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Love… Glue that Holds the Community Together

No one of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Of course the language of the hadith is inclusive of our sisters also.

So this hadith emphasizes many things: first and foremost it emphasizes the importance of love. Love is an important aspect of our religion. Often times this is rejected by people who think that Muslims should be cold-hearted, hard, very stern, and there’s really no place for love in his or her life.

This is a very mistaken idea. Allah Almighty mentions in the Quran that the glue that holds the family together, a husband and wife at the center of the family, is love.

Amongst the signs He has made for you from yourselves spouses in order that you live together in peace and tranquility, and He has made between you love and mercy. Surely in this are signs for people who reflect.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) reminds us that love is the same rule that holds the Ummah together, the larger family of believers, when he said:

The likeness of the believers in their mutual love, their mutual mercy, their mutual affection towards each other is like a single body. If one part complaints of some ache or some injury, the entire body responds with sleeplessness and fever.

So this love is a very important quality in our religion. Our Prophet (peace be upon him) mentioned:

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No one of you truly believes until I’m more beloved to him than his father, his son and all of humanity.

Love again comes into the picture when Allah Almighty says in the Quran what means: {Those who believe are more intense in their love for Allah,} meaning more intense in their love for Allah than in love of anything else.

The Antidote of Jealousy

So if we go back to the original hadith:

No one of you truly believes until he loves for his brother (she loves for her sister) what he loves for himself. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

This hadith is the antidote for one of the most destructive diseases that can afflict the body politic of the Muslim community, and that is the disease of jealousy. Jealousy is described as the disease of the nations.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) says:

The disease of the nations will creep upon you, that’s to say hatred and jealousy.

Jealousy is a disease, and the Prophet mentioned that

Jealousy consumes good deeds the same way as fire consumes dry wood. (Abu Dawud)

And the Prophet (peace be upon him) reminded us of those things which strong Islamic brotherhood is built on. The first thing he said:

Don’t envy one another, don’t conspire against each other by raising the prices with no intention to buy whatever commodity (when one raises the price just to harm one’s brother), don’t hate one another, don’t turn your backs to one another. (Muslim)

But the first thing he mentioned is “Don’t envy one another”. Envy or jealousy is desiring a blessing Allah has given a brother or sister to be taken away from them. That’s the essence of Envy.

This hadith is the antidote because it encourages the opposite: jealousy or envy is desiring to have a blessing that our brother or sister has been given by Allah taken away.

The Prophet saying, “No one of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself,” this is a desire to have a blessing one has or possess extended to one’s brother or sister. So it’s the opposite.

And by encouraging this in our communities, we are not only rid ourselves of this deadly disease, but we engage in an action that perfects and strengthens and completes our faith. So it’s very important for us to reflect on this particular hadith.


About Imam Zaid Shakir
Imam Zaid Shakir is a co-founder, Board of Trustees, and Faculty member of Zaytuna College in Berkeley, CA.