As love for Allah increases in the servant, it becomes a requirement that this love extends first of all to love of the radiance of Muhammad, and then to his exalted being, then to the friends of Allah, and then expands to include every creature esteemed by Allah according to their degree. In thus turning to Allah, such a circle of love becomes a source of healing and mercy for the souls. In their dealings with each other then, the believers should be careful to never move outside of this circle of mercy and love. This is the path to and the result of loving Allah and drawing closer to Him.
Allah Most High says in the Holy Qur’an that the believers are brothers.(Al Hujurat 49:10) The Prophet also informs us that it is not possible to reach a state of true faith without establishing strong ties of love amongst the believing brothers. In order to establish this love, he advises his community to spread peace amongst themselves.
Fellow love amongst the believers is a virtuous trait that Allah is most pleased with. Happiness in both worlds is also dependent on this love. The Prophet has said:
“On the Day of Judgement Allah Most High will say:
Where are those believers who showed love for each other out of obedience to me? On this day where there is no shade to be found, I will shade them with My own shade, and I will protect them”(Muslim, Birr, 37)
“There are platforms of light for those who showed love for each other in order to please Me, that even the Prophets and Martyrs will long for”.(Tirmidhi, Zuhd, 53/2390).
In another hadith the Prophet informs us that on the Day of Judgement, when there will be no shade to be found, the believers who loved each other for the sake of Allah and who met and parted for the sake of Allah will be shaded by the shade of the Throne of Allah. This is evidently the brotherhood of difficult and troublesome times.
Taking offense and refusing to talk to one’s Muslim brother is a contemptible action that is never sanctioned. The Prophet has said in regard to this:
“It is not lawful for a Muslim to stop talking to his brother in Islam for more than three days. If three days have passed since he has stopped talking to him, he should greet him when he meets him. If his brother accepts his greeting then they will both share in the spiritual reward. If he does not, then he will be the one who will have sinned. And the one who greeted him will have made amends”(Abu Dawud, Adab, 47/4912).
“Whoever stops talking to his fellow Muslim for one year will be considered to have committed a sin equivalent to spilling his blood”(Abu Dawud, Adab, 47/4915).
According to the Prophet, deeds done by the servant are presented to Allah on either a Monday or Thursday. Allah forgives the sins of all His servants except those who stop talking to their fellow Muslim and who associate partners with Him. He cautions the angels to delay the process of forgiving these two people who stopped talking until they have made peace with each other (Muslim, Birr, 35-36; Abu Dawud, Adab, 47).
Scenes of Virtue
One day the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) held Muadh’s hand and said to him:
“O Muadh! I swear by Allah that I truly love you”. Muadh replied:
“May my mother and father be sacrificed for you o Messenger of Allah. I love you too, very much”. Later the Prophet said to him:
“O Muadh. I advise you to never abandon saying the following supplication after performing each prayer: ‘O Allah! Help me to remember You, to thank You and to be a good servant to You”(Ahmad, V, 244-5; Abu Dawud, Witr, 2; Nasai, Sahw, 60; Tirmidhi, Zuhd, 30).
What a beautiful display of love. The Messenger of Allah loved his fellow Muslim Muadh, and as a sign of this love he offered him some beneficial advice.
The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said:
“There are certain people amongst the servants of Allah, who are not prophets, nor are they martyrs, yet on the Day of Judgement they will have attained to such a position that even the prophets and the martyrs will look at them in admiration”.
The Companions asked:
“Who are these people and what sort of good deeds will they have done? Let us know so that we can love them and be close to them, o Messenger of Allah”. The Prophet answered:
‘They are such people that though there are no blood relations amongst them, nor any business or trade relations, yet they love each other for the sake of Allah. By Allah their faces are radiant with light and they are upon pillars of light. When others fear, they do not fear, and when others feel sorrow, they do not feel sorrow”.
He then recited the following verse:
‘Yes, the friends of Allah will feel no fear and will know no sorrow:
those who have faith and are conscious of Allah, there is good news for them in the life of this world and in the afterlife. There is no changing the words of Allah. That is the great victory!’(Yunus, 10:62-64)
Abu Idris al-Hawlani (may Allah have mercy on him) narrates:
“I had gone to the mosque of Damascus, where I saw a young man there with a smiling face. A group of people had gathered around him. Whenever they fell into dispute about some matter they would immediately go to that young man and ask for and accept his opinion. I asked who this young man was. They told me it was Muadh ibn Jabal .
