ISLAM AND THE CONCEPT OF FRIENDSHIP
By Br. Isa Al-Bosnee
Humans have always been social creatures and in need of friends and companions. Much of our lives is spent in interaction with others. For us Muslims who are living in a society where we are clearly a minority, the issue of choosing the right companions is essential for preserving our Deen. Befriending righteous and virtuous Muslims is an essential means for staying on the Straight Path. Strong individuals, on the other hand, are the core of a strong community, something that Muslims should always strive for.
We all know that we were created for a specific purpose and that Allah the Most High has given us life in order to test us. None of us will deny that we are here for a relatively short period of time and that we shall meet Allah (swt) one Day. Once we know our purpose and our goal, we should seek ways to achieve them so as to benefit our own selves. All of us believe that Allah has sent us a Messenger (saws) and revealed to us the Qur’an, the Best Speech.
In an authentic Hadith, the Prophet Muhammad (saws) said: “A person is likely to follow the faith of his friend, so look whom you befriend.” (1).
The person most noble in character and dealings with fellow humans gave us a very clear message and advice in regard to friendship. We should choose the friend that is satisfied with our Deen and avoid the friend that is displeased with it. Whoever we see and are pleased with his Deen, we should befriend him and whoever we are displeased with his Deen and his manners, we ought to avoid him. There is no good in the companion who does not wish for us (from good) what he wishes for himself. There is also no good in the companion who wishes for us what he wishes for himself, if what he likes for his own soul is leading him towards destruction and Hellfire.
The bases for the actions of those who follow the evil ways are corrupt; their actions are built upon misguidance and deviation. Their deeds are worthless to them as Allah (swt) said: “And We will proceed to what they have done of deeds, so We shall render them to scattered floating dust.” Qur’an 25:23
Their actions, even if we regard them as righteous and noble are of no value to them, so how can they be of benefit to us? Friends are those who feel for their companions, in both happy and sad moments. If we share our feelings with the wrong-doers whose actions are worthless and based on corruption, then we are following the same ways and standards as they are. Affection which results from that friendship leads to love and closeness to other than the righteous believers, and this may even lead to avoiding those who are on the Straight Way. Mixing with followers of any way other than that of the Guidance also results in a change in one’s behavior, morals and conduct.
If we agree, follow and are pleased with such friends, then we inherit their habits, behaviors and even religion. Such a Muslim would find himself in a situation wherein he is willing to hide his Islam in front of those who despise it (those that he considers as friends) and to separate from the believers. When this situation occurs, a point is reached when there is a very slight difference between the Muslim and his wrong-doing companion. Such a companionship is the root of sickness of one’s heart and loss of one’s Deen.
Instead of making friends with the misguided ones we should befriend the righteous and treat the rest in a gracious and just manner. Staying at sufficient distance is necessary, yet treating everybody in a noble and kind manner is required.
In another Hadith, Prophet Muhammad (saws) said: “The example of a good companion and a bad companion is like that of the seller of musk, and the one who blows the blacksmith’s bellows.. So as for the seller of musk then either he will grant you some, or you buy some from him, or at least you enjoy a pleasant smell from him. As for the one who blows the blacksmith’s bellows then either he will burn your clothes or you will get an offensive smell from him.” (2)
In his commentary of this Hadith, Imam an-Nawawy said that the Prophet (saws) compared a good companion to a seller of musk and spoke of the virtue of having companions who are good, who have noble manners, piety, knowledge and good culture. Such are those who grant us from their virtue. And he (saws) forbade us to sit with those who do evil, commit a lot of sins and other bad deeds, as well as with innovators, backbiters, and so forth. Another scholar said: “keeping good company with the pious results in attainment of beneficial knowledge, noble manners and righteous actions, whereas keeping company with the wicked prevents all of that.” Many times a Muslim is encouraged by his friends to do evil and to forget his duties. The result is that Muslims themselves are often ashamed to leave them to perform prayer, their friends thus causing them to clearly deviate from the Right Path.
Allah the Exalted says in the Qur’an: “And (remember) the Day when the wrong-doer will bite his hands and say: Woe to me! Would that I had taken a path with the Messenger. Woe to me! If only I had not taken so- and-so as a friend! He has led me astray from this Reminder (the Qur’an) after it had come to me. And Satan is ever a deserter to man in the hour of need.” Qur’an 25:27-29
So take heed before the inevitable Day comes when we are called to account for our actions.
Allah, the All-Wise also says: “Friends on that Day will be enemies one to another, except al-Muttaqoon (i.e. those who have Taqwah).” Qur’an 43:67
Hafidh Ibn Katheer, commenting on this verse, relates a story on the authority of Ali Ibn Abi Talib (ra) and says that any friendship for other than Allah is turned into enmity, except what was in it for Allah the Mighty and Majestic: “Two who are friends for Allah’s sake; one of them dies and is given good news that he will be granted al-Jannah, so he remembered his friend and he supplicated for him, saying: ‘O Allah, my friend used to command me to obey You and to obey Your Prophet (saws) and used to command me to do good and to forbid me from doing evil. And he told me that I will meet You. O Allah, do not let him go astray after me, until you show him what you have just shown me, until You are satisfied with him, just like You are satisfied with me.’ So he is told: ‘Had you known what is (written) for you friend, would you have laughed a lot and cried a little.’ Then his friend dies and their souls are gathered, and both are asked to express their opinions about each other. So each one of them says to his friend: ‘You were the best brother, the best companion and the best friend.’ And when one of the two disbelieving friends dies, and he is given tidings of Hellfire, he remembered his friend and he said: ‘O Allah, my friend used to order me to disobey You and disobey Your Prophet, and commanded me to do evil, and forbade me from doing good, and told me that I would not meet You. O Allah, do not guide him after me, until you show him what you have just shown me and until you are dissatisfied with him just like You are dissatisfied with me.’ Then the other disbelieving friend dies, and their souls are gathered, and both are asked to give their opinions about each other. So each one says to his friend: ‘You were the worst brother, the worst companion and the worst friend.”
That is the end of those who do not have Taqwah and those who befriend for a sake other than that of Allah the Exalted. Allah has surely spoken the truth and we all should grasp what He has informed us of. It is through the good company that Allah, the Most High, saves those who are astray and guides the wicked. The benefit of mixing with the righteous is immense, and it will, insha’Allah, be even more obvious to us in the Hereafter. One of the early Muslims said that it is from Allah’s blessings upon a youth when he turns to worship that he is given brother who is a follower of the Sunnah encouraging him upon it.
Sealing a friendship for Allah’s sake will result in one’s receiving protection of Allah (swt). And as Ibn Abbas said: “No one may taste true faith except by this (i.e. building relationships for Allah’s sake), even if his prayers and fasts are many. People have come to build their relationship around the concerns of the world, but it will not benefit them in any way.” (3)
A scholar has said: “To seal a friendship for Allah’s sake indicates the obligation of establishing relationships of love and trust for His sake; this is a friendship for the sake of Allah. It also indicates that simple affection is not enough here; indeed what is meant is a love based upon alliance. This entails assistance, honor, and respect. It means being with those whom you love both in word and deed.” Loyalty for the sake of Allah really means to love Allah and to come to the assistance of His Deen; to love those who are obedient to Him and to come to their help. Moreover, the Shahadah “La Ilaha Illa Allah” requires us to ally ourselves for the sake of Allah, and it requires us to ally ourselves to the Muslims wherever we find them.
In two other authentic narration’s of the Prophet (saws) we were commanded to keep company with a believer only (3), and told that a person will be with those he loves (4). So if we love and associate ourselves with those who are misguided, we should fear for our fate. The wise person is the one who prepares himself for the Hereafter, not the one who neglects his faith and falls into the trap of Satan who tells him that he will be forgiven and that he can do whatever he wishes. If we truly believe that the best speech is the Speech of Allah and that he best guidance is the guidance of Prophet Muhammad (saws), we should act in accordance with them, lest we build a proof against ourselves.
Ali (raa) said: “Mix with the noble people, you become one of them; and keep away from evil people to protect yourself from their evils.” (4)
If we are truly concerned about our fate, we must come to this realisation: those who take us away from remembering Allah, from obeying Him and His Prophet (saws), those who fail to remind us of our daily prayers and those who do not give us sincere advice in regard to our Deen; such are really our foes and not our friends. On the other side, “a believer is the mirror of his brother” (5), and if he sees any faults in the other believer, he draws his attention to it, helps him to give it up and helps him wipe away any evil that he may have.
