To care for our neighbors, near or far, is a commandment of God, as we have seen in the verses of the Quran that open this chapter. The Prophet said:
Gabriel [the Angel of Revelation] enjoined me incessantly with the care of my neighbors, to the extent that I thought that God would grant my neighbors the right to inherit me. (Ibn Mâjah)
The Prophet said, as well:
He is no believer who sleeps full while his neighbor beside him is hungry. (Tabarânî)
“Neighbor,” as the Quran uses it, is an encompassing term, for individuals, peoples, nations and so forth. It does not merely denote the person next door. It has been said that, for the individual, it constitutes “forty houses” (Abu Da’ud), which others have clarified as meaning “forty houses” in every direction. One is to care for one’s neighbors in need, be mindful of their circumstances, do kindness unto them, even if their actions are unkind.
The Prophet œ himself exemplified this when a neighbor boy who rejected him and, on a daily basis, threw garbage before his doorway, one day failed to spread garbage. The Prophet immediately inquired after his condition, and found he was sick. The Prophet œ at once visited the boy and tended to his needs during his sickness.