A Muslim is a Brother to a Muslim
Allah has made the relationship of the Muslim to a Muslim more sacred than any relationship, even that of blood, culture or nation. He has united us into one ummah, the Muslim ummah, and has made us responsible for each other. The relationship between the Muslims is a sacred one:
...A Muslim is the brother of a Muslim. He neither oppresses him nor humiliates him nor looks down upon him. The piety is here, (and while saying so) he pointed towards his chest thrice. It is a serious evil for a Muslim that he should look down upon his brother Muslim. All things of a Muslim are inviolable for his brother in faith; his blood, his wealth and his honor. Sahih Muslim Book 31, Number 6219.
We have special responsibilities towards our brothers and sisters in Islam that we do not have towards the non-Muslim, and the rights of Allah come first, and the rights of Allah include the treatment we give to our brothers and sisters in Islam. We are to consider the Muslim, first and foremost, regardless of our relationships. The Muslim is sacred for us in his faith, his blood and his honor. The act of looking down upon a Muslim brother or sister is a serious sin in Islam. Think about this. How many times do we look down to the Muslim for his or her position in life. For instance, a brother refuses to consider a woman for marriage because she is a maid, or a sister refuses to consider a brother because he has not finished college. Yet, these people are great in their deen and their manners. This is a serious offense, to look down upon a Muslim because his or her social status does not suit us. We must also not assume the worst about people. Many Muslims from overseas come here having been warned that the African American Muslims are not good. They are dangerous. They are not "real" Muslims. Shame on us for accepting such a thing before we have even a chance to meet one of them! Based on such presumptions, many of us would prefer to assist a non-Muslim in need, while ignoring our brothers and sisters. The ties of Islam must be stronger than all other ties. The most vivid example of this is that of the prophet Noah and his son.
Allah tells us;
And Noah called upon his Lord, and said: "O my Lord! surely my son is of my family! and Thy promise is true, and Thou art the justest of Judges!" He said: O Noah! Lo! he is not of thy household; lo! he is of evil conduct, so ask not of Me that whereof thou hast no knowledge. I admonish thee lest thou be among the ignorant. 11:45-46
Here was the prophet's own son, and Allah was telling him that the son's disobedience had effectively removed him from the family unit and from Allah's protection. How did Noah react to this?
Noah said: "O my Lord! I do seek refuge with Thee, lest I ask Thee for that of which I have no knowledge. And unless thou forgive me and have Mercy on me, I should indeed be lost!" 11:47
Noah said: "This day nothing can save, from the command of Allah, any but those on whom He hath mercy! 11:43
The Prophet was true to his character, recognizing the wisdom of Allah over his own judgement, and he sought forgiveness for his assumption.
Another example of this is Prophet Lut. He fled his city by Allah's command, and tried to save his family, but this was not the will of Allah, for his wife was not of the believers. "But we saved him and his family, except his wife: she was of those who lagged behind" 7:83 Here we see that Allah did not save the wife of the Prophet. He had to choose between obeying Allah and saving his wife, he had no choice, he obeyed Allah. He knew that the only relationships that exist are those for the sake of Allah - seeking His Great Pleasure.
We are supposed to love each other for the sake of Allah, no other reason. If we do this, the rewards are so great:
Narrated Abu Hurayrah: Allah's Apostle (peace_be_upon_him) said: Verily, Allah would say on the Day of Resurrection: Where are those who have mutual love for My Glory's sake? Today I shall shelter them in My shadow when there is no other shadow but the shadow of Mine. Sahih Muslim: Book 31, Number 6225.
Narrated Abu Hurayrah: Allah's Apostle (peace_be_upon_him) said: A person visited his brother in another town and Allah deputed an Angel to wait for him on his way and when he came to him he said: Where do you intend to go? He said: I intend to go to my brother in this town. He said: Have you done any favour to him (the repayment of which you intend to get)? He said: No, excepting this that I love him for the sake of Allah, the Exalted and Glorious. Thereupon he said: I am a Messenger to you from Allah (to inform you) that Allah loves you as you love him (for His sake). Sahih Muslim: Book 31, Number 6226.
We can not hold enmity/hatred for our fellow Muslims. Too often I hear Muslims talking about other Muslims because they are from a particular race or nation. How many times have you heard Arabs insulted or Pakistanis or Indians, for what is perceived to be a flaw in their deen or character as a race? Too often. It is easy to argue that Saudi or the other Arab nations are not living up to their duties as Muslim nations, and in the same breath, we praise America for what it does. Brothers and sisters: I am here to tell you that the worst of the Muslim states: the worst Muslim ruler: the worst Muslim on this earth is better in the sight of Allah than the best kafir! Do not doubt this.
And remember Moses said to his people: "O my people! Ye have indeed wronged yourselves by your worship of the calf: So turn (in repentance) to your Maker, and slay yourselves (the wrong-doers); that will be better for you in the sight of your Maker." Then He turned towards you (in forgiveness): For He is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful. 2:54
The Muslim has rights upon us, and we must fulfill these rights first. then we can help others, but we can not go to a non-Muslim when a Muslim needs. The fact of belief in Allah is what makes the Muslim's life sacred. The Muslim servant of Allah can not be ignored, for serving/helping him is equal to serving/helping Allah.
