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The Islamic Brotherhood

-Rights and Responsibilities

Allah (S.W.T.) declared in the Noble Qur’an the nature of the relationship between Muslims, what can be translated, “The believers are nothing else than brothers…” {Verse 10, Surat Al-Hujurat}

Islam does not want people to repeat the empty slogan of Islamic Brotherhood. Nor does Islam want people to claim Islamic Brotherhood, without practicing it in their lives. For that reason, Islam legislated the do’s and do not’s, which can help Muslims implement Islamic Brotherhood in their lives. This legislation also provided guidelines that would strengthen, nurture, and protect it from everything that may weaken or bring to an end.

There are many Qur’anic verses and authentic Ahadith that can better explain all these guidelines. Today we will elaborate on one of those Ahadith, which the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) told the Muslims to abide by at all times. The prophet Mohammad (S.A.W.) said,

"Do not be envious of one another; do not inflate prices by overbidding against one another; do not hate one another; do not turn away from one another; do not enter into commercial transaction when others have entered into that (transaction); but be you, O slaves of Allah, as brothers. A Muslim is a brother of another Muslim; he neither oppresses him, nor does he lie to him, nor does he look down upon or humiliate him. Piety is here (and he pointed to his chest three times). It is evil enough for a Muslim to humiliate his brother. All things of a Muslim are sacred for his brother-in-faith: his blood, his property, and his honor.” {Related by Imam Muslim.}

This great Hadith, that we just mentioned contains many rules that have great benefits to establish and protect the Islamic Brotherhood from its downfall. Today, we will briefly explain these rules.

First the Hadith states “do not envy one another.” The prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) forbade us from envying one another on the bounties that Allah (S.W.T.) bestowed on us. When a person is envious, he wishes that Allah’s bounties be removed from that person to another. So envy is Haram (prohibited). And it is a dangerous behavior that if practiced by the people, could destroy the Brotherhood and cancel their good deeds. For that reason the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) warned us in his saying, “Beware of envy, for envy eats away from the righteous deeds, as fire eats away on wood.” So envy is among the major sins, because it objects to Allah’s distribution of His bounties amongst the people. The envious not only objects, but also wishes to change the actions of Allah (S.W.T.) by removing these bounties and redistributing them to others. Envy is a disease that affects the person, because it unrests and saddens the soul, and it increases the hatred to the envied person. Although one may envy, one will never be able to change the distribution of Allah’s gifts.

We must be aware of envy. We must cut the source of it. And remove its bad affects.

Secondly the Hadith states “do not inflate prices by overbidding against one another.” The prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) forbade us from inflating prices by overbidding against one another without a serious intention to buy, but just to hurt others. This practice is Haram (prohibited), because it is cheating, tricking, mockery, and extortion. The Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) said, “Whoever cheats is not one of us (Muslims)”. In another Hadith he (S.A.W.) said, “those who mock and trick will be in the hellfire.” Also this practice tells us of the wicked character of this person, which will lead to animosity and hatred toward people. We should be aware and avoid this action.

Thirdly the Hadith states, “do not hate one another”. The prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) forbade us from hating one another and ordered us to avoid it. We must be aware of hatred. We must cut the source of hatred. And we must remove the bad effects of hatred. In fact, the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) ordered us to do the opposite, and love one another. And he orders us to do all the things that will lead to loving each other. He (S.A.W.) affirms that loving one another will be our way to Paradise. In the following Hadith, he says, “ By Him in Whose Hand my soul is! You should by no means enter Paradise until you believe, and you shall by no means believe until you love one another. May I inform you of something, if you do, love among you will be promoted? Give greeting amongst you (i.e., by saying, As-salamu Alaikum to one another).”

