The Arabs were fiercely sectarian and
tribal, prepared to defend anyone of their own – even if he was a criminal – to
the very last man.
They had a saying, “Support your brother, whether he is the
oppressor or the one oppressed.” For Prophet Muhammad r to declare that bonds of faith surpass that of
tribe and family was nothing short of revolutionary.1
During Jahiliyyah, long, bloody civil wars raged between
the two tribes of the Aws and Khazraj, the inhabitants of Al-Madinah. The last
was the Battle of Bu‘ath
that shattered the strength of both. Their people were divided, their chiefs
killed and wounded. Hatred, enmity, and disbelief brought them to the brink of
destruction, but Allah U saved them and
united their hearts.
They were misguided, and Allah guided them through the Prophet r;
they were divided, and Allah united them through him; they were poor, and Allah
enriched them through him.
Reminding the Aws and Khazraj of His Grace and Mercy upon them
and exhorting them to hold fast to brotherhood, Allah U
hold fast, all of you together, to the Rope of Allah (i.e. the Qur’an), and be
not divided among yourselves. And remember the Favor of Allah upon you, for you
were enemies one to another but He joined your hearts together, so that, by His
Grace, you became brethren. And you were on the brink of a pit of Fire, and He saved
you from it. Thus Allah makes His Signs clear to you that you may be guided.)2
Through Grace and Mercy, Allah gathered the Aws and Khazraj
around His Messenger r
and supported him through them. Even though not all the treasures of the earth,
if spent, could have united them, Allah U united them. (It
is He who supported you with His Help and with the believers, and brought
together their hearts. If you had spent all that is in the earth, you could not
have brought their hearts together; but Allah brought them together. Indeed, He
is All-Mighty, All-Wise.)3
They were no longer Aws and Khazraj. The Hijrah of the
to Al-Madinah established immediate peace and unity between the two warring
tribes and blended them into one whole by the epithet “The Ansar”
(Supporters), bestowed on whoever supported and defended the new faith.
The relationship between the Ansar became one of mutual
respect, love, and true brotherhood, which taught them to support one another
by turning their backs on blood and ruin and standing out against injustice.
The Prophet r
said, “Support your brother, whether he is the oppressor or the oppressed.”
A man asked, “O Messenger of Allah, I will support
him if he is oppressed; but tell me, if he is an oppressor, how shall I support
said, “Prevent him from (doing) injustice; that is supporting him.”4
After building the Masjid, the
center of unity and concord, Prophet Muhammad r united the Muhajirun
and the Ansar as true brothers, born of one faith, supporting and
supported by one another. “Be you brothers in Allah. Every two be brothers.”
Muslims of Al-Madinah shared their homes and wealth with the
emigrants from Makkah, who left their land, families and possessions for the
sake of Islam, and thus became one hand working for the cause of righteousness
Ninety men, half of them Muhajirun and the other half Ansar,
assembled in the house of Anas bin Malik t where the Prophet r
forged the bonds of brotherhood between them, regardless of wealth or social
status. It was a covenantal relationship truly effective and binding – not mere
words. Each Emigrant became the brother-in-faith of a Supporter, who inherited each
other at death.
Ibn ‘Abbas t
said5, “An Emigrant used to inherit a
Supporter (and vice versa) instead of their own blood relatives because of the
bond of brotherhood which the Prophet r had established
between them, which was abrogated (inheritance through bond of brotherhood)
upon revelation of the Ayah: (And to everyone, We
have appointed heirs.)6”
Brotherhood of faith surrounded Al-Madinah with an atmosphere
of its own. It created for its thriving community a unique moral, social, and
political texture. Allah U
those who believed, and emigrated, and strove hard, and fought with their wealth
and their lives in the Cause of Allah as well as those who gave (them) asylum
and help, these are (all) allies to one another.)7
It ignited among its members a sublime spirit of altruism and
solidarity that manifested itself in many wonderful stands. “Come to divide
(share) my wealth with you into two halves. I also have two wives, I can
divorce one of them, and when her ‘Iddah (woman’s prescribed waiting period
after divorce or widowhood) ends, you can marry her,” Sa‘d bin Ar-Rabi‘ t,
the Supporter, said to his brother in Islam ‘Abdur-Rahman bin ‘Awf t,
the Emigrant, who replied, “May
Allah bless your family and wealth for you. Guide me to the market.”
