Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Brotherhood in Faith


As we know we are all brothers and sisters, because we have the same father and mother (Adam and Hawwa). Then with the evolution of our world came the brotherhood of blood (same parents), that relationship makes people closer than the brotherhood of humanity. But there is one more brotherhood, which is brotherhood in Faith as we are muslims.

The brotherhood of Islam is not something simply theoretical or beyond the practical reach of humans. Muslims have been commanded by Allah s.w.t. to treat as brothers . Allah s.w.t. Allah s.w.t. has guided muslims with specific acts that engenders love and brotherhood. He has also prohibited muslims with specific acts that would injure that brotherhood in any fashion. All is based on love. Isn’t our relationship with Allah s.w.t. based on love?

Allah s.w.t. says in the Quran,
“And remember Allah’s favor upon you. You were enemies one to another but He joined your hearts together, so that, by this grace, you became brothers. And you were on a brink of a pit of fire and He saved you from it”. [ Sura Al Imran –103 ]
Allah s.w.t. also says,
“And He had united their (the believers) hearts. If you (O Muhammad s.a.w.) had spent all that is in the earth, you could not have united their hearts. But it is Allah who has united them. Certainly He is almighty, all wise”. [ Sura Al Anfal – 63 ]

So, it is clear form the Quran that one of the greatest blessings that Allah s.w.t. Allah gives to the believers in the togetherness and love of brotherhood of Islam. This is a very special bond, which is superior and stronger than any other bond in this world.

This kind of bond is above the bond of race, wealth, place (country) and even blood. One should never undervalue the importance of loving one another.
The prophet s.a.w. said,
“You will not enter paradise until you believe. And you will not believe until you love one another. Certainly, I shall guide you to something that, if you do it, you do it, you will love one another, spread the greetings (of peace) among selves”. [Recorded by Muslim]
This hadith clearly states that, muslims are not allowed to hate each other, they must show respect to each other fairly. Following all of the teachings of this hadith is great step that will remove hatred and anger from among the muslims.
The prophet s.a.w. said,
“Do not be envious of one another, do not artificially raise prices against one another, do not turn one’s back on each other and do not undercut one another in business transaction. And O servants of Allah, be brothers. A muslim is a brother of a muslim. He does not wrong him. He does not fail him ( when he needs him). He does not lie to him. And he does not show contempt for him. Piety is here”. And he pointed to his chest three times. “ It is enough of evil for a person to hold his brother in contempt. All of a muslim is inviolable to another muslim, his blood, his wealth and his honor”. [Recorded by Muslim]

In this hadith, our prophet s.a.w. is giving us a lesson about the brotherhood in Islam. If the muslims apply the teaching of this hadith, there will be a great change and improvement in their inter relationship and love for one another and a better life. First, the prophet s.a.w. is showing us what we shouldn’t do toward each other, we should avoid:
Envy (Hasad):
Hasad means to hate that the other person has even received the blessing in the first place.
This disease of the heart and the sin, which is known, as hasad was one of the first sins ever committed. It was one of the main thing that drove Satan away from Allah s.w.t. And hasad was the cause of the first murder in humanity history (Cain and Abel)
The prophet s.a.w said,
“Imaan (faith) and Hasad do not gather together in the heart of a slave of Allah”.
Another hadith says that,
“And wish not for the things in which Allah has made some of you to excel others. For men there is reward for what they have earned, and for women is reward for what they have earned. And ask Allah of His bounty. Surely Allah is ever all knower of everything”.
“ There is to be no hasad except with respect to two, a person to whom Allah has given wealth and he uses it up for the purpose of truth. And another man whom Allah has given wisdom and judges by it and teaches it”. [Recorded by Muslim]
In the above hadith, the meaning of hasad is exultation.

Muslims are prohibited from hating each other for any sake than for the sake of Allah s.w.t. Muslims are not allowed to hate each other due to their own personal desires. A muslim also cannot hate another muslims simply because he is from a particular country or because of his skin color.
Those who interact with each other a lot especially have to be careful about this matter. The more one deals with another, he may discover more characteristics about the other person that are not that pleasing. He should do his best to be patient and overlook a person’s small mistakes or poor qualities and concentrate on his good deeds or good qualities. He should concentrate on his own deeds, and if finds him self away from those poor qualities, he has to thank Allah s.w.t. for this and do Pray (dua) for others.
Allah s.w.t. has prohibited backbiting and tale spreading. And Allah s.w.t. praises those who try to make peace and reconciliation among brothers and believers.

The hadith of the prophet s.a.w. regarding hatred does not mean that hatred is never permitted. One must do one’s best to avoid hatred based on personal interest and motives. However. One must still love and hate for the sake of Allah.

