The importance of brotherhood – Ramadan reminder
As the month of Ramadan comes to an end, it’s important we think beyond personal and spiritual development, and reflect on the other characteristics of the Prophet(SAW) in this blessed month which can help to nurture taqwa and be a shield for us from Allah’s displeasure.
Beyond monetary generosity of donations, there’s a real need to establish generosity of the heart – brotherhood, sisterhood and unity in the community. Putting others before yourself.
Abdullah Anaki (rh) said: ‘There are five remedies for the heart:
- the company of the pious;
- recitation of the Quran;
- emptying the inner self (of vices);
- praying during the night and
- crying at dawn.’
Shaykh Mahmud al-Hasan, also known as Shaykh al-Hind, was imprisoned in the jail of Malta by colonialists. There he was tortured in solitary confinement with red-hot rods applied to his waist with the guards pressing him “Mahmud al-Hasan! Deliver a fatwa in favour of the British.” When he regained his senses he would say, ”O British! I am Bilal’s heir, my skin may melt away but I shall never deliver a fatwa in favour of the British.” His students, out of such love for him, when he was being arrested asked the colonialists to arrest them too. They were told that they had done no crime. So they said tell us what crime we need to commit to go with our Shaykh. They were then arrested and used to do the khidma of the Shaykh. When Shaykh ul-Hind was finally released, he gave a historic speech and explained he had spent many years thinking about what had brought the Ummah to the stage of humiliation and subjugation that it was in. After much thought, he explained that he felt the cause was 2 things. We will only be honoured through:
- Connecting with the Qur’an to Allah(SWT) through the Qur’an. This is what has made these nights and this whole month honoured.
- We are divided and are no longer one big family. We sit with people of our own race and befriend those who are similar to us. Where is that Ummah gone who would hug one another and ask O my brother, make dua for me.Just as this night was blessed with the revelation of the Qur’an the harm of disunity was the cause of its knowledge being removed from us. Ubaadah ibn as-Saamit (R.A) said: “The Prophet (SAW) came out intending to tell us about Lailatul-Qadr, however two men were arguing and he said: “I came out to inform you about Lailatul-Qadr but so and so, and, so and so were arguing, so it was raised up, and perhaps that is better for you, so seek it on the (twenty) ninth and (twenty) seventh and the (twenty) fifth.” (Bukhari)
Sadly, today, we see knife-crime and violence on the rise amongst our younger generation sparked oftentimes by pride, petty arguments, spite and showing off. When this is discussed, we need to really reflect on its causes and recognising that ultimately the cause is none other than ourselves. Aren’t we disunited by our own tribes and races preferring that to justice and fairness? Don’t each of us experience this naraazgee (upset) within our own families where a blood brother will not speak to his brother or cousin? Until we can find it in our hearts to forgive our brothers and sisters and remove ill feeling humbling ourselves, we should not expect any change in our children.
The believers are but brothers, so make reconciliation between your brothers and fear Allah that you may receive mercy.
الْمُسْلِمُونَ كَرَجُلٍ وَاحِدٍ إِنْ اشْتَكَى عَيْنُهُ اشْتَكَى كُلُّهُ وَإِنْ اشْتَكَى رَأْسُهُ اشْتَكَى كُلُّهُ
The Muslims are like a single man. If the eye is afflicted, then the whole body is afflicted. If the head is afflicted, then the whole body is afflicted.
Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2586
“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.” [Surah Hashr 59:10]
Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
مَنْ نَفَّسَ عَنْ مُؤْمِنٍ كُرْبَةً مِنْ كُرَبِ الدُّنْيَا نَفَّسَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ كُرْبَةً مِنْ كُرَبِ يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ وَمَنْ يَسَّرَ عَلَى مُعْسِرٍ يَسَّرَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالآخِرَةِ وَمَنْ سَتَرَ مُسْلِمًا سَتَرَهُ اللَّهُ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالآخِرَةِ وَاللَّهُ فِي عَوْنِ الْعَبْدِ مَا كَانَ الْعَبْدُ فِي عَوْنِ أَخِيهِ
He who relieves the hardship of a believer in this world, Allah will relieve his hardship on the Day of Judgment. He who makes easy what is difficult, Allah will make it easy for him in the world and the Hereafter. He who conceals the faults of a Muslim, Allah will conceal his faults in the world and the Hereafter, for Allah helps the servant as long as he helps his brother.
Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2699
Abu Darda reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
مَا مِنْ عَبْدٍ مُسْلِمٍ يَدْعُو لأَخِيهِ بِظَهْرِ الْغَيْبِ إِلاَّ قَالَ الْمَلَكُ وَلَكَ بِمِثْلٍ
There is no Muslim servant who supplicates for his brother behind his back except that the angel says: For you the same.
Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim
Anas ibn Malik reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
لَا يُؤْمِنُ أَحَدُكُمْ حَتَّى يُحِبَّ لِأَخِيهِ أَوْ قَالَ لِجَارِهِ مَا يُحِبُّ لِنَفْسِهِ
None of you has faith until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.
Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 13
In another narration of this tradition, the Prophet said:
لا يَبْلُغُ عَبْدٌ حَقِيقَةَ الإِيمَانِ حَتَّى يُحِبَّ لِلنَّاسِ مَا يُحِبُّ لِنَفْسِهِ مِنَ الْخَيْرِ
The servant does not reach the reality of faith until he loves for people what he loves for himself of goodness.
Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Ibn Ḥibbān 238
ولفظ الناس يشمل الكفار فينبغي لكل مسلم أن يحب للكافر الإسلام وما يتفرع عليه من الكمالات
The use of the word ‘people’ includes the unbeliever, so it is befitting for every Muslim to love for the unbelievers to have Islam and the virtues that derive from it.
Source: Fayḍ al-Qadīr 1/228
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Seven are (the persons) whom Allah will give protection with His Shade on the Day when there will be no shade except His Shade (i.e., on the Day of Resurrection), and the fourth category are “two persons who love and meet each other and depart from each other for the sake of Allah” رجلان تحابا في الله اجتمعا عليه وتفرقا عليه rajulaani tahaaabaa fillahi ijtimaa’an ‘alayhi wa tafarraqan ‘alayhi [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
When the famine hit the Muslims in the reign of Umar ibn ul Khattab (RA), he forbade food on himself until the needy Muslims had eaten first. Even though he had food of his own and even though his family would push him to eat, he would say – how can I be their leader if I don’t feel the pain they are going through. When his stomach would rumble from starvation, he would hit his own stomach saying “make all the noise you want out of hunger, but I won’t eat till the Muslims eat first.”
And this was the example of the Prophet(SAW) – constantly putting others before himself. If anyone needed help, the Prophet(SAW) would give away whatever he had and empty out his homes and then request the Sahaba to help.
A man came to the Prophet (SAW) and complained of hunger and distress. The Prophet (SAW) had nothing in hand, or in his home to feed him so he asked the Sahabah “Would anybody entertain him as a guest tonight on my behalf?”
One of the Ansaar, Abu Talha said: “O, Prophet of Allah, I will do that.” He immediately took the person to his house and instructed his wife: “Look here, this man is a guest of the Prophet (SAW). We will entertain him as best as we can, and won’t spare anything in doing so.”
His wife replied: “By Allah! I have got no food in the house, except a very little—something just enough for the children.”
Abu Talha said: “You lull the children to sleep without feeding them, while I sit with the guest over the meagre meal. When we start eating, put out the lamp pretending to set it right, so that the guest may not become aware of my not sharing the meal with him.” While his guest ate, he mimicked that he was eating and it was regarding this incident that Allah revealed the verse:
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 need. And whoever is protected from the stinginess of his soul – it is those who will be the successful. [Surah Al-Hashr 59: 9]
Even the Prophetic dua (supplications), the wording retained in the Qur’an and the Sunnah is replete with the plural form – naa: iyyaka na‘budu, ihdhinaa, rabbanaa aatinaa fid dunya, rabbanaa hablanaa, rabbanaaa faghfirlanaa.
