What is true brotherhood in Islam and in the Sunnah; and what are its requirements?

BISMILLAH

ikhwah ayah

The believers are brothers in Religion just as Allāh has described them in the Qur’ān:

إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ إِخْوَةٌ فَأَصْلِحُوا بَيْنَ أَخَوَيْكُمْ ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُونَ

“The believers are nothing else than brothers. So make reconciliation between your brothers, and fear Allah, that you may receive mercy.” (Al-Hujurāt, 10)

Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu `anhu) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:

لَا تَحَاسَدُوا وَلَا تَنَاجَشُوا, وَلَا تَبَاغَضُوا, وَلَا تَدَابَرُوا, وَلَا يَبِعْ بَعْضُكُمْ عَلَى بَيْعِ بَعْضٍ, وَكُونُوا عِبَادَ اَللَّهِ إِخْوَانًا, اَلْمُسْلِمُ أَخُو اَلْمُسْلِمِ, لَا يَظْلِمُهُ, وَلَا يَخْذُلُهُ, وَلَا يَحْقِرُهُ, اَلتَّقْوَى هَا هُنَا, وَيُشِيرُ إِلَى صَدْرِهِ ثَلَاثَ مِرَارٍ, بِحَسْبِ اِمْرِئٍ مِنْ اَلشَّرِّ أَنْ يَحْقِرَ أَخَاهُ اَلْمُسْلِمَ, كُلُّ اَلْمُسْلِمِ عَلَى اَلْمُسْلِمِ حَرَامٌ, دَمُهُ, وَمَالُهُ, وَعِرْضُهُ

“Do not be jealous of one another, do not artificially inflate prices against one another, do not harbor hatred against one another, do not turn desert one another, one of you should not enter into a transaction when the other has already entered into it; rather be brothers one to another and servants of Allah. A Muslim is a brother to another Muslim. He does not wrong him, and does not desert him, nor despise him. Piety is found here [pointing three times to his chest; despising his Muslim brother is enough of an evil for any man to fall into. Every Muslim’s blood, property and honor are unlawful to be violated by another Muslim.” (Related by Muslim. See Bulooghul-Marām 1539)

Anas Ibn Mālik (radiyallāhu `anhu) narrated from Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ) that he said:

لاَ يُؤْمِنُ أَحَدُكُمْ حَتَّى يُحِبَّ لأَخِيهِ – أَوْ قَالَ لِجَارِهِ – مَا يُحِبُّ لِنَفْسِهِ

“None amongst you believes (truly) until he loves for his brother” – or he said “for his neighbour” – “that which he loves for himself.” (Muslim, 45)

Imām Ahmad (12734) reported from Ibn `Umar (radiyallāhu `anhumā) from the Messenger (ﷺ):

لا يَبْلُغُ الْعَبْدُ حَقِيقَةَ الإِيمَانِ حَتَّى يُحِبَّ لِلنَّاسِ مَا يُحِبُّ لِنَفْسِهِ

“The servant of Allāh will not reach true imān until he loves for the people the good which he loves for himself.”

Imām Muslim (1844) reported from `Abdullāh Ibn `Amr Ibn al-`Ās (radiyallāhu `anhumā)  that he said: “While we were with the Messenger of Allah on a journey, we stopped to camp, and some of us were pitching tents, some were competing in shooting arrows, and some were taking the animals out to race them. Then the caller of the Prophet called out: As-Salātu Jami`ah (call to prayer). So we gathered, and the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) stood up and addressed us. He said:

إِنَّهُ لَمْ يَكُنْ نَبِيٌّ قَبْلِي إِلاَّ كَانَ حَقًّا عَلَيْهِ أَنْ يَدُلَّ أُمَّتَهُ عَلَى مَا يَعْلَمُهُ خَيْرًا لَهُمْ وَيُنْذِرَهُمْ مَا يَعْلَمُهُ شَرًّا لَهُمْ وَإِنَّ أُمَّتَكُمْ هَذِهِ جُعِلَتْ عَافِيَتُهَا فِي أَوَّلِهَا وَإِنَّ آخِرَهَا سَيُصِيبُهُمْ بَلاَءٌ وَأُمُورٌ يُنْكِرُونَهَا تَجِيءُ فِتَنٌ فَيُدَقِّقُ بَعْضُهَا لِبَعْضٍ فَتَجِيءُ الْفِتْنَةُ فَيَقُولُ الْمُؤْمِنُ هَذِهِ مُهْلِكَتِي ثُمَّ تَنْكَشِفُ ثُمَّ تَجِيءُ فَيَقُولُ هَذِهِ مُهْلِكَتِي ثُمَّ تَنْكَشِفُ فَمَنْ أَحَبَّ مِنْكُمْ أَنْ يُزَحْزَحَ عَنِ النَّارِ وَيُدْخَلَ الْجَنَّةَ فَلْتُدْرِكْهُ مَوْتَتُهُ وَهُوَ مُؤْمِنٌ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الآخِرِ وَلْيَأْتِ إِلَى النَّاسِ مَا يُحِبُّ أَنْ يُؤْتَى إِلَيْهِ

“There has a never been a prophet before me who was not obliged to tell his nation of what he knew was good for them, and to warn against that he knew was bad for them. With regard to this Ummah of yours, its wellbeing has been placed in its earlier generations, and the last of them will be afflicted with calamities and things that you will hate. Then there will come tribulations which will make the earlier ones pale into insignificance, and the believer will say: “This will be then end of me,” then relief will come. Then more tribulations will come and the believer will say: “Surely, this will be the end of me,” then relief will come. Whoever would like to be taken far away from the Fire and be admitted to Paradise, let him die believing in Allah and the Last Day, and let him treat people as he would like to be treated himself…”

So these narrations prove that a believer is happy when his brother is happy and is saddened when his brother is sad. So he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself of goodness. This is achieved when a Muslim is free from trickery, cheating, animosity, jealousy and envy.

Jealousy entails that a person hates the fact that blessings have been bestowed upon someone else – or that another should even be bestowed the likes of what he himself possesses. This is because he wants to be distinguished above the people with bounties – and wants to be singled out with distinction. So having true īmān opposes this attitude. Having īmān entails that a person wants for all the believers that they too share in what Allāh has given him without there being any reduction of what he has of goodness and bounties.

Allāh, the Most High, has praised and extolled the one who possesses these noble qualities:

تِلْكَ الدَّارُ الْآخِرَةُ نَجْعَلُهَا لِلَّذِينَ لَا يُرِيدُونَ عُلُوًّا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَا فَسَادًا ۚ وَالْعَاقِبَةُ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ

“Surely that home of the Hereafter We assign to those who do not desire exaltedness and high-mightiness upon the earth or corruption. And the [best] outcome is for the righteous.” (Al-Qasas:83)

`Ikrimah (rahimhullāh) and others said regarding this verse:

“Seeking highness in the earth is to be haughty and proud, and to seek elevation in society, and to seek a special position with the ruler; and corruption is to commit acts of disobedience.”

Allāh, the Most High, stated in his praise of the believers:

وَالَّذِينَ جَاءُوا مِن بَعْدِهِمْ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا اغْفِرْ لَنَا وَلِإِخْوَانِنَا الَّذِينَ سَبَقُونَا بِالْإِيمَانِ وَلَا تَجْعَلْ فِي قُلُوبِنَا غِلًّا لِّلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا رَبَّنَا إِنَّكَ رَءُوفٌ رَّحِيمٌ

“And those who came after them say: “Our Lord! Forgive us and our brethren who have preceded us in Faith, and put not in our hearts any hatred against those who have believed. Our Lord! You are indeed full of kindness, Most Merciful.” (Al-Hashr 59:10)

So from the qualities of the believers is that their hearts and tongues are safe and secure from harming their believing brothers who have preceded them in īmān (faith) and their brothers who are present with them. So the believers praise their brothers, make supplications for them that Allāh forgives them – and that He forgives them all. And this is even more so when referring to the first and foremost of believers: the Companions of Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ), the Muhārjūn and the Ansār and those who follow them correctly. Whoever finds in his heart hatred for the Companions of the Prophet (ﷺ) or he seeks to lower their great status, then he is not a believer. Abu Hurairah (radiyallaahu `anhu) reported Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ) as saying:

لاَ تَسُبُّوا أَصْحَابِي لاَ تَسُبُّوا أَصْحَابِي فَوَالَّذِي نَفْسِي بِيَدِهِ لَوْ أَنَّ أَحَدَكُمْ أَنْفَقَ مِثْلَ أُحُدٍ ذَهَبًا مَا أَدْرَكَ مُدَّ أَحَدِهِمْ وَلاَ نَصِيفَهُ

“Do not revile my Companions! Do not revile my Companions! By Him in Whose Hand is my soul, if one amongst you would have spent as much gold as Uhud in charity, it would not amount to even a handful or even half a handful of they have given.” (Muslim, 2540)

So may Allāh, the Mighty and Majestic, disgrace the Rawāfid (Shi`ah) who curse and revile the Companions of the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ). They revile the Rightly Guided Khulafā’, diminish their worth and belittle them. So if this is how they treat the best of brothers in īmān and best of the believers, how do you think they will treat you? If they have no respect for the best of the people around the Messenger (ﷺ), his Companions and his wives, then what respect and honour will they have for the Muslims today. If they are treacherous towards the best of mankind and despise them, then how will they love you and show loyalty to you?! So their claims of loving the Muslim ummah is a blatant lie since they cannot even find it in them to love the Companions of the Prophet.

Allāh, the Most High, stated:

وَالسَّابِقُونَ الْأَوَّلُونَ مِنَ الْمُهَاجِرِينَ وَالْأَنصَارِ وَالَّذِينَ اتَّبَعُوهُم بِإِحْسَانٍ رَّضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُوا عَنْهُ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي تَحْتَهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا أَبَدًا ۚ ذَٰلِكَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ

“And the first to embrace Islām of the Muhājirūn (those who migrated from Makkah to Al-Madinah) and the Ansar (the people of Al-Madinah who helped and gave aid to the Muhajirun) and also those who followed them exactly. Allah is well-pleased with them as they are well-pleased with Him. He has prepared for them Gardens under which rivers flow, to dwell therein forever. That is the supreme success.” (At-Tawbah 9:100)

Allāh, the Most High, said about the Companions:

لِيَغِيظَ بِهِمُ الْكُفَّارَ ۗ وَعَدَ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ مِنْهُم مَّغْفِرَةً وَأَجْرًا عَظِيمًا

“…so through the Companions Allah may enrage the disbelievers. Allah has promised those who believe and do righteous deeds among them forgiveness and a great reward.” (Al-Fath 48:29)

This verse is a proof that those who harbour hatred for the Companions are unbelievers in Allāh and His Messenger. As for the believers: They love the Companions of the Messenger (ﷺ), they ally themselves with them and seek forgiveness for them, and emulate them.

So upon the believers is to love for others what they love for themselves and dislike for them what they dislike for themselves. If a Muslim sees a deficiency in his Muslim brother in terms of his religion, then he strives to rectify him, advise him and aid him. He does not backbite and expose his shortcomings because no one would love that for themselves. Allāh, the Most High, stated:

ۖ وَلَا تَجَسَّسُوا وَلَا يَغْتَب بَّعْضُكُم بَعْضًا ۚ أَيُحِبُّ أَحَدُكُمْ أَن يَأْكُلَ لَحْمَ أَخِيهِ مَيْتًا فَكَرِهْتُمُوهُ ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ تَوَّابٌ رَّحِيمٌ

“And do not spy on each other, neither backbite one another. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it [so therefore you should hate backbiting]. And fear Allah. Verily, Allah is the One Who accepts repentance, Most Merciful.” (Al-Hujurāt 49:12)

If a believer would not be happy that a person carries scandalous tales between him and the ones he loves causing animosity; then why would he ever allow himself the leeway to rumor-monger between a brother and those whom he loves and respects, thus causing discord between the hearts? Allāh, the Most High, said:

وَلَا تُطِعْ كُلَّ حَلَّافٍ مَّهِينٍ

هَمَّازٍ مَّشَّاءٍ بِنَمِيمٍ

“And obey not everyone who swears much, and is considered worthless; A slanderer, going about with malicious gossip!” (Al-Qalam: 10-11)

The one who walks amongst the people whispering tales, “By Allāh, I heard him say this… and I saw him do that…” They open the doors of backbiting and malicious gossip amongst the ranks of Ahlus-Sunnah.

