A believer gives precedence to his brother. Our outlook on our refugee brothers.

“(Some part is due) to the indigent Muhajirs, those who were expelled from their homes and their property, while seeking Grace from Allah and (His) Good Pleasure, and aiding Allah and His Messenger: such are indeed the sincere ones:-But those who before them, had homes (in Medina) and had adopted the Faith,- show their affection to such as came to them for refuge, and entertain no desire in their hearts for things given to the (latter), but give them preference over themselves, even though poverty was their (own lot). And those saved from the covetousness of their own souls,- they are the ones that achieve prosperity. And those who came after them say: "Our Lord! Forgive us, and our brethren who came before us into the Faith, and leave not, in our hearts, rancor (or sense of injury) against those who have believed. Our Lord! Thou art indeed Full of Kindness, Most Merciful.” (al-Hashr:59/8-10)

The ethics that is expressed as “give them preference over themselves, even though poverty was their (own lot)”in the verse, that is mentioned as “a believer gives precedence to his brother” in the title and that is peculiar to Allah’s slaves with whom Allah is pleased is called “the ethics of ithar/altruism (preferring others to one’s own self)”.

It is seen that descriptions related to an ideal believer and character, and didactic warnings are dominant in the three verses above:

a) To bring belief in Allah’s grace and help, not one’s own power, forward in all good deeds in order to become successful, to put into practice the belief in heart and to rely on its saviorship, not to accept one’s own preferences and abilities as flawless.

b) To aim to attain Allah's consent, to base all of one’s attitudes on this principle.

c) To be able to sacrifice the most valuable worldly desires and interests when it is necessary for the sake of helping Allah and His Messenger, that is, conveying Allah’s orders and prohibitions to people.

d) To make no concessions of honesty, to keep one’s promise.

e) To help his believing brother who is in financial difficulty; but while sharing his things with him and making sacrifices for him, to try to do it based on love, that is, to maintain his sincerity by struggling against the satanic impulses in himself and to try to avoid affectedness and show off.

f) To take refuge in Allah’s help and protection from human weaknesses.

g) To believe heartily that Allah's compassion and mercy is vast enough to encompass everybody; to ask Allah for forgiveness of both himself and his believing brothers; when he sees the mistakes of others, to remember that he himself is also a human and that he can also make similar mistakes.

The following hadith narrates a nice and exemplary application of ithar:

Somebody came to the Prophet (pbuh) and said, “I am about to starve.”

The Prophet sent somebody to his house to ask if there was anything to eat. He was informed that there was only water at home. He said to the people around him,

“May Allah’s mercy be with the person who will entertain this person tonight!”Somebody from Madinah said,

“O Messenger of Allah! I will.” He took the man to his house and asked his wife, “Is there any food to give to the guest?” The woman answered,

“There is only enough food for the children.” The man said,

“Keep the children busy. When the guest comes in, turn off the light; let us make him think that we also eat with him.” She did what her husband told her and they sat at the table. The guest ate but they pretended to eat.

When that person from Madinah went to the Prophet in the morning, the Prophet said to him, “Allah liked very much what you did to your guest last night.” (Muslim, 2054)

This is brotherhood in religion. Actions speak louder than words.

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