Ramadan 21: Brotherhood and Sisterhood

Muslims are like one body, different parts of a whole. Only faith has the power to gather people from such different countries, languages, races and backgrounds together and create within them a feeling of unity and community. Allah tells us:

“And He has united their (the believers’) hearts. If you had spent all that is in the earth, you could not have united their hearts, but Allah has united them. Certainly He is All-Mighty, All-Wise.” (Surah Al-Anfal:63)

Muslims should distinguish themselves not by worldly differences, but by the level of their taqwa or fear of Allah. Allah tells us:

“O mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes that you may know one another. Verily, the most honourable of you with Allah is that (believer) who has At-Taqwa. Verily Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware.”(Surah Al-Hujurat:13)

Islam creates brother and sisterhood amongst people from all walks of life. Be they black, white, Asian, African, Arab or European, they are united in everything which is righteous. Islam does not belong to a particular race or tribe. We can see this reflected in the constitution of the earliest believers – Abu Bakr As Siddiq was a Qurayshi, Bilal was an Ethiopian, Shuaib was a Roman and Salman was a Persian, may Allah be pleased with them all.

This great oneness manifests itself in Ramadan. The month is the same for all, the fasting is the same and the direction of prayer is the same. Similarly our pilgrimage is one, its timing is one, its venue is one, we are all united in these acts. Allah, all praises and glory be to Him, has in fact commanded us not to be divided:

“And hold fast, all together, unto the bond with Allah, and do not draw apart from one another. And remember the blessings which Allah has bestowed upon you: how, when you were enemies, He brought your hearts together, so that through His blessings you became brethren.” (Surah Al Imran:103)

“And be not like those who have drawn apart from one another and have taken to conflicting views after all evidence of truth has come unto them: for these it is for whom tremendous suffering is in store.” (Surah Al Imran 104)

In this day and age sadly, we see Muslims divided on many matters. Our Ummah is ill and we need to strive to unite upon what is good. One practical measure that can be adopted to enjoin brother and sisterhood is spreading the salam to those that we know and those that we don’t know. The Prophet, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, advised us:

“You will never enter Paradise until you believe. And you will not believe until you love one another. Certainly, I shall guide you to something that, if you do it, you will love one another: Spread the greetings (of peace) among yourselves.” (Recorded in Muslim)

We should also develop humility, so that we do not think ourselves above others or become arrogant and oppress each other. The Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, also advised us:

“A Muslim is the brother of a Muslim. He does not wrong him. He does not fail him [when he needs him]. He does not lie to him. And he does not show contempt for him. Piety is here” – and he pointed to his chest three times. “It is enough of evil for a person to hold his brother Muslim in contempt. All of a Muslim is inviolable to another Muslim: his blood, his wealth and his honor.” (Recorded in Muslim)

Amongst the duties of brother and sisterhood is that we should enquire about the well-being of our fellow Muslims and we should visit them for the sake of Allah, all praises and glory be to Him, especially when they are sick. We should greet our brothers and sisters in Islam with a smile on our faces, make dua when they sneeze, accept their invitations, help them if they are oppressed and advise them to what is best. Every Muslim on the face of the earth is our brother or sister in Islam and we should treat them accordingly.

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