The Muslim and His Friends and Brothers

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Chapter 8

In Islam He loves them for the sake of Allah

One of the most prominent distinguishing features of the true Muslim is his love for his friends and brothers in faith, a love that is untainted by any worldly interests or ulterior motives. This is true brotherly love, whose purity is derived from the light of Islamic guidance; its effect on the behaviour of Muslims is quite unique in the history of human relationships.

The bond that links a Muslim to his brother, regardless of race, colour or language, is the bond of faith in Allah:

( The Believers are but a single brotherhood . . .) (Qur'an 49:10)

The brotherhood of faith is the strongest of bonds between hearts and minds. It comes as no surprise that this unique brotherhood bears fruits of love that are amazingly sublime, pure, deep and lasting. Islam calls it "love for the sake of Allah," in which the true Muslim finds the sweetness of faith:

´There are three things that whoever attains them will find the sweetness of faith: if Allah and His Messenger are dearer to him than anyone else; if he loves a person solely for the sake of Allah; and if he would hate to return to kufr after Allah has rescued him from it, as much as he would hate to be thrown into the Fire. (Bukhari and Muslim)

The status of two who love one another for the sake of Allah

Many hadith describe the status of two people who love one another for the sake of Allah, and describe the high position in Paradise which He has promised them and the great honour which He will bestow upon them on the Day when mankind is resurrected to meet the Rabb of the Worlds: Among them is the hadith which describes the seven whom Allah will shade on the Day when there is no shade but His:

´...a just leader; a youth who grows up worshipping Allah; a man who is deeply attached to the mosque; two men who love one another for the sake of Allah, meeting for His sake and parting for His sake; a man who is called by a beautiful woman and says, 'I fear Allah·; a man who gives charity in secret such that his left hand does not know what his right hand is doing; and a man who remembers Allah when he is alone and his eyes fill with tears. (Bukhari and Muslim)

The two who love one another for the sake of Allah are clearly shown to be among those whom Allah will shelter with His shade and upon whom He will shower His mercy and kindness. What a great honour! It is enough honour for those who love one another for the sake of Allah that their Almighty Rabb will greet them on the Day of Resurrection and say to them: ´Where are those who loved one another for My glory" Today I will shade them in My shade on the Day when there is no shade but Mine.' (Muslim)

Such is the magnificent honour and tremendous reward that will be bestowed upon those who truly loved one another for the sake of Allah, on that awesome Day.

Love for the sake of Allah, and not for the sake of anything else in this life which is filled with greed, desires and interests, is very difficult, and none can attain it except the one who is pure of heart, for whom this world is as nothing compared to the pleasure of Allah. It is not surprising that Allah should give them a status and blessing which is commensurate with their position in this world, above whose concerns they have risen. We find proof of this in the hadith of Mu'adh who said that the Prophet (s) said:

´Allah said: 'Those who love one another for My glory, will have minbars of light, and the Prophets and martyrs will wish that they had the same.'1

Note: 1. Reported by al-Tirmidhi, who said it is a hasan sahih hadith.

Allah gives to those who love one another for His sake a gift which is even greater than this status and blessing: that is His precious love which is very difficult to attain. This is proven by the hadith of Abu Hurayrah (r) in which the Prophet (s) said:

´A man went to visit a brother of his in another village. Allah sent an angel to wait for him on the road. When the man came along, the angel asked him, 'Where do you intend to go?' He said, 'I am going to visit a brother of mine who lives in this village.' The angel asked, 'Have you done him any favour (for which you are now seeking repayment)?' He said, 'No. I just love him for the sake of Allah.' The angel told him, 'I am a messenger to you from Allah, sent to tell you that He loves you as you love your brother for His sake.'" (Muslim)

What a great love, that raises a man to a position where Allah loves him and is pleased with him! The teaching of the Prophet (s) goes even further and states that the better of two brothers who love one another for the sake of Allah is the one who loves his brother more. The Prophet (s) said:

´No two men love one another, but the better of them is the one whose love for his brother is greater.'2

Note: 2. Reported by Bukhari in al-Adab al-Mufrad.

Islam goes even further in spreading love in the rightly-guided Muslim society by telling the Muslim that if he loves his brother, he should tell him. The Prophet (s) said:

´If a man loves his brother, let him tell him that he loves him'3

Note: 3. Reported by Abu Dawud and al-Tirmidhi, who said it is a sahih hadith.

The Prophet (s) understood the impact of this strong, pure love in building societies and nations, so he never let any occasion pass without advocating this love and commanding the Muslims to announce their love for one another, in order to open hearts and spread love and purity among the ranks of the Ummah.

Anas (r) said that a man was with the Prophet (s), when another man passed by. The first man said, "O Messenger of Allah, indeed I truly love this man." The Prophet (s) asked him, "Have you let him know that?" He said, "No." The Prophet (s) said, ´Tell him.' He caught up with him and told him, ´Truly I love you for the sake of Allah,' and the man said, ´May Allah love you who loves me for His sake.'4

Note: 4. Reported by Abu Dawud, with a sahih isnad.

Mu'adh began to spread this pure love among the Muslims throughout the Muslim lands, telling them what he had heard from the Prophet (s) about the great reward that Allah had prepared for those who loved one another for His sake, and about His great love for them. In al-Muwatta', Imam Malik gives a report with a sahih isnad from Abu Idris al-Khulani who said: "I entered the mosque of Damascus, where I saw a young man who had a bright smile, and I saw the people gathered around him. When they disagreed on some matter, they referred it to him, and accepted his opinion. I asked who he was, and they told me, 'This is Mu'adh ibn Jabal (r).' Early the next day, I went to the mosque but I found that he had arrived even earlier than I. He was praying, so I waited until he had finished, then I approached him from in front, greeted him and said, 'By Allah I love you., He said, 'For the sake of Allah?, I said, 'For the sake of Allah., He repeated his question, 'For the sake of Allah?, and I said, 'For the sake of Allah., So he took hold of my collar and pulled me towards him and said, 'I have good news for you. I heard the Prophet (s) say: ´Allah Almighty says: 'My love is granted to those who love one another for My sake, who visit one another for My sake, and who spend on one another for My sake.'""

The effect of love for the sake of Allah on the life of Muslims

In another hadith, the Prophet (s) confirmed that this love between believers is one of the conditions of faith that will grant entrance to Paradise to the one who has it. In a report given by Imam Muslim from Abu Hurayrah (r), the Prophet (s) said:

´By the One in Whose hand is my soul, you will not enter Paradise until you believe, and you will not believe until you love one another. Shall I not tell you of something that if you do it, you will love one another" Spread Salaam amongst yourselves.' (Muslim)

The Prophet (s), with the brilliant educational insight bestowed upon him by Allah, understood that nothing could eliminate hatred, jealousy and rivalry from people's hearts but true brotherhood, based on love, friendship and mutual advice, and free of conspiracies, envy, sullenness and hatred. So he called for the Muslims to spread salaam among their brothers, so that it would open their hearts to love and meeting one another on a good basis.

He frequently repeated this teaching to his Sahabah, hoping to sow the seed of love in their hearts and nurture it until it bore fruits of that great love that Islam wants for the Muslims. With this great love, the Prophet (s) built the first generation of Muslims which conveyed this divine Message to the world and formed the solid basis on which this religion was built.

Without this pure love, which Islam alone instilled in their hearts, the first Muslims would not have been able to persevere in jihad and make the great sacrifices through which they built the Islamic state and spread the rule of Islam throughout the world.

With this amazing true love, the Prophet (s) was able to establish the most ideal society of believers ever known, whose solidarity he described so well:

´The relationship between believers is like a wall, parts of which support other parts.' (Muslim)

´The believers, in their mutual friendship, mercy and affection, are like one body. If any part of it complains, the rest of the body will also stay awake in pain.' (Muslim)

´The Muslims are like one person: if his eye hurts him then his whole body will suffer, and if his head hurts him then his whole body will suffer.' (Muslim)

In the light of this guidance, the Muslim cannot but be filled with love for his brothers and friends. Thus he becomes a good, constructive element of love in this world, and a victor who has gained the pleasure and love of his Rabb in the Hereafter.

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