What are the rights of a Muslim over other Muslims?
Submitted by on Wed, 26/03/2014 - 08:25
Dear Brother / Sister,
The bond that connects believing hearts in the strongest and deepest way is the bond of brotherhood originating from the principle of belief and taqwa. This is one of the best bounties granted to believers by Allah. This state is expressed as follows in a verse:
"And hold fast, all together by the rope which Allah (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves; and remember with gratitude Allah's favor on you; for ye were enemies and He joined your hearts in love so that by His Grace, ye became brethren; and ye were on the brink of the pit of fire, and He saved you from it. Thus doth Allah make his signs clear to you: that ye may be guided." (Aal-i Imran, 3/103)
In Islam, brotherhood is based on the basis of faith; therefore, all kinds of artificial discrimination and boasting that will destroy friendship among believers are regarded as haram. The criterion of taqwa replaced all kinds of values based on Jahiliyya like race, lineage and pedigree; thus, social brotherhood and harmony were ensured. The verse regarding the issue has the property to end all kinds of discussion:
"... Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you..." (al-Hujurat, 49/13).
The solidarity of believing men and women based on faith and taqwa is mentioned as a necessity of brotherhood. This solidarity is deemed necessary in order to make the principle of belief and taqwa dominant in individual and social life. As a matter of fact, it is stated that Allah will help the people who come together with this aim:
"The Believers, men and women, are protectors one of another: they enjoin what is just, and forbid what is evil: they observe regular prayers, practice regular charity, and obey Allah and His Messenger..." (at-Tawba, 9/71).
The Prophet (pbuh) states the following in a hadith:
"None of you will have belief till he wishes for his (Muslim) brother what he likes for himself." (Bukhari, Iman, 7)
Hz. Ali (r.a) states the following: "Your real brother is the one that is together with you, that agrees to harm his own self just to avail you and that tries to help you when you are in trouble even if it is harmful for him."
Believers are like a perfect and sound building whose parts are interlocked in terms of friendship or like a single body whose elements and atoms are interconnected. When one organ of the body becomes ill, the whole body feels the same pain; similarly, when a believer, even if he is in a very remote part of the world, suffers, his other believing brothers feel it. The Prophet (pbuh) expresses this commitment of believers to one another as follows: "The commitment of a believer to another believer is like a building whose parts complement one another." It is stated that when Abu Musa al-Ash'ari narrated the hadith above, he clasped his hands with the fingers interlaced to describe it: "You see the believers as regards their being merciful among themselves and showing love among themselves and being kind, resembling one body, so that, if any part of the body is not well then the whole body shares the sleeplessness and fever with it." (see Bukhari, Salat, 88)
It is necessary for a believer to help his believing brother in any situation. The Prophet stated the following in a hadith:"Help your brother, whether he is an oppressor or he is an oppressed one." When he was asked how to help whenhe is an oppressor, the Prophet said,"By preventing him from oppressing others. This is how to help him then." (Bukhari, Mazalim, 4; Muslim, Birr, 62)
According to what is reported from Hz. Ali (r.a.), the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) stated the following:
"A Muslim has six rights over another Muslim. When he meets a Muslim, he greets him; when a Muslim invites him, he accepts his invitation; when a Muslim sneezes and says, 'alhamdulillah (praise be to Allah)', he says, 'yarhamukallah (may Allah have mercy on you)'; when a Muslim becomes ill, he visits him; when a Muslim dies, he takes part in his funeral; he loves for his Muslim brother what he loves for himself." (Darimi, Istidhan: 5; Ibn Majah, Janaiz: 43)
Note: We advise you to read the detailed explanations below regarding the issue:
Some verses regarding the issue and their explanations:
1. "…Whoever honors the sacred rites of Allah, for him it is good in the sight of his Lord…" (al-Hajj, 22/30)
What Allah orders us to honor are His decrees, orders and prohibitions He declares in the Quran. What is especially meant in the verse above are the essentials to be followed during hajj. They may be fard, wajib and sunnah. Those who learn, know and fulfill these essentials and who do them as a sign of respect to Allah will receive their rewards in the hereafter.