Abu Hurayrah (RA) narrates that the Prophet (SAW) left his house at an odd time and he saw 2 people in the masjid – Abu Bakr & Umar (RAA). The Prophet(SAW) says to them Maa akhrajakumaa min buyootikimaa hadhihis saa’a and they responded Al-joo’ (starvation). And the Prophet(SAW) responds “wa ana wallathee nafsi biyadih” These are the 3 most important people in this Ummah. The Prophet(SAW) who had the most adoring Ummah and the greatest Ummah and the 2 greatest who were constantly being harassed at their homes (Surah al Hujuraat) and rushing to serve others were forced out of their houses but caretakers are really taken care of. This is the same Prophet(SAW) who fed Abu Hurayra when he was hungry just by looking at his face. But they had no expectation from the people. So the Prophet(SAW) said Qum – lets go and they went to the house of an Ansari for they were known for their generosity. The wife opened the door and she was so pleased to see them and said that her husband was out collecting water. He returned and said Alhamdulillah, what a blessing to have such great guests. He gives them water. Then he cut from dates. Then he took a knife to cut a sheep but the Prophet(SAW) said make sure its not a milk-bearing sheep out of care, and so he did. So they ate, perhaps for the first time in months so well, and at that moment as they are eating to their fill, he looks at them both and says “Wallathee nafsi biyadih – la tus’alluna ‘an hadha yawm al qiyaamah” You will be asked about this blessing on the day of judgement. You left your homes out of starvation and you are returning to your homes without having been showered by the blessing of Allah(SWT) so be grateful.
Learn to love other people and put others before you. Don’t cut the person in front of you. Don’t make it difficult for your brother to stand in prayer. Like a mother who is fed by seeing her children eat, may Allah(SWT) fill our hearts with compassion for one another. May Allah(SWT) bond our hearts and remove from our eyes the colours of race and the division of nationality and wealth.
Rights of our brothers
Ibn Muflih writes:
ومما لِلْمُسْلِمِ عَلَى الْمُسْلِمِ أَنْ يَسْتُرَ عَوْرَتَهُ وَيَغْفِرَ زَلَّتَهُ وَيَرْحَمَ عَبْرَتَهُ وَيُقِيلَ عَثْرَتَهُ وَيَقْبَلَ مَعْذِرَتَهُ وَيَرُدَّ غِيبَتَهُ وَيُدِيمَ نَصِيحَتَهُ وَيَحْفَظَ خِلَّتَهُ وَيَرْعَى ذِمَّتَهُ وَيُجِيبَ دَعْوَتَهُ وَيَقْبَلَ هَدِيَّتَهُ وَيُكَافِئَ صِلَتَهُ وَيَشْكُرَ نِعْمَتَهُ وَيُحْسِنَ نُصْرَتَهُ وَيَقْضِيَ حَاجَتَهُ وَيَشْفَعَ مَسْأَلَتَهُ وَيُشَمِّتَ عَطْسَتَهُ وَيَرُدَّ ضَالَّتَهُ وَيُوَالِيَهُ وَلَا يُعَادِيَهُ وَيَنْصُرَهُ عَلَى ظَالِمِهِ وَيَكُفَّهُ عَنْ ظُلْمِهِ غَيْرِهِ وَلَا يُسْلِمَهُ وَلَا يَخْذُلَهُ وَيُحِبَّ لَهُ مَا يُحِبُّ لِنَفْسِهِ وَيَكْرَهَ لَهُ مَا يَكْرَهُ لِنَفْسِهِ
Among the rights of a Muslim over another Muslim are that he cover his faults, forgive his mistakes, have mercy for his errors, overlook his missteps, reject his backbiting, always give him sincere advice, preserve his good traits, guard his covenants, answer his invitations, accept his guidance, repay his gifts, show gratitude for his favors, assist him in the best manner, fulfill his needs, intercede for his problems, respond to his sneeze, refuse his misguided advice, protect him and not take him as an enemy, support him against his oppressors, restrain him from oppressing others, not surrender him, not abandon him, and to love for him what he loves for himself and to hate for him what he hates for himself.
Source: al-Ādāb al-Shar’īyah 1/290
Ja’far ibn Muhammad, may Allah have mercy on him, said:
إِذَا بَلَغَكَ عَنْ أَخِيكَ الشَّيْءُ تُنْكِرُهُ فَالْتَمِسْ لَهُ عُذْرًا وَاحِدًا إِلَى سَبْعِينَ عُذْرًا فَإِنْ أَصَبْتَهُ وَإِلا قُلْ لَعَلَّ لَهُ عُذْرًا لا أَعْرِفُهُ
If you hear something from your brother that you reject, then make an excuse for him up to seventy excuses. If you cannot do it, then say: Perhaps he has an excuse I do not know.
Source: Shu’ab al-Imān 7853
Ramadan Reminder 2018 series – the Taqwa toolbox