Ibn Hazm said: “Anyone who criticises you cares about your friendship. Anyone who makes light of your faults cares nothing about you.” (5)
How can we expect sincere advice and exhortation in regard to our religion from those who are displeased with our Deen or are simply indifferent? Are they going to help us achieve the purpose of our life, or will they take us away from it? Will they desire for us Allah’s pleasure or is that Completely irrelevant to them and not their concern at all? Are they leading us to al-Jannah or to the Hellfire? These are the questions we have to ask ourselves, lest we wake up after we die.
“O you who believe! Take care of your own selves. If you follow the right guidance and enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong no hurt can come to you from those who are in error. The return of you all is to Allah, then He will inform you about (all) that which you used to do.” Qur’an 5:105
We ask Allah to make us of the righteous ones and give us companions that will take us away from His Wrath and lead us to His Pleasure and Paradise.
- 1 Abu Dawood and at-Tirmithi
- 2 Al-Bukhari and Muslim
- 3 Abu Dawood and at-Tirmithi
- 4 Al-Bukhari and Muslim
- 5 Abu Dawood, Hasan Hadith
REMINDERS FOR TAKING THE KUFAR AS FRIENDS
1. Befriending and liking them. Allaah says interpretation of the meaning):You will not find any people who believe in Allaah and the Last Day, making friendship with those who oppose Allaah and His Messenger; [al-Mujaadilah 58:22]
2. Inclining towards them, relying upon them and taking them as a support. Allaah says interpretation of the meaning): And incline not towards those who do wrong, lest the Fire should touch you[Hood 11:113]
3. Helping and supporting them against the Muslims. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): The believers, men and women, are awliya (helpers, supporters, friends, protectors) of one another [al-Tawbah 9:71].
He also says of the kuffaar that they are but awliya(helpers, supporters, friends, protectors) to one another [al-Maaidah 5:51]. And He says(interpretation of the meaning): And if any amongst you takes them as awliya, then surely he is one of them. [al-Maaidah 5:51].
4. Bringing their laws and rules to the Muslim countries. Allaah says(interpretation of the meaning): Do they then seek the judgement of the Days of Ignorance? [al-Maaidah 5:50]
5. Taking them as friends in general terms, taking them as helpers and supporters, and throwing in ones lot with them. Allaah forbids all this, as He says (interpretation of the meaning): O you who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians as awliya (friends, protectors, helpers, etc.), they are but awliya to one another [al-Maaidah 5:51].
6. Compromising with them and being nice to them at the expense of ones religion. Allaah says(interpretation of the meaning): They wish that you should compromise (in religion out of courtesy) with them, so that they (too) would compromise with you. [al-Qalam 68:9]. This includes sitting with them and entering upon them at the time when they are making fun of the Signs of Allaah. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): And it has already been revealed to you in the Book that when you hear the Verses of Allaah being denied and mocked at, then sit not with them, until they engage in a talk other than that; (but if you stayed with them), certainly in that case you would be like them [al-Nisa 4:140]
7. Trusting them and taking them as advisors and consultants instead of the believers. Allaah says(interpretation of the meaning): O you who believe! Take not as (your) bitaanah (advisors, consultants, protectors, helpers, friends, etc.)those outside your religion (pagans, Jews, Christians, and hypocrites) since they will not fail to do their best to corrupt you. They desire to harm you severely. Hatred has already appeared from their mouths, but what their breasts conceal is far worse. Indeed We have made clear to you the aayaat (proofs, evidence, verses), if you understand. Lo! You are the ones who love them but they love you not, and you believe in all the Scriptures [i.e., you believe in the Tawraat and the Injeel, while they disbelieve in your Book (the Quraan)]. And when they meet you, they say, We believe. But when they are alone, they bite the tips of their fingers at you in rage. Say: Perish in your rage. Certainly Allaah knows what is in the breasts (all the secrets). If a good befalls you, it grieves them, but some evil overtakes you, they rejoice at it [Aal Imran 3:118-120].
THE MANNERS OF COMPANIONSHIP
Shaykh Badrud-Deen al-Ghazzee (d.984H) 
The Shaykh – rahimahullaah – said, 
Know O pious brother – may Allaah make our affairs good – that the manners of companionship and good relationships are of various types, of which I will explain, such as will show the person of intellect the manners of the Believers and the Pious; and come to know that Allaah the Most Perfect, the Most High has made them a mercy and helpers towards each other, which is why the Messenger of Allaah (saws) said, ‘‘The example of the Believers, in their mutual love and mercy is like the example of a body, if one part feels pain, then all of the body suffers in sleeplessness and fever.’’ 
And he (saws) said, ‘‘The Believer to the Believer is like a solid building, one part supporting the other.’’  The Prophet (saws) also said, ‘‘The souls are arrayed armies, so those who knew each one another before, will be friendly…’’  So if Allaah intends good for His servants, He grants them companionship of the people of the Sunnah, righteousness and adherence to the Religion; and keeps him free from the companionship of the people of innovations. The Prophet (saws) said, “A person is upon the religion of his friend, so let every one of you look to whom he keeps as a friend.’’ 
About a person, do not ask, but ask about his companion; Since every companion follows his friends.’
From the manners of companionship:
Good manners with the brothers, peers and companions, following the Messenger of Allaah (saws) as he said, when it was said to him, ‘What is the best of what a person is given?’ So he replied, ‘‘Good manners.’’ 
MAKING ONE’S OPINION GOOD:
From the manners of companionship is behaving well regarding the faults that he sees of his companions, since Ibn Maazin said, ‘The Believer seeks excuses for his brothers, whilst the hypocrite seeks out their faults.’ And Hamdoon al-Qassaar said, ‘If one of your brothers commits an error, then seek ninety excuses for him, and if not, then you are the blameworthy one.’
COMPANIONSHIP WITH THE BELIEVERS:
To keep companionship with one whose Religion you trust and who is trustworthy, both inwardly and outwardly. Allaah the – Most High – says, “You will not find anyone who believes in Allaah and the Last Day, making friendship with those who oppose Allaah and His Messenger, even though they were their fathers, sons, brothers or their relatives. For such He has written eemaan (faith) in their hearts, and strengthened them with a spirit (proofs, light and guidance) from Himself. And We will admit them into gardens underneath which rivers flow, to dwell therein forever. Allaah is pleased with them, and they are pleased with Him. They are the Party of Allaah, indeed it is the Party of Allaah that will be successful.’’ [Sooratul-Mujaadilah 58:22]
FORMS OF COMPANIONSHIP:
For the Shaykhs and elders: with respect to service and to carry out their needs. For those of the same peer group and those of the ‘middle rank’: with sincere advice, giving what you have and being prepared to carry out their wishes. For the students and younger ones: by guidance, teaching of manners, carrying out what knowledge demands, guidance to the manners of the Sunnah, rulings concerning the matters of the heart, and to guide them to develop good manners.
From the manners of companionship is overlooking mistakes of the brothers and not reprimanding them. So al-Fudayl Ibn ’Iyaad (d.187H) said, ‘Chivalry is to overlook the mistakes of the brothers.’ Ibnul-A’raabee (d.231H) said, ‘Forgetting the harms caused by the brothers, causes you love of them to persist.’ So it is binding upon the Believer, that he avoids seekers of this world, since they will bring him down to the level of seeking it, and this will distance him from his salvation and it will distance him from remaining alert and being aware of it. Rather, he must strive hard in attaining the companionship of the good and the seekers of the Hereafter. Therefore, Dhun-Noon (d.245H) said to the one whom he advised, ‘Accompany the one whom you will be safe from outwardly, and whom – when you see him – it helps you in doing good and reminds you of your Lord.’
AGREEMENT WITH THE BROTHERS:
And from them is: not to differ much with the brothers, but continue agreeing with the brothers in those things allowed by knowledge and the Sharee’ah. Aboo ’Uthmaan said, ‘Agreeing with the brothers is better than showing compassion for them.’
LEAVING OF ENVY:
That he does not envy the signs of Allaah’s bounty upon them. Rather, he should be happy for that and praise Allaah for it, just as he would praise Allaah if it were seen upon him. Allaah – the Most High – censures the envious one, ‘‘Or do they envy men for what Allaah has given them from His bounty.’’ [Sooratun-Nisaa‘ 4:94]
The Prophet (saws) said, ‘‘Do not envy one another.’’ 
TO KEEP A FEELING OF MODESTY:
That he has hayaa‘ (modesty and shame) at all times, as he (saws) said, ‘‘Faith (eemaan) has sixty or seventy odd branches, the most excellent of them is witnessing that none has the right to be worshipped besides Allaah, and the lowest branch is removing something harmful from the road, and hayaa‘ is from eemaan.’’  (saws) also said, ‘‘Hayaa‘ is from eemaan, and eemaan is from Paradise. Speaking obscenely is from coarseness and coarseness is from the Fire.’’ 
