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The Islamic Brotherhood:

Rights and Responsibilities


(Friday speech delivered by Imam Mohamed Baianonie at the Islamic Center or
Raleigh, NC on October 10, 2003)

Allah (S.W.T.) declared in the Noble Quran the nature of the relationship between
Muslims, what can be translated, The believers are nothing else than brothers
{Verse 10, Surat Al-Hujurat}

Islam does not want people to repeat the empty slogan of Islamic Brotherhood. Nor
does Islam want people to claim Islamic Brotherhood, without practicing it in their
lives. For that reason, Islam legislated the dos and do nots, which can help Muslims
implement Islamic Brotherhood in their lives. This legislation also provided
guidelines that would strengthen, nurture, and protect it from everything that may
weaken or bring to an end.

There are many Quranic verses and authentic Ahadith that can better explain all these
guidelines. Today we will elaborate on one of those Ahadith, which the Prophet
Muhammad (S.A.W.) told the Muslims to abide by at all times. The prophet
Mohammad (S.A.W.) said,

"Do not be envious of one another; do not inflate prices by overbidding against one
another; do not hate one another; do not turn away from one another; do not enter into
commercial transaction when others have entered into that (transaction); but be you, O
slaves of Allah, as brothers. A Muslim is a brother of another Muslim; he neither
oppresses him, nor does he lie to him, nor does he look down upon or humiliate him.
Piety is here (and he pointed to his chest three times). It is evil enough for a Muslim to
humiliate his brother. All things of a Muslim are sacred for his brother-in-faith: his
blood, his property, and his honor. {Related by Imam Muslim.}

This great Hadith, that we just mentioned contains many rules that have great benefits
to establish and protect the Islamic Brotherhood from its downfall. Today, we will
briefly explain these rules.

First the Hadith states do not envy one another. The prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.)
forbade us from envying one another on the bounties that Allah (S.W.T.) bestowed on
us. When a person is envious, he wishes that Allahs bounties be removed from that
person to another. So envy is Haram (prohibited). And it is a dangerous behavior that
if practiced by the people, could destroy the Brotherhood and cancel their good deeds.
For that reason the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) warned us in his saying, Beware of
envy, for envy eats away from the righteous deeds, as fire eats away on wood. So
envy is among the major sins, because it objects to Allahs distribution of His
bounties amongst the people. The envious not only objects, but also wishes to change
the actions of Allah (S.W.T.) by removing these bounties and redistributing them to
others. Envy is a disease that affects the person, because it unrests and saddens the
soul, and it increases the hatred to the envied person. Although one may envy, one
will never be able to change the distribution of Allahs gifts.

We must be aware of envy. We must cut the source of it. And remove its bad affects.

Secondly the Hadith states do not inflate prices by overbidding against one another.
The prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) forbade us from inflating prices by overbidding
against one another without a serious intention to buy, but just to hurt others. This
practice is Haram (prohibited), because it is cheating, tricking, mockery, and
extortion. The Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) said, Whoever cheats is not one of us
(Muslims). In another Hadith he (S.A.W.) said, those who mock and trick will be in
the hellfire. Also this practice tells us of the wicked character of this person, which
will lead to animosity and hatred toward people. We should be aware and avoid this
action.

Thirdly the Hadith states, do not hate one another. The prophet Muhammad
(S.A.W.) forbade us from hating one another and ordered us to avoid it. We must be
aware of hatred. We must cut the source of hatred. And we must remove the bad
effects of hatred. In fact, the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) ordered us to do the
opposite, and love one another. And he orders us to do all the things that will lead to
loving each other. He (S.A.W.) affirms that loving one another will be our way to
Paradise. In the following Hadith, he says, By Him in Whose Hand my soul is! You
should by no means enter Paradise until you believe, and you shall by no means
believe until you love one another. May I inform you of something, if you do, love
among you will be promoted? Give greeting amongst you (i.e., by saying, As-salamu
Alaikum to one another).