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To speak behind a person’s back with that which he hates is forbidden except in exceptional circumstances which the Prophet (ﷺ) and his Companions and the early scholars made clear, such as: warning against the misguided innovators by name; to silence the weak narrators and liars in the chains of narrations in order to protect the purity of the Prophetic narrations; to warn against the open sinners who do not hide their sins, so as to protect the believers from their immorality; the one seeking a fatwa from a scholar or a ruling from a judge.

As for slandering, inventing stories and lying against another, and spreading malicious rumours, then this absolutely forbidden – even against Ahlul-Bid`ah this is forbidden. Ahlus-Sunnah suffice themselves with the truth – they are not in need of lying upon anyone! Alhamdulillāh.

It is reported that news reached Hudhaifah that a certain man carried tales. Upon this he remarked: I heard Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) saying:

لاَ يَدْخُلُ الْجَنَّةَ نَمَّامٌ

“The malicious tale carrier will not enter Paradise.” (Muslim 105)

And the Salaf would regard the tale-carrier who seeks to destroy marriages as harmful as a magician, “what the scandal-monger achieves in a day, takes the magician a year to achieve!”

Likewise a Muslim would hate that he is mocked and ridiculed and belittled, so therefore he does not ridicule and mock others. Allāh, the Most High, stated:

وَيْلٌ لِّكُلِّ هُمَزَةٍ لُّمَزَةٍ

“Woe to every slanderer and backbiter.” (Al-Humazah: 1)

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ أَجْرَمُوا كَانُوا مِنَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا يَضْحَكُونَ

وَإِذَا مَرُّوا بِهِمْ يَتَغَامَزُونَ

“Indeed, those who committed crimes used to laugh at those who believed. And whenever they passed by them, used to wink one to another [in mockery].” (Al-Mutaffifeen: 29-30)

Also, a believer would hate to be tricked and cheated when buying and selling, so how could he possibly trick, cheat and deceive others? A believer would hate that he be annoyed by his neighbours and harmed by them, so why would he therefore annoy his neighbours? The Prophet (ﷺ) said:

وَاللَّهِ لاَ يُؤْمِنُ، وَاللَّهِ لاَ يُؤْمِنُ، وَاللَّهِ لاَ يُؤْمِنُ قِيلَ وَمَنْ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ قَالَ الَّذِي لاَ يَأْمَنُ جَارُهُ بَوَايِقَهُ

“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 (ﷺ)?” He said, “That person whose neighbor does not feel safe from his evil.” (Bukhārī 6016)

If a believer hates to be oppressed, then how can he find it in him to oppress others? To the point that a believer would not even propose to a woman that his fellow Muslim has proposed until he withdraws his proposal or she turns him down:

لاَ يَبِعِ الرَّجُلُ عَلَى بَيْعِ أَخِيهِ وَلاَ يَخْطُبْ عَلَى خِطْبَةِ أَخِيهِ إِلاَّ أَنْ يَأْذَنَ لَهُ

“A person should not enter into a transaction when his brother (had already entered into but not finalised), and he should not make a proposal of marriage upon the proposal already made by his brother, until he permits it.” (Muslim 1412)

A believer should constantly exert himself in diverting evil from others and from his brothers just as would like it to be diverted from himself – and this is beneficial comprehensive principle.

If Muslims were to act upon these guidelines and admonitions, the Ummah would be in a much better condition – and the non-Muslims would adopt this faith much more readily because they would see the fruits of these faith in its adherents.

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