Rights of the Muslim upon the Muslim (1/3)

brotherhood written

The concept of brotherhood was consolidated by the revelation. The Qur’an always uses the word brother, in the singular or plural forms, referring to Muslims.

By Editorial Staff

When the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his companions migrated to Al-Madinah, they had to encounter new, even, strange situations. It was similar to the conditions of refugees nowadays although being quite different. The concept of migration itself was extrinsic to Arabs who have been known to their strong fidelity to their tribes and chieftains. A great deal of Arabs activities, such as marriage, residence, social relations, and litigation were pure tribal. The loyalty to tribe knew no limit to the extent that the history of Arabia recorded long destructive wars that remained for tenths of years and killed hundreds of people, such as the wars of Da`is wal-Ghabra’, and Al-Basus, because of tribal issues.

However, the approach of Islam was completely different. It toned the equity between people, loyalty to Islam, the universality of Islamic messages, the submission to the rulings of Islam alone, the formation of a new social system of equal rights and duties, and the elimination of the improper customs and conventions of the pre-Islamic period. When Prophet (peace be upon him) arrived at Al-Madinah he established the concept of Islamic brotherhood in its best sense. He (peace be upon him) confirmed up the brotherhood of Islam between the Muslims of Al-Madinah and the migrants, which remained a lasting basis for the Muslim community ever. A Muslim became a brother of a Muslim, regardless of their homeland, tribe, color, gender, and economic level. This relationship for a Muslim should be stronger and more preferred than any other relationship. It stems from the Islamic creed and touches on the belief of God himself. Almighty Allah blamed those who have loved the hostile non-Muslim fathers and brothers as they have set themselves against Allah and His Messengers. Allah says,

You will not find a people who believe in Allah and the Last Day having affection for those who oppose Allah and His Messenger, even if they were their fathers or their sons or their brothers or their kindred. Those – He has decreed within their hearts faith and supported them with spirit from Him. (Al-Mujadalah 58:22)

Then, He (Glory be to Him) praised the Muslims of Al-Madinah for their perfect application of the principle of Islamic brotherhood with their fellow Meccan Muslims. He says,

And [also for] those who were settled in al-Madinah and [adopted] the faith before them. They love those who emigrated to them and find not any want in their breasts of what the emigrants were given but give [them] preference over themselves, even though they are in privation. And whoever is protected from the stinginess of his soul – it is those who will be the successful. And [there is a share for] those who came after them, saying, “Our Lord, forgive us and our brothers who preceded us in faith and put not in our hearts [any] resentment toward those who have believed. Our Lord, indeed You are Kind and Merciful.” (Al-Hashr 59:9-10)

This concept of brotherhood was consolidated by the revelation. The Qur’an always uses the word brother, in the singular or plural forms, referring to Muslims. Almighty Allah says,

The believers are but brothers. (Al-Hujurat 49:10)

And do not spy or backbite each other. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his brother when dead? You would detest it. And fear Allah ; indeed, Allah is Accepting of repentance and Merciful. (Al-Hujurat 49:12)

O you who have believed, prescribed for you is legal retribution for those murdered – the free for the free, the slave for the slave, and the female for the female. But whoever overlooks from his brother anything, then there should be a suitable follow-up and payment to him with good conduct. (Al-Baqarah 2:178)

Brotherhood in the Sunnah

Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: “The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “A Muslim is a brother to a Muslim.” (At-Tirmidhi)

Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “Do not desert (stop talking to) one another, do not nurse hatred towards one another, do not be jealous of one another, and become as fellow brothers and slaves of Allah. It is not lawful for a Muslim to stop talking to his brother (Muslim) for more than three days.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Abu Dharr narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Your smiling in the face of your brother is charity, commanding good and forbidding evil is charity, your giving directions to a man lost in the land is charity for you. Your seeing for a man with bad sight is a charity for you, your removal of a rock, a thorn or a bone from the road is charity for you. Your pouring what remains from your bucket into the bucket of your brother is charity for you.” (At-Tirmidhi)

In these quoted texts, Islamic brotherhood in all its meanings is highlighted. A Muslim is a brother to a Muslim in the full sense of the word with full rights and duties. A true Muslim cares for his Muslim brother, visits him, shares happiness with him, consoles him in case of grief, and cooperates with him in the goodness. In the following lines, we will try to find out these mutual rights between the Muslims and each other as substantiated by the Qur’an and Sunnah.

  1. Right of Support

A Muslim is asked to support his Muslim brother and not to disappoint or relinquish him. The Prophet (peace be upon him) maintained that the Muslims should be a means of support and help to their fellow Muslims. Abu Musa ?? (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: “The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “The relationship of the believer with another believer is like (the bricks of) a building, each strengthens the other.” He (peace be upon him) illustrated this by interlacing the fingers of both his hands. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim) Moreover, the Prophet gives orders to support the Muslim brother, even in case of his wrongfulness in which case the support is different. This is clarified by the hadith narrated by Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) who reported: “The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “Support your brother, whether he is an oppressor or is oppressed”. A man enquired: “O Messenger of Allah! I support him when he is oppressed, but how can I support him when he is an oppressor?” He (peace be upon him) said, “You can keep him from committing oppression. That will be your support to him”. (Al-Bukhari)

  1. Right of Help

Among the rights of Islamic brotherhood is to give your Muslim brother a helping hand and stand with him until he accomplishes his matters. A Muslim person should feel that is not alone in this life but rather every Muslim everywhere is his brother who supports, helps, cares for, defends, likes, assists and looks after him. Ibn Abu Ad-Dunya narrated from Ibn `Umar that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “The most beloved of people to Allah is the one who brings most benefit to people, and the most beloved of deeds to Allah is making a Muslim happy, or relieving him of hardship, or paying off his debt, or warding off hunger from him. For me to go with my Muslim brother to meet his need is dearer to me than observing i`tikaf (seclusion) in this mosque – meaning the mosque of Madinah – for a month… Whoever goes with his Muslim brother to meet his need, Allah will make him stand firm on the Day when all feet will slip.” (At-Targhib wa At-Tarhib)

The hadith states that causing good to a Muslim brother, helping them carry out their matters, paying off their debt, relieving them of hardship, etc. are on the top of the God-pleasing deeds. Also, the most beloved ones to God are those who undertake the rights of brotherhood perfectly.

To be continued..

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