The Rights and Obligations of Brotherhood in Faith

Brotherhood in faith is a religious obligation. Let every truthful monotheist inspect himself and his relationship with his brothers and check if it is in conformity with the Shari’ah.


One should test whom he intends to take as a believer in faith by looking into his worship and religion; does he carry out the obligatory acts and abstain from the prohibitions? Is he taking care of the Sunnah, and is he keen to acquire knowledge? In this way, one would know who deserves to be taken as a brother in faith, regardless of the place he is from and/ or the clan he is in.

When one takes someone as his brother in faith, he should:

1 – Love him and show allegiance for the sake of Allaah and be continuous upon that, so long as the brother is on the correct faith.

The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “By Him in Whose Hand my soul is! You will not enter Paradise until you believe, and you will not believe until you love one another.” [Muslim]

This Hadeeth emphasizes that love for the sake of Allaah indicates perfect faith and that the faith of the slave will not be perfected until he loves his brother. [Sharh Riyadus-Saliheen]

And he (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) guided the believers to inform each other of this love. Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “When a man loves his brother (for the sake of Allaah) he should tell him that he loves him.” [Saheeh Abu Dawoud no. 5124 and authenticated by Al-Albaani who graded it Saheeh]

Anas ibn Maalik (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) narrated that a man was with Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) when another man passed by and the former said: “O Allaah’s Messenger! I love this man (for Allaah’s Sake).” Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) asked: “Have you informed him?” He said: “No.” Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) then said: “Tell him (that you love him).” So he went up to the man and said to him: “I love you for the sake of Allaah.” And the other replied: “May Allaah, for Whose Sake you love me, love you.” [Saheeh Abu Dawoud and authenticated by Al-Albaani who graded it Hasan]

Comments: The wisdom behind informing someone that one truly loves him for the sake of Allaah and not for the sake of the Dunya or desire is to make him aware of the regard for him so that this will turn into mutual affection and thus promote cooperation with each other.

2 – Encourage him, be kind and be a good Companion

a) Help him monetarily and do not wait for him to ask or to complain to you, otherwise this indicates a shortcoming in fulfilling his right. One should prefer giving to the needy over one’s own needs and self, as Allaah (Ta’ala) says in Surat Al-Hashr [59:9]:

وَيُؤْثِرُونَ عَلَىٰ أَنفُسِهِمْ وَلَوْ كَانَ بِهِمْ خَصَاصَةٌ وَمَن يُوقَ شُحَّ نَفْسِهِ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ

“…and give them (emigrants) preference over themselves, even though they were in need of that. And whosoever is saved from his own covetousness, such are they who will be the successful.”

Ibn Katheer (Rahimahullaah) said: “They preferred giving to the needy before their own needs and giving the people before their own selves even though they were in need. The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: ‘The best charity is that which is given when one is in need and struggling.’ [Saheeh Abu Dawoud and authenticated by Al-Albaani who graded it Saheeh].” [Tafseer Ibn Katheer]

b) Speak pleasantly with good speech, smile, meet him with a cheerful face, reply to his greeting, and rejoice when meeting him.

The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Do not regard any act of kindness as insignificant, even meeting your brother with a cheerful face.” [Muslim]

He (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) also said: “Spread the greeting amongst you.” [Muslim]

c) Show humbleness and good conduct, visit them for the sake of Allaah, congratulate and inspect their states.

The Messenger of Allaah (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Charity does not decrease wealth. No one forgives but Allaah increases him in honors and no one humbles himself before Allaah but Allaah raises him in status.” [Muslim no. 2588]

The Messenger of Allaah (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “The most complete of the believers in faith is the one with the best character among them.” [Saheeh At-Tirmidhi and authenticated by Al-Albaani who graded it Hasan Saheeh]

d) Exert one’s utmost to intercede for him with a goodly intercession (for a good cause). Allaah (Ta’ala) says in Surat An-Nisaa’ [4:85]:

مَّن يَشْفَعْ شَفَاعَةً حَسَنَةً يَكُن لَّهُ نَصِيبٌ مِّنْهَا وَمَن يَشْفَعْ شَفَاعَةً سَيِّئَةً يَكُن لَّهُ كِفْلٌ مِّنْهَا وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ مُّقِيتًا

“Whosoever intercedes for a good cause will have the reward thereof, and whosoever intercedes for an evil cause will have a share in its burden. And Allaah is Ever All-Able to do (and also an All-Witness to) everything.”

