The Four Commandments of Muslim Brotherhood (Hadith No. 2119)
Volume 3, Book 43, Number 622:
Narrated ‘Abdullah bin Umar (radiallaahu `anhu):
Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “A Muslim is a brother of another Muslim, so he should not oppress him, nor should he hand him over to an oppressor. Whoever fulfilled the needs of his brother, Allah will fulfill his needs; whoever brought his (Muslim) brother out of a discomfort, Allah will bring him out of the discomforts of the Day of Resurrection, and whoever screened a Muslim, Allah will screen him on the Day of Resurrection . “
This hadith has four parts. Let’s discuss each one separately and evaluate ourselves.
“A Muslim is a brother of another Muslim, so he should not oppress him, nor should he hand him over to an oppressor.”
What to say? Be it on an individual level or as an ummah, we have terribly failed. We oppress our Muslim brothers – we treat each other badly, we backbite, we slander, we fight, we pull legs, we abuse, we harass, we bully, we judge and misjudge, we cheat, we deceive, we practice all kinds of oppression.. on our own brothers and sisters in Islam! We are merciless. Then why should we expect Allah to show mercy to us?
And let’s not even go to the Muslim governments and leaders. If a fellow Muslim country is in need, we’d rather stay in our comfort zone than to reach out to them. Hand them over to the oppressors and not bat an eye over how they treat our Muslim brothers and sisters. Let’s stay out of it, shall we?
“Whoever fulfilled the needs of his brother, Allah will fulfill his needs.”
Now this sounds easy but the practical test gets very hard. You have a tough exam lined up and you’re busy preparing for it when your brother walks in and requests you to help him with his science project etc. How do you react?
If at that point, you remember this promise of Allah, you wouldn’t let that opportunity go.
“Whoever brought his (Muslim) brother out of a discomfort, Allah will bring him out of the discomforts of the Day of Resurrection.”
And what more do you need? A believer trembles with fear when he thinks about the horrors of the Day of Judgement. You know you won’t be able to bear the humiliation and torture of that day. Now if only there was a way you could make sure that you’re saved from it all. If only..
Do I have to spell it out? Oh wait, I already did!
“Whoever screened a Muslim, Allah will screen him on the Day of Resurrection.”
Next time you feel like adding to the juicy gossip about how your aunt’s sister’s daughter’s friend did such and such when he parents were away, remember your own faults and weaknesses. And remember how badly you’ll be needing Allah to hide your sins on the Day of Judgement, when it won’t only be your Facebook friend-list that’ll be witnessing your embarrassing secrets, it’ll be the whole world – first human till the last. Enough said.
More on the rights of a Muslim over another here.
The Bond of Brotherhood (Ahadith 1985 – 1987)
Chapter Kafalah (Guarantee) under the Book of Debt Transfer starts here.
Kafalah is a guarantee contract between two or more parties where the Kafeel (guarantor) offers a guarantee or takes responsibility for a liability. Modern forms of guarantees are very similar.
Hadith no. 1984 (below) is a repeat. Read it here.
