80% of diseases are the result of continuous psychological tension. Therefore, I say to you: Be careful to your health as health is very dear and you are in a time where the internal destructive factors are enough, so do not let the external destructive factors to affect you. I shall write some points to show you how to deal with a harmful neighbor according to the Qur'an and the Sunnah that I wish you to read carefully, follow them as much as possible, and seek the reward from Allah. If all this pain and harm are dedicated to Allah, your credit and good deeds will be heavy and great, and we are in dire need to these good deeds even if they came through ways that are painful to oneself, tiring for the nerves and mind. How to deal with a harmful neighbor: First, observing patience, pardon, and seeking the reward from Allah: This is the advice of the Prophet (peace be upon him) to the man who came complaining from his neighbor. Abu Hurayrah narrated: A man came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) complaining of his neighbor. He said: Go and have patience. He again came to him twice or thrice. He then said: Go and throw your property in the way. So he threw his property in the way and the people began to ask him and he would tell them about him. The people then began to curse him; may Allah do with him so and so! Then his neighbor came to him and said: Return, you will not see from me anything which you dislike. [Reported by Abu Dawud, and Al Albany said: It is authentic].
Yahya ibn Waththab narrated that one of the Prophet's Companions (peace be upon him) said:"The believer who mixes with people and endures their injury is better than the person who does not mix with people nor endure their injury." [Reported by Imam Ahmad, and Al Albany graded it as authentic].
Ibn Muflih said in Al Adab Ash-Shar`iyyah: A chapter on good neighbor relations: Al Marwadhy reported from Al Hasan: "Good neighbor relation is not abstinence from causing harm to others, but observing patience for harm."
The phrase was reported by Abu Hasf Al Ka`bary in Al Adab form Ash-Sha`by.
The narration of Ash-Sha`by was reported by Ibn `Asakir in Tarikh Dimashq.
Second, asking for Allah's Protection from bad neighbors: Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to say in his invocation:
"O Allah! I seek refuge with You from bad neighbors in the world because the neighbor of the desert changes." [An authentic Hadith according to the conditions of Muslim].
Third, searching for the reason: Why does she deliberately annoy you despite the fact that you live abroad? It was more entitled that you both help one another in foreign counties not to try to harm one another.
It is important -dear sister- to know the real motive behind these annoying actions perhaps it is an indirect message for a specific goal or reason. I say perhaps you did something that harmed her feeling and she is now taking revenge of you for that reason, and that happens a lot in reality. When you know the reason, try to fix it because people have emotions and feelings as we have.
Fourth, repel the evil with one which better: "The good deed and the evil deed cannot be equal. Repel (the evil) with one which is better (i.e. Allâh orders the faithful believers to be patient at the time of anger, and to excuse those who treat them badly) then verily he, between whom and you there was enmity, (will become) as though he was a close friend. * But none is granted it (the above quality) except those who are patient - and none is granted it except the owner of the great portion (of happiness in the Hereafter i.e. Paradise and of a high moral character) in this world." [Surat Fussilat: 34 - 35].
Ash-Shirazy had a nice wisdom says: "Be like a sandalwood tree that perfumes the axe which cuts it," but the real problem is that we care for the issue of the rights of neighbors and forget that we are also neighbors and need the same rights. It is our duty to pay attention to the danger of harming neighbors and the necessity of showing kindness to them, particularly the near neighbor even if he is harmful and bad. `A'ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated: I said to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him): O Messenger of Allah, I have two neighbors, to whom should I offer a present? He said: The nearest to your doors. [Reported by Al Bukhari].
The ways of warding off evil in a good way are numerous and would bring about goodness and intimacy only if we seek the reward from Allah and reform the intention, of these ways:
1- Spreading Salam (greeting everybody): Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "You shall not enter Paradise so long as you do not affirm belief (in all those things which are the articles of faith). And you will not believe as long as you do not love one another. Shall I inform you of something, if you do, you love each other. Promote greeting amongst you (by saying As-salamu `Alaikum to one another)." [Reported by Muslim].
Of the ways of promoting greetings is asking about her, checking her conditions, and calling her.
2- Smiling and happy face: `A'ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated: "A man asked permission to enter upon the Prophet (peace be upon him). When the Prophet (peace be upon him) saw him, he said, "What an evil brother of his tribe! And what an evil son of his tribe!" When that man sat down, the Prophet (peace be upon him) behaved with him in a nice and polite manner and was completely at ease with him. When that person had left, `A'ishah said (to the Prophet (peace be upon him)). "O Allah's Messenger! When you saw that man, you said so-and-so about him, then you showed him a kind and polite behavior, and you enjoyed his company?" Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said, "O `A'ishah! Have you ever seen me speaking a bad and dirty language? (Remember that) the worst people in Allah's sight on the Day of Resurrection will be those whom the people leave (undisturbed) to be away from their evil (deeds)." [Reported by Al Bukhari].