COMPANIONSHIP OF THE DIGNIFIED:
To accompany the one who he has a feeling of respect for, so that this prevents from acting contrary to the Sharee’ah. ’Alee (raa) said, ‘‘Enliven your feeling of hayaa‘ (shame), by sitting before those whom you feel shame. Ahmad Ibn Hanbal (d.241H) – rahimahullaah – said, ‘‘I have not been led into calamity except by accompanying those before whom I do not feel shame.’’
To have cheerfulness of the face, kindness of the tongue, largeness of the heart, outspreading the hands, withholding anger, leaving off pride, keeping people’s honor in mind and showing happiness at their companionship and brotherhood.
COMPANIONSHIP OF THE WISE SCHOLAR:
From good companionship is that he does not accompany except a Scholar, of a person who is mild, intelligent and has knowledge. Dhun-Noon – rahimahullaah – said, ‘Allaah has not disrobed any one of His servants or a robe better than intellect, and has not adorned him with a necklace better than knowledge, nor adorned him with anything better than mildness. And the completeness of that is taqwaa (fear of Allaah).’
GIVING SINCERE ADVICE:
Having a clean heart with regards to the brothers and advising them, as Allaah – the Most High – said, “Except he who comes to Allaah with a clean heart.’’ [Sooratush-Shu’araa 26:89]
Saree as-Saqatee (d.257H) – rahimahullaah – said, ‘One of the best manners of righteousness is having a good heart as regards the brothers and to give them sincere advice.’
NOT BREAKING PROMISES:
Since this is from hypocrisy, and he (saws) said, ‘‘The signs of the hypocrite are three: When he speaks he lies, when he makes a promise he breaks it and when he is entrusted he acts deceptively.’’  Sufyaan ath-Thawree (d.164H) – rahimahullaah – said, ‘‘Do not make a promise to your brother and then break it, so that love turns to hate.’
 He is the muftee and faqeeh, Abul-Barakaat Badrud-Deen al-Ghazzee. For his biography, refer to Shadharaatudh-Dhahab (8/403-406) of Ibnul-’Imaad and al-A’laam (7/59) of az-Ziriklee.
 From Aadaabul-’Ishrah wa Dhikrus-Suhbah wal-Ukhuwwah (p. 9-20) with the checking and authentication of hadeeth based upon that of Shaykh ’Alee Hasan al-Halabee and also Shaykh Mashhoor Hasan Salmaan.
 Related by al-Bukhaaree (no. 6011) and Muslim (no. 2586), from an-Nu’maan Ibn Basheer (raa).
 Related by al-Bukhaaree (no. 481) and Muslim (no. 2585), from Aboo Moosaa al-Ash’aree (raa).
 Saheeh: Related by al-Bukhaaree (6/369) with ta’leeq (suspension), from ’Aa‘ishah (raa). It was connected by Aboo Ya’laa in al-Musnad (no. 4381) with an isnaad whose narrators are from as-Saheeh – as occurs in al-Majma’ (8/88) of al-Haythamee.
 Hasan: Related by Ahmad (2/303), Aboo Daawood (no. 4812) and at-Tirmidhee (no. 2484), from Aboo Hurayrah (raa). It was authenticated by Imaam an-Nawawee in Riyaadus-Saaliheen (no. 174).
 Saheeh: Related by Wakee’ in az-Zuhd (no. 423), Ibn Hibbaan (1/427) and at-Tabaraanee in al-Kabeer (1/147), from Usaamah Ibn Shareek (raa). It was authenticated by al-Haafidh al-’Iraaqee in Takhreejul-Ihyaa‘ (2/157).
 Related by al-Bukhaaree (10/484) and Muslim (no. 2564), from Aboo Hurayrah (raa).
 Related by al-Bukhaaree (1/44) and Muslim (1/46)
 Saheeh: Related by Ahmad (2/501) and at-Tirmidhee (no. 2077) with a saheeh isnaad, from Aboo Hurayrah (raa).
 Related by al-Bukhaaree (5/289) and Muslim (1/76)
THE MUSLIM WOMAN AND HER FRIENDS AND SISTERS IN ISLAM
Sisters in Islam: she loves them as sisters for the sake of Allah (SWT)
The way in which the true Muslim woman relates to her friends and sister in Islam is different from the way in which other women conduct their social affairs. Her relationship with her sisters is based on ta’akhi (brotherhood or sisterhood) for the sake of Allah (SWT). This love for the sake of Allah (SWT) is the highest bond that may exist between one human being and another, whether man or woman. It is the bond of faith in Allah (SWT) which Allah (SWT) established between all believers when He said: ( 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 to see that Muslim sisters enjoy a strong, enduring relationship that is based on love for the sake of Allah (SWT), which is the noblest and purest form of love between human beings. This is a love which is untainted by any worldly interest or ulterior motive.
It is the love in which Muslim men and women find the sweetness of faith: “There are three things that whoever attains them will find the sweetness of faith: if Allah (SWT) and His Messenger are dearer to him than anyone or anything else; if he loves a person solely for the sake of Allah (SWT); and if he would hate to return to kufr after Allah (SWT) has rescued him from it, as much as he would hate to be thrown into the Fire.”1
The status of two who love one another for the sake of Allah (SWT)
Many hadith describe the status of two people who love another for the sake of Allah (SWT), whether they are men or women, and describe the high position in Paradise which Allah (SWT) has prepared for them and the great honour which He will bestow upon them on the Day when mankind is resurrected to meet the Lord of the Worlds.
It is sufficient honor for those who love one another for the sake of (SWT), men and women alike, to know that their almighty Lord will take care of them on the Day of Judgement and will say: “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.”2 Such is the magnificent honor and tremendous reward that will be bestowed upon those who truly loved one another for the sake of Allah (SWT), on that awesome Day.
Love for the sake of Allah (SWT), and not for the sake of anything else in life, is very difficult, and none can attain it except the one who is pure of heart, for whom this world and all its pleasures are as nothing in comparison with the pleasure of Allah (SWT). It is not surprising that Allah (SWT) should give them a status and blessing which is commensurate with their position in this world, above whose concerns they have risen. We see proof of this in the hadith of Mu`adh, who said that the Prophet (PBUH) said: “Allah (SWT) 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.”3
Allah (SWT) bestows upon 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 (RAA) in which the Prophet (PBUH) said: “A man went to visit a brother of his in another village. Allah (SWT) sent an angel to wait for him on the road. When the man came along, the angel asked him, `Where are you headed?’ He said, `I am going to visit a brother of mine who lives in this village.’ The angel asked, `Have you done him any favor (for which you are now seeking repayment)?’ He said, `No, I just love him for the sake of Allah (SWT).’ The angel told him, `I am a messenger to you from Allah (SWT), sent to tell you that He loves you as you love your brother for His sake.'”4
What a great love, that raises a person to a position where Allah (SWT) loves him and is pleased with him! The Prophet (PBUH) 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 (RAA) said that a man was with the Prophet (PBUH), when another man passed by. The first man said, “O Messenger of Allah (SWT), indeed I truly love this man.” The Prophet (PBUH) asked him, “Have you let him know that?” He said, “No.” The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Tell him.” He caught up with him and told him, “Truly I love you for the sake of Allah (SWT),” and the man said, “May Allah (SWT) love you who loves me for His sake.”5
The Prophet (PBUH) used to do the same thing himself, teaching the Muslims how to build a society based on pure love and brotherhood. One day he took Mu`adh by the hand and said, “O Mu`adh, by Allah (SWT) I love you, so I advise you, O Mu`adh, never forget to recite, after every prayer, `O Allah (SWT), help me to remember You and to give thanks toYou and to worship You properly (Allahumma, a`inni `ala dhikrika wa shukrika wa husni `abadatika).'”6
Mu`adh began to spread this pure love among the Muslims throughout the Muslim lands, telling them what he had learned from the Prophet (PBUH) about the great reward that Allah (SWT) 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 (RAA).’ 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 (SWT), I love you.’ He asked, `For the sake of Allah (SWT)?’ I said, `For the sake of Allah (SWT).’ He repeated his question, `For the sake of Allah (SWT)?’ And I said, `For the sake of Allah (SWT).’ So he took hold of my collar, pulled me towards him and said, `I have good news for you. I heard the Prophet (PBUH) say: “Allah (SWT) 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.'”‘”7 The effect of love for the sake of Allah (SWT) on the life of Muslim men and women.