Volume 3, Book 37, Number 488 :
Narrated by Abu Huraira (radiallaahu `anhu)
The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “An Israeli man asked another Israeli to lend him one thousand Dinars. The second man required witnesses. The former replied, ‘Allah is sufficient as a witness.’ The second said, ‘I want a surety.’ The former replied, ‘Allah is sufficient as a surety.’ The second said, ‘You are right,’ and lent him the money for a certain period. The debtor went across the sea. When he finished his job, he searched for a conveyance so that he might reach in time for the repayment of the debt, but he could not find any. So, he took a piece of wood and made a hole in it, inserted in it one thousand Dinars and a letter to the lender and then closed (i.e. sealed) the hole tightly. He took the piece of wood to the sea and said. ‘O Allah! You know well that I took a loan of one thousand Dinars from so-and-so. He demanded a surety from me but I told him that Allah’s Guarantee was sufficient and he accepted Your guarantee. He then asked for a witness and I told him that Allah was sufficient as a Witness, and he accepted You as a Witness. No doubt, I tried hard to find a conveyance so that I could pay his money but could not find, so I hand over this money to You.’ Saying that, he threw the piece of wood into the sea till it went out far into it, and then he went away. Meanwhile he started searching for a conveyance in order to reach the creditor’s country. One day the lender came out of his house to see whether a ship had arrived bringing his money, and all of a sudden he saw the piece of wood in which his money had been deposited. He took it home to use for fire. When he sawed it, he found his money and the letter inside it. Shortly after that, the debtor came bringing one thousand Dinars to him and said, ‘By Allah, I had been trying hard to get a boat so that I could bring you your money, but failed to get one before the one I have come by.’ The lender asked, ‘Have you sent something to me?’ The debtor replied, ‘I have told you I could not get a boat other than the one I have come by.’ The lender said, ‘Allah has delivered on your behalf the money you sent in the piece of wood. So, you may keep your one thousand Dinars and depart guided on the right path.’ “
Volume 3, Book 37, Number 489 :
Narrated by Said bin Jubair (radiallaahu `anhu)
Ibn Abbas (radiallaahu `anhu) said, “In the verse: “To every one We have appointed Muwaliya” (Mawaliya means one’s heirs) (4.33). (And regarding the verse) ‘And those with whom your right hands have made a pledge.’ Ibn ‘Abbas (radiallaahu `anhu) said, “When the emigrants came to the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) in Medina, the emigrant would inherit the Ansari while the latter’s relatives would not inherit him because of the bond of brotherhood which the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) established between them (i.e. the emigrants and the Ansar). When the verse: ‘And to everyone We have appointed heirs’ (4.33) was revealed, it cancelled (the bond (the pledge) of brotherhood regarding inheritance).” Then he said, “The verse: ‘To those also to whom your right hands have pledged’, remained valid regarding co-operation and mutual advice, while the matter of inheritance was excluded and it became permissible to assign something in one’s testament to the person who had the right of inheriting before.
Volume 3, Book 37, Number 490 :
Narrated by Anas (radiallaahu `anhu)
Abdur-Rahman bin ‘Auf (radiallaahu `anhu) came to us and Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) established a bond of brotherhood between him and Sad bin Rabi’a (radiallaahu `anhu).
Volume 3, Book 37, Number 491 :
Narrated by Asim
I heard Anas bin Malik (radiallaahu `anhu), “Have you ever heard that the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, ‘There is no alliance in Islam?’ ” He replied, “The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) made alliance between Quarish and the Ansar in my house.”
The ayah that Ibn ‘Abbas (radiallaahu `anhu) is talking about:
﴿وَلِكُلٍّ جَعَلْنَا مَوَالِىَ مِمَّا تَرَكَ الْوَلِدَنِ وَالاٌّقْرَبُونَ وَالَّذِينَ عَقَدَتْ أَيْمَـنُكُمْ فَـَاتُوهُمْ نَصِيبَهُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَىْءٍ شَهِيداً ﴾
And to everyone, We have appointed Mawali of that left by parents and relatives. To those also with whom you have made a pledge (brotherhood), give them their due portion (by wills). Truly, Allah is Ever a Witness over all things. [Quran, 4:33]
Ibn Kathir’s commentary:
Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Abu Salih, Qatadah, Zayd bin Aslam, As-Suddi, Ad-Dahhak, Muqatil bin Hayyan, and others said that Allah’s statement,