The fourth thing the Hadith states is, do not turn away from one another. The
prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) forbade us from turning away from each other.
Avoiding your brother when you see him cuts off relationships. Therefore, turning
away from one another is a practice that is Haram (prohibited). The prophet
Muhammad (S.A.W.) said, It is not lawful for a Muslim to desert (stop talking to)
his brother beyond three nights, one turning one way and the other turning to the other
way when they meet, the better of the two is one who is the first to greet the other.
Furthermore, Allah (S.W.T.) ordered us to make peace between those who are in
conflict. And Allah (S.W.T.) made it a duty of the Muslim Brothers to make peace
during conflict in what can be translated as, The believers are nothing else than
brothers. So make reconciliation between your brothers, and fear Allah, that you may
receive mercy. {Verse 10, Surat Al-Hujurat}

The fifth detail of the Hadith is do not enter into commercial transaction when others
have entered into that (transaction). For example, if a person is selling a car to
another, you should not interfere with that sale. Meaning that, you should not try to
propose to buy the car at a higher price. Nor should you try to take the sale of the man
by proposing a cheaper price. This is Haram (prohibited) because it harmful to others
and it causes a spread of animosity and hatred amongst people.

The sixth detail of the Hadith, the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) ordered us to spread
the Brotherhood when he says: but be you, O slaves of Allah, as brothers.
Everything you should do, should be to make you loving brothers and you can do this
by doing the following deeds: avoid envy, avoid inflating prices by overbidding
against one another; avoid hatred toward one another; avoid turning away from one
another; avoid interfering in others commercial transactions. Furthermore, we should
deal with each other with good manners, compassion, mercy, pity, and cooperation for
doing well with a pure heart. Do not forget that you are slaves of Allah (S.W.T.) and a
slave must obey his Master, Allah (S.W.T.).

In order to protect our Brotherhood, we must fulfill its duties by greeting each other,
shaking hands, blessing the person who sneezes, attending our Brothers invitation,
giving sincere advice, visiting the sick, and attending funerals.

Among the things that can increase love among people, is the giving of gifts. And for
that, the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) emphasized this in his saying, exchange
giftsthis leads to loving each other.

The seventh detail of the Hadith, the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) ordered us to
refrain from all things that would cause our hearts to turn away from one another.
Some of the things that would cause our hearts to turn away would be oppressing,
humiliating, lying, and looking down on one another.

In the eighth detail of the Hadith, the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) emphasized on
the importance of piety and its place in the heart, rather than in appearance. In fact,
the Prophet points his fingers to his chest three times to show that piety is in the heart.
In another Hadith, he says, Allah will not look at your body nor your appearance,
rather he will only look at your hearts. When a person is pious, then he will protect
himself from the wrath of Allah and His punishment. So how can a person get this
protection from Allah? He may attain this protection by doing all that Allah has
ordered, and by refraining from all that Allah has forbade.
In the ninth and final detail of this Hadith, the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.)
emphasized the sacredness of the Muslims blood, property, and honor. The Prophet
used to emphasize this important matter in all great gatherings, like in his pilgrimage
when he delivered the speech on the day of Arafah, in the day of Al-Nahr (day of
Eid), and the second day of At-Tashreeq. In these speeches, he said, O Muslim, all
your blood, property and honor are sacred, as is the sacredness of this day, in this
month, and in this city.

These are the rights of all humans in general, which would build the Islamic society.
These rights will protect all peopleMuslims and non-Muslimsthat reside in the
Muslim society. In a Muslim society, all peoples rights, blood, property, and honor
will be protected from harm. There will be neither major nor minor harm on ones
body. Nor will there be harm against ones property from extortion and trickery. No
one can look at someone else in a sinful manner, no one can accuse another falsely,
nor can one engage in inappropriate sexual behavior. In order to protect these essential
human needs, Islam legislates a very strict system of punishment, for all those who
aggress on others without a legitimate right. However, this system may only be
applied when there is a true Islamic system.

As a closing statement, these are the duties and responsibilities of the Islamic
Brotherhood. Everyone must do his part in a balanced way. If we truly implement this
Brotherhood in our daily lives, we will gain happiness in this life, as well as, in the
hereafter.