An-Nawawi's Forty Hadeeth: No. 13

Since 2012-12-07

"None of you [truly] believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself."

Commentary on An-Nawawi's Forty Hadeeth: No. 13


On the authority of Abu Hamza Anas Ibn Maalik, the servant of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), from the Prophet (peace be upon him) who said, "None of you [truly] believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself." [Reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim]


»لايؤمن أحدكم حتى يحب لأخيه ما يحب لنفسه« رواه البخاري ومسلم




This hadeeth was reported by al-Bukhari, Muslim, al-Tirmidhi, al-Nasaa’i, ibn Maajah, Ahmad, ibn Hibbaan, al-Daarimi, Abu Yala and numerous others. It should be noted that the narration in Sahih Muslim differs slightly from what al-Nawawi has presented here. The narration in Muslim states: "None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother - or he said for his neighbor - what he loves for himself."


»لايؤمن أحدكم حتى يحب لأخيه (أوقال لجاره) مايحب لنفسه« رواه مسلم


In Muslim's narration there is mention of the doubt about the exact wording "or he said". However, in al-Bukhari's narration there is no such doubt.


Another important narration of this hadeeth may be found in Musnad Ahmad. It states, "By the One in whose hand is my soul, a servant does not truly believe until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself of goodness."


»والذي نفسي بيده لا يؤمن عبدحتى يحب لأخيه ما يحب لنفسه من الخير‏« رواه أحمد


Here, the last words, "of goodness" have been added to this narration. As shall be noted below, these additional words are of significance. There is also another narration with the wording: "The servant does not reach the reality of [or true] faith until he loves for the people what he loves for himself." [Reported by Imam Ahmad is his Musnad]


»لا يبلغ العبد حقيقة الإيمان حتى يحب للناس ما يحب لنفسه« رواه أحمد فى مسنده


General comments about the Hadith


This hadeeth stipulates one of the most important rules of behavior in Islam. It is a clear sign as to how Muslims are supposed to behave toward one another. It states a general principle that may be applied in all walks of life. The importance of this principle is so great that some consider this hadeeth one-fourth or one-third of Islam.


About the Narrator: AnasIbn Malik


Abu Hamzah Anas Ibn Maalik Ibn Nadar al-Kharaji was born ten years before the Hijrah of the Prophet (peace be upon him). He embraced Islam while very young. His mother brought him to the prophet (peace be upon him) so he could act as a servant to the Prophet (peace be upon him). He spent about ten years in that capacity. He also took part in ten of the battles of the Prophet (peace be upon him). The Prophet (peace be upon him) prayed that Allah bless him, give him wealth, long life, lots of children and enter him into paradise. Consequently, he became a wealthy man and had over 120 children and grandchildren by the time of his death. He was over one hundred years old when he died. Allah willing, he can look forward to the last part of the Prophet's supplication. After the death of the Prophet (peace be upon him) he moved to Damascus and later settled in Basra. He is considered to be the last companion to have died in Basra, dying in the year 93 A.H. Some 2,200 hadeeth are narrated on his authority in the books of hadeeth.


"None of you [truly] believes until"


The narration from Musnad Ahmad sheds light on the meaning of the passage, "none of you believes," in this hadeeth: "The servant does not reach the reality of [or true] faith until he loves for the people what he loves for himself." This means that the denial of faith alluded to in this hadeeth does not imply a complete denial of faith. That is, a person does not become a disbeliever, losing all faith, by not loving for his brother what he loves for himself. What it does mean, though, is that for a person to have true and complete faith, he must love for his brother what he loves for himself. This love is a necessary component of a true and complete faith. As was stated in the discussion of the hadeeth of Jibreel, a person who does not meet the obligatory requirements of faith is not deserving to be called a true or complete believer. This is what this hadeeth is referring to. It is not necessarily true that once a person has this characteristic he will always possess it. Imaan is dynamic and open to fluctuations. Sometimes a person may possess this characteristic while at other times he may not. This was also discussed before. At times he may be a true believer. At other times, he may be weaker in faith. Both Abdullah ibn Rawaaha and Abu al-Darda, two Companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him), stated, "Imaan is like a shirt. Sometimes a person wears it and at the other time he takes it off."


On the other hand, this hadeeth does not mean that if a person meets this characteristic, he has complete Imaan even if he does not meet the other requirements of Imaan. This hadeeth is simply stressing that his characteristic is an essential pillar of true and complete Iman. It is like saying, "There is no prayer but with purity (tahaarah)." There is more to prayer than tahaarah. Similarly, there is much more to Imaan than simply loving for one's brother what one loves for himself."He loves for his brother what he loves for himself." This is the condition that the Prophet (peace be upon him) stated for true faith. In another hadeeth, the Prophet (peace be upon him) made it very clear that one of the keys to entrance into paradise is meeting this condition. In a hadeeth in Sahih Muslim, the Messenger (peace be upon him) said, "Whoever loves to be saved from the Fire and entered into Paradise should die with belief in Allah and the Last Day and should treat the people in the way that he wishes to be treated by them."


»... ..فمن أحب أن يزحزح عن النار ويدخل الجنة، فلتأته منيته وهو يؤمن بالله واليوم الآخر. وليأت إلى الناس الذي يحب أن يؤتى إليه...« رواه مسلم


The Prophet (peace be upon him) set an example in this matter. One time Abu Dharr asked to be given a position of leadership. The Prophet (peace be upon him) told him: "O Abu Dharr, I see that you are weak, and I love for you what I love for myself. Never be in charge of the wealth of two people [or more] and never be in charge of the wealth of orphans." [Reported by Muslim]


»ياأباذر! إني أراك ضعيفا. وإني أحب لك ما أحب لنفسي. لا تأمرن على اثنين. ولا تولين مال يتيم« رواه مسلم


The Prophet (peace be upon him) was giving him sincere advice. Being in a position of authority is a difficult position and being in charge of the wealth of orphans is a dangerous position. This is especially true if the person is weak and not able to fend off others. Hence, the Prophet (peace be upon him) who himself did not wish to be in such a position advised Abu Dharr to stay away from such positions. This demonstrates the Prophet's love for his companions as he loved for them what he loved for himself. This also demonstrates an aspect of the Prophet's true and complete Imaan. In IhyaUloom al-Deen, Al Ghazaali presents a story about a man who complained that his house was infested with rats. He was told to get a cat. His reply was "I fear that if the rats hear the cat's meow, they will flee to adjoining houses and what I like not for myself I do not like for them."


This shows how true believers are to be towards one another. They not only want good for themselves but also for each other. On the other side of the coin, if any of their Muslim brethren is hurt, then they also feel the pain. They do not like that situation for themselves so they do not like it for the other believers either. Such is the Messenger of Allah's (peace be upon him) description of the