﴿وَلِكُلٍّ جَعَلْنَا مَوَالِىَ﴾
(And to everyone, We have appointed Mawali) means, “Heirs.” Ibn `Abbas was also reported to have said that Mawali refers to relatives. Ibn Jarir commented, “The Arabs call the cousin a Mawla.” Ibn Jarir continued, “Allah’s statement,
﴿مِّمَّا تَرَكَ الْوَلِدَنِ وَالاٌّقْرَبُونَ﴾
(of that (property) left by parents and relatives.) means, from what he inherited from his parents and family members. Therefore, the meaning of the Ayah becomes: `To all of you, O people, We appointed relatives (such as children) who will later inherit what you inherited from your own parents and relatives.” Allah’s statement,
﴿وَالَّذِينَ عَقَدَتْ أَيْمَـنُكُمْ فَـَاتُوهُمْ نَصِيبَهُمْ﴾
(To those also with whom you have made a pledge (brotherhood), give them their due portion.) means, “Those with whom you have a pledge of brotherhood, give them their share of inheritance, thus fulfilling the ratified pledges that you gave them. Allah has witnessed all of you when you gave these pledges and promises.” This practice was followed in the beginning of Islam, but was later on abrogated when Muslims were commanded to fulfill the pledges (brotherhood) they had already given, but to refrain from making any new pledges after that. Al-Bukhari recorded that Ibn `Abbas said,
﴿وَلِكُلٍّ جَعَلْنَا مَوَالِىَ﴾
(And to everyone, We have appointed Mawali) “meaning, heirs;
﴿وَالَّذِينَ عَقَدَتْ أَيْمَـنُكُمْ﴾
(To those also with whom you have made a pledge (brotherhood)) When the emigrants came to Al-Madinah, the emigrant would inherit from the Ansari, while the latter’s relatives would not inherit from him because of the bond of brotherhood which the Prophet established between them (the emigrants and the Ansar). When the verse,
﴿وَلِكُلٍّ جَعَلْنَا مَوَالِىَ﴾
(And to everyone We have appointed Mawali) was revealed, it cancelled (the pledge of brotherhood regarding inheritance).” Then he said, “The verse,
﴿وَالَّذِينَ عَقَدَتْ أَيْمَـنُكُمْ فَـَاتُوهُمْ نَصِيبَهُمْ﴾
(To those also with whom you have made a pledge (brotherhood), give them their due portion.) remained valid for cases of co-operation and mutual advice, while the matter of inheritance was excluded and it became permissible to assign something in one’s will to the person who had the right of inheriting before.”
Etiquette of the Special Brotherhood for the Sake of Allah – Loving and Hating for His Sake
[Excerpts from Minhaj Al-Muslim by Abu Bakr Jabir Al-Jaza’iry]
A Muslim, as ordered by his belief in Allah, does not love anyone he loves except for the sake of Allah the Almighty and he does not hate anyone he hates except for for the sake of Allah. This is because he does not love anything except what Allah the Almight loves and His Messenger (SAW) loves. Similarly, he does not hate anything except what Allah hates and His Messenger (SAW) hates. Therefore, if Allah or/and His Messenger love something, he loves it. If Allah or/and His Messenger hate something, he hates it. The evidence for this is in Allah’s Messenger’s statement:
((Whoever loves for the sake of Allah, hates for the sake of Allah, gives for the sake of Allah and withholds for the sake of Allah has completed his faith.)) (Abu Dawud)
Based on that, a Muslim loves and has loyalty for all of Allah’s righteous worshippers. Similarly, all evil humans who go against Allah and His Messenger’s commands are hated and opposed by a Muslim..
..Allah’s Messenger (SAW) also said:
((Around the Throne (of Allah) there are pulpits of light surrounded by people whose clothing is light and whose faces are light. They are neither Prophets nor martyrs but the Prophets and martyrs would be happy to be in their state.))
The people said, “O Allah’s Messenger, describe them to us.” He said,
((They are the ones who love for the sake of Allah, meet together for the sake of Allah and visit each other for the sake of Allah.)) (An-Nasa’i and it is Sahih)
..Allah’s Messenger (SAW) also said:
((A man went to visit another person and it was said to him, ‘Was it for some need you had with him?’ He answered, ‘No.’ The questioner then said, ‘Was it due to some blood relation that exists between you and him?’ The man said, ‘No.’ The questioner said, ‘Was it because of some bounty you had with him?’ He answered, ‘No.’ The questioner said, ‘Then why?’ He said, ‘I love him for the sake of Allah.’ The other then said, ‘Allah has sent me to you informing you that He loves you because you love that man for Allah’s sake. Paradise has become obligatory for you.’)) (Muslim)
This special brotherhood is conditioned by it being for the sake of Allah and completely free of any worldly needs or material benefits. The motivating factor behind it must be for the belief in Allah and only the belief in Allah.