8 ‘Abdur-Rahman went
to the market, traded and returned on that day with some profit, curd and
better. He became wealthy through his own labor and got married shortly
It was a unique society built from sacrificers and supporters.
The Muhajirun sacrificed everything: their
lives, families, wealth, and homes and emigrated to support the Cause of Allah.
“O Abu Bakr, what have you left your family?” the Messenger of Allah r
asked Abu Bakr t,
who replied, “I have left them Allah and His Messenger.”9
The Ansar sheltered and aided the Muhajirun.
They took them in, shared their food and homes with them, and helped to
establish them in trade or work. The Ansar said to the Prophet r,
“Divide the date palms between us and our (emigrant) brothers.” He r
said, “No.” The Ansar said, “You may spare us garden
work (watering and watching the trees) and we will share the fruits with you.”
The Muhajirun said, “We hear and obey.”10
The Ansar loved those who immigrated to them, and the Muhajirun,
appreciative and grateful for the generosity of their brothers, wondered if any
reward was left for them after the kindness shown by the Ansar.
They said, “O Messenger of Allah, we have never seen
any people more generous when they have much and more consoling when they have
little than the people among whom we have stayed. They have shouldered the work
and made us share with them the fruits, so much so that we are afraid lest they
should take all reward (from Allah in the hereafter).”
The Prophet r said, “No, as long
as you supplicate Allah for them and praise them.”11
They lived the kind of community that Allah wants for humanity,
warm, friendly, and faith-filled. Well-pleased is Allah U with them for their
great selfless sacrifices and services in His Cause, and well-pleased are they
with Him Who promises them both a great reward: (Those
who believed, and emigrated, and strove hard in the Cause of Allah, as well as
those who gave (them) asylum and aid – these are the believers in truth; for
them is forgiveness and a generous provision.)12
Just as the Prophet r
had forged brotherhood among the
believers, he r
formed a covenant whereby he wiped any pre-Islamic grudges between them or any
bigoted tribal tendencies. Through it, he r succeeded in
establishing full Islamic unity and uplifted the community from the tribal to
the national level. The following are the terms pertaining to the Muslims in
the Covenant of Al-Madinah (Constitution of Al-Madinah):
In the name of Allah, the Most
Merciful, the Ever-Merciful. This is a document by Muhammad, the Prophet r,
between believers and Muslims from Quraish (Emigrants from Makkah) and Yathrib
(Residents of Al-Madinah), and those who follow them, join them, and strive
1. They (the Muslim people regardless of tribes or families) are
one Ummah (nation), to the exclusion of (other categories of) people.
2. The Muhajirun (Emigrants) from the Quraish will continue,
according to their established custom, to pay their blood money and ransom their
captives. (This is carried out) in accordance with the recognized principles of
kindness and justice among the believers. Every tribe of the Ansar
(Supporters) will continue, according to their established custom, to pay their
previous blood money. Every group among them ransoms their captive. (This is
carried out) in accordance with the recognized principles of kindness and
3. The believers shall not leave a debtor among them. They shall
give him enough for (paying) ransom or blood money, according to what is
commonly considered as fair.
4. The God-fearing believers shall be against whoever transgresses
from them, or seeks an illegal gift, or (spreads) sin, aggression, or
corruption among the believers. Their hands shall all be against him, even if he
is the son of one of them.
5. A believer shall not form an alliance with the freedman of
(another) believer without his consent.