One should use his status and personal relationships to benefit his Muslim brother without expecting anything in return. Allaah (Ta’ala) praised the people of Paradise in Surat Al-Insan [76:9]:

إِنَّمَا نُطْعِمُكُمْ لِوَجْهِ اللَّهِ لَا نُرِيدُ مِنكُمْ جَزَاءً وَلَا شُكُورًا

 (Saying): “We feed you seeking Allaah’s Countenance only. We wish for no reward nor thanks from you.”

3 – Help and support one another on righteousness and in performance of good deeds. The believers are like one building, strengthening each other. Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “A believer to another believer is like a building whose different parts enforce each other.” The Prophet then clasped his hands with his fingers interlaced. [Reported by Al-Bukhaari no. 2026]

4 – Support and stand by oppressed brothers and protect their blood, honor and properties, and relieve the distressed. Allaah (Ta’ala) says in Surat Al-Anfaal [8:72]:

وَإِنِ اسْتَنصَرُوكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ فَعَلَيْكُمُ النَّصْرُ

“..but if they seek your help in religion, it is your duty to help them.”

5 – Social Obligations:

a) Accept gifts and the recommendation of giving them

b) Accept invitations

c) Conceal the defects of the Muslims

d) Tashmeet of the sneezer (by saying ‘Yarhamkullaah’ if he says ‘Alhamdulillaah’)

e) Think good of them, do not be suspicious of them, and keep one’s heart clear towards them.

6 – Invoke for every good for them in their lives, attend their funeral procession, and invoke Allaah for their forgiveness and that they attain the pleasure of Allaah after their death.

Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “There is no Muslim who prays for his brother in his absence but the angels say: ‘And you will have something similar.'” [Muslim]

The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) also said: “The rights of a Muslim on a Muslim are five:

  • To return the greeting 
  • To visit the sick
  • To follow the funeral procession
  • To accept the invitation 
  • To reply to the sneezer.” [Al-Bukhaari]

7 – Bear in mind that the bond of brotherhood will not continue except by giving excuses and ignoring mistakes.

Some examples from the life of the Salaf with regards to their brotherhood in faith:

  • ‘Umar (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) said: “Do not explain a word uttered to you by your believing brother wrongly while you can give it a good explanation.”
  • A man visited Ash-Shafi’ee (Rahimahullaah) when he was sick. The man said: “May Allaah strengthen your weakness.” Ash-Shafi’ee (Rahimahullaah) said: “If Allaah strengthened my weakness I would die.” The man said: “By Allaah, I did not mean except good.” Ash-Shafi’ee said: “I know that even if you abused me, you would not mean except good.”
  • Some of the Salaf used to say: “Let the share for your brother from you be in three things: If you did not benefit him, do not harm him; if you did not bring him joy, do not grieve him; and if you did not praise him, do not dispraise him.”
  • Sa’d ibn Ar-Rabi’ (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) proposed to share half his wealth with ‘Abdur-Rahmaan ibn ‘Awf (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) and said to him: “Look at (choose) which wife you like (this was before the revelation of the verse of Hijab), I will divorce her and you can marry her.”
  • Imaam Ahmad (Rahimahullaah) recorded that Anas (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) said: “The Muhajirin said: ‘O Allaah’s Messenger! We have never met people like those whom we emigrated to; who comforted us in times of scarcity and gave to us with a good heart in times of abundance. They have sufficed us and shared their wealth with us so much so that we feared that they might earn the whole reward instead of us.’ He said: ‘No they won’t, as long as you thanked them for what they did and invoked Allaah for them.'” [Ibn Katheer – Al-Bidayah wan-Nihayah]
  • Al-Bukhaari also recorded that Abu Hurairah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) said: “The Ansaar said [to the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam)]: ‘Distribute our date-palms between us and our emigrant brothers.’ He replied: ‘No.’ The Ansaar said (to the emigrants): ‘Tend to the trees and share the fruits with us.’ The emigrants said: ‘We hear and obey.'”
  • ‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Umar (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhuma) said expressing the state of the early generation and their spending for their brothers: “A time had come upon us where we did not see any one deserving the dirham and dinar more than our Muslim brother. And now we are in a time where the dirham and dinar is dearer to us than our Muslim brother.”

