Hadith 35. Brotherhood COMPLETE


On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (RadhiyaAllahu ‘anhu) who said: The Messenger of Allah (SallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said,

“Do not envy one another, and do not inflate prices for one another, and do not hate one another, and do not turn away from one another, and do not undercut one another in trade, but [rather] be slaves of Allah and brothers [amongst yourselves]. A Muslim is the brother of a Muslim: he does not oppress him, nor does he fail him, nor does he lie to him, nor does he hold him in contempt. Taqwa (piety) is right here [and he pointed to his chest three times]. It is evil enough for a man to despise his Muslim brother. The whole of a Muslim is inviolable for another Muslim: his blood, his property, and his honour.”

[Reported by Muslim]

Brief Commentary

  • This hadith focuses on the concept of brotherhood in Islam, and what destroys brotherhood
  • Brotherhood in Islam is not a theoretical concept and is not just feelings we hold for one another
  • It comprises of actions, many things we should do, and many things we should stay away from.
  • You cannot attain true brotherhood without knowledge as knowledge is needed to fulfil certain actions as we are told to e.g. correct way of demanding your rights from a brother
  • The Arabic word used in this hadith for envy means mutual envy where both sides envy each other. Similarly for the Arabic words used in this hadith for inflating prices on one another, hate, and turning away from each other, where they all imply the action being done in a mutual manner
  • Ibn Rajab said, “Envy is for a person to hate for others from his kind to surpass him in anything that is praiseworthy, and this is set in the nature of mankind”
  • The believer should realise they have a certain level of envy in their hearts, as this helps in attaining piety
  • Envy is the first sin committed in the higher world by Iblis, and the first sin committed in this dunya by Qabeel who was envious of his brother and thus killed him
  • Ibn Rajab said there are different types of envy:
    • Those who seek to remove the blessings from others by transgressing against them in speech and actions and try to take the blessing for themselves
    • Those who seek to remove the blessings from others by transgressing against them in speech and actions but do not try to take the blessing for themselves. This is the worst type of envy and is the envy that shaytan had of Adam (‘alayhi assalam)
    • Those who strive to gain the same virtue of the person they are jealous of and wanting to be like that person. The ruling on this depends on what the person is jealous of. If it is something of the dunya then there is nothing good in it, though it isn’t haram. If it is something related to the religion, then it is a praiseworthy action and not considered as envy
    • Those who if they find envy in their hearts, they try to remove it. They do this by striving to be good to the person they are envious of and making du’aa for them, especially in the thing they are envious of
  • Wanting good for the person you are envious of does not negate praiseworthy competition as when competing with someone in good, you also want that person to accomplish the task too. Praiseworthy competition is used to encourage others to do good
  • Ibn Taymiyyah said one of the signs of envy is that you hide the good qualities of someone, or if his good qualities are mentioned, you smirk, or stay quiet to show disapproval
  • Causes behind envy:
    • Love for the dunya, or even love for knowledge (between students of knowledge)
    • Fear of rivalry
    • Fearing the loss of the dunya
    • Hatred to others
  • Harms of envy:
    • You are removing the quality of the believers being merciful to each other as mentioned in Surah Al- Fath [48:29]
    • Causes punishment in the hereafter
    • It means you are unhappy with the decree of Allah
    • It is a quality of the disbelievers
    • Your good deeds are passed on to the one you envied
    • Leads to worry and anxiety as that is all you think of
  • نجش is to artificially increase the price of a product, e.g. you want to buy something for £100, then someone offers £120 (without intending to buy it), so you have to pay more. It can be done to benefit the seller, or harm the buyer, or for both reasons
  • Hate is what the shaytan tries to put between the believers as mentioned in Surah Al-Mai’dah [5:91]
  • When it comes to deviants, we don’t hate them in totality, as by that we are hating in them what Allah loves, rather we hate the deviancy in them and love all the good in them
  • When Ibn Uthaymeen used to speak about deviants, he never used foul words or smirked at them. He just used to warn the people of their deviancy
  • Turning your backs to one another is similar to something known as hajr (boycott)
  • The prophet (SallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) used said, “It is not permissible for a Muslim to boycott his brother for more than three days, they meet and each one of them turns away from the other. The best of them is the one who starts the salam (greeting)” (Reported in Bukhari & Muslim)
  • The prophet (SallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) is giving practical advice by saying that the best of them is the one who initiates the salam even he is in the right
  • The prophet (SallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said, “Whoever boycotts his brother for a year, then it is like spilling his blood” (Reported in Abu Dawud)
  • The above ahadith are with regards to boycott due to worldly matters
  • Boycott due to religious matters is a praiseworthy action and is carried out against sinners and innovators to try and push them to turn back to Allah
  • Boycott due to religious matters has no time limit and can be indefinite, but it is only done for the reason of benefit, and the scholars decide it for us
  • Undercutting in trade is something that is warned against by the prophet (SallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) even against the disbelievers
  • There are other narrations which state to not under cut your brother, but maybe Imam Al-Nawawi put this narration in his collection because he wanted us to know that the ruling applies to disbelievers too
  • Undercutting examples:
    • A sells B something for £60, then C tells B he would sell the same thing for £50
    • A sells B something for £100, then C says he would buy it for £120, so A asks for it back
  • Undercutting the disbelievers has many ill-effects which include:
    • Not trusting the Muslims
    • Bad treatment for the Muslims
    • Muslims building a bad image for themselves
    • Bad da’wah given out to the non-Muslims
  •  “be slaves of Allah and brothers” may have been included to indicate that leaving these traits leads to brotherhood
  • The purpose of brotherhood is to help one another in worshipping Allah and attaining piety, otherwise it is artificial
  • Helping a brother is not necessarily when they ask for it, but it is also helping them when they need it
  • The prophet (SallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said “Help your brother whether he is oppressed or oppressive” (Reported by Bukhari). He (SallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said help, not rebuke
  • The prophet (SallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said, “Whoever a believer is humiliated before him and he does not help him when he is able to do so, Allah will humiliate him before the creation on the day of judgement” (Reported by Ahmad)
  • This hadith is encouraging us to have passion and concern for the believers everywhere
  • If lying was a solution to problems, then Allah would have made it halal
  • Holding a believer in contempt is a form of pride
  • The prophet (SallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said, “Pride/Arrogance is rejecting the truth and looking down on others” (Reported by Muslim)
  • Ibn Rajab said, “A pride person looks at himself with a look perfection, and looks at others with a look of shortcomings so he despises them and he does not see them worthy of him fulfilling their rights, or of accepting the truth from them”
  • Having piety helps us from falling into the things that have been mentioned
  • We should judge others based upon piety and as we don’t know the level of one’s piety, we should judge others equally
  • Imam Al-Nawawi said: “How can you despise someone, when they are either younger than you or older than you. The one who is younger, has probably sinned less than you, and the one who is older has probably done more good deeds than you”
  • Imam Al-Nawawi said we shouldn’t even despise a disbeliever as they may die a Muslim and you die a non-Muslim
  • The last part of this hadith is a very important principle which the prophet (SallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) used to mention in big gatherings
  • The prophet (SallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said, “If you were three, then two of you should not speak discreetly whilst neglecting the third person as this may make him sad” (Reported by Muslim)