3- Good speech and avoiding abuse: Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "A good word is charity." [Reported by Al Bukhari]. `Abdullah said: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "Abusing a Muslim is Fusuq (an evil doing) and killing him is Kufr (disbelief)." [Reported by Al Bukhari].
- Seeking excuses and avoiding conjecture abuse: Allah (may He be Exalted) says: "O you who believe! Avoid much suspicion; indeed some suspicions are sins." [Surat Al Hujurat: 12].
5- Co-operation: Do not await her to come and help you, but you have to offer her your help. Abu Musa narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "A believer to another believer is like a building whose different parts enforce each other." The Prophet (peace be upon him) then clasped his hands with the fingers interlaced. (At that time) the Prophet (peace be upon him) was sitting and a man came and begged or asked for something. The Prophet (peace be upon him) faced us and said, "Help and recommend him and you will receive the reward for it, and Allah will bring about what He will through His Prophet's tongue." [Reported by Al Bukhari].
You are in foreign countries and each one of you needs the full support of the other. By Allah, if she is a strange woman, you will help her just because she is an Arab woman, so how come that happened while you have a kinship relationship?!
- Not to cut relationships or desertion for more than three days: Allah (may He be Exalted) says: "Would you then, if you were given the authority, do mischief in the land, and sever your ties of kinship?" [Surat Muhammad: 22].
Abu Ayyub Al Ansary narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "It is not lawful for a man to desert his brother Muslim for more than three nights. (It is unlawful for them that) when they meet, one of them turns his face away from the other, and the other turns his face from the former, and the better of the two will be the one who greets the other first." [Reported by Al Bukhari].
7-Offering a gift: A`ta' Ibn Abu Muslim `Abdullah Al Khurasany narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him)said:
"Shake hands and rancor will disappear. Give presents to each other and love each other and enmity will disappear." [Reported by imam Malik in Al Muwatta'].
Perhaps of the simplest presents are exchanging foods, buying gifts for children, and splitting things in between for the sake of Allah. Abu Dhar narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him)said:
"Let not one of you regard any pious work as lowly. If he cannot find anything, let him meet his brother with a cheerful face. And when you buy meat, or cook a vessel, add to its broth and send some of it to your neighbor." [Reported by At-Tirmidhy who said: A good and authentic Hadith].
8- Visiting sick and exchanging visits: Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "Whosoever visits an ailing person or a brother of his to seek the Pleasure of Allah, an announcer (angel) calls out: May you be happy, may your walking be blessed, and may you be awarded a dignified position in Paradise." [Reported by At-Tirmidhy who said: Hadith Gharib (a Hadith with a single narrator usually at the beginning of the chain of narration)]. Mu`adh ibn Jabal narrated I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) reporting from his Lord (may He be Glorified and Exalted)that He said:"I have given My Love to those who love people, and My Love is entitled for those who spend for My Sake and for those who visit one another for My Sake. Those who love one another for the sake of Allah are on pulpits of light under the shade of the Throne on a Day where is no shade but His." [Reported by Ahmad].
Fifth, Reconsideration of the problem: The Greek philosopher says: "Things do not make humans feel disorder and pain but their view to the things do." Believe me, if you look at the problem from a broader angle, a greater heart, and with more reason and more maturity, you will find that the behavior of this neighbor are harmful but she does not deserve all that thinking, pain, and psychological tiredness.
Dr. Muhammad Al Haggar explains that saying: "As for the person who insults me, does not that insult incites me to hate him? If you can reorganize this behavior, look at it, or explain it in a different way, you shall feel nothing. Why do not you get upset when a mad person insults you? The answer is: Because you interpret his behavior as done by insane and irresponsible person who deserves pity not retaliation, does not it? So, insult and abuse do not cause anger and wrath but you did and created aggression inside yourself from that person, so interpretation and explanation are the causers of impression and affection."
Sixth, dealing with the people you cannot stand: Do you believe that this is a title of a book? Moreover, there are many books talking about "dealing with the people you cannot stand" and they are the bestsellers because many people in this world are unbearable.
You can search in libraries and in the web under this title perhaps you find the character of your neighbor among those, consequently you can deal with her and try to do that.
Seventh, leaving: If you follow all these means and the problem is still the same, you may move to another house.
Finally, remember that the treatment of problems always need some times, so do not rush results, observe patience, and be sure that Allah sees your actions, knows your intention, and knows that you are searching for the truth, so be sure that Allah shall not fail you.
I invoke Allah to grant you peace of mind, contentment, and happiness in the world as well as the Hereafter. I invoke Allah to guide your neighbor to the truth, remove her harms, and put all her actions in your scale of good deeds.
Peace be upon you, and do not forget to invoke Allah for us.