Brotherhood in Islam

Brotherhood is written akhuwat (اخوت) in Arabic and is derived from akh (اخ) which means fraternity. Brotherhood in Islam means a connection based on love and goodwill among all Muslims. It means to be one. All Muslims are one nation based on belief and ideology. Each of them is a brother to the other. Allah says:

The truth is that (all) believers are brothers (to one another).

(49:10)

The Holy Prophet emphasized the unity of the Muslim nation. He said about brotherhood in Islam:

The example of the believers in their affection, mercy, and compassion for each other is like that of a body; when any limb aches, the whole body responds with sleeplessness and fever. (Muslim 6586)

Prophet-Mohammad

Brotherhood means that among people there should be pure feelings like true brothers who grieve, help and share each other’s pain. In the spirit of Islamic teachings, the Shahada is the foundation of brotherhood and a common unity among all Muslims. It is the core of spirit of brotherhood and all Islamic teachings. When someone recites the Shahada he becomes a part of this fraternity. The basis of this love is very pure. It is not because of self-interest, worldly interest or lineage, neither power nor authority, but because of the Divine Essence. Brotherhood is a blessing of Allah which He places in the hearts of His pious and sincere servants.

Call to mind the blessing of Allah upon you when you were enemies (one to another). Then He created the bond of love amongst your hearts, and by His blessing you became brothers.

(3:103)

 

Essentials of Brotherhood

Abdullah Nasih ‘Ulwan writes about the essentials of brotherhood in his book “Islami Akhuwat”:

When one loves his brother, he should let him know:

  • Narrated Anas ibn Malik: “A man was with the Prophet (ﷺ) and a man passed by him and said: O Messenger of Allah! I love this man. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) then asked: Have you informed him? He replied: No. The Holy Prophet said: Inform him. He then went to him and said: I love you for Allah’s sake. The other man replied: May He for whose sake you love me love you!” (Abu Dawud 5125)

Be Cheerful When Meeting

When one meets his brother, he should be cheerful:

  • Abu Dharr reported: “The Holy Prophet said to me: Do not belittle any act of kindness, even if it is greeting your brother with a cheerful face.” (Muslim 6690)

Shake Hands When Meeting

When one meets his brother, he should shake hands:

Narrated Al-Bara’ ibn Azib: “The Prophet (ﷺ) said: When two Muslims meet and shake hands, their sins are forgiven before they part ways.” (Abu Dawud 5212)

Visit Frequently

One should visit his brother from time to time:

  • Narrated Muadh ibn Jabal: The Holy Prophet said: “Allah Almighty says: My love is due to those who love one another for My sake, who sit with one another for My sake, who visit one another for My sake, and who give to one another for My sake.” (Mishkat ul Masabeeh 5011)

Give Gifts

One should give gifts to his brother on different occasions:

  • The Holy Prophet said: You keep giving gifts to each other, you will love each other and enmity will go away (Muwatta Imam Malik 1643)

Request for Prayer on Separation

When a brother is separated from another brother, he should request him to keep praying for them in the state of separation:

  • Narrated Umar ibn al-Khattab: “I sought permission of the Prophet (ﷺ) to perform umrah. He permitted me and said: My younger brother, do not forget me in your supplication.”

He (Umar) said: “He told me a word that pleased me so much so that I would not have been pleased if I were given the whole world.” (Abu Dawud 1498, Tirmidhi  3562)

In conclusion, when a Muslim does all of these, the foundation of brotherhood will strengthen and deepen and the feeling of goodwill between the two will grow day by day. Every Muslim should follow these essentials of brotherhood, but it is obligatory for those who want to be brothers so that they can be an example to others. (Islami Akhuwat)

Brotherhood in Islam


Importance of Brotherhood

Many nations and religions claim brotherhood among themselves, but their brotherhood focuses on material, wealth and blood relations. They lack spiritual strength and moral values. However, Islam has instilled a brotherhood in Muslims that is stronger than material and blood relations through its teachings and Sunna. Its roots are deep and strong because of spiritual and moral values. This brotherhood does not focus on material, wealth or blood relations. Rather it focuses on fear of Allah, Oneness of Allah and obedience of the Holy Prophet.

The Holy Prophet established a practical example of brotherhood by connecting the scattered nations of Arabia and transformed them into one great united nation through education. Talks of the greatness, mutual brotherhood and unity of this nation spread throughout the world, the name of which would make Rome and Iran tremble. He (ﷺ) trained them such that the people who fought among themselves became teachers of brotherhood and unity. The most civilized and organized empire of that time was established through mutual love and brotherhood.

Brotherhood in Islam is a great blessing and means to erase all distinctions and making Muslims one. When the Holy Prophet and his Companions migrated from Makkah to Madina, they achieved great milestones and established a strong relationship between the emigrants and the Ansar, which is forever a great example for everyone. Those who were each other’s grave enemies, became protectors of each other’s life, home, honor and dignity and started shedding their lives on each other as soldiers of Islam.