Narrated Abu Hurayrah: Allah's Apostle (peace_be_upon_him) said, Verily, Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, will say on the Day of Resurrection: O son of Adam, I was sick but you did not visit Me. He will say: O my Lord, how could I visit Thee when Thou art the Lord of the worlds? Thereupon He will say: Didn't you know that a certain servant of Mine was sick but you did not visit him, and were you not aware that if you had visited him, you would have found Me by him? O son of Adam, I asked you for food but you did not feed Me. He will say: My Lord, how could I feed Thee when Thou art the Lord of the worlds? He will say: Didn't you know that a certain servant of Mine asked you for food but you did not feed him, and were you not aware that if you had fed him you would have found him by My side? (The Lord will again say:) O son of Adam, I asked you for something to drink but you did not provide Me with any. He will say: My Lord, how could I provide Thee with something to drink when Thou art the Lord of the worlds? Thereupon He will say: A certain servant of Mine asked you for a drink but you did not provide him with one, and had you provided him with a drink you would have found him near Me. Sahih Muslim: Book 31, Number 6232.
How far does this go? How far does the ties go? When the ansar welcomed the muhajireen, they shared everything with them. They divided their property in half. They even offered their wives to be wives the Muhajireen. They became brothers in the true sense of the word.
I remember an example of a story I read of how a man took his shahadah. He was in a hospital. He was sharing a room with a Muslim man. One day some people came to visit the Muslim. They came in, hugged the Muslim brother, kissed him, greeted him with love and affection. They visited with this brother for a period, and shared a closeness that was true and unbound. After they left, the man asked the Muslim if these were his brothers who had visited him. The Muslim said, "No, they learned that I was sick today, at the Friday prayer, and they came to visit me. I just met them today." This shocked the man. These people had not acted in that awkward stranger fashion. They had acted like true brothers. This led the man to ask questions and finally accept Al Islam. This duty, visiting the sick had the special blessings from Allah, and this time had the extra blessing of serving as a vehicle to guide a man to Islam.
Narrated Thawban: Allah's Apostle (peace_be_upon_him) said: The one who visits the sick is in fact like one who is in the fruit garden of Paradise so long as he does not return. Sahih Muslim: Book 31, Number 6227
We expect too much from each other. We want everyone to be perfect just because he or she is Muslim. We go to the Muslim countries expecting a nation of angels. It does not exist. We have to stop thinking that the Muslim must be perfect because he/she has accepted Allah. None of us is perfect. Even in the Prophet's time, there were hypocrites, drunks, adulterers, thieves and slanderers. And these were the companions! We must recognize that we are imperfect creatures, and Allah wants us that way. If we were not of those who sin and return to our Lord in repentance, He would destroy us and bring about a nation that is. We have to be patient with each other and avoid anger.
Narrated Abu Hurayrah: Allah's Apostle (peace_be_upon_him) said: The strong man is not one who wrestles well but the strong man is one who controls himself when he is in a fit of rage. Sahih Muslim: Book 31, Number 6313.
We have to forgive each other our sins against each other:
Narrated Abdullah ibn Umar: Allah's Apostle (peace_be_upon_him) said: It is not permissible for a Muslim to have estranged relations with his brother beyond three days. Muslim: Book 31, Number 6212.
We have to be kind to each other:
Narrated Aisha: Allah's Apostle (peace_be_upon_him) said: Aisha, verily Allah is kind and He loves kindness and confers upon kindness which he does not confer upon severity and does not confer upon anything else besides it (kindness). Sahih Muslim: Book 31, Number 6273:
Narrated Aisha: Allah's Apostle (peace_be_upon_him) said: Kindness is not to be found in anything but that it adds to its beauty and it is not withdrawn from anything but it makes it defective. Sahih muslim: Book 31, Number 6274.
We have to guard our tongues against backbiting him/her:
Narrated Abu Hurayrah: Allah's Apostle (peace_be_upon_him) said: Do you know who is poor? They (the Companions of the Prophet said: A poor man amongst us is one who has neither dirham with him nor wealth. He (the Prophet) said: The poor of my Ummah would be he who would come on the Day of Resurrection with prayers and fasts and Zakat but (he would find himself bankrupt on that day as he would have exhausted his funds of virtues) since he hurled abuses upon others, brought calumny against others and unlawfully consumed the wealth of others and shed the blood of others and beat others, and his virtues would be credited to the account of one (who suffered at his hand). And if his good deeds fall short to clear the account, then his sins would be entered in (his account) and he would be thrown in the Hell-Fire. Sahih Muslim: Book 31, Number 6251.
Let us not forget, while we are being patient with each other's faults that we have a special obligation of advising each other:
Except those who believe and do good, and enjoin on each other truth, and enjoin on each other patience 103:3
We have to not take allies except from the Muslims, especially against each other:
O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people. 5:51
Last but not least, I beg you, brothers and sisters, to be careful in what you say and feel for your fellow Muslims. We are not perfect, but we all share a common bond, love for Allah and His messenger. Even the worst of Muslims will fight to the death to defend his Lord, his Messenger and His deen. May Allah give us all increased faith, knowledge and love for each other. Ameen.
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