Islam came to build an ideal society based on sincere love and brotherhood, so it had to plant the seeds of love in the hearts of the individuals of which society is composed. Therefore it made this love among believing men and among believing women one of the conditions of faith that will grant admittance to Paradise. This may be seen in the hadith narrated by Imam Muslim from Abu Hurayrah (RAA) in which the Prophet (PBUH) said: “By the One in Whose hand in 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 salam amongst yourselves.”8
The Prophet (PBUH), with his brilliant and deep insight, understood that nothing could eliminate hatred, jealousy and rivalry from people’s hearts but true brotherhood, based on sincere love, friendship and mutual advice, and free of feuds, hatred, insincerity and envy. The way to achieve this is through spreading salam, so that hearts may be opened to sincere love and friendship. So the Prophet (PBUH) frequently repeated this teaching to his Sahabah, aiming to sow the seed of love in their hearts and nurture them until they bore fruits of that great love that Islam wants for the Muslims, men and women alike.
With this sincere love, the Prophet (PBUH) built the first generation of Muslims, who formed the solid foundation on which the great structure of Islam was built and lit the way for the rest of ummah to follow. With this sincere love, the Prophet (PBUH) was able to build a model human society, based on the brotherhood of faith, a society that was remarkable both in its strength, durability and ability to make sacrifices in the cause of jihad to spread Islam throughout the world, and in the solidarity of its members, which the Prophet (PBUH) described in the most marvelous way: “Believers are like a structure, parts of which support other parts.”9
“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.”10
From the very beginning and throughout history, the Muslim woman has always participated in the building of the Islamic society that is based on the brotherhood of faith, and she is still doing her share of the efforts to spread the blessed virtue of love for the sake of Allah (SWT) in Muslim society, turning to her sisters and friends with an overflowing heart to strengthen the ties of love and sisterhood for the sake of Allah (SWT).
She does not forsake or abandon her sister
The Muslim woman who truly understands the teachings of Islam does not ignore the fact that Islam, which encourages brotherly love and mutual affection, is also the religion that has forbidden brothers and sisters in faith to hate or abandon one another. Islam has explained that two people who truly love one another for the sake of Allah (SWT) will not be separated by the first minor offence that either of them may commit, because the bond of love for the sake of Allah (SWT) is too strong to be broken by such minor matters. The Prophet (PBUH) said: “No two people who love one another for the sake of Allah (SWT), or for the sake of Islam, will let the first minor offence of either of them come between them.”11
Anger may strike a woman in moments of human weakness, and she may hurt her sister, which could provoke harsh feelings and conflicts. In such cases, the Muslim woman should not forget that Islam does not ignore human nature and its vulnerability to changing emotions. For this reason, Islam has defined the length of time during which anger may subside. This time is considered to be three days. After this time has passed, it is forbidden for the two conflicting parties to refuse to seek a reconciliation. The Prophet (PBUH) said: “It is not permissible for a Muslim to be estranged from his brother for more than three days, both of them turning away from one another when they meet. The better of them is the one who is first to greet the other.”12
The word “Muslim” obviously includes both men and women when it occurs in hadith like this, which set out the regulations governing the lives of individuals, families and societies in the world of Islam.
Hence we can see that the Muslim woman whose soul has been shaped by Islam does not persist in ignoring her sister, no matter what the reason. Rather, she will hasten to bring about a reconciliation and greet her with salam, because she knows that the better of them is the one who is the first to greet the other. If her sister returns her salam, both of them will share the reward for the reconciliation, but if she does not return the greeting, then then one who gave the greeting will be absolved of the sin of forsaking her sister, while the one who refused to return the salam will have to bear the burden of that sin alone. This is made clear by the hadith in which Abu Hurayrah said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) say: `It is not permissible for a man to be estranged from a believer for more than three days. If three days have passed, then he should go and give salam to him; if he returns the salam, then both of them will have share in the reward, and if he does not respond then the one who gave the salam will be absolved of the sin of estrangement.”13
It goes without saying that the word “man” in the context of this hadith refers to both men and women. The longer the period of estrangement lasts, the greater the sin of both parties becomes, as the Prophet (PBUH) said: “Whoever forsakes his brother for a year, it is as if he had shed his blood.”14
How evil is the crime of forsaking one’s brother or sister, according to Islam! How heavy is the burden of the one who is guilty of this crime that is likened to the shedding of blood! The Islamic system of education is based on mutual love and affection, and ongoing contact. Therefore Islam wants Muslim men and women to eliminate hatred and envy from their lives, and not to give any room to those evil characteristics that contradict the brotherhood of faith. Hence Islam is filled with teachings that describe the best ethics ever known since man first walked on the face of the earth: “Do not break off ties with one another, do not turn away from one another, do not hate one another, do not envy one another. Be brothers, as Allah (SWT) has commanded you.”15
“Beware of suspicion, for speaking on the basis of suspicion is the worst kind of lie. Do not seek out one another’s faults, do not spy on one another, do not compete with one another, do not envy one another, do not hate one another, and do not turn away from one another. O servants of Allah (SWT), be brothers.”16
“Do not envy one another, do not outbid one another (in order to inflate prices), do not hate one another, do not turn away from one another, and do not enter into a transaction when others have already entered into it. O servants of Allah (SWT), be brothers. A Muslim is the brother of a Muslim. He does not oppress him, humiliate him or look down upon him. Taqwa is here” – and so saying, he pointed to his chest three times. “It is evil enough for a man to look down upon his Muslim brother. The whole of a Muslim’s being is sacred to another Muslim – his blood, his wealth and his honor are inviolable.”17
The Muslim woman who has received a sound Islamic education thinks deeply about these teachings of the Prophet (PBUH), which contain all the most noble characteristics such as love, friendship, brotherhood, sincerity, compassion and selflessness. She will not be able to persist in her hatred, for nobody can do so except the one who is mean and narrow-minded, or has a diseased heart or twisted nature. The true Muslim woman is far removed from such evil characteristics.
Therefore Islam issues a stern warning to those hard-hearted people, men and women alike, who are deviating from true Islam and its spirit of tolerance by insisting on remaining estranged. They are risking an awful fate in the Hereafter: their actions may prevent them from attaining the mercy and forgiveness of Allah (SWT), and may close the doors of Paradise to them. The Prophet (PBUH) said: “The doors of Paradise are opened on Monday and Thursday, and every servant who does not associate anything with Allah (SWT) will be forgiven, except for the man who bears a grudge against his brother. It will be said, `Wait for these two until they reconcile, wait for these two until they reconcile, wait for these two until they reconcile.'”18
The great Sahabi Abu’l-Darda’ (RAA) used to say: “Shall I not tell you about something that is better for you than charity and fasting? Reconcile between your brothers, for hatred diminishes reward.”19
How important it is for women to understand and meditate upon this great Sahabi’s penetrating insight into the spirit of this religion, which is based on brotherhood and love, when they have arguments and conflicts. Abu’l-Darda’, whose intelligence and good sense the Prophet (PBUH) used to trust, understood that hatred cancels out good deeds and destroys rewards, so reconciling the estranged Muslim with his brother is better for him than charity and fasting, because if he were to continue bearing a grudge against his brother, this would negate any reward he might receive for those acts of worship.
She is tolerant and forgiving towards them
The Muslim woman who is truly guided by Islam is tolerant towards her friends and sisters, and does not bear grudges against them. If she becomes angry with one of her sisters, she restrains heanger and freely forgives the one who has committed an error, without seeing any shame in doing so. In fact, she sees this as a good deed which will bring her closer to Allah (SWT): ( . . . [those] who restrain anger and pardon (all) men – for Allah loves those who do good.) (Qur’an 3:134)
If a person suppresses his or her seething anger, and does not forgive, that anger will turn into resentment and malice, which are more dangerous than anger. When a person forgives and forgets, the flames of anger are extinguished, and his or her soul is cleansed of the effects of anger and hatred. This is the level of ihsan which earns Allah’s (SWT) love for those who attain it: ( . . . for Allah loves those who do good.) (Qur’an 3:134)
The Muslim woman who truly adheres to the teachings of Islam is one of this group of muhsinin. She does not allow anger to continue boiling in her heart, because suppressed resentment is a very heavy burden on the soul; rather, she hastens to forgive and forget, thus freeing herself from this burden, and filling her soul with tranquillity and peace of mind.
Something that may help the Muslim woman to reach this difficult level of ihsan is the knowledge that forgiving one’s sister is not a source of humiliation or shame, rather it will raise her in status and honor in the sight of Allah (SWT), as the Prophet (PBUH) described: “Allah (SWT) will not increase His servant when he forgives except in honor. Noone humbles himself for the sake of Allah (SWT) but Allah (SWT) will raise his status.”20
If we compare this honour and status with the status of ihsan reached by the woman who is tolerant and forgiving, we will realize what an honor she has attained, for in the sight of Allah (SWT) she is one of the muhsinat, and in the sight of people she is a respected, beloved example.