A hadith states that,
“The one who loves for the sake of Allah, hate for the sake of Allah, gives for the sake of Allah, and with holds for the sake of Allah, has completed the Faith”. [ Recorded by Abu Dawood ]
Some people ask, How it is possible to hate and love something or somebody a the same time?
The scholar Ibn Uthaimeen responded to this question by giving the example of a medicine that smell bad and taste bad. The person hate the medicine because of its taste and smell, but he takes it because he believe that, in the long run, it is going to be very good and helpful for him. It does not keep him from combining both hatred and love for that medicine. If one think about himself, he may understand it better, as He has few character which he hates and some which he loves.
A muslim shouldn’t hate another muslim as a non believer, or as much he hates a non believer. Even if a muslim drink alcohol or does other forbidden acts, his is still in a better position than the one who has completely refused to believe in and submit to Allah s.w.t. Presently we notice that some muslims behave correctly and kindly with non believers but badly with their own muslim brothers and sisters. All this doesn’t mean that you should not advise the sinner and correct him.
Muslims must deal with each other on the basis of their outward or noticeable acts. Ibn al Khattab once said, “Whoever of you shows us good deeds, we will assume that he is good and will love him for that. And who ever of you shows us evil deed, we will suspect that he is evil and we will hate him for that. Your secret aspects are between you and your Lord”.
Ibn Rajab adds some very important points. He says, when people begin to have different opinions regarding religious matters, they often divide, hate and curse each other. All of them claim that they are hating for the sake of Allah. Sometimes they may be excused for what they are doing, but not at other times. This is because sometimes their hatred is based on their own personal likes and wants. In that case, this hatred for others is actually not for the sake of Allah and it is not correct.

Turns one’s back on each other:
Muslims should always be open to each others. Muslims
Should greet each other and try to do it with smiling faces. Greeting is a duty. A muslim is suppose avoid a boycott of his muslim brother for more than 3 days.

Prophet Mohammad s.a.w. said,
“Its not allowed for a man to boycott his brother for more than 3 nights, when they meet, the best of them is one who is the first to offer the greeting.”
In another hadith Prophet Mohammad s.a.w. said,
“The one who boycotts his brother for a year is like one who has spilled his (his brother’s) blood”.

In other way, the boycotting is considered a type of punishment. Sometimes it is needed to keep a person from doing some wrong or to make him realize the wrong that he has committed. But, it is very important to realize that this type of boycotting is only to be practiced when it is judged that its benefits will be greater than any harm that may come about due to it. In the case of muslims who are living in the western countries, boycott is not recommended, because the results will be disastrous. (Muslims who are boycotted may be driven to be with the disbelievers).

Wrong Him :
The prophet s.a.w. stated that,
“A muslim would not commit and dhulm (wrong or oppression) towards his brother”.
How can one consider himself a brother to another when he is wronging him, oppressing him or cheating him?
A muslim society should be free of such massive dhulm, and muslims should also be free of such dhulm at an individual level.

Fail him:
“Help your brother, whether he is the doing the wrong or the one being wronged”. They said, “O messenger of Allah s.w.t., we know how to help him if he is the one doing, the wrong? He answered, “Take him by his hand”. [Recorded by Al Bukhari]
This hadith stated that muslims should help each other as it is said in Quran.
“Help one another in acts of the righteousness and piety”. [Sura Al- Maida]

There are three degrees of piety:
Low Degree : fulfill the need of your brothers after they ask for it.
Medium Degree: fulfill the need of your brothers with out they ask for it.
High Degree :fulfill the need of your brothers before fulfilling their own needs.

Today it is very sad that sometimes muslims witness their brothers in different parts of the muslim world and non muslim world being killed and tortured yet their hearts are dead. At least, if a muslim doesn’t have the wealth or means to aid his brothers who are in need then he should pray and make dua for his brothers in need, pleading to Allah s.w.t. to help them in their situation.

These are the few hadhits:
“ No muslims servant of Allah prays for his brothers behind his back except that an angel says, and for the same”. [Recorded by Muslim]
This help and support of one’s brother in Islam it is not related to the respect to some physical or material aspect. This is what is great about Islam.
“No man forsakes a muslim when his rights are to being violated or his honor is being belittled except that Allah will forsake him at a place in which he would love to have His help. And no man helps a muslim at a time when his honor is being belittled or his rights are violated except that Allah will help him at a place in which he loves to have His help”.
“Whoever defends the flesh of his brother in his absence has a right upon Allah to rescue him from the hell fire”
“One who has an atom’s weight of pride in his heart will not enter Paradise”. A man said, “But a man loves that his clothes are nice and his shoes are nice”. He (prophet s.a.w.) then replied, “Verily, Allah is beautiful and He loves beauty. Pride is rejecting the truth and showing disdain for the people” [Recorded by Muslim]

No one is better than the other one in Islam. All muslims are equal. They will be judged by Allah in hereafter for their deeds not for their wealth, beauty, skin color and etc. The characteristics that is most deserving of respect in the sight of Allah is piety, that is why prophet s.a.w. pointed to his chest three times by saying “Piety is Here”.

Lie to Him:
The prophet s.a.w. did not like lie in a persons characteristics. (Hypocrisy)

Conclusion :
The Prophet s.a.w. stated the whole point of the above instructions, “you should be brothers to one another, treating each other with respect, without hatred and without working against each other in any way”.
The only goal of this brotherhood should be to server and worship Allah s.w.t.

We ask Allah, the Almighty to teach us what is beneficial to us, to make us benefit from what He taught us and to increase our knowledge. May He unite us in the pursuit of truth, guide us to the right path and crown all our actions with success. May He guard us against the evil of our thoughts and actions. All praise and thanks are due to Allah, the Lord and the sustainer of all the worlds. Ameen.

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