As for its etiquette, one should keep the following points in mind when choosing a special brother for the sake of Allah:
- The person chosen must be intelligent. There is no good in choosing a fool as a brother or accompanying him. The ignorant fool may end up harming the one who is seeking to benefit him.
- The person chosen to be a special brother must be a person of good character..
- The brother chosen must be fearful of Allah the Almighty..
- The brother chosen must be one who sticks to the Qur’an and Sunnah and is far away from any kind of deviation or innovation..
..One of the righteous people summarized these characteristics when he advised his son, “O son of mine, if the need comes to you to accompany men, then accompany the one whom if you serve him, he will protect you; if you accompany him, he will make you better; if your provisions are restricted, he will give you; if you strech out your hand for good, he will strech it further; if he sees any good in you, he will reckon it for you; if he sees evil from you, he will close it. Accompany the one whom if you ask him, he will give you and if you are silent, he will start talking to you. If you are afflicted with something, he will console you. Accompany the one whom if you speak, he will believe in your speech and if you differ in any matter, he gives preference to what you say.”
The Rights of the Special Brotherhood for the Sake of Allah
- Giving financial help and assistance to one another..
- Each of the brothers must be willing to assist and help the other and give the other preference over himself..
- He should not speak about his brother except in good terms..
- He should say things about his brother that he loves to have said about himself. He should call his brother by the names that he likes the most.. Imam Shafi`i once said: “To admonish your brother privately is to advise him and improve his state. But to admonish him publicly is to disgrace him and shame him.”
- A brother should overlook his brother’s slips and lapses. He should conceal his faults and have good thoughts or ideas about his brother..
- One must fulfill the ties of brotherhood and continue fulfilling them until death.. From the fulfillment of the brotherhood is the brother not befriending the enemy of his brother.. Part of this brtoherhood is that one brother does not request of his brother what would be difficult for him to fulfill..
- A brother must pray for his brother and his children. The same good that he prays for himself and his children, he should ask for his brother.. Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said:
((Whoever prays for his brother behind his back has an angel saying to him, ‘And for you the same.’ )) (Muslim)
One of the righteous said: “Where is the likes of the righteous brother? If a person dies, his family is dividing his wealth and enjoying what he left behind. The pious brother is the only one who grieves. He is concerned about what his brother is facing and will face. He prays for him in the darkness of the night. He asks forgiveness for him while he is under layers of earth.”
I would recommend everyone to go through this topic from the original book. These are only excerpts. A lot of important information had to missed out due to lack of time.
Like Bricks of a Wall (Hadith No. 468)
Narrated Abu Musa:
The Prophet said, “A faithful believer to a faithful believer is like the bricks of a wall, enforcing each other.” While (saying that) the Prophet clasped his hands, by interlacing his fingers.
We’re supposed to be like those bricks ^. Each one of them has its own special place, and each one of them is significant in its own way. Even if one of them falls out of its place, the wall will lose its strength. Allah says in the Qur’an:
“The Believers are but a single Brotherhood.” [Al-Hujurat 49:10]
“The Believers, men and women, are protectors one of another: they enjoin the ma`roof (all of Islam), and forbid the munkar (all that is evil; kufr): they observe regular prayers, pay Zakat, and obey Allah and His Messenger. On them will Allah pour His mercy: for Allah is Exalted in power, Wise.” [9:71]
Allah’s Messenger (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
“A Muslim is the brother of another Muslim, so he should not oppress him, forsake him, or despise him.”
“It is sufficient evil for a Muslim that he should look down upon his brother. The life, wealth, and honor of a Muslim are inviolable by another Muslim.” [Sahih Muslim]
It is related by Abu Hurairah (ra) that the Prophet said,
“There are five claims of a Muslim upon a Muslim: to return his greetings when he greets; to visit him when he falls ill; to attend his funeral; to accept his invitation to a meal and to pray for him, when he sneezes, by saying ‘yarhamukallah’ (May the mercy of Allah be on you).”