6. A believer shall not kill a believer (in retaliation) for a
disbeliever, nor help a disbeliever against a believer.
7. The protection (given under this constitution in the Name) of
Allah is one; the protection granted by the least of them (to a non-Muslim) is
binding on all (believers).
8. The believers are
supporters of one another, to the exclusion of (other categories of) people.
9. Whoever of the Jews follows us is entitled to support and
equality. They shall not be wronged, nor shall one support another against
10. The peace of the believers is one (indivisible). No (separate)
peace shall be made by a believer separate from another believer when there is
fighting in the Cause of Allah, unless it is on the basis of equality and
justice among them.
11. Every expedition that fights with us must take turns with one
another (in participating).
12. The believers (their bloods are equal) shall mutually and
equally defend that which is shed of their blood in the Cause of Allah. The
God-fearing believers are under the best and most upright guidance.
13. A Mushrik13 (from Al-Madinah) may
not grant asylum to a person from the Quraish or his property; nor shall he
intervene for him against a believer.
14. Whoever unjustly kills a believer, and there is evidence of
this, shall be killed in requital unless the heir of the killed is satisfied
(with blood money).
15. The believers shall all be against him (the killer), and it is
unlawful for them to take any action except against him (the killer).
16. It is unlawful for a believer, who ratifies what is in this
document and believes in Allah and the Last Day, to support a heretic or
shelter him. Whoever supports him or shelters him, upon him shall be the Curse
of Allah and His Anger on the Day of Resurrection, and no repentance or ransom
shall be accepted from him.
17. Any matter in which you differ must be referred to Allah U – and to Muhammad r.14
the loving big brother of this believing group, did not distinguish himself or
others with a special title. The Prophet r
said: “If I were to have taken a close friend from among my followers, I
would have chosen Abu Bakr, but sufficient is the brotherhood and love of Islam.”15
His sublime moral
teachings of fraternity, which constitute an integral part of Islam that must be
accepted and adhered to, laid down
for a strong and united nation that no longer lived as separate and warring entities,
but where each individual became a part of a larger whole, an organ of the one
great body of Islam.
Imam and Leader,
- “The similitude of
believers as regards their mutual love, mercy, and sympathy is like that of the
body; if any of its organs complains, the whole body calls upon one another
(sharing) with (it) sleeplessness and fever.”16
- “Muslims are like one
man; if his eye aches, his whole (body) aches, and if his head aches, his whole
- “A believer to a
believer is like the structure, (its parts) enforcing each other,” and he r interlaced his fingers.18
- “A Muslim is the brother of a Muslim. He should neither wrong
him nor let him down. Whoever attends to the needs of his brother, Allah will
attend to his needs. Whoever relieves a Muslim of some distress, Allah will
relieve him of one of the distresses of the Day of Resurrection. And whoever
covers (the faults of) a Muslim, Allah will cover him on the Day of
- “The whole of a Muslim for a Muslim is inviolable: his
property, his honor, and his blood. Enough of evil for a person to despise his
- “Reviling a Muslim is
disobedience (to Allah) and fighting him is infidelity.”21
- “Two Muslims who
meet with their swords both, the killer and the killed, are in Hellfire.” Abu
said, “O Messenger of Allah, this is (for) the killer; what about the
killed?” The Messenger of Allah r
said, “He was eager to kill his companion.”22
- “Do not hate one another; do not envy one another; do not
turn your backs on one another. O worshipers of Allah, be brothers.”23
- “None of you will have faith until he loves for his brother
what he loves for himself.”24
- “You will not enter Paradise until you believe, and you will not believe
until you love one another. Shall I guide you to a thing which if you do, you
shall love one another? Spread Salam (the greeting of peace: peace be upon you)
Little by little, the
uplifted the consciousness of the individual out of the cage of the self and self-interest
into the spaciousness of love for humanity:
- “Whoever has food
enough for two should seek out a third person (to feed), and whoever has food
enough for four should seek out a fifth or a sixth.”26
has a spare mount, let him give it to someone who does not have a mount; and
whoever who has spare provisions, let him give them to someone who does not
- “Every act of
righteousness is charity, and part of righteousness is to meet your brother
with a cheerful face and to pour out from your bucket into the vessel of your
- “Each of you is the
of his brother; if he sees some fault in him,
he should wipe it away from him.”29
The individual was
thus elevated; no longer living alone for oneself, but for all humanity. “The
best of people are those who are most beneficial to people.”30
No longer were efforts
selfish and souls materialistic. “A tree was harming the passersby on a
road, which a man cut and laid out of the way, and thereby was admitted into Paradise.”31
eventually healed. They usually arise from suppressed energy that finds no
outlet, but accumulates within and along with it diminishes the scope of action
and the value of human experience.
With Islam, they find
a natural release from the narrow sphere of human activity or interest, timed
life, and the limited world of the self into the vast expanse of the universe.
“Any Muslim who plants a seedling
from which a human, an animal, or a bird eats, it is for him a charitable deed
(of ongoing reward) until the Day of Resurrection.”32
Thus was impressed
upon minds the reality of life being a means, not an end. As such, there was no
time to waste on race or class conflicts with such high aims and collective
goals awaiting all33. (Let there arise from you a
nation inviting to good, enjoining what is right,
and forbidding what is wrong. And it is they who are the successful.)34
perfectly understood the role love can play in building nations and societies. He
r knew that love is the
highest good, activating the purest energy, when purely directed to Allah, for
His Sake, and firmly rooted in the nexus of any relationships between Muslims,
whereby all difficulties are removed and greatest harvests are reaped.
He r said, “Among the
Servants of Allah are people, neither prophets nor martyrs, who will be coveted
by prophets and martyrs on the Day of Resurrection for their status with Allah,
the Most High.”
They said, “O
Messenger of Allah, tell us who are they?”
He r said, “People who
loved one another through love of Allah, not for mutual kinship or material
benefits. By Allah, their faces are light and they are on light. They will not
fear when people fear and will not grieve when people grieve.”
Therefore, the Prophet
r never let a chance pass
by without advocating brotherly love and
commanding the Muslims to announce it for one another, to open hearts and
spread love and peace among the ranks of the Ummah.37
The Prophet r said, “If a man
loves his brother, let him tell him that he loves him.”38
man was in the company of the Prophet r when another man passed by him, so he said, “O Messenger of
Allah, I love this man.” The Prophet r asked, “Have you told him?” He said, “No.”
He r said, “Tell him.” He caught up with him and said, “I
love you for the Sake of Allah.” He replied, “May
He, for Whose sake you love me, love you.”39
1 Dr. Hisham A. Hassaballah, The Ummah’s Double-Edged Sword.
Translated meanings of Al-‘Imran 3: 103.
Translated meanings of Al-Anfal 8: 62-63.
4 Narrated by Anas bin Malik: Sahih Al-Bukhary, Book of Al-Ikrah
(Coercion), Hadith no. 6438; similar versions of the Hadith are also reported
by Al-Bukhary (2263, 2264), At-Tirmidhy (2181), and Ahmad (11511, 12606).
5 Sahih Al-Bukhary, Book of Tafsir Al-Qur’an, Hadith no.
4214; similar versions of the Hadith are also reported by Al-Bukhary (2128, 6250)
and Abu Dawud (2532, 2533).
Translated meanings of An-Nisa’ 4: 33.
Translated meanings of Al-Anfal 8: 72.
8 Narrated by Anas bin Malik: Sunnan At-Tirmidhy, Book of Al-Birr Waslah, Hadith no. 1856; similar versions of the Hadith are also
reported by Al-Bukhary (1907, 1908, 3496, 3497, 3644, 4684), and Ahmad (12508,
9 Narrated by ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab: Sunnan Ad-Darimy, Book of Zakah
(Obligatory Charity), Hadith no. 1601; similar versions of the Hadith
are also reported by At-Tirmidhy (3608) and Abu Dawud (1429).