The Muslim woman who has truly understood the teachings of Islam cannot have any trace of hatred or resentment in her heart towards anybody, because she understands precisely the value of forgiveness and purity of heart, and their importance if she seeks Allah’s (SWT) forgiveness and pleasure, as the Prophet (PBUH) explained: “There are three sins, whoever dies free of these sins will be forgiven for anything else, if Allah (SWT) wills: associating anything with Allah (SWT); practicing magic or witchcraft; and bearing resentment towards his brother.”21
She meets them with a smiling face
The true Muslim woman is cheerful of countenance, always greeting her sisters with warmth and smiles, as the Prophet (PBUH) said: “Do not think little of any good deed, even if it is just greeting your brother with a cheerful countenance.”22
Having a cheerful and friendly face is a good characteristic which Islam encourages and considers to be a good deed which will bring reward, because a cheerful face mirrors a pure soul. This inward and outward purity is one of the distinguishing features of the sincere Muslim. Hence the Prophet (PBUH) said: “Your smiling at your brother is an act of charity (sadaqah).”23
The Prophet (PBUH) was cheerful of countenance, always greeting his Sahabah with warmth and smiles whenever he saw them, as the great Sahabi Jarir ibn `Abdullah described: “From the time I embraced Islam, the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) never refused to see me and he never saw me except with a smile on his face.”24
Islam wants the ties of friendship and brotherhood/sisterhood to remain strong among the Muslims, so it encouraged them to spread salam, to be cheerful of countenance, to speak gently and to greet one another warmly, so that hearts will remain pure and open, ready to work together in kindness to do good deeds, and capable of carrying out the duties of Islam no matter what effort and sacrifices may be required.
She is sincere towards them
One of the virtues of the true Muslim woman is that she is completely sincere, towards Allah (SWT), His Prophet, and to the leaders and the masses of the Muslims, as is stated in the sahih hadith: “Religion is sincerity25.” We [the Sahabah] asked, “To whom?”
He [the Prophet (PBUH)] said: “To Allah (SWT) (by obeying Him, attributing to Him what He deserves and performing jihad for His sake); to His Book (by reading it, understanding it and applying it to one’s daily life); to His Prophet (by respecting him greatly and fighting on his behalf both in his lifetime and after his death, and by following his sunnah); to the rulers of the Muslims (by helping them in their task of leading Muslims to the right path and alerting them if they are heedless); and to their common folk (by being merciful towards them).”26
This attitude makes the Muslim woman sincere towards her sisters. She does not cheat them, mislead them, or conceal anything good from them. When she is always sincere towards them it is not merely for the sake of courtesy or to show off her social manners; she behaves in this way because sincerity is one of the fundamental bases of Islam which the first believers used to pledge to observe in their oath of allegiance (bay`ah) to of the Prophet (PBUH), as Jarir ibn `Abdullah stated: “I gave allegiance to the Prophet (PBUH) and pledged to observe regular prayer, to pay zakat, and to be sincere towards every Muslim.”27
In the hadith quoted above, we see that the Prophet (PBUH) summed up Islam in one word, nasihah, showing that sincerity is the central foundation of the faith. For without sincerity, a person’s faith is invalid and his or her Islam is worthless. This is the meaning of the hadith of the Prophet (PBUH): “None of you truly believes until he likes for his brother what he likes for himself.”28
This is impossible to achieve unless one loves one’s brother with all sincerity.
A person’s liking for his brother what he likes for himself is no easy matter. It is very difficult to attain, and no man or woman can attain it except the one who has received a sound Islamic education, whose heart has been cleansed of all selfishness, hatred, envy and malice, and who is infused with love for others.
The true Muslim woman who feels in the depths of her soul that her love for her sister is one of the conditions of true faith and that her religion is based on sincerity, is more likely to attain that difficult level; indeed, it is something that comes naturally to her in her dealings with her friends and sisters, and she becomes a truthful mirror to them, advising and correcting them, and wishing them nothing but good, as Abu Hurayrah used to say: “The believer is the mirror of his brother. If he sees any fault in him, he corrects it.”29
In these words, Abu Hurayrah was echoing the hadith of the Prophet (PBUH): “The believer is the mirror of his brother. The believer is the brother of a believer: he protects him from ruin and guards his back.”30
It is natural that the true Muslim woman should have this noble attitude towards her sister. She could not do otherwise, even if she wanted to: the person who is living on such an exalted level of purity, love, loyalty and sisterhood cannot come down to the level of hatred, betrayal, malice, selfishness and jealousy. A vessel will leak whatever is in it; musk cannot but smell beautiful; and good soil cannot but bring forth good produce. How beautifully the poet Zuhayr ibn Abi Sulma expressed this: “Does any plant produce large flowers but the washij (a plant with spear-like leaves)?
Are palm-trees planted anywhere except in the soil which is suitable for them?”31
She is faithful and kind towards them
Islam does not stop at encouraging its followers to respect and be kind to their friends; it also encourages them to be kind to their parents’ friends too, in recognition of the virtue of kindness and loyalty and in order to establish these values as an essential part of Islamic life. The books of our heritage are filled with reports of loyalty and kindness that the salaf embodied in their daily lives, so that they became a fine example for all of mankind.
An example of this is the hadith narrated by Imam Muslim in his Sahih from Ibn `Umar (RAA), in which the Prophet (PBUH) said: “The best kind of goodness (b) is that a man should keep in touch with and respect his father’s friend.”32
The Prophet (PBUH) used to nurture the souls of the Muslims and plant the seeds of faithfulness in them whenever he found an opportunity to tell them something of his guidance. A man of Banu Salamah came to him and asked: “O Messenger of Allah, is there any deed of kindness and respect that I can do for my parents after they die?” He said, “Yes, pray for them, ask forgiveness for them, fulfil their promises after they die, keep in contact with your relatives – for you have no relatives except through them – and honour their friends.”33
The Prophet (PBUH) set the highest example of faithfulness and kindness by taking care of Khadijah’s friends after she died. He never forgot them or neglected to treat them kindly. The Prophet’s concern for the friends of Khadijah (May Allah be pleased with her) upset `A’ishah (May Allah be pleased with her), who felt jealous of her. This is clear from the words of `A’ishah: “I never felt jealous of any of the wives of the Prophet (PBUH) as I did of Khadijah (May Allah be pleased with her), although I had never seen her. But he used to mention her often, and sometimes he would slaughter a sheep, butcher the meat, and send it to Khadijah’s friends. One time I said to him, `It is as if there were no other woman in the world but Khadijah!’ He said, `She was such-and-such, and I had children by her.'”34
According to another report: “He used to slaughter a sheep and send to her friends a goodly amount of it.”35
By this example, the Prophet (PBUH) expanded the concept of faithfulness and kindness to include the distant friends of deceased parents and wives. So what about our own friends who are still alive!
She is kind to them
The Muslim woman who is truly guided by Islam is never arrogant towards her sisters and friends; she is never sullen towards them, and never uses harsh words with them. She is always kind, gentle and friendly towards them, treating them well and speaking nicely to them. The words of Allah (SWT) describing the believers, men and women, as being ( . . . lowly [or humble] with the believers, mighty against the kafirun . . .) (Qur’an 5:54) are sufficient to give her the most vivid picture of how the Muslim woman should be with her friends and sisters. The ideal situation is to be so gentle and kind that it almost looks like humility.