Anas (ra) reports that Rasulullah (s) once said:
“I swear by the Holy Being in whose power my life is, any one of you cannot be a true believer unless he desires for his fellow-brother what he desires for himself.”
“Brotherhood is synonymous with Islam. It is a force for good, a purveyor of peace and justice for everyone. It provides stability in a quarrelsome world. To the downtrodden and oppressed everywhere in the past, it provided freedom. When it was powerful, it even saved the Jews and Christians in Palestine and Spain from each other.” -Z.B. Asghar
So much for the past. What about the present? Do we understand the noble concept of Islamic brotherhood? Do we practice it? Do we belong to it?
Unity Through Connecting to Sahih al-Bukhari
By Abu Ubaydah Andrew Booso
A blessed gathering recently took place in Leicester, England, and it was the finalmaqra’ (reading) of the entire Sahih al-Bukhari under the supervision of Shaykh Ahmad Ali Surty, who Shaykh Akram Nadwi says has the shortest isnad (chain of transmission) of the book to Imam Bukhari in the entire world. The final session was passionately hosted by Shaykh Haytham al-Haddad and Shaykh Akram, and the masjid was entirely full by the conclusion of the event. Hearts felt joy and weighed down by the significance of the proceedings, and eyes wept as the reading came to a close, followed by poignant reminders and the ijazat (authorisations). The two aspects worthy of deeper reflection here are the enigmatic attraction of the Sahih to the people of this community, and its ability to be a uniting force for so many people often perceived as wholly competing and at odds.
In Shaykh Haytham’s final address he made the point that it was the Word of God and the words of the Final Prophet ﷺ that had united so many of us from different backgrounds for this occasion. You would not get this sort of turn-out and atmosphere for a reading of Ghazali’s Ihya’ or Ibn ‘Abdal-Wahhab’s Kitab al-Tawhid. The truth of these sentiments was clear from the array of final speeches: a representative of the Naqshbandi Order of Ghulam Habib; Shaykh Shabbir of the scholarly tradition of Darul Uloom, Bury, England and Mazahir al-Ulum, Saharanpur, India; Shaykh Muhammad Ayyub Surty of the tradition of Shaykh Hakim Akhtar of Pakistan; Shaykh Haytham of the tradition of Muhammad Ibn ‘Abdal-Wahhab of Najd in Arabia; and certainly not least our dear Shaykh Akram of the Nadwatul-Ulama, Lucknow, India and the Centre for Islamic Studies, Oxford.
This unifying potential of the Sahih reminded me of one of the observations of Jonathan Brown in his seminal, no-holds barred PhD entitled The Canonization of al-Bukhari and Muslim, in which he notes how the two latter books could be “one of the few threads joining” the “Hanbali/uber-Sunnis” and “Shafi’i/Ash’aris,” after relating how the debates between these two camps in Baghdad between 469-470/1076-8 would proceed “to the streets” and “mobs supporting the two groups ruthlessly hurled bricks at one another.” In our time, in North America and England, we often see these groups represented as ‘salafis’ and ‘sufis’, respectively – although I don’t subscribe to the attitude that these are so fundamentally exclusive as represented by the more rigid strains of each grouping. Now, although I haven’t read of violence erupting between the latter two, I’ve witnessed the passionate disavowal of each extreme wing against their other equally extreme grouping; and how their polemics are sometimes shaped around straw-men arguments or just outright group bigotry based on little profound scholarship.
Of course, one can make an argument out of almost anything, from who washes the dishes at home to who is the greatest scholar, and the Sahih al-Bukhari is no exception, if one wanted to go down that line. One could take exception to Bukhari’s legal rulings displayed in the work, or his open opposition to Abu Hanifa in parts (referred to as “a certain person” (ba’d al-nas)), or one could even start to critically discuss some of the versions of narrations he chose. However, the overall excellence and authority of the work has been accepted by the community, and it is that reality that is the unifying factor. In other words, we can see represented in the Sahih our overwhelming unity in matters of faith, law and spirituality; and that such a deep realisation should be enough for us to love our brothers and to truly see them as being of ourselves, in spite of some opaque differences on occasions.