Benefits and Action points:

  • Envy is hidden so we need to assume we have it, to ensure we don’t have it and get rid of it
  • Realise the ill-effects and dangers of envy and try to steer away from it
  • Try and compete with others who are better than you in matters of the religion, whilst wishing the best for them
  • Ways to remove envy from our hearts:
    • Do not compare yourself with others who have more than you in matters of the dunya
    • Mention the good qualities of the person you are envious of
    • Be good to the person you are envious of
    • Make du’aa for the person you are envious of
    • Wish that the person surpasses you in that which you are envious of
    • Do not witness or approve of gatherings where others are being mocked or their faults are being mentioned
    • Ponder over the harms of envy mentioned above
    • Avoid the causes of envy mentioned above
  • Do not artificially increase the price of products
  • When hating someone for the sake of Allah, only hate their deviancy and love all the good in them
  • Never boycott a believer for the sake of a worldly matter for over than 3 days
  • Understand that boycotting deviants is done if it brings a benefit and is decided by the scholars
  • If you have a dispute with a brother, then be the better person by initiating the salam when you meet
  • Do not undercut believer and disbelievers in trade
  • Do not wait for your brother to ask you for help, rather offer them help without them having to ask
  • Do not allow for a believer to be humiliated before you and you do nothing to help them
  • There is no benefit in developing a good relationship with a person if you don’t help each other in attaining piety and in worship of Allah, and this friendship may be a cause of sorrow for you on the day of judgement
  • A Muslim should be someone who has an awareness about the reality of the Muslim ummah and knows it needs and tries to help wherever possible
  • Sometimes we may be tested by another person’s character, so we need to ensure we don’t oppress someone just because we don’t like their characteristics, when in fact they could be a pious person
  • A believer should always be conscious of not harming others
  • We need to have empathy and never harm anyone whether mentally or physically

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