When the Muslim woman hears the Prophet’s teachings she finds strong evidence in support of kindness towards others; it is described as something that may adorn every aspect of life, as the Prophet (PBUH) said: “There is no kindness in a thing but it adds beauty to it, and there is no absence of kindness but it disfigures a thing.”36
When the Muslim woman studies the life of the Prophet (PBUH), she is impressed by the magnificent nature of his character, his overwhelming gentleness and his utmost kindness in his dealings with people. He was never known to scowl at anybody, or to speak harshly, or to be severe or harsh-hearted. Allah (SWT) indeed spoke the truth when He said: ( . . . Were you severe or harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from about you . . .) (Qur’an 3:159)
Anas (RAA), his servant and constant companion, described his noble character thus: “I served the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) for ten years, and he never said to me `Uff! [The smallest word of contempt]. If I did something, he never said `Why did you do that?’ and if I did not do something, he never said `Why did you not do that?'”37
Anas also said: “The Prophet (PBUH) never used obscene language, or uttered curses and insults. If he wanted to rebuke someone, he would say, `What is the matter with him, may his forehead be covered with dust!38′”39
She does not gossip about them The alert Muslim woman does not allow herself to be drawn into gossip or to attend gatherings where gossip takes place. She restrains her tongue and refrains from gossiping in general, and avoids backbiting about her friends and sisters in particular. She regards it as her duty to prevent gatherings from sinking to the level of cheap gossip, because gossip is clearly haram according to the words of the Qur’an: ( . . . Nor speak ill of each other behind their back. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? Nay, you would abhor it. But fear Allah, for Allah is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful.) (Qur’an 49:12)
The Muslim woman always refrains from indulging in any talk that could lead to gossip. From her understanding of Islam, she knows that it is the tongue that may lead its owner to Hell, as stated in the hadith in which the Prophet (PBUH) warned Mu`adh ibn Jabal. He took hold of his tongue and said, “Restrain this.” Mu`adh said, “O Messenger of Allah, will we be held responsible for what we say?” The Prophet (PBUH) said: “May your mother be bereft of you! Is there anything that causes people to be thrown into Hell on their faces (or he said: on their noses) but the harvest of their tongues?”40
Gossip is an evil characteristic which does not befit the Muslim woman who has been guided by Islam. Such a woman refuses to be two-faced, hypocritical or fickle, gossiping about her friends and sisters in their absence, then when she meets them, she smiles warmly and makes a display of friendship. She knows that such fickleness is haram according to Islam, which is based on straightforwardness, honesty and frankness. Such good qualities come naturally to believing men and women, for Islam has made them despise inconsistency, fickleness and hypocrisy. These characteristics are regarded as so loathsome by Islam that the one who possesses them is described as being two-faced, and those who are two-faced, men and women alike, are among the worst of people in the sight of Allah (SWT), as the Prophet (PBUH) said: “You will find among the worst people in the sight of Allah (SWT) on the Day of Judgement, the one who is two-faced, who approaches some people in one way and some in another.”41
The true Muslim woman is straightforward and consistent, never two-faced. She is always bright and cheerful, and treats all people in the same, noble, manner. She never forgets that the woman who is two-faced is a hypocrite: Islam and hypocrisy do not go together, and the woman who is a hypocrite will be in the lowest level of Hell.
She avoids arguing with them, making hurtful jokes and breaking promises
Among the good manners of the true Muslim woman are a sense of moderation, wisdom and tact. She does not exhaust her friends with irritating arguments, she does not annoy them with hurtful jokes, and she does not break a promise that she has made to them. In this, she follows the guidance of the Prophet (PBUH): “Do not argue with your brother, do not joke excessively with him, do not make a promise to him then break it.”42
Excessive arguing is a repulsive habit that fills people’s hearts with hatred and disgust; making hurtful jokes destroys the purity of a friendship between two sisters; and breaking promises weakens the ties of sisterhood and friendship, and destroys mutual respect. The alert Muslim woman avoids behaving in such a way that makes a person despicable.
She is generous and honours her sisters
The Muslim woman who understands the teachings of her religion is generous and gives freely to her friends and sisters. Her approach is friendly and sincere when she invites them, she welcomes them warmly and offers them food generously.
Friendly gatherings over food strengthen the ties of sisterhood and friendship between sisters, filling their lives with the sense of noble human emotions that have been lost by the Western woman raised in a materialistic culture, who has been filled with the spirit of opportunism, selfishness and individualism. The Western woman is suffering from spiritual emptiness and emotional dryness which result in a feeling of being deprived of true friendship and sincere friends. This is the situation of Westerners in general, and Western women in particular, and they compensate for it by devoting themselves to caring for their dogs, to makup for the lack of human emotional warmth drained from them by their materialistic philosophy. A French report states that there are seven million dogs in France, a country whose population is fifty-two million. These dogs live with their owners like one of the family. It is no longer strange in French restaurants to see a dog and its owner eating together at the same table. When an official of the animal welfare organization in Paris was asked, “Why do the French treat their dogs like they treat themselves?” he answered, “Because they want someone to love, but they cannot find any person to love.”43
The materialistic man, whether in the West or in the East, can no longer find a true, sincere friend in his own society on whom to bestow his love and affection. So he turns to these animals in whom he finds more gentleness and faithfulness than in the people around him. Can man become any more emotionally degenerate than this extreme love for animals when he has lost the blessing of faith and guidance?
This emotional degeneration from which Westerners are suffering and which has dried up the human feelings in their souls, is one of the first things that attracted the attention of emigrant Arab writers, both Muslim and non-Muslim. They noticed that the materialistic lifestyle that has overtaken Western societies has made men into machines who know nothing in life but work, productivity and fierce competition, who do not know what it is to smile warmly at a friend. They are overwhelmed by the haste and crowds of this machine-like existence. Seeing all of this alarmed those Arab writers, who had grown up in the Islamic world and breathed its spirit of tolerance, and whose hearts were filled with brotherly love. So they began earnestly calling the Westerners towards the values of love and brotherhood. One of them was Nasib Aridah, who raised the banner of this humane call to the Westerner whose heart was stained with materialism and who had been blinded and deafened by the roar of the machines: “O my friend, O my companion, O my colleague, my love for you is not out of curiosity or a desire to impose on you./ Answer me with the words `O my brother!’ O my friend, and repeat it, for these are the sweetest words./ If you wish to walk alone, or if you grow bored of me,/ then go ahead, but you will hear my voice, calling `O my brother,’ bearing the message,/ and the echo of my love will reach you wherever you are, so you will understand its beauty and its glory.”44
The burden of materialistic life in the West became too much for Yusuf As`ad Ghanim to bear, and he could no longer stand this life which was full of problems and sinking in the ocean of materialism, and was devoid of the fresh air of spirituality, brotherhood and affection. So he began to long for the Arab countries of the Islamic world, the lands of Prophethood and spirituality, the home of love, brotherhood and purity. He wished that he could live in an Arab tent, and leave behind the civilized world with all its noise and glaring lights: “If I were to live a short life in any Arab land, I would thank Allah (SWT) for a short but rich life in a world where He is loved in the hearts of its people. I got so tired of the West that tiredness itself got bored of me. Take your cars and planes, and give me a camel and a horse. Take the Western world, land, sea and sky, and give me an Arab tent which I will pitch on one of the mountains of my homeland Lebanon, or on the banks of Barada or the shores of the Tigris and Euphrates, in the suburbs of `Amman, in the deserts of Saudi Arabia, in the unknown regions of Yemen, on the slopes of the Pyramids, in the oases of Libya. . . Give me an Arab tent, and I will weigh it against the entire world and emerge a winner. . .”45
Many writings by emigrant Arab writers share the same tone, but it is sufficient to give just a few examples here. All of their writings express the emigrants’ longing for the emotional richness that they missed when they came to the West, an experience which awoke in them feelings of longing for the East where Islam had spread love, brotherhood, mutual affection and solidarity.
Islam planted the seeds of love and brotherhood in the souls of its followers, and encouraged them to make friends and exhange invitations and visits. Those who invite others to these kinds of gatherings are described as being among the best of people: “The best of you is the one who offers food freely and returns the greeting of salam.”46
The Prophet (PBUH) gave good news to those who are generous, men and women alike, that they will be among those who will enter Paradise in peace: “Spread salam, offer food generously, uphold the ties of kinship, stand in prayer at night when people are sleeping, and enter Paradise in peace.”47
The Prophet (PBUH) further encouraged these generous people with the promise of special chambers in Paradise: “In Paradise there are rooms whose outside can be seen from the inside, and whose inside can be seen from the outside. Allah (SWT) has prepared them for those who feed others generously, who are gentle in speech, who fast continuously, and who stand in prayer at night when people are sleeping.”48
She prays for her sisters in their absence
The sincere Muslim woman whose heart is filled with the sweetness of faith likes for her Muslim sister what she likes for herself. So she never forgets to pray for her in her absence, a du`a’ that is filled with the warmth of sincere love and sisterhood. She knows that such du`a’s are the quickest to be answered because of their sincerity and warmth of feeling and the noble intention behind them. This is confirmed by the words of the Prophet (PBUH): “The quickest prayer to be answered is a man’s supplication for his brother in his absence.”49
The Sahabah understood this and used to ask their brothers to pray for them whenever they were in a situation where their prayers would be answered. Men and women alike shared this virtue, which is indicative of the high level of the entire society during that golden period of our history. Bukhari reports, in al-Adab al-Mufrad, from Safwan ibn `Abdullah ibn `Safwan, whose wife was al-Darda’ bint Abi’l-Darda’. He said: “I came to visit them in Damascus, and found Umm al-Darda’ in the house, but Abu’l-Darda’ was not there. She said, `Do you want to go for Hajj?’ I said, `Yes.’ She said, `Pray for me, for the Prophet (PBUH) used to say, “The Muslim’s prayer for his absent brother will be answered. There is an angel at his head who, whenever he prays for his brother, says, `Amin, and you shall have likewise.'”‘” He (Safwan) said, “I met Abu’l-Darda’ in the market and he told me something similar, reporting from the Prophet (PBUH).”50
The Prophet (PBUH) instilled team spirit in the souls of Muslim men and women at every opportunity, strengthening the ties of love for the sake of Allah (SWT) between them, spreading an attitude of selflessness, and uprooting the inclination towards individualism and selfishness, in order that the Muslim society should be infused with feelings of love, close ties, solidarity and selflessness.