The next day I ran to the mosque as early as I could. When I got there I saw that that young man was there already performing his prayer. I waited until he had finished and then approached him and greeted him with the greeting of peace and then said to him”:
“By Allah! I love you”.
“Do you love me for the sake of Allah?” he asked.
“Yes for Allah” I said. Then he asked me twice:
“Do you really love me for the sake of Allah?” Both times I answered:
“Yes I truly love you for the sake of Allah”. Then he held me by my robe and pulled me towards him and said:
“I congratulate you. I heard the Messenger of Allah say:
“Allah Most High has said: ‘Those who love each other merely for My sake, and those who gather together to please Me, and those who visit each other for My sake and who give charity and do good for My sake… They will be the ones who (will) have earned my love”(Muwatta, Sha’r, 16).
The Blessed Prophet (pbuh) narrated the following story as a demonstration of how loving one’s fellow Muslim for Allah will allow one to attain to Allah’s love.
“One time a man set out to visit his Muslim brother who lived in another village. Allah Most High appointed an angel with the duty of watching him on his way. When the man came to the angel, the angel asked him:
‘Where are you going?’
The man replied:
‘My Muslim brother lives in that village. I am going to see him.
The angel asked him:
‘Is there something that you wish to benefit from that friend?’
The man replied:
‘No, no. It is just that I love him for the sake of Allah and I am going to visit him’.
The angel then said:
‘Just as you love him, so does Allah love you. I am a messenger sent to you by Allah in order to give you this good news’(Muslim, Birr, 38; Ahmad, II, 292).
Anas ibn Malik (r.a) relates the following event which explains how one who practices Muslim brotherhood in truth will gain Paradise.
‘Once we were sitting with the Blessed Prophet, when he said:
“A man from Paradise will come here now”.
When we looked we saw a man from the Ansar, whose beard was dripping with the water from his ablution and who was carrying his shoes in his left hand. The next day the Prophet repeated his words, and the man appeared again as before. The third day the Prophet repeated his words, and the man appeared as he did the first day. When the Prophet rose to leave, Abdullah ibn Amr got up and followed that man and asked him:
“I had an argument with my father and swore that I would not go to see him for three days. Would you let me stay with you during this time?”
The man replied:
Later, Abdullah ibn Amr (r.a) told us:
“I spent those three nights with him. But never did I once see him get up to pray during the night. But he did perform zikr and pronounce the takbir until he awoke for the dawn prayer. I never heard him speak anything but good. After the third night, I felt as if I had belittled his deeds as I said to him:
“O slave of Allah! There was no argument between me and my father. But I heard the Messenger of Allah say about you three times: ‘A man from Paradise will appear now before you’. And you appeared each of those three times. I wanted to stay with you to find out what it is that you do, and I wanted to follow your example. However I have not seen that you have done anything extraordinarily great. What is the deed that allowed you to reach such a station praised by the Messenger of Allah praised?”
The man replied:
“Nothing other than what you have seen”.
When I went to leave he spoke after:
“My deeds are none other than what you have seen. However I never hold a grudge for any of my Muslim brothers (my heart is filled with love for all Muslims). And I never envy any good that has been given to anyone by Allah”.
I then said to him:
“This is that which has allowed you to reach this state”(Ahmad, III, 166).
This is the heart of a Muslim who looks at all of the believers as his true brothers and behaves virtuously towards them…
Zubayr ibn Awwam (r.a) narrates an unrivalled scene of brotherhood that took place at the Battle of Uhud.
“During the battle of Uhud my mother took off two cardigans that she had brought with her and said:
“I brought these so that you could make a shroud for my brother Hamza with them”.
We took the cardigans and went to where Hamza lay. There was a martyr from the Ansar lying next to him and no shroud had yet been found to cover him. We felt embarrassed to use both of the cardigans to cover Hamza and leave this man without a shroud. We covered Hamza with one of them and we let the other be a shroud for the man from the Ansar. We drew lots as to who would get the large cardigan and who would get the small one” (Ahmad, I, 165).
This is a real story that shows that Muslim brotherhood can rise above the ties of blood kinship.
Ibn Umar (r.a) speaks of the mature hearts of the Era of Bliss with the following beautiful words:
“We have lived in such times in which no one amongst us considered themselves more worthy of silver and gold than their Muslim brother. Now we are in such times where we love gold and silver more than we love our Muslim brother” (Haysami, X, 285).