10 Narrated by Abu Hurairah: Sahih Al-Bukhary, Book of Muzara‘ah
(Sharecropping), Hadith no. 2157; similar versions of the Hadith are
also reported by Al-Bukhary (2518, 3498).
11 Sunnan At-Tirmidhy, Book of Sifat Al-Qiyamah wa Ar-Raqa’iq
wa Al-Wara‘, Hadith no. 2411; similar versions of the Hadith are also
reported by Ahmad (12602, 12648).
Translated meanings of Al-Anfal 8: 74.
13 One who associates others with Allah in His Divinity or
14 Ibn Hisham, As-Sirah An-Nabawiyyah, The Messenger of Allah r Making Peace With the
Jews and the Document He r Wrote between the Muslims from the Muhajirun and the Ansar, vol. 2; Safiur-Rahman
Mubarakpuri, Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum; First Phase: Building a New Society
& The Covenant of Islamic Alliance.
Narrated by Abu Sa‘id Al-Khudry: Sahih Al-Bukhary, Book of Salah, Hadith no. 446; similar
versions of the Hadith are also reported by Al-Bukhary (3381, 3615), Muslim (4390), At-Tirmidhy
(3593), and Ahmad (10710).
16 Narrated by An-Nu‘man bin Bashir: Sahih Muslim, Book of Al-Birr Waslah Waladab, Hadith no. 4685;
similar versions of the Hadith are also reported by Al-Bukhary (5552) and Ahmad
(17648, 17690, 17706, 18542).
17 Narrated by An-Nu‘man bin Bashir: Sahih Muslim, Book of Al-Birr Waslah Waladab, Hadith no. 4687;
similar versions of the Hadith are also reported by Muslim (4686) and Ahmad
18 Narrated by Abu Musa: Sahih Al-Bukhary, Book of Al-Adab,
Hadith no. 5567; similar versions of the
Hadith are also reported by Al-Bukhary (459, 2266), Muslim (4684), At-Tirmidhy
(1851), An-Nasa’y (2513), and Ahmad (18798).
19 Narrated by ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar: Sahih Al-Bukhary, Book of Al-Madhalim
wa Al-Ghasb (Grievances and Usurpation), Hadith no. 2262; similar versions
of the Hadith are also reported by Al-Bukhary (6437), Muslim (4677),
At-Tirmidhy (1346), Abu Dawud (4248), and Ahmad (5103, 5388).
20 Narrated by Abu Hurairah: Sunnan Abu Dawud, Book of Al-Adab,
Hadith no. 4238; similar versions of the Hadith are also reported by
At-Tirmidhy (1850) and Ibn Majah (4203).
21 Narrated by ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ud: Sahih Al-Bukhary, Book of Iman,
Hadith no. 46; similar versions of the Hadith are also reported by Al-Bukhary
(5584, 6549), Muslim (97), At-Tirmidhy (1906, 2558, 2559), An-Nasa’y (4036,
4037, 4039, 4040, 4041, 4042, 4043), Ibn Majah (68, 3929), and Ahmad (3465,
3708, 3761, 3916, 3964, 4115, 4162).
22 Narrated by Abu Bakrah: Sahih Al-Bukhary, Book of Iman,
Hadith no. 30; similar versions of the Hadith are also reported by Al-Bukhary
(6367, 6556), Muslim (5139, 5140, 5741), An-Nasa’y (4048, 4052, 4053, 4054),
Abu Dawud (3723), Ibn Majah (3455), and Ahmad (19528, 19543, 195871, 19589,
23 Narrated by Anas bin Malik: Sahih Al-Bukhary, Book of Al-Adab,
Hadith no. 5605; similar versions of the Hadith are also reported by Al-Bukhary
(5612), Muslim (4641, 4642), At-Tirmidhy (1858), Abu Dawud (4264), Ahmad
(11630, 12230, 12580, 12702, 12875, 13425), and Malik (1411).
