UNIT EIGHTEEN – MUSLIM FELLOWSHIP

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Ibn Umar reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said: “A Muslim is the brother of another Muslim. He should not wrong him nor surrender him to his enemy. Allah will take care of the needs of anyone who takes care of the needs of his brother. On the Day of Judgment, Allah will dispel the anxiety of anyone who dispels the anxiety of another Muslim. On the Day of Judgment Allah will veil anyone who veils another Muslim.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Mazalim, 3; Sahih Muslim, Birr, 58).

 

NARRATOR

Abdullah ibn Umar

1. It is reported that Abdullah ibn Umar was born in the third year of Prophethood.

2. He embraced Islam at a young age, along with his father, and emigrated to Medina again with his father.

3. He was raised entirely in the Muslim community and with an Islamic training and education.

4. He participated in all battles alongside Allah’s Messenger from age eighteen onwards.

5. He passed away in 74 AH, aged 84, 85, or 86.

 

EXPLANATION

1. This hadith, first and foremost, declares Muslims brothers and sisters, precisely as is declared in the tenth verse of the Qur’anic chapter Al-Hujurat. This fellowship has been Divinely determined and is a powerful fellowship encompassing both this world and the Hereafter. For instance, if the brother or sister of a Muslim has lost a loved one, they must attend their funeral and offer their condolences. The Muslim must visit their brother or sister if they are ill, give them morale and attend to any of their needs. It is reported in one hadith that Allah will say on the Day of Judgment: “O son of Adam, I fell ill and you visited Me not.” He will say: “O Lord, and how should I visit You when You are the Lord of the worlds?” He will say: “Did you not know that My servant So-and-so had fallen ill and you visited him not? Did you not know that had you visited him you would have found Me with him?” Just as there is a great deal that falls upon the believersuch as responding to the greeting of their fellow Muslim, entreating Allah for their forgiveness, for instance saying “May Allah have mercy on you” when they sneeze, counseling them when they request advicethe virtue of desiring for their fellow believer what they desire for themselves is also expected of them. And this is only possible through true love, such that Allah’s Messenger stresses its importance saying, “By the one who has my soul in His hand, you will not enter Paradise until you believe, and you will not believe until you love one another.”

2. The second point that is demonstrated in the hadith is that a Muslim does not wrong their fellow believer. In other words, they do not violate any of their rights, or encroach on their life, property, and honor. So important is this matter that Allah’s Messenger, upon him be the most perfect of blessings and peace, made a point of stressing, that “the life and property of every Muslim [is] a sacred trust,” in his Farewell Sermon, or that these protected. No Muslim can hurt or offend their fellow Muslim in these matters or violate their rights. When describing the bankrupt in one of his Traditions, the Messenger of Allah presents, as it were, a vivid scene pertaining to the Hereafter: “The bankrupt of my community are those who will come on the Day of Judgment with Prayer, fasting and charity but (they will find themselves bankrupt on that day as they will have exhausted their funds of virtues) since they hurled abuse upon, brought calumny against and unlawfully consumed the wealth of others and shed the blood of others and beat others, and their virtues would be credited to the account of those (who suffered at their hand). And if their good deeds fall short to clear the account, then their sins would be recorded in (their account) and they will be thrown into Hellfire.” To that end, a believer shies away from unjustly distressing their fellow believer, let alone encroaching on their sacred values such as life, property, and honor. They shudder at the prospect of having to face the repercussions of their injustice in the Hereafter.

In the continuation of the hadith under discussion it is stated that a Muslim does not surrender a fellow Muslim to the enemy. Just as a person cannot consent to having his or her own siblings handed over to the enemy and subjected to torture and punishment, a Muslim cannot accept this for their fellow believer and is obligated to approach the matter and behave in exactly the same way.

3. The hadith also states, “Allah will take care of the needs of anyone who takes care of the needs of his brother.” This expression provides great incentive and inspiration to a person. In a hadith narrated by Muslim, the Messenger of Allah says, “Allah comes to the aid of His servants so long as His servants come to the aid of their fellow Muslims.” This matter is presented here in such a way that it is though what is expected from the Muslim is this characteristic of being at the aid of their fellow believers becoming their second nature, so to speak. Moreover, the Prophet enjoins believers to “Help [their] brother, whether they are an oppressor or the oppressed.” When it was then asked how it would be possible to help them if they are an oppressor, he replied, “By preventing them from oppressing others.” That is to say, one should not forego providing aid to others in any case. The Prophet indicates this in the hadith, “Believers are like two hands: one washes the other.”

4. The last section of the hadith proclaims that whoever screens the shortcomings and flaws of their fellow believer, Allah will screen their shortcomings and flaws on the Day of Judgment, at the most dreadful hour and terrifying place where a person is to be disgraced, and does not abase them before all humankind. What a great proposal is this! It is for this reason that Allah has not charged any of His servants with seeking out the faults of others. Moreover, in the words of a blessed servant, “Allah does not grant anyone authority to expose the faults of another.” Allah is the All-Veiler, Who veils the shame, shortcomings, faults, and sins of His servants, and He commands His servants to veil both their own sins, as well as the sins of their fellow believers.

 

WHAT WE HAVE LEARNED

1. Allah has associated and connected fellowship to firm foundations through such vivid examples.

2. Allah has guaranteed that the reward of such fellowship between believers will be conferred upon them, beyond measure, by Allah Himself.

3. Mutual trust between human beings is essential for a much more livable and happy world.