Hadeeth 35 : The Brotherhood of Islaam
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By Imam Nawawi
On the authority of Abu Hurairah (radiAllaahu anhu) who said : The Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) 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 Allaah 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. Taqwaa (Piety) is right here [and he pointed to his chest three times]. It is evil enough for a man to hold his brother Muslim in contempt. The whole of a Muslim is inviolable for another Muslim : his blood, his property, and his honour
It was related by Muslim.
Explanation of Hadeeth Number 35
Regarding his (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) statement “Do not envy one another” : envy (al-Hasad) is the desire that a blessing is removed from someone else, and this is forbidden. And in another hadeeth “Do not have envy (Hasad), for verily envy eats away good deeds the way fire consumes firewood or grass”. As for al-Ghibtah then it is the desire to obtain what another fortunate person possesses without wishing that he loses that blessing. And sometimes the word al-Hasad is used in the place of al-Ghibtah due to the proximity of meaning of the two, as in the statement of the Prophet (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) : “There is to be no Hasad execpt in two cases … “, meaning here “There is to be no Ghibtah except in two cases”.
And his (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) statement “do not inflate prices for one another” then the word used here in Arabic is ‘najasha’, and the origin of this word carries the meaning of cheating, deception and swindling. And the Arabs sometimes call a hunter a ‘naajish’ because he deceives and outsmarts the animal he hunts. And his (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) statement “do not hate one another” means do not adopt the means that lead to hatred. This is because love and hate are matters of the heart, such that Mankind does not possess full ability to control them, nor are they able to bring about change in them. And this is as the Prophet (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) said [regarding the division of time he had made between his wives] : “Oh Allaah this division is what I have been able to do, so do not take me to account for that which you control, and over which I have no control”, meaning by this his heart.
And “turning away” means enmity, and it has also been said that it means cutting off relations or boycotting. And his (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) statement “and do not undercut one another in trade” is referring to the situation where a buyer has almost completed a contract with a seller, and during the final time of choice a second seller approaches him and says : “If you revoke this sale then I will sell to you the same thing or better than it for the same price”. Or, if a buyer and seller have agreed upon a price and are pleased with it, and only the completion of the contract remains, and then a second seller offers to give more for the same price, or to give the same goods at a lower price, then this is forbidden as it occurs after agreement on the price has taken place and the buyer and seller have been pleased with it. However, if the second seller makes his offer before they are pleased with the price then this is not forbidden.
And the meaning of “but be you, O Servants of Allaah, Brothers” means deal with one another and live together amiably with brotherhood, and treat one another with love, kindness, compassion and courteousness, and help one another upon goodness, while always having a clear heart and offering sincere advice in all situations.
And regarding his (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) statement “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” : to fail someone means to leave helping or aiding him, so if a Muslim were to seek ones help in defending himself from an oppressor or similar to that, then it is necessary to help him if one is able to, and one has no Shar’ee excuse for not doing so.
And his (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) statement “nor does he hold him in contempt” means that he does not behave haughtily towards another Muslim, so as to belittle him.
And his (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) statement “Taqwaa (Piety) is right here [and he pointed to his chest three times]” and in another narration “Verily Allaah does not look at your bodies nor at your appearances, but rather he looks at your hearts”. This means that the apparent actions of the limbs do not, by themselves, attain for one Taqwaa. But rather Taqwaa is attained through what is in the heart of appreciating the Greatness of Allaah the Exalted, and having Fear of Him and having Recognition of Him, and knowing that the Sight of Allaah encompasses all things. And so the meaning of the hadeeth, and Allaah knows best, is the taking of the self to account, and the point of observation of all of this is by the heart.
And his (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) statement “It is enough evil for a man to hold his brother Muslim in contempt” contains a severe warning from doing so, since Allaah ta’aalaa did not look upon him in contempt when He created him, and nourished him, and then perfected his outward appearance, and then subdued whatever is in the Heavens and whatever is in the Earth for his sake. And even though He did this for others along with him, no doubt he has a share in it. Then after that, Allaah – subhaanahu – named him a Muslim and a Believer and a Slave, and his Command extended to the extent that he made the Messenger that He sent to him Muhammad (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam). So whoever treats with contempt a Muslim from amongst the Muslims, then he has treated with contempt one whom Allaah ‘azza wa jall has granted greatness and nobility, and no doubt that is sufficient for him. And so from treating a Muslim with contempt is not to send the greeting of salaam upon him if he passes by him, and not to reply to his greeting of salaam if he begins with it. And it also includes not thinking that Allaah will enter him into Paradise or keep him safe from the Hellfire.
And as for the case of the Intelligent one who is resentful of (or is hostile to) the Foolish Ignorant one, or the Just and Honest one who is resentful of the Sinner, then this is not considered to be contempt of a Muslim. Rather, this is resent for the ignorance that is present in the Ignorant one, and the sinfulness that is present in the Sinner. So when this ignorance or sinfulness leaves that person, he returns to treating him well and raises his status in his estimation.
And Allaah knows best.
- That it is generally forbidden to be envious of one another, although other ahaadeeth specify that envy in certain [good] cases is allowed if we wish to be like them
- That it is forbidden to raise prices to harm others, such as through hoarding or through trying to make unjust profit
- That it is forbidden to turn away from being good to or helping one another
- That it is forbidden to undercut one another in trade
- That we must be brothers to one another, and true Brotherhood lies in being Allaah’s Worshippers and Servants
- That it is forbidden to oppress one another, or fail one another on purpose, or lie to one another, or to hold each other in contempt
- That Taqwaa (Piety) is in the heart – see hadeeth number six – and hence the heart must be trained, purified and protected
- That it is forbidden to violate the rights of another Muslim : to shed his blood [unlawfully], or physically hurt him, or to deprive him of what belong to him, or to cheat him
- That it is forbidden to violate the honour of another Muslim
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