The fourth thing the Hadith states is, “do not turn away from one another.” The prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) forbade us from turning away from each other. Avoiding your brother when you see him cuts off relationships. Therefore, turning away from one another is a practice that is Haram (prohibited). The prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) said, “ It is not lawful for a Muslim to desert (stop talking to) his brother beyond three nights, one turning one way and the other turning to the other way when they meet, the better of the two is one who is the first to greet the other.” Furthermore, Allah (S.W.T.) ordered us to make peace between those who are in conflict. And Allah (S.W.T.) made it a duty of the Muslim Brothers to make peace during conflict in what can be translated as, “The believers are nothing else than brothers. So make reconciliation between your brothers, and fear Allah, that you may receive mercy.” {Verse 10, Surat Al-Hujurat}

The fifth detail of the Hadith is “do not enter into commercial transaction when others have entered into that (transaction)”. For example, if a person is selling a car to another, you should not interfere with that sale. Meaning that, you should not try to propose to buy the car at a higher price. Nor should you try to take the sale of the man by proposing a cheaper price. This is Haram (prohibited) because it harmful to others and it causes a spread of animosity and hatred amongst people.

The sixth detail of the Hadith, the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) ordered us to spread the Brotherhood when he says: “but be you, O slaves of Allah, as brothers.” Everything you should do, should be to make you loving brothers and you can do this by doing the following deeds: avoid envy, avoid inflating prices by overbidding against one another; avoid hatred toward one another; avoid turning away from one another; avoid interfering in others’ commercial transactions. Furthermore, we should deal with each other with good manners, compassion, mercy, pity, and cooperation for doing well with a pure heart. Do not forget that you are slaves of Allah (S.W.T.) and a slave must obey his Master, Allah (S.W.T.).

In order to protect our Brotherhood, we must fulfill its duties by greeting each other, shaking hands, blessing the person who sneezes, attending our Brothers’ invitation, giving sincere advice, visiting the sick, and attending funerals.

Among the things that can increase love among people, is the giving of gifts. And for that, the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) emphasized this in his saying, “ exchange gifts—this leads to loving each other.” 

The seventh detail of the Hadith, the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) ordered us to refrain from all things that would cause our hearts to turn away from one another. Some of the things that would cause our hearts to turn away would be oppressing, humiliating, lying, and looking down on one another. 

In the eighth detail of the Hadith, the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) emphasized on the importance of piety and its place in the heart, rather than in appearance. In fact, the Prophet points his fingers to his chest three times to show that piety is in the heart. In another Hadith, he says, “Allah will not look at your body nor your appearance, rather he will only look at your hearts.” When a person is pious, then he will protect himself from the wrath of Allah and His punishment. So how can a person get this protection from Allah? He may attain this protection by doing all that Allah has ordered, and by refraining from all that Allah has forbade.

In the ninth and final detail of this Hadith, the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) emphasized the sacredness of the Muslim’s blood, property, and honor. The Prophet used to emphasize this important matter in all great gatherings, like in his pilgrimage when he delivered the speech on the day of Ar’afah, in the day of Al-Nahr (day of Eid), and the second day of At-Tashreeq. In these speeches, he said, “O Muslim, all your blood, property and honor are sacred, as is the sacredness of this day, in this month, and in this city.”

These are the rights of all humans in general, which would build the Islamic society. These rights will protect all people—Muslims and non-Muslims—that reside in the Muslim society. In a Muslim society, all people’s rights, blood, property, and honor will be protected from harm. There will be neither major nor minor harm on one’s body. Nor will there be harm against one’s property from extortion and trickery. No one can look at someone else in a sinful manner, no one can accuse another falsely, nor can one engage in inappropriate sexual behavior. In order to protect these essential human needs, Islam legislates a very strict system of punishment, for all those who aggress on others without a legitimate right. However, this system may only be applied when there is a true Islamic system.

As a closing statement, these are the duties and responsibilities of the Islamic Brotherhood. Everyone must do his part in a balanced way. If we truly implement this Brotherhood in our daily lives, we will gain happiness in this life, as well as, in the hereafter.

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