There are many types of brotherhood:
a) Brotherhood by lineage
Allaah (Ta’ala) says in Surat An-Nisaa’ [4:11]:
فَإِن كَانَ لَهُ إِخْوَةٌ فَلِأُمِّهِ السُّدُسُ
“..if the deceased left brothers or (sisters), the mother has a sixth..”
b) Brotherhood by clan or tribe
Allaah (Ta’ala) says about Hud in Surat Hud [11:50]:
وَإِلَىٰ عَادٍ أَخَاهُمْ هُودًا
“And to ‘Ad (people We sent) their brother Hud…”
c) Brotherhood by companionship or friendship
Allaah (Ta’ala) says in Surat Saad [38:23]:
إِنَّ هَٰذَا أَخِي
“Verily, this, my brother.”
d) Brotherhood by Religion (or faith)
And this is the strongest type of brotherhood.
Allaah (Ta’ala) says in Surat Aal-‘Imran [3:103]:
فَأَصْبَحْتُم بِنِعْمَتِهِ إِخْوَانًا
“…So that, by His Grace, you became brethren (in Islamic Faith)…”
Concepts of Brotherhood in Faith
First: Brotherhood in faith is an extension of the love of Allaah and His Tawheed.
The bond of brotherhood between the believers is affirmed by Allaah’s Statement in Surat Al-Hujuraat [49:10]:
إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ إِخْوَةٌ
“The believers are nothing else than brothers (in Islamic religion).”
This means that one should belong to the group of believers and the relationship between the believing brothers is a relationship of love.
Shaikh As-Sa’dee (Rahimahullaah) said: “This is a contract which Allaah (Ta’ala) has set between the believers. This means that if a man from the east of the earth or from its west believes in Allaah, His Angels, His Books, His Messengers, and the Day of Resurrection, then he is a brother to the believers. Brotherhood necessitates the believers to love for him what they love for themselves and to hate for him what they hate for themselves. Allaah and His Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) commanded to give the believers their rights and ordered that, through which they attain love, affection, and good relations.” [Summarized from Tayseer Al-Kareem]
The concept of Islamic brotherhood is an extension of the love of Allaah and His Tawheed, because loving Allaah (Ta’ala) necessitates and requires that a person love whom Allaah loves and hate whom Allaah hates, i.e. to love the Messengers, the Siddiqun (those foremost in accepting the faith), and the believers.
Allaah (Ta’ala) says in Surat At-Tawbah [9:71]:
وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتُ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاءُ بَعْضٍ
“The believers, men and women, are Auliyaa‘ (helpers, supporters, friends, protectors) of one another.”
Second: Brotherhood in faith is a means of establishing good on the earth.
From among that which characterizes brotherhood in Islam is that it is the meeting between the monotheists for great missions and huge tasks which helps to lead Muslims to establish good on the earth and spread justice in the land.
The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) united the Companions, the Emigrants and the Ansaar (the supporters of Madinah) with the tie of brotherhood in faith, which set the cornerstone of a civilized country erected on the earth according to the Manhaj (way) of Allaah.
Third: Brotherhood in faith is brotherhood above all worldly zeal.
Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “The likeness of the believers in their mutual love, mercy, and compassion is that of one body; when any part of it is in pain, the rest of the body joins it in restlessness and fever.” [Muslim no. 2586]
Holding fast to the rope of Allaah unites the believers. If there is no rope, the believers will differ and dissension will occur. There will be no true brotherhood unless there exists something they hold on to. The more one is obedient to Allaah, the more he will cooperate with his believing brother. Allaah (Ta’ala) says in Surat Aal-‘Imran [3:103]:
وَاعْتَصِمُوا بِحَبْلِ اللَّهِ جَمِيعًا
“And hold fast, all of you together, to the Rope of Allaah (i.e. this Qur’an)…”
Allaah knows that the Muslim society will not be strong in confronting their enemies unless there is love to unite them.
The Virtue and Excellence of Brotherhood and Love for the Sake of Allaah
1 – Brotherhood for the sake of Allaah is a blessing and bounty from Allaah.
Allaah (Ta’ala) says in Surat Aal-‘Imran [3:103]:
ۚ وَاذْكُرُوا نِعْمَتَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذْ كُنتُمْ أَعْدَاءً فَأَلَّفَ بَيْنَ قُلُوبِكُمْ فَأَصْبَحْتُم بِنِعْمَتِهِ إِخْوَانًا
“..And remember Allaah’s Favor on you, for you were enemies one to another but He joined your hearts together, so that by His Grace, you became brethren (in Islamic Faith)…”
Allaah has bestowed two favors upon the believers. The first is the blessing of uniting their hearts and the second is protection from the Hell-Fire. These two favors are joined together with another third great favor which is making the believers brothers, loving one another.
Allaah (Ta’ala) made brotherhood a divine gift which He grants to the sincere and truthful ones, by which the Jahiliyy grudges (the grudges at the time of ignorance), enmity and hatred are removed; the hearts are united, and they become allies on one Manhaj and one ‘Aqeedah.
2 – Brotherhood in faith is a means of attaining Allaah’s love
Attaining Allaah’s love is the greatest goal of the monotheists. There are many texts that emphasize that the love of Allaah is attained by loving one’s believing brothers and dealing well with them, as well as supporting them and visiting them.
The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “A man set out to visit a brother (in faith) who lived in another village. Allaah deputed an angel (for his protection). When the man met the angel, the latter asked him: ‘Where do you intend (to go)?’ He said: ‘I intend to visit my brother in this village.’ He said: ‘Have you something to receive from him?’ He said: ‘I have no desire except to visit him because I love him for the sake of Allaah.’ He said: ‘I am a Messenger of Allaah to you (to tell you) that Allaah loves you as you love him for His Sake.’” [Muslim]
Shaikh Ibn ‘Uthaimeen (Rahimahullaah) said: “To love for the sake of Allaah is love not for the sake of wealth or nobility or ancestry, rather it is a love of Allaah. He saw him carrying out the command of Allaah, being obedient to Allaah, avoiding the prohibitions of Allaah; so he loved him for that. This is the love for the sake of Allaah.” [Sharh Riyad-us-Saliheen]
3 – Those who are brothers for the sake of Allaah will be in Allaah’s shade on the Day of Resurrection
Abu Hurairah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) narrated that Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “On the Day of Resurrection, Allaah the Exalted will say: ‘Where are those who have loved one another for the sake of My Glory? Today I shall shelter them in My shade where there is no shade but Mine.'” [Muslim]
I.e. Allaah will create shades for whomever He wills from among His creation on a Day when there will be no shade except His.
4 – The status of the brothers for the sake of Allaah will be envied by the Prophets and martyrs.
Mu’adh (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) narrated that Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Allaah the Exalted has said: ‘For those who love one another for the sake of My Glory and Greatness, they will be on high seats of light (on the Day of Resurrection) and they will be the envy of the Prophets and martyrs.” [Saheeh At-Tirmidhi]
‘Umar ibn Al-Khattaab (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) narrated that the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “There are people from the servants of Allaah whose faith is perfected, who are neither Prophets nor martyrs, and the Prophets and martyrs will envy them on the Day of Resurrection for their rank with Allaah, the Most High.” They (the people) asked: “Tell us, O Messenger of Allaah, who are they?” He (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) replied: “They are people who love one another for the sake of Allaah without any other interest like money or kinship. I swear by Allaah, their faces will glow and they will be (sitting) in (pulpits of) light. They will have no fear (on the Day) when the people will have fear, and they will not grieve when the people will grieve.” He then recited the following Qur’anic verse (10:62): ‘Behold! Verily for the friends of Allaah there is no fear, nor shall they grieve.’” [Saheeh Abu Dawoud, and authenticated by Al-Albaani who graded it Saheeh]
This Hadeeth indicates the merit of love for the sake of Allaah. From its fruits is success in this world and in the Hereafter. This merit is for those who visited, sat, and loved one another sincerely for the sake of Allaah and not for worldly gain.
5 – Brotherhood for the sake of Allaah is a way to attain the sweetness of faith and complete its strong handhold.
Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “There are three qualities; whoever has them, will taste the sweetness of faith: He should love Allaah and His Messenger above all else, he should love a slave (of Allaah) only for (the sake of) Allaah, and he should abhor returning to infidelity after Allaah has saved him from it as he would abhor to be thrown in the fire (of Hell).” [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]
The love of Allaah and His Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) is the cornerstone of faith. When it is said that this love should exceed one’s love for everything else in the universe, it means that what is enjoined by Allaah and His Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) must be given preference over everything else, whether it is love for one’s wife, children, worldly interests, desires or whims. When there is a clash between the two, the former should be given preference over the latter.
Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) also said: “Whoever gives for the sake of Allaah, withholds for the sake of Allaah, loves for the sake of Allaah, hates for the sake of Allaah, and marries for the sake of Allaah, he has indeed perfected his faith.” [Saheeh At-Tirmidhi and authenticated by Al-Albaani who graded it Hasan]
The strongest handhold of faith is to love for the sake of Allaah and to hate for the sake of Allaah. This means that the matter of brotherhood is a matter of faith and religion. Allaah knew its value and impact when He enjoined it. We should therefore give the matter its right and fulfil it, especially nowadays when the Fitan (trials) have spread and the diversions have increased and the lusts have become abundant. We should resist weak faith and slackness. Brotherhood in faith increases one in faith and prevents one’s faith from declining, and it becomes straight by giving advice. Therefore, it is one of the rights of brotherhood to give advice.
He (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) also said: “None of you will have (complete) faith till he likes for his (Muslim) brother what he likes for himself.” [Agreed upon]
This is the criterion (that controls the concept of brotherhood) by which faith will not be perfected except by that which is mentioned in the aforementioned statement of the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam).
6 – As one increases in his love for his brother, he will increase in nearness to Allaah and Allaah’s love for him will increase.
The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “No two men (persons) love one another, but the best of them is the one who has a greater love for his brother.” [Authenticated by Al-Albaani in Saheeh Al-Adab Al-Mufrad no. 423 and graded Saheeh]
7 – From the virtues of loving believing brothers for the sake of Allaah is that the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) wished that he had met his brothers who love him (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). The Companions (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhum) said: “Are we not your brothers?” He replied: “You are my Companions, but my brothers are those who believed in me and they did not see me.” [Authenticated by Al-Albaani in As-Silsilah As-Saheehah no. 2888]
Receive the glad tidings of being one of the brothers of the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) whom he wished to see; those who loved Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), followed him, and acted upon his Sunnah.
📚 Brotherhood for the Sake of Allaah, by Al-‘Allamatain Al-Albaani and Ibn Baaz
📚 Khutbah about Brotherhood in Faith by Shaikh Al-Munajjid
📚 Tafseer Ibn Katheer
📚 Tayseer Al-Kareem
📚 Sharh Riyadus-Saliheen by Shaikh Ibn ‘Uthaimeen
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