24 Narrated by Anas bin Malik: Sahih Al-Bukhary, Book of Iman,
Hadith no. 12; similar versions of the Hadith are also reported by Muslim (64,
65), At-Tirmidhy (2439), An-Nasa’y (4930, 4931), Ibn Majah (65), Ahmad (12338,
12671, 13138, 13371), and Ad-Darimy (2623).
25 Narrated by Abu Hurairah: Sahih Muslim, Book of Iman,
Hadith no. 81; similar versions of the Hadith also reported by At-Tirmidhy
(2612), Abu Dawud (4519), Ibn Majah (67, 3682), and Ahmad (8723, 9332,
26 Narrated by Abdur-Rahman bin Abu Bakr: Sahih Al-Bukhary, Book of Al-Manaqib,
Hadith no. 3316; similar versions of the Hadith are also reported by Al-Bukhary
(567), Muslim (3833), and Ahmad (1611, 1619, 1620).
Narrated by Abu Sa‘id Al-Khudry: Sahih Muslim Book of Al-Luqatah (Lost Found Items), Hadith no. 3258; similar versions of the Hadith
are also reported by Abu Dawud (1416) and Ahmad (10863).
28 Narrated by Jabir bin ‘Abdullah: Sunnan
At-Tirmidhy, Book of Al-Birr Waslah, Hadith no. 1893; similar
versions of the Hadith are also reported by Ahmad (14182, 14348).
Narrated by Abu Hurairah: Sunnan At-Tirmidhy, Book of Al-Birr Waslah,
Hadith no. 1852; a similar version is also reported by Abu Dawud (4272).
30 Narrated by Jabir: Al-Muttaqi Al-Hindi, Kanz Al-‘Ummal fi Sunnan
Al-Aqwal wa Al-Af‘al, Hadith no. 43036.
31 Narrated by Abu Hurairah: Musnad Ahmad, Book of Al-Mukthrin min
As-Sahabh, Hadith no. 7696; similar versions of the Hadith are also
reported by Ahmad (7505, 8142, 8164, 8878, 9010, 9292, 9899, 10028, 10335,
10476), Al-Bukhary (615, 2292), Muslim (3538, 4743, 4744, 4745, 4746),
At-Tirmidhy (1881), Abu Dawud (4565), Ibn Majah (3872), and Malik (269).
Narrated by Anas bin Malik: Sahih Muslim, Book of Muzara‘ah, Hadith no.
2903; similar versions of the Hadith are also reported by Muslim (2900, 2901,
2902), Ahmad (14668), and Ad-Darimy (2496).
33 “Brotherhood of the Believers” is adapted from Sayyid Qutb, As-Salam Al-‘Alami wa Al-Islam
(Universal Peace and Islam), chapter of Social Peace, under the subtitle of High
Aims of Life, Dar Al-Shorouk.
Translated meanings of Al-‘Imran 3: 104.
35 Narrated by ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab: Sunnan Abu Dawud, Book of Buyu‘
(Transactions), Hadith no. 3060.
Translated meanings of Yunus 10: 62.
37 Adapted from Dr
Al-Hashimi, Love for the Sake of Allah Builds
Societies and Nations, Gulf Times Newspaper.
38 Narrated by Al-Miqdam bin Ma‘di Karib: Sunnan Abu Dawud, Book
of Al-Adab, Hadith no. 4459; a similar version of the Hadith is also
reported by Ahmad (16543).
39 Narrated by Anas bin Malik: Sunnan Abu Dawud, Book of Al-Adab,
Hadith no. 4460; similar versions of the Hadith are also reported by Ahmad
(11980, 12056, 13046).