One of the brillliant ways in which he instilled this team spirit was his response to the man who prayed out loud: “O Allah (SWT), forgive me and Muhammad only.” He told him, “You have denied it to many people.”51
In this way, the Prophet (PBUH) did not just correct this man alone, but he effectively instilled team spirit in the entire ummah of Islam, and taught every Muslim man and women, no matter when or where they lived, that it is not right for anyone who has uttered the words of the Shahadah to keep goodness to himself, because the believer should always like for his brother what he likes for himself.
In conclusion, then, this is how the Muslim woman who has received a sound Islamic education should be: she loves her sisters for the sake of Allah (SWT), and her sisterly love towards them is sincere and in their best interests; she likes for them what she likes for herself; she is keen to maintain the ties of love and sisterhood between them, and she does not cut them or forsake them; she is tolerant and forgiving of their mistakes and faults; she does not bear any hatred, envy or malice towards them; she always greets them with a cheerful, smiling face; she is kind and loyal towards them; she does not gossip about them; she does not hurt their feelings by being hostile or arguing with them; she is generous to them; she prays for them in their absence.
It is no surprise that the Muslim woman whose personality has been cleansed and moulded by Islam should have such noble characteristics. This is the miracle that Islam has wrought in the education and forming of human character, no matter where or when a man or woman lives.
Bukhari and Muslim. See Sharh al-Sunnah, 1/49, Kitab al-iman, bab halawat al-iman.
Sahih Muslim, 16/123, Kitab al-birr wa’l-silah wa’l-adab, bab fadl al-hubb fi Allah.
Reported by Tirmidhi, 4/24, Bab ma ja’a fi al-hubb fi-Allah; he said, it is a sahih hasan hadith.
Sahih Muslim, 16/124, Kitab al-birr wa’l-silah wa’l-adab, bab fadl al-hubb fi-Allah.
Reported with a sahih isnad by Abu Dawud, 4/452, Kitab al-adab, bab akhbar al-rajul bi mahabbatihi ilayh.
Reported with a sahih isnad by Ahmad, 5/245.
Reported by Malik in al-Muwatta’, 2/953, Kitab al-shi’r, bab ma ja’a fi’l-muthabbayn fi-Allah. Sahih Muslim, 2/35, Kitab al-iman, bab bayan annahu la yadkhul al-jannah illa’l-mu’minin.
Bukhari and Muslim. See Sharh al-Sunnah, 13/47, Kitab al-birr wa’l-silah, bab ta’awun al-mu’minin wa tarahumuhum.
Reported by Bukhari in al-Adab al-Mufrad, 1/493, Bab hijrah al-Muslim.
Bukhari and Muslim. See Sharh al-Sunnah, 13/100, Kitab al-birr wa’l-silah, bab al-nahy ‘an hijran al-ikhwan.
Reported by Bukhari in al-Adab al-Mufrad, 1/505, Bab inna al-salam yujzi’ min al-sawm.
Reported by Bukhari in al-Adab al-Mufrad, 1/497, Bab man hajara akhahu sanah.
Sahih Muslim, 16/120, Kitab al-birr wa’l-silah wa’l-adab, bab tahrim al-zann wa’l-tajassus wa’l-tanafus.
Bukhari and Muslim. See Sharh al-Sunnah, 13/109, Kitab al-birr wa’l-silah, bab ma la yajuz min al-zann.
Sahih Muslim, 16/120, Kitab al-birr wa’l-silah wa’l-adab, bab tahrim zulm al-Muslim wa khadhaluhu wa ihtiqarahu.
Sahih Muslim, 16/122, Kitab al-birr wa’l-silah wa’l-adab, bab al-nahy ‘an al-shahna’.
Reported by Bukhari in al-Adab al-Mufrad, 1/505, Bab al-shahna’. Sahih Muslim, 16/141, Kitab al-birr wa’l-silah
wa’l-adab, bab istihbab al-‘afuw wa’l-tawadu’.
Reported by Bukhari in al-Adab al-Mufrad, 1/505, Bab al-shahna’.
Sahih Muslim, 16/177, Kitab al-birr wa’l-silah wa’l-adab, bab istihbab talaqah al-wajh ‘ind al-liqa’.
Reported by Tirmidhi, 3/228, Abwab al-birr, 36. He said it is hasan gharib.
Fath al-Bari, 10/504, Kitab al-adab, bab al-tabassum wa’l-dahk; Sahih Muslim, 16/35, Kitab fada’il al-sahabah, bab fada’il Jarir ibn ‘Abdullah.
Nasihah is an Arabic word that may be translated by a number of words in English. The most common translation is “good advice,” but it also carries connotations of sincerity, integrity, and “doing justice to a person or situation.” [Translator] Sahih Muslim, 2/37, Kitab al-iman, bab bayan an al-din nasihah. The explanations in brackets are adapted from those given in the English translation of Sahih Bukhari by Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan (Vol. 1, p. 48). [Translator]
Bukhari and Muslim. See Sharh al-Sunnah, 1/63, Kitab al-iman, bab al-bay’ah ‘ala’l-Islam.
Bukhari and Muslim. See Sharh al-Sunnah, 13/60, Kitab al-birr wa’l-silah, bab yuhibbu li akhihi ma yuhibbu li nafsihi.
Reported by Bukhari in al-Adab al-Mufrad, 1/333, Bab al-Muslim mir’ah akhihi.
Sharh Diwan Zuhayr, 115, published by Dar al-Kutub al-Misriyyah.
Sahih Muslim, 16/110, Kitab al-birr wa’l-silah wa’l-adab, bab fadl silah asdiqa’ al-abb wa’l-umm.
Reported by Ibn Hibban in his Sahih, 2/162, Kitab al-birr wa’l-ihsan, bab haqq al-walidayn.
Fath al-Bari, 7/133, Kitab manaqib al-Ansar, bab tazwij al-Nabi (SAAS) Khadijah wa fadliha; Sahih Muslim, 15/201, Kitab al-fada’il, bab fada’il Khadijah.
Fath al-Bari, 7/133, Kitab manaqib al-Ansar, bab tazwij al-Nabi (SAAS) Khadijah wa fadliha.
Sahih Muslim, 16/146, Kitab al-birr wa’l-silah wa’l-adab, bab fadl al-rifq.
Bukhari and Muslim. See Riyad al-Salihin, 336, Bab husn al-khalq.
It has been suggested that what was meant by this expression was that the Prophet (PBUH) was praying that the person would increase his sujud, i.e. pray more, as this would guide and reform him. [Author]
Fath al-Bari, 10/452, Kitab al-adab, bab lam yakun al-Nabi (PBUH) fashishan wa la mutafahhishan.
A sahih hasan hadith narrated by Ibn Majah, 2/1315, Kitab al-fitan.
Fath al-Bari, 10/474, Kitab al-adab, bab ma qila fi dhi’l-wajhayn; Sahih Muslim, 16/157, Kitab al-birr wa’l-silah wa’l-adab, bab dhamm dhi’l-wajhayn.
Reported by Bukhari in al-Adab al-Mufrad, 1/485, bab la ta’id akhaka shay’an fa tukhlifahu.
Prof. Wahid al-Din Khan, Wujub tatbiq al-shari’ah alislamiyyah fi kulli zaman wa makan (“The necessity of applying Islamic shari’ah in every time and place”), in al-Mujtama’, No. 325, Kuwait, 24 Dhu’l-Qi’dah 1396/16 November 1976.
Diwan al-arwah al-ha’irah, qism al-naz’ah al-insaniyyah.
See ‘Isa al-Na’uri, Adab al-Mahjar, Dar al-Ma’arif bi Misr, p. 527
A hasan hadith narrated by Ahmad, 6/16.
A sahih hadith narrated by Ahmad, 2/295, and al-Hakim 4/129, Kitab al-at’amah.
A hasan hadith narrated by Ahmad, 5/343 and Ibn Hibban, 2/262, Kitab al-birr wa’l-ihsan, bab ifsha’ al-salam wa it’am al-ta’am.