The Cup of Water in War

History has never seen such a grand display of brotherhood in Islam and will never see it in the future. It was the perfection of this brotherhood that in a war, a cup of water passed around many wounded Companions and when it was brought to the first one, he was martyred due to thirst and wounds. All the wounded Companions were martyred like this. Death was in front of everyone, but each one did not drink the water for his brother and embraced martyrdom.

Significance of Brotherhood

The Holy Prophet has highlighted the importance, utility and greatness of brotherhood in Islam in his numerous hadiths.

  • The Holy Prophet said: When a Muslim meets his Muslim brother and shakes hands, both their sins fall away like leaves fall from a dry tree on a windy day. And their sins are forgiven even if they are equal to the foam of the sea. (Al-Silsilah al-Sahiha 23)
  • The Holy Prophet said: Verily, Allah would say on the Day of Resurrection: “Where are those who have mutual love for My Glory’s sake? Today I shall shelter them in My shadow when there is no other shadow but the shadow of Mine.” (Muslim 6548)
  • Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger saying: A Muslim is the brother of a Muslim. He does not oppress him, does not leave him helpless and does not despise him. It is enough for someone to be evil that he despises his Muslim brother. For every Muslim, the blood (life), wealth and honor of another Muslim is haram. (Muslim 6541)
    • The Holy Prophet said: The believer is the believer’s mirror, and the believer is the believer’s brother who guards him against loss and protects him when he is absent. (Abu Dawud 4918)
    • Whoever visits a sick person, a caller (angel) calls from heaven: ‘May you be happy, may your walking be blessed, and may you occupy a dignified position in Paradise.’ (Sunan Ibn Majah 1443)

    Brotherhood should be based on faith and piety and this can happen only when the Muslim chooses only faithful and righteous friends. Allah says:

    • Indeed, the believers are brothers. (49:10)
    • On that Day, all friends and acquaintances will become enemies to one another except the pious. (43:67)


    Difference between Blood Brothers and Muslim Brothers

    Every Muslim should treat other Muslims as if he was his relative and blood brother. Blood brothers are brothers because they have the same parents. But Muslims are brothers because they believe in Allah and are children of Adam. Many things damage blood relationships but nothing damages the relationship of faith and brotherhood due to its connection with Allah.

    The Holy Prophet said:

    • The Muslim is the brother to the Muslim, he does not cheat him, lie to him, nor deceive him. All of a Muslim is unlawful to another Muslim: His Honor, his wealth, and his blood. Piety is here (in the inward). It is enough evil for a man that he belittles his brother Muslim. (Tirmidhi 1927)
    brotherhood

    Muslims of early centuries dedicated themselves to brotherhood, love and brotherhood. They followed the Holy Prophet’s teachings, so success and prosperity became their destiny. Brotherhood is based on the fact that a person has faith in such high values that make him behave well with others. Only Islam has such high values. The Holy Prophet says:

    • It is narrated on the authority of Anas that the Holy Prophet observed: By Him in whose Hand is my life, no, bondsman (truly) believes till he likes for his neighbor, or he (the Holy Prophet) said: for his brother, whatever he likes for himself. (Muslim 171)

    It is also a sign of faith that what a man considers bad for himself, he considers bad for others. Selfishness is not worthy for a Muslim. True Muslim is pure of inward diseases like selfishness and is a well-wisher of his Muslim brothers.

    Jarir bin Abdullah narrated:

    • I pledged to the Holy Prophet to establish the Salat, give the Zakat, and to give sincere advice to every Muslim. (Tirmidhi 1925, Muslim 199)
    • Narrated Abu Saeed al-Khudri: “The Prophet (ﷺ) said: Associate only with a believer, and let only a God-fearing man eat your meals.” (Abu Dawud 4832)
    • Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: A man is upon the religion of his friend, so watch whom you make your friend. (Tirmidhi 2378)

    If faith and piety is the base of friendship, its roots are very strong and durable. Brotherhood should be established in Islamic way. As when the Holy Prophet’s Companions would meet, they would not separate until they recited Surah Al-Asr to each other and then greeted each other. In other words, they would preach faith, righteous deeds, truth and patience because they were following the true religion. But what are we doing today with the teachings of Islam and the beloved sayings of the Holy Prophet? Where are we going? Today, neither a Muslim is safe from the pain and suffering of another Muslim, nor is his wealth, life and reputation. A Muslim today is no longer Muslim.