A believer should be interested in his Muslim brother, and he should be considerate of him and concern himself with his concerns. In fact, he should think about him before he thinks of himself. And he should try to meet his needs. It is possible to see one of the best examples of this in the actions of Dawud al-Tai.
One day a student who was in his service said to him:
“I prepared some meat; would you like to eat with me?’
When his teacher was silent he brought him some meat. However, Dawud al-Tai (may his spirit be sanctified) merely looked at the meat and said:
“What news is there of such and such orphan, my son”? His student sighed, and implying that they were in a bad state, said:
“As you know, sir”. That great friend of Allah then said:
“In that case, take this meat to them”. His sincere student who wished that his master would eat the meat that he had prepared then said:
“It has been a long time since you have eaten meat, master’.
Alas, however much he persisted, Dawud al-Tai did not accept and said:
“My son! If I eat this meat, all that will happen is that it will be expelled from me a little while later. However if those orphans eat it, it will rise to the Exalted Throne of Allah to remain there eternally, (that is, I will have received a great reward for it)…”
Thus those who are friends with Allah are friends with all of creation, and with their fellow Muslims in particular. They look upon their Muslim brothers and sisters with the mercy and compassion of Allah. They bear deep love for them. This love expands so much that they become concerned with saving all of humanity. Even as the Blessed Prophet (pbuh), who was at the peak of friendship, was being stoned at Taif, he was praying for the guidance of the people of that land.
In the story of Habib an-Najjar, which is told in the Chapter Yasin of the Qur’an, when the veils of this world closed upon him, and the veil of the Divine opened up, he showed mercy to those who stoned him, saying:
‘If my people only knew how my Lord has forgiven me and placed me among the honoured ones!’ (Yasin, 36:26-7)
This is a display of the mercy and compassion in the heart of a believer who yet desired the salvation of the very people who made a martyr of him.
Abu al-Hasan Harakani expresses his feelings about Muslim brotherhood as a way of expounding the bounties given to him:
“If a thorn happens to prick the finger of anyone, from Turkestan to Damascus, it is as if it is my finger that has been pricked. And if anybody hits their foot on a rock, it is as if it is my foot that has been hurt. I feel their pain. If there is sorrow in another’s heart, that heart is my heart”.
Sahl ibn Ibrahim, gives another example of amazing Muslim brotherhood as follows:
“I was friends with Ibrahim ibn Ethem. One time I had become very sick. Ibrahim ibn Ethem spent whatever he had for my health. Then I began to recover. At one time I asked him for some food that I was craving. Because he had nothing left to give, he sold his mount in order to fulfil my wish. When I had fully recovered we needed a camel to go somewhere and so I asked him:
‘O Ibrahim, where is your camel?’
Ibrahim ibn Ethem replied:
‘We sold it’. Because my health did not allow me to walk I asked:
‘Well what will we mount now?
‘I will carry you’ he said and he carried me on his back for the distance of three stopping places.
After Istanbul was conquered, Fatih Sultan Mehmed asked certain fair-minded priests who had been thrown into the dungeons during the Byzantine rule, their opinions and observations about the Ottoman Empire. They answered that they would only be able to inform him of their opinion after a period of examination and analysis.
The priests went about travelling everywhere, given the decree that they had been given. One early morning they entered a shop in order to buy something. The shopkeeper said to them:
“Sirs, I have already made my first selling for today. Go and buy something from my neighbour here who is yet to make a sale”.
This scene of Muslim brotherhood left them amazed…we cannot envy enough such a sublime heart, purified of worshipping benefit and thinking of his Muslim brother as much as himself.
In short, Allah most High desires that fellow Muslims be like two hands that wash each other. True friendship for the sake of Allah is when two separate creatures dwell in the same heart. The responsibility of religious brotherhood and the lives of those who put effort into serving with sensitivity and sacrifice will continue on after their mortal lives have passed away. They will be remembered always with mercy. Just like the Emmigrants, the Helpers and all believers who have made their hearts like foundations …
In these modern times, the most important duty of brotherhood that will be a source of gaining divine pleasure is to act with mercy and compassion to those who are seeking guidance, to the weak, the orphans and the helpless in a background of a brotherhood full of love.
. Muslim, Iman 93-4
. According to the exegetes of hadith what is meant by the ‘prophets and martyrs longing’ is not that this group of people will be above the prophets and martyrs but rather to express the exalted state and position of those who love each other for the sake of Allah, it is expressed as a form of consolidation.
. Bukhari, Adhan, 36)