2. "…And whoever holds in honor the Symbols of Allah, (in the sacrifice of animals), such (honor) should come truly from piety of heart." (al-Hajj, 22/32)
What are meant by the symbols of Allah are the signs of the religion in general and in this verse in particular; they are the fards of hajj, the animals sacrificed during hajj and the places that need to be respected during hajj. They are the signs of Allah and the essentials that He wants to be respected. For, taqwa is respect to Allah; it is related to one's heart and its manifestations are seen in our life. The source of all kinds of good and bad deeds is primarily the heart.
3. "…Lower thy wing (in gentleness) to the Believers." (al-Hijr, 15/88)
The beginning of the verse is as follows: "Strain not thine eyes (wistfully) at what We have bestowed on certain classes of them, nor grieve over them." Worldly possessions are a means of boasting and pride for some people. However, it is quite a wrong attitude. For, the worldly possessions are temporal; they do not give man honor and superiority. It is the instruction of Allah to our Prophet (pbuh) to show compassion and mercy to believers and to act humbly. Believers are asked to show compassion and mercy to one another and to act humbly. The Quran and the Sunnah always encourage believers to do so.
4. "…If anyone slew a person―unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land― it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if anyone saved a life it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people...” (al-Maida, 5/32)
A person who kills another person unjustly violates the most sacred right of a person, the right of living, and ignores the prohibition of shedding blood and inviolability of life. Thus, he causes blood to shed unjustly, blazes a bad trail, paves the way for others to shed blood and encourages others to do so. Therefore, a person who kills another person unjustly deserves Allah's wrath and punishment; he is not allowed to live and is executed. If it is not done, blood feuds increase in the community and everybody starts to realize his own justice. Consequently, the community is drifted into sedition and mischief; killings and taking revenge become widespread. Blazing such a trail leads the community to chaos and anarchy.
If a person lets another person live, forgives him or saves him from death, he is regarded to have saved everybody. Therefore, the religion of Islam gives great importance to human life and takes all measures to ensure it.
Some hadiths regarding the issue and their short explanations:
1. "A believer to another believer is like a building whose different parts enforce each other." The Prophet then clasped his hands with the fingers interlaced while saying that. (Bukhari, Salat 88, Mazalim 5; Muslim, Birr 65)
As we see in many hadiths, the Prophet (pbuh) draws analogies to explain some issues. In this hadiths, he likens the mutual assistance and solidarity of believers to the enforcement of the parts of a building. Such a building is sound and durable. Otherwise, it cannot stand; it collapses. If Muslims do not help one another, do not act together and are not tightly-knit, they will lose their strength, cannot stand and will collapse. As a matter of fact, the history of Islam is full of positive and negative examples of it.
It is not appropriate to deal with the concept of solidarity among believers in material aspect only. The material aspect is only one of the elements of solidarity. Spiritual brotherhood, friendship and sincerity, loving one another, showing mutual respect, showing respect to rights and law are basic elements that bring about material solidarity. The orders and prohibitions of the religion of Islam, worship, fards, certain prohibitions and harams are principles that enable this brotherhood and solidarity.
Muslims should go to all lengths in order to realize the structure whose properties we have mentioned above, establish organizations in accordance with the conditions of the time and place they live in and be like a strong building. Otherwise, it is impossible to practice Islam alone and to stand.
2. "When any one of you happens to go to the mosque or market with an arrow in his hand, he must grasp its pointed head so as not to hurt others." (Bukhari, Salat 66, Fitan 7; Muslim, Birr 120-124)
This hadith, which is reported with different words but the same meaning, teaches one of the rules of ethics and good manners to obey in places like mosques, markets and streets, where people are abundant. Accordingly, a Muslim should take necessary measures so as not to harm others, not to be harmed by others and not to disturb the peace in the community. Doing so is a necessity of showing respect to the rights of Muslims and not causing mischief and sedition.
The arrow was one of the weapons of that period. It has been replaced by pistols or rifles today. The reason why they are not allowed in certain places is because they may hurt people.