It is natural that many of our subsidiary differences will remain, and we are each entitled to teach our conclusions of such matters, but I’m reminded of the manners of that disagreement as I sat with Shaykh Akram and Shaykh Haytham over lunch, and how all the shuyukh showed love for each other. During the course of lunch there were discussions about law and how to tackle matters of overriding priority for Muslims in the west and everyone sat and talked with love, concern and sound principles. No one felt the snide urge to ask what did Ibn Taymiyya’s focus on the haqiqi meaning of God’s attributes really mean: was it anthropomorphism or not? Likewise, no one felt the need to ask about the probity of all the actions of worship established by Sufic orders. Only an honest and wise head can truly appreciate the absolutes, priorities, and ambiguities of these many controversies. In fact, one would be fairly giving credit in saying that such concern to emphasise the similarities between various groups was what characterised Ustadh Hasan Ali’s lecture entitled “So, Who’s Right?”
After the event, a group of us sat with Shaykhs Akram and Shabbir, and I basked in the love they showed to one another and others in the informal gathering. The reality of brotherly interaction is found on occasions such as this, when one is away from the glamour of the speaker’s rostrum, for here one finds the actual person behind the celebrity. This reminded me of the same familial and warm behaviour I witnessed in the “speakers’ lounge” at the United Muslims’ Convention 2010 from Shuyukh John Ederer, Riyad Nadwi, Zahir Mahmood, Shafi Chowdhury, Sharul Hussain, Yusuf Ahmed az-Zahaby and Taji Mustapha to one another. Upon recently being asked by the inimitable extrovert Ustadh Uwais Nadwi about a recent article of mine, I told him that I was basically just trying to show some love for Shaykh Akram and Ustadh Ibrahim Amin, and he aptly summed-up how we should be: “Alhamdulillah (all praise be to Allah), precisely what the movement’s all about: spreading the love and hugging haters.”
I’ve highlighted these various people and events to give a glimpse of a possible opening that is developing in England towards a general Muslim cooperative that can strengthen the place of Muslims in the west, at a time when even the idea of building a place of Islamic worship brings forth some of the most xenophobic outbursts in opposition (John Legend and Russell Simmons notwithstanding). Indeed, one is only reminded of how the Jews were treated as outcasts in these lands until recent history and how the Muslims are starting to be treated in the same vile way (a point made by John Esposito on CNNrecently)- and we know where that led. It is quite amazing that isolationist and out-of-touch would-be mystics and puritans are deaf to these shameful patterns of our Greco-Roman character, which history sadly testifies to. Nevertheless, we pray that the growing trends that I’ve identified will come to dominate a mature collective Muslim psyche, which further emphasises the intellectual and social immaturity of much of the past and present attempts at articulating exclusivist and even hermitical visions of scholarship and community, whose general debilitative quality has been unappreciated by leaders and followers as they marvel in the type of blindness that is characteristic of sect-like behaviour.
The foundation of a negative-sect-free future is the revival of profound scholarship, which eschews the temptation to simply remain trapped in the superficiality of various hues (from the unscholarly to the blind adherence to a select group of the qualified). The path of learning towards a true Islamic literacy opens one onto vast vistas of other colours aside from only black and white. Thus it is refreshing to see people like Shaykh Akram, as one example, of qualified scholars who are not afraid to articulate an honest and deep scholarly discourse that simultaneously raises the standards and authentically opens the doors to the wide brotherhood of Islam. I’ve here given credit to some of the people I see currently working towards such larger goals in England, but we still have a great deal of work to do. To God we pray for such inner sight, wisdom, piety and company of rightly-guided leaders in all spheres, and we thank Him for His immeasurable blessings. Amin.