    Identity

    Our identity is Muslim, but we have become victims of religious and political sectarianism. We are dividing into groups. For nationalism and favoritism, we are undermining all human and social values. Instead of being proud of being a Muslim, we are proud of favoritism and racism. We have gone so far in that pride that we have forgotten the Holy Prophet’s saying that Jubayr ibn Mut’im reported:

    • The Holy Prophet said: ‘He who summons others to favoritism does not belong to us; he who fights for favoritism does not belong to us; and he who dies upholding favoritism does not belong to us.’ (Abu Dawud 5121)

    A Muslim should consider another Muslim his true brother. They should not hesitate from sacrificing their life or wealth for each other, should support each other in difficult times. But today’s reality is the opposite. The classification of families, tribes and nations has divided the children of Adam into groups. Because of differences, families are enemies, tribes are enemies, nations are enemies and so are countries. They have started to crush each other in the race for power. And they have forgotten in hostility that they are all children of Adam. Everyone is thirsty for the other’s blood to prove superiority. Today, if the brotherhood that was among the Holy Prophet’s Companions is created, then there is no reason why Muslims should not be exalted among other nations.

    The Need of Today’s Muslim Nation

    We all have to hold tightly to our faith together, forget our unnecessary differences and purify our hearts and minds from the forces of hatred and enmity. The Holy Prophet’s sayings must be taken to heart, otherwise we will die fighting amongst ourselves before the enemy even gets a chance to destroy us. Scientific and industrial development of the present era has changed mankind. Today’s man is sometimes getting unique gems from the immense depths of rivers, sometimes he reaches the height of the heavens and talks about settling in the moon and stars, but all these developments have distanced man from faith and piety.

    Each person has a separate world of his own. Muslims themselves do not have enough free time to leave their world and take a look at the thousands and millions of suffering Muslims around them, to show them compassion, feel their suffering or try to remove their problems. As today’s Muslims are progressing in material development, the feelings of brotherhood, friendship and love are gradually disappearing from within them. Brotherhood in Islam aside, brotherhood among real brothers is missing. Today there are disagreements between real brothers over some material things. These increasing differences due to land, property, house and wealth are not hidden from anyone. Sometimes these differences are so severe that even real brothers are willing to kill each other.

    Comparison with the Past

    We say we are Muslims but where did the Holy Prophet’s teachings of brotherhood go? The teachings that promised a good life to the stubborn Arab Bedouins centuries ago and created such heat in their blood that a handful of men subjugated half the world and brought it to their king’s feet. We must hold tightly Allah’s rope, that is, Ism-e-Allah Zaat, the Holy Quran and its teachings to keep the unity and brotherhood of the nation strong today. Believe in the teachings that the Holy Prophet has presented to the nation through his words and actions with a true heart. Follow the light of his guidance and follow the path of Sunna and the pious ancestors. This is the way to success and this is how we strengthen the unity and brotherhood of the nation.

    Every Muslim must develop the attribute of faith in himself. This is possible only through Ism-e-Allah Zaat and the company of the perfect spiritual guide. Come to Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen to walk the path of the pious, to get Ism-e-Allah Zaat and be blessed with the blessings of Divine love. The door is open to whoever wants to come otherwise, Allah does not need anyone or anything.

    May Allah bless all Muslims to stand with brotherhood and maintain peace and faith in the nation. Ameen!

    Sultan ul Ashiqeen - Brotherhood


    Questions:

    What is the importance of brotherhood in Islam?

    Brotherhood in Islam is a great blessing and means to erase all distinctions and making Muslims one. When the Holy Prophet and his Companions migrated from Makkah to Madina, they achieved great milestones and established a strong relationship between the emigrants and the Ansar, which is forever a great example for everyone. Those who were each other’s grave enemies, became protectors of each other’s life, home, honor and dignity and started shedding their lives on each other as soldiers of Islam.

    What are the essentials of brotherhood in Islam?

    1. Inform the other brother (of love)
    2. Be cheerful when meeting
    3. Shake hands when meeting
    4. Visit frequently
    5. Give gifts
    6. Request for prayer on parting

    What are some examples of brotherhood in Islam in history?

    Muslims of early centuries dedicated themselves to brotherhood and love. They followed the Holy Prophet’s teachings, so success and prosperity became their destiny.

    When the Holy Prophet and his Companions migrated from Makkah to Madina, they achieved great milestones and established a strong relationship between the emigrants and the Ansar, which is forever a great example for everyone. Those who were each other’s grave enemies, became protectors of each other’s life, home, honor and dignity and started shedding their lives on each other as soldiers of Islam.

    History has never seen such a grand display of brotherhood in Islam and will never see it in the future. It was the perfection of this brotherhood that in a war, a cup of water passed around many wounded Companions and when it was brought back to the first one, he had passed away due to thirst and wounds. All the wounded Companions embraced martyrdom like this. Death was in front of everyone, but each one did not drink the water for his brother and embraced martyrdom.

    This blog is English translation of an Urdu article of the magazine “Mahnama Sultan-ul-Faqr Lahore” for the month of February, 2024. The title of the Urdu article is:

    Islami Akhuwat (اسلامی اَخوت)

    Originally penned by Noreen Sarwari Qadri from Lahore is presently in English by Mohammad Bin Moghees Sarwari Qadri, exclusively for websites.

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