3. "As regards their being merciful among themselves and showing love among themselves and being kind, believers resemble one body When any part of the body is not well, the whole body shares the sleeplessness and fever with it." (Bukhari, Adab 27; Muslim, Birr 66)
From this hadith, we learn that believers need to help one another regarding high quality attributes like love, mercy and protecting one another. Accordingly, believers should love one another, show mercy and compassion to one another and help one another. For, Muslims and the ummah can attain salvation only through the people whose hearts and heads are filled with these feelings of virtue and who act upon these feelings. It is necessary to get rid of the disorders of lovelessness, mercilessness, cold-heartedness and coolness, which are contrary to those virtuous feelings. Believers are ordered to display a fully humanistic approach to not only believers but also the members of other religions or those who do not believe in any religion.
As the Prophet (pbuh) states in his wonderful analogy, the reason for sleeplessness is the pain felt in an organ of the body. Fever increases along with sleeplessness. Lack of love, mercy and compassion are like an illness that inflicts pain and burns man with fever. The word fever can also be used for malaria and all kinds of inflammatory diseases. Malaria is the hardest inflammatory disease and it hurts the body a lot. Therefore, the analogy of the Prophet (pbuh) is remarkable. A tiny wart on the finger gives pain to the whole body; similarly, the pain and agony of a believer anywhere in the world interests and disturbs us.
4 "Allah does not show mercy on a person who does not show mercy on others." (Bukhari, Adab 18, Tawhid 2; Muslim, Fadail 66)
This hadith includes all human beings. That is, to treat everybody, whether a believer or an unbeliever, justly and to show mercy to them are among the basic principles of our religion. For, man is the perfect and most superior living being that Allah created. He becomes lofty as he believes in Allah and loses his value as he disbelieves. Nevertheless, he needs to be treated humanely. A Muslim cannot be full of grudge, hatred and enmity against anybody. He treats everybody justly and keeps away from injustice. What lead him to this attitude are his belief and the values he gains through this belief. Our primary characteristic when we convey the universal message of Islam to others is having those values. The meaning expressed by mercy includes all living beings. On the Day of Judgment, when mercy is needed the most, Allah will not show mercy on those who do not show mercy on others by not acting in accordance with that hadith. Then, this hadith leads us to universal mercy.
5. "A Muslim is a brother of another Muslim; so, he does not oppress him, nor does he hand him over to an oppressor. Whoever fulfilled the needs of his brother, Allah will fulfill his needs; whoever brought his Muslim brother out of a discomfort, Allah will bring him out of the discomforts of the Day of Resurrection, and whoever screened a Muslim, Allah will screen him on the Day of Resurrection." (Bukhari, Mazalim 3; Muslim, Birr 58)
The following is stated in the Quran: "The Believers are but a single Brotherhood..." (al-Hujurat, 49/10) Muslims are brothers in terms of religion. Brotherhood of religion comes before the biological brotherhood.
It is not a wish but an order for a Muslim not to oppress his Muslim brother. For, oppression is haram. All kinds of injustice are oppression. It is also valid for dhimmis and members of various religions living under the guarantee of the Islamic state. In fact, the religion of Islam does not regard it permissible to inflict any oppression or injustice on anybody. However, the measures taken against those who oppress themselves and others and the penalties given to them cannot be regarded as oppression or injustice. Polytheism and unbelief are regarded as oppression. Islam does not allow people to remain in polytheism and unbelief to show polytheism and unbelief as legitimate and to spread them. Islam acts in accordance with the criteria ordered and imposed by Allah against them. It does not violate justice while doing so.
Not oppressing one's Muslim brother, which is especially mentioned here, is the order to obey the law of religious brotherhood and to fulfill the legal and ethical duties toward his Muslim brother and not to commit any injustice.