Reported by Bukhari in al-Adab al-Mufrad, 2/83, Bab du’a’ al-akh bi zahr al-ghayb.
Reported by Bukhari in al-Adab al-Mufrad, 2/84, Bab al-du’a’ bi zahr al-ghayb.
Reported by Bukhari in al-Adab al-Mufrad, 2/85, Bab al-du’a’ bi zahr al-ghayb.
Author: Shaikh Saleem al Hilaalee
Source: A lecture he gave with the same title
Good companionship, choosing and having good companions is extremely important for many reasons and from many aspects.
1. Mankind cannot live alone; every individual must live and interact with others.
2. Those people who you sit with and make your friends are inevitably going to fall into one of two categories. Either they are going to be good individuals – who guide and encourage you towards what is good and help you to accomplish that which Allaah has ordered, or they are going to be bad – encouraging you to do what is pleasing to Shaytaan, that which misleads you, and leads you to the Hell-Fire.
3. When the Prophet (saws) was sent with the Da’wah to establish the Deen of al-Islaam, he did not do it on his own. Rather, Allaah chose for him companions who accompanied him and who carried the Message until it was complete.
These three aspects show the importance of having good companions, companions who are Saalih (righteous). Such a companion will help you to do what is good and remind you of Allaah, he will enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil. They also show the importance of avoiding keeping bad companions. Such a companion will have a bad effect upon you, they help you to do those deeds which are displeasing to Allaah and which lead to the Hell-Fire – and we seek Allaah’s refuge from that.
The Prophet (saws) explained the matter of good companionship, so that no room is left for doubt or confusion, when he said: “A person is upon the Deen of his khaleel – close friend, so look to whom you befriend.” [Abu Dawood and At-Tirmidhee]
This means that a person is upon the same manhaj (methodology) as his friend, the same tareeq (path) as his friend, the same nature, manner and behavior as his friend. So we must be careful about whom we befriend. There is an Arabic expression – ‘Your companion is what pulls you to something.’ So if your companion is good, he will pull to towards that which is good. But if your companion is bad, he will only pull you towards that which is evil. We must choose our friends and companions carefully so that we take friends who are sincere, and who will order us with what is good and forbid us from what is evil. If he observes us committing sins he would warn us, if he becomes aware of our shortcomings he would advise us, and if he finds a fault in us he would cover it. About this the Prophet (saws) said, “A Muslim is the brother of another Muslim. He neither betrays him nor tells him a lie, nor humiliates him.” [At-Tirmidhee]
So should you see a fault in your brother, you should wish to remove that fault from him and not expose it to the people. This is what is required by brotherhood and again stresses the importance of choosing friends who are upon the correct way, who are loyal, and who hide your faults whilst ordering you with good and forbidding you from evil, who stand beside you and support you, and co-operate with you upon all that is good.
The Prophet (saws) also explained this great principle further in another narration, wherein he stated, “Do not keep company except with a believer, and do not feed except a person who has taqwaa (fear of Allaah).” [Abu Dawood and At-Tirmidhee]
This principle is important from the standpoint of how the Deen is to be established, and from the standpoint of what brotherhood is and what it does. Indeed, the reason that one takes a companion is to help him establish his Islaam, and to help him worship Allaah. We find a good example in the Prophet Moosaa – the one whom Allaah chose and spoke to. When Allaah sent him to Fir’awn, he said, “And appoint for me a helper from my family, Haaroon – my brother; increase my strength with him, and let him share my task (of conveying Allaah’s Message and Prophethood), that we may glorify You much and remember You much.” [20:29-34]
Moosaa wanted his brother to support him and help him, protect him and accompany him. And this is what the believers do for one another. For the thing that binds the believers together and makes them brothers is Eemaan. The Prophet (saws) said, “There are three characteristics; whoever has them will taste the sweetness of Eemaan: That Allaah and His Messenger are more beloved to him than all else, that he loves a person and does not love him except for Allaah, and that he would hates to revert to unbelief just as he would hate to be thrown into the Fire.” [Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim]
Thus the connection between the believers is based upon Eemaan and sincere brotherhood. Be warned against taking any companion if such companionship is based upon other than this, for if you were to do that you would then bite your hands in grief. Just as the unjust ones will bite their hands in grief on the Last Day. Saying, “Oh! Would that I had taken a path with the Messenger. Ah! Woe to me! Would that I had never taken so-and-so as a friend! He indeed led me astray from the Reminder (the Qur’aan) after it had come to me.” [25:27]
And Allaah says, “And whosoever turns away from the remembrance of the Most Beneficent (Allaah), We appoint for him Shaytaan to be a Qareen (intimate companion) to him.” [43:36]
So all of the physical togetherness that you see around you, which is based upon other than Eemaan will be wiped away on that Day, and it will be a source of misery and torture for them. Allaah says that those who love one another for other than the sake of Allaah will be “…foes one to another…” on the Last Day. [43:67]
It is only the brotherhood that is based upon Eemaan and Taqwaa that is the true and lasting brotherhood. All of those who come together for materialistic reasons; because of complexion, because of nationality, or for whatever other reason, will be enemies one to another “…except al-Muttaqoon.” Those who have Taqwaa, and love a brother only because he is upon the Path of Allaah and has the same Eemaan that they have; he has taken the path of the Messenger (saws) and the Salafus-Saalih (righteous predecessors). So be careful, before you slip and find yourself exposed to a fitnah, which you never imagined, all because you were not careful about whom you took as a companion.
The Prophet (saws) said, “The case of the good companion and the bad companion is like that of the seller of musk and the blower of the bellows (iron-smith). As for the seller of musk, he will either give you some of the musk, or you will purchase some from him, or at least you will come away having experienced its good smell. Whereas the blower of the bellows will either burn your clothing, or at least you will come away having experienced its repugnant smell.” [Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim]
The good companion has been given this similitude because he is righteous and will help you to remember Allaah. If he sees you make a mistake he will advise you and support you, whereas the bad companion would forsake you; leaving you at the time when you are most in need of him. “And remember the Day when the Dhaalim (wrong-doer, oppressor) will bite at his hands, he will say, ‘Oh! Would that I had taken a path with the Messenger. Ah! Woe to me! Would that I had never taken so-and-so as a friend! He indeed led me astray from the Reminder (this Qur’aan) after it had come to me.. And Shaytaan is ever a deserter to man in the hour of need’.” [25:27-29]
The bad companion is the Shaytaan from amongst mankind, and the Shayaateen are both men and jinns. Sometimes the harm that comes from the Shayaateen amongst men is greater than the harm that comes from the Shayaateen of the jinn. As a matter of fact the Shayaateen amongst mankind could probably teach the Shayaateen from the jinn a few things they didn’t know!
So in this hadeeth, where the Prophet (saws) said that the good companion is like the seller of musk – which is a particular type of perfume, one of the best – it is said that either you will take some from him or you will get some of its fragrance on you. It can be seen that from the good companion you will either pick up good actions and statements from his example – obeying Allaah because he does so and because he supports you in that, ordering what is good and forbidding what is evil, acquiring good characteristics and qualities and beneficial knowledge – or if he sees you becoming weak in your Eemaan he will advise you and help you.
A good example of this can be found in the Prophet (saws), who was ma’soom (free from making sins). When he was making the hijrah (migration) from Makkah to Madinah he would not leave until he had chosen a companion to accompany him on his way. Abu Bakr offered to go with him and make the hijrah also, but the Prophet (saws) ordered him to wait until Allaah allowed him to do so. This implies that the fact that Abu Bakr was to be the Prophet’s companion on this hijrah was a choice from Allaah, and so great a choice and such a blessing that Allaah mentioned it in the Qur’aan.
“Allaah did indeed help him (Muhammad) when the disbelievers drove him out. The second of the two, when they (Muhammad and Abu Bakr) were in the cave, and he (saws) said to his companion, ‘Be not sad (or afraid), surely Allaah is with us’.” [9:40]
He (saws) said, ‘Surely Allaah is with us’, not ‘with me’, since Abu Bakr had supported the Prophet in the establishing of the Deen of Allaah, he had thus earned the right to be supported by Allaah also.
Abu Bakr – a good friend and companion, one who was willing to sacrifice everything for the sake of Allaah and to the service of His Messenger (saws); his blood, his wealth, his sweat, his tears and everything that he owned he gave for Allaah’s sake. Abu Bakr As-Siddeeq, may Allaah be pleased with him and he pleased with Allaah, the first Khaleefah after the Prophet (saws) and his great companion, the best of this Ummah after the Prophet, sets for us this great example of the good companion who is like the perfume merchant.