When one spends on his Muslim brother, he should not see himself as having done him a favor, rather his action should be for Allaah’s Sake. This prevents one from Mann (reminding others of one’s favors) which is one of the nullifiers of the good deed. Allaah (Ta’ala) says in Surat Al-Baqarah [2:264]:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تُبْطِلُوا صَدَقَاتِكُم بِالْمَنِّ وَالْأَذَىٰ كَالَّذِي يُنفِقُ مَالَهُ رِئَاءَ النَّاسِ وَلَا يُؤْمِنُ بِاللَّـهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ فَمَثَلُهُ كَمَثَلِ صَفْوَانٍ عَلَيْهِ تُرَابٌ فَأَصَابَهُ وَابِلٌ فَتَرَكَهُ صَلْدًا لَّا يَقْدِرُونَ عَلَىٰ شَيْءٍ مِّمَّا كَسَبُوا وَاللَّـهُ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الْكَافِرِينَ

“O you who believe! Do not render in vain your Sadaqah (charity) by reminders of your generosity or by injury, like him who spends his wealth to be seen of men, and he does not believe in Allaah, nor in the Last Day. His likeness is the likeness of a smooth rock on which is a little dust; on it falls heavy rain which leaves it bare. They are not able to do anything with what they have earned. And Allaah does not guide the disbelieving people.”

  • Some of the Salaf used to say: “Indeed I feel shy of Allaah to ask for Paradise for one of my brothers and I showed miserliness in this world to give him a dinar or dirham.”
  • It was reported that Masrouq (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) became indebted with a loan and his brother Khaithamah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) also had a loan. Masrouq (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) went and payed off the debt of Khaithamah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) without him knowing, and Khaithamah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) payed off the debt of Masrouq without his knowledge. Each one managed the affair of his brother without the other one’s knowledge, and both of them were in need.
  • Some of them used to put bags of dirhams and dinars in the shoes of their brothers so that when they wore them they would feel the bags and take the money without feeling embarrassed. They were asked: “Why do you not give it to them or send it to them?” They said: “I hate seeing the face of my brother to change (with anger or displeasure or embarrassment) when he looks at my messenger or to my letter or when he meets me.” Therefore, he would give him without him perceiving that he gave him.

When one gives or spends on people, he should not wait for any word of gratefulness or praise. You either take your reward for these acts of worship in this world or in the Hereafter. If you want to attain it hastily, you will get it, but there will be nothing for you in the Hereafter. And if you want it in the Hereafter, then it will not harm you in aught if they do not thank you for it.

  • The Salaf used to store precious and valuable things for their brothers, especially items which were not present in the houses of their brothers. The brothers of Al-Hasan Al-Basri used to gather with him and he used to bring out a basket from under his bed in which there were dates and say: “I stored this for you.”
  • Abu Khaldah said: “‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Awf and I entered upon Ibn Sireen. He welcomed us and said: ‘I do not know how I can entertain you.’ He saw them as virtuous people because they visited him for the sake of Allaah. He (Ibn Sireen) said: ‘Every man of you has bread and meat in his house. All of you have food in your home, but I will feed you today something which I don’t see in your homes.’ So he brought honey and was cutting it with a knife and feeding them.”
  • Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn ‘Ali used to call some of his friends to his house every Friday, giving them good food, giving them perfume, burning the scent, and they would go to the Masjid from his house.
  • Some of them used to inspect the state of their brother’s children for forty years after their brother’s death, until the children did not feel the loss of their father. When Mansoor ibn Al-Mu’tamir passed away, ‘Amr ibn Qais Al-Mulla’i used to visit his children and family. When ‘Amr ibn Qais passed way and the children of Mansoor grew up, they used to inspect the state of the family of ‘Amr ibn Qais after his death. A mutual loyalty, and this is how the matter was with the Salaf.

What is the interest? What benefit do they get from this dealing?

  • Al-Hasan (Rahimahullaah) expressed it thus: “Our brothers are dearer to us than our families and children because our families remind us of the Dunya but our brothers remind us of the Hereafter.”

Accordingly, the secret behind that dealing is what one will get of knowledge, benefit, and encouragement to worship Allaah and work for the Religion. In visiting one’s brother, there are many benefits, knowledge, and increase in one’s faith. One should know the merits of visiting for the sake of Allaah.

  • When one of the Salaf visited another brother on a muddy day, the owner of the house said: “How can I thank these two feet which came to me on this day to grant me reward?” So he got up and brought water and washed the feet of the visitor.



📚  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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