A Muslim does not hand his Muslim brother over to an enemy; does not abandon or endanger him. Ibn Battal, who explains hadiths, says it is fard al-kifayah to help an oppressed person for Muslims and fard al-ayn for the president of the state. A Muslim is a person who gives confidence and who is trusted. It is not permissible for him to sacrifice his Muslim brother for his personal interest or lustful desires and to do things against him. For, "A Muslim is the one who avoids harming Muslims with his tongue and hands." (Bukhari, Iman 4, 5) "None of you will have belief till he wishes for his Muslim brother what he likes for himself." (Bukhari, Iman 7)
Muslims do what is necessary in order to meet the needs of one another. For, people are in need of one another. These needs do not necessarily have to be material needs. Spiritual solidarity is as important as material solidarity.
The fact that Allah promises to meet the needs of a person who meets the needs of a Muslim proves that this deed is very meritorious. The Prophet (pbuh) said, "Allah helps a person as long as he helps his Muslim brother." (Muslim, Dhikr 37-38)
A person may encounter various problems, big or small, in daily life. Everything that distresses man is a problem. Muslims help one another to overcome their problems. They receive reward from Allah when they eliminate the problems of their brothers just like when they meet their needs. This reward is deserving the help of Allah on the Day of Judgment, when there will be no friend and helper except Allah. There cannot be greater happiness than this one for a Muslim. For, on that day, everybody will be in need of Allah's endless mercy. Those who do good deeds in the world will receive their reward on the Day of Judgment.
To screen the fault and mistake of a Muslim, to cover his body if he is needy, that is to clothe him, are among the greatest deeds in the eye of Allah. To screen the fault and mistake of a Muslim should not prevent one from advising and warning his Muslim brother in due form and secretly. Besides, this decree is related to the people who do not commit sins openly and in public. Those who commit sins and crimes openly and in public are excluded from this decree. For, to mention the crimes and sins of such people is not regarded as backbiting that is haram. Imam Nawawi states that those whose mistakes need to be screened are good people who are not notorious with their bad deeds. He says it is mustahab (recommended) to complain about the people who commit sins openly to the authorities if there is no risk of being harmed by them. To screen the crimes of such people will encourage them and they will commit more crimes. These decrees are related to a crime that was completed. It is wajib for a person to prevent a crime if he can when he sees a crime being committed.
6. "A Muslim is the brother of another Muslim. He does not betray his brother, lie to him and leave him unassisted. The chastity, property and blood of a Muslim are haram for another Muslim. This is where taqwa lies. It is enough as evil for a Muslim to despise his Muslim brother." (Tirmidhi, Birr 18)
This hadith is similar to the previous hadith in terms of its content. However, there are some additions to the characteristics that necessitate being brothers.
Betrayal is the opposite of trustworthiness. Betrayal means all kinds of injustice contrary to trust; it also means lack of trust and confidence. In fact, a Muslim is a person who does not betray what is entrusted to him. For, betraying something entrusted is a sign of hypocrisy (being a munafiq). A Muslim must not have a property of a hypocrite and must not lose his respectability due to it.
Telling lies is one of the bad characteristics forbidden by Islam. Our religion gives great importance to honesty and elevates honest people. Telling lies is an attribute of unbelievers and hypocrites (munafiqs).
It is haram for a Muslim to abandon his Muslim brother and not to help him. A Muslim cannot stop helping an oppressed person and preventing the oppression of an oppressor. For, they are the deeds that have to be done by Muslims to the extent that they can. Allah states the following: "…Help ye one another in righteousness and piety, but help ye not one another in sin and rancor..." (al-Maida, 5/2) Sins and enmity are regarded as oppression. When a person commits a sin, he oppresses himself; enmity eliminates friendship.
Islam guarantees man's security of life and property and the protection of his chastity and honor. These guarantees are ensured among Muslims first. However, the holiness of these rights for all human beings is accepted. In addition to them, Islam regards protecting the freedom of belief and minds of people as an essential. Therefore, it may be necessary to fight for the sake of protecting the life, property, chastity, honor, religion and mind. Those who are killed due to them are regarded as martyrs. For, they are all basic rights indispensable for individuals.
The reason why chastity, property and life are mentioned is the fact that they are essential and that the others come after them. For, the prohibition of violation of chastity, property and life is certain based on the Quran, the Sunnah and the consensus of scholars.
To despise and to look down on is one of the bad characteristics that do not fit a Muslim. For, it is pride and conceitedness. Conceitedness is one of the biggest sins in our religion. The Prophet (pbuh) said, "He who has in his heart the weight of a mustard seed of pride shall not enter Paradise." (Muslim, Iman 149) For, "Pride means denying the truth and violating people's rights." (Muslim, Iman 147)
A person who looks down on people and despises them cannot convey any message to them. For, a person who despises others loses his own respectability. Those who have no respectability cannot convey any message to people. A person who does not respect others is not respected. It is necessary for those who convey the religious message to have superior qualities. In a society where people who have no quality of conveying the message of the religion and who do not have proper relationships with others are in abundance, brotherhood and friendship decrease, the feeling of solidarity weakens, the concepts that are regarded as sacred start to disappear and it becomes almost impossible to see people who have taqwa.
7. "Do not hate one another, nor be jealous of one another; do not enter into a transaction when the other has already entered. Do not nurse enmity to one another; do not desert one another.) O servants of Allah! Be brothers. A Muslim is the brother of a Muslim. He does not wrong and oppress him; he does not stop helping him; he does not despise him. -The Prophet pointed at his chest three times and said, - Taqwa is here. It is enough for a Muslim as evil to despise his Muslim brother. The blood, property and honor of a Muslim are haram for another Muslim." (Muslim, Birr 32; see Bukhari, Adab 57; Abu Dawud, Adab 47; Tirmidhi, Birr 24)
The Prophet explained some of the bad characteristics that prevent being a good Muslim, religious brotherhood and friendship in this hadith. We also saw some of them in the previous hadiths.
Jealousy means to envy a bounty, rank or position, a superior quality that someone has and to wish that it will be removed from his Muslim brother. Jealousy is regarded as one of the primary evil and ugly characteristics in Islamic ethics and manners. The opposite of jealousy is admiration, which is a praised deed. It means to want to have the good deeds, bounties and virtues that a person has along with him. He does not want the other person to lose them or not to have them.
The reason why jealousy is rendered haram and is regarded as bad is because the objection and opposition of the jealous person is actually to Allah. For, it is Allah who gives man all kinds of bounties, ranks, positions, superiority and goodness. Then, to be jealous of and to envy the bounties a person has means to intervene in Allah's will. It will harm only the jealous person. The Prophet (pbuh) said envy and belief will not exist together in a person's heart. (Nasai, Jihad 8). Accordingly, envy cannot be an attribute of real believers. When the heart has such a spiritual illness, the value and reward of the other good deeds and charities will decrease or disappear. As a matter of fact, the Prophet (pbuh) said, "Doubtlessly, envy devours good deeds just as fire devours wood. (Abu Dawud, Adab 44; Ibn Majah, Zuhd 22)
Buying and selling, and commercial life are things that everybody has to be involved in somehow. For, man cannot produce all of his needs on his own. The things that man needs are produced by many people. Consequently, markets and bazaars are established. The religion of Islam has made arrangements that are beneficial for man in trade and business as it has done in all fields. The Prophet (pbuh) prohibited bidding for something that one would not buy and that he does not need just to increase the price of something in favor of the dealer or the customer and harming people by doing so. It is haram to cheat and deceive people. The Prophet states that the one who swindles is in Hell. (Bukhari, Buyu’ 60) In another hadith, he says, “He who deceives us is not one of us.” (Muslim, Iman 164; Abu Dawud, Buyu’ 50; Tirmidhi, Buyu’ 72) They are the basic rules that need to be obeyed in trade.
The word bughd means disliking, nurturing enmity through one's heart secretly against someone and hating. Bughd is one of the bad traits that prevent brotherhood and friendship among Muslims and that are not desired. A community whose individuals dislike one another and nurture enmity against one another, which is full of the feelings of hatred and grudge, will lose its business system, display unreliability and cannot serve as a model. However, the religion of Islam aims to form a community that consists of individuals with sound characteristics and high ethics. Lovelessness, grudge and hatred are among the primary causes that prevent the community that is aimed to be established from being formed. Therefore, it was disliked, condemned and forbidden by Allah and His Messenger.
If bughd is used for the consent of Allah, it is not objectionable. The Prophet (pbuh) says a person who loves something for Allah and dislikes something for Allah will make his belief perfect. (Abu Dawud, Sunnah 15; Tirmidhi, Qiyamah 60) It is a necessity of the love of Allah to dislike and hate those who commit harams, sins and things that Allah dislikes. Then, man has been given the free will to use the feelings and faculties granted to him in a good or bad way. That is why we are held responsible. Islam teaches us to develop our feelings and faculties and use them properly and trains us in this way; it does not teach us to weaken them.
One of the bad characteristics that our Prophet (pbuh) wants us to keep away from is to break the connection with other believers and to abandon them. Our religion forbids believers from drifting away from, abandoning and keeping away from one another in terms of talking, helping and taking care of one another. On the contrary, he always advises us to greet when we meet other believers, to see and talk to them frequently to continue going to the mosque and to empathize with them; he describes them as the most superior and valuable deeds. The Prophet (pbuh) does not regard it legitimate to be cross with somebody for more than three days unless there is a religiously valid excuse. They show that it is not permissible for believers to keep away from one another for random reasons and unjustifiable excuses.
It is not legitimate for a person to sell something to another person after promising to sell it to someone. It is not permissible for a dealer to offer to sell a customer something cheaper than another dealer after he has agreed to buy it by saying, "Give up that deal, I will sell the same thing cheaper to you.” For, deeds like that causes disagreements, arguments, resentment, offence, hatred and grudge among people.
8. “A person cannot be a real believer if he does not want for his believing brother what he wants for himself.” (Bukhari, Iman 7; Muslim, Iman 71-72; Tirmidhi, Qiyamah 59; Nasai, Iman 19, 33)
Belief is the product of love, love of Allah. To believe means to love the one that is believed in. For a believer, the one that deserves the most superior love is the most Supreme One. The most supreme one is Allah. All of the other loves of the believers depend on the love of Allah. A person who loves someone fulfills the wishes of his beloved one fully. If he does not do so, his love will not be sincere and convincing. A person who loves Allah obeys His orders and prohibitions fully.
This hadith shows how far away a real believer should be from egoism, the ambition to collect worldly goods and selfishness, how full he should be of altruism, sacrifice, charity, compassion and mercy. It is the cornerstone of forming a community of love towant for his believing brother what a person wants for himself. Another cornerstone for believers is to love one another. As a matter of fact, the Prophet (pbuh) confirmed this fact by saying, “You are not regarded to be real believers unless you love one another.” (Muslim, Iman 93)
9. “Five are the rights of a Muslim over his brother: responding to salutation, visiting the sick, joining the funeral, accepting his invitation, saying yarhamukallah when he sneezes.” (Bukhari, Janaiz 2; Muslim, Salam 4; Ibn Majah Janaiz 1)
Another narration is as follows: “Six are the rights of a Muslim over another Muslim. When you meet him, offer him greetings; when he invites you to a feast accept it; when he seeks your council give him; when he sneezes and says,"all praise be to Allah," you say yarhamukallah (may Allah show mercy on you); when he falls ill, visit him; and when he dies, take part in his funeral.” (Muslim, Salam 5 )
There are certain rights and duties of Muslims toward one another. These rights and duties can be related to material and spiritual fields. A person who has belief in the hereafter and believes that Allah knows everything he does and that he will be reckoned on the Day of Judgment for them will not wrong anybody and will not commit any crimes no matter where he is. Thus, the religion of Islam teaches its followers that they will be rewarded and punished in the hereafter for all of the good and bad deeds they do in the world; it tells us that a person who does not accept it cannot be a believer.
The rights mentioned here are primarily related to the spiritual dynamics of the community. For, none of them necessitates worldly penalties or sanctions if they are not done. However, the material dynamics of the Islamic community are also based on spiritual sensitivities. Each one mentioned here is one of the basic elements of being a good man, a good Muslim, keeping human relationships at the highest level, brotherhood, solidarity, sharing joy and sorrow and being a community of compassion and mercy.
Salam (greeting, salutation) is virtually a password for Muslims. The first word they utter when they meet one another is salam. The proverb “First greeting, then speaking” expresses this principle. It is sunnah to greet (to say as-salamu alaykum) and it is fard to respond to the greeting (to say wa alaykum as-salam). Allah states the following: “When a (courteous) greeting is offered you, meet it with a greeting still more courteous, (at least) of equal courtesy...” (an-Nisa, 4/86)
The shortest greeting is, “assalamu alaykum”. A better one is “assalamu alaykum wa rahmatullah” dır. It can be lengthened by adding “wa barakatuh”. However, it is enough to say“salamun alaykum”.
A person who is greeted responds by saying “wa alaykumussalam”. This is the shortest way of responding to greeting. It is possible to lengthen it when one responds. In that case, the following can be uttered: “wa alaykumussalam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh” However, it is enough to respond as “alaykumsalam”. If a person is alone, it is fard for him to respond to the salutation. When a group of people is greeted, it is fard al-kifayah for one or some of them to respond to the salutation. Thus, the others will be relieved of the responsibility.
Greeting is the prayer and good wishes of believers to one another. It means “May you be under the protection of Allah” or “May peace be upon you and never leave you.”
Human beings can be ill and healthy. Not all humans are the same. Our religion gives great importance to health. However, man cannot always be healthy; he can be ill. Even prophets were exposed to various diseases. Therefore, Muslims regard illness as a test of Allah. There are various illnesses and every illness has various degrees.
When an ill person sees the people who were with him when he was fine, he becomes happy and cheers up; he understands that he has not been abandoned, that there is not a dangerous situation and that he will recover. Besides, his Muslim brothers pray for him and he prays together with them. Those who visit an ill person express their good wishes, advise him to be patient and utter words that will cheer him up. It is not appropriate to utter unsuitable words when one visits an ill person and to stay there for a long time
Death is the end that he will encounter in this world. It is not possible to escape and to get rid of death. The last duty of a Muslims toward one another is to join the funeral of a believer, to perform the janazah prayer and to go to the graveyard to bury him. This is the last duty toward the dead person and a righteous deed for his relatives. Muslims need to be together not only when they are happy but also when they are sad. Funeral is one of the most painful and exemplary moments. Death is the greatest advice and lesson. Therefore, joining the funeral is one of our duties toward our believing brothers. The duty of joining the funeral ends when one performs the janazah prayer but it is more virtuous to go to the grave and wait there until the dead body is buried.
To accept the invitation of one's Muslim brother and to go to the place where one is invited is one of the most important duties of Muslims. Islamic scholars agree unanimously that it is necessary and wajib to go to the marriage ceremonies when one is invited. It is sunnah or mustahab to join the invitations other than marriage ceremonies. However, it is not religiously permissible to go to the receptions, places, etc where harams and sins are committed.
The Prophet (pbuh) joined all of the invitations of the Companions. He did not make a discrimination based on the social status, richness and poverty. He did not like the invitations where the poor were not invited and he condemned the invitations where only the rich were invited. For, invitations need to bring together all of the believers, the rich and the poor, the young and the old; they are the places where acquaintanceship, love, compassion and mercy become manifest. That is probably why it is necessary to join the legitimate invitations.
The Prophet (pbuh) said:“To sneeze is of Allah and to yawn is of the devil.” (Tirmidhi, Adab 7) Sneezing is beneficial in terms of health because it makes the body fit and keeps the mind awake. On the other hand, yawning is regarded to be a sign of latency and laziness. Then, like all of the other bounties, it comes from Allah. To thank Allah for all of His bounties is one of the duties of a Muslim. Therefore, a person who sneezes says,“alhamdulillah (all praise be to Allah)”. A Muslim who hears that the person who has sneezed has praised Allah, he says “yarhamukallah”. It means “May Allah show mercy on you.” The person who has sneezed says to his Muslim brother who prayed for him, “yahdina wa yahdikumullah = May Allah guide us and you”. They all show that Muslims have certain rights and responsibilities toward one another even regarding small details. The Prophet (pbuh) stated the following:
“Allah likes the one who sneezes; He does not like the one who yawns. When one of you sneezes and says, “alhamdulillah", it is a religious necessity for the one who hears it to say, “yarhamukallah”. As for yawning, when you yawn, try to stop it as much as you can and not to say, "aah" by opening your mouth. For, it is of the devil and the devil laughs at the situation of this person.” (Tirmidhi, Adab 7)
That it is stated“A Muslim has six rights over another Muslim...” in a narration reported by Muslim does not indicate that there is a contradiction or disagreement among hadiths; it indicates that these rights are not only five or six. For, there are some other hadiths regarding rights and duties. The only difference in the second narration is the duty of “giving advice to a person who wants advice”. Advice is a term that includes all of the words and deeds that are beneficial for a person and that becomes a means of salvation for him.
In another narration, the right of “announcing when somebody finds something" is mentioned. Accordingly, it is necessary to announce in public in a way that everybody can hear and understand when somebody finds something; if the owner cannot be found, it is necessary to hand it over to the authorities.
Some decrees inferred from the verses, hadiths and explanations:
- Believers need to help one another materially and spiritually; they need to form togetherness like the stones and bricks of a building that are interlocked.
- It is not possible to practice Islam individually and to make others practice it. Individuals cannot resist external pressures inflicted on them. It is necessary to act together and in unity in order to resist pressure and violence.
- It is necessary not to go to the places where there are a lot of people with guns and similar weapons that can kill and wound others; if people come with weapons, it is necessary to take necessary measures.
- It is necessary to do things that will give Muslims peace and to show them compassion and mercy.
- It is necessary to avoid deeds that will cause sedition and mischief among Muslims.
- The Islamic community is like one single body; when one organ of the body gets ill, the whole body feels ill; similarly, the misfortune that hits a Muslim should make all Muslims worried.
- In the hereafter, Allah will not show mercy on those who do not show mercy on other people.
- Oppression and all kinds of wrongs are haram.
- A Muslim must not surrender his Muslim brother to the enemy; he must not endanger his Muslim brother.
- It is a duty of brotherhood to meet the needs of one another and to screen their faults and mistakes. Allah will reward those who do so.
- The life, property and chastity of a Muslim are haram for other Muslims; it is haram to violate them.
- It is among major sins to despise and contempt others.
- It is haram to be jealous of others. A person who is jealous of others is regarded to object to Allah because it is Allah who gives the bounties that are envied.
- It is haram to increase the price of something by pretending to be willing to buy it. Such an act means increasing prices, cheating and oppressing people.
- If Bughd, grudge, hatred and being cross with a person are not for the sake of Allah, they are haram.
- It is not permissible for Muslims to keep away from one another, to stop helping one another and to break relationships.
- It is haram for a dealer to annul the sale of another dealer by saying that he will sell the same thing cheaper or something better for the same price.
- A person cannot be a real believer if he does not want for others what he wants for himself.
- What a person wants for his believing brother should be nice and good things.
- Each right necessitates a responsibility. Those who do not fulfill their responsibilities are held responsible. This responsibility can be related to both this world and the hereafter.
- It is sunnah to greet (to say as-salamu alaykum) and it is fard to respond to the greeting (to say wa alaykum as-salam).
- It is sunnah to visit ill people. It is necessary to act in accordance with the manners of visiting ill people.
- In a funeral, it is fard al-kifayah to perform the janazah prayer and to go to the graveyard for the burial; the other deeds and services are sunnah.
- It is wajib to go to a wedding ceremony held within legitimate boundaries; it is sunnah or mustahab to go to other legitimate receptions.
- It is a religious necessity to say “yarhamukallah” when someone sneezes and says “alhamdulillah".
- It is a religious duty to give advice to a person who wants and who needs for those who can.
Reference: Summarized from the book “Riyâzü’s-Sâlihîn: Peygamberimizden Hayat Ölçüleri” Translation and Explanation Vol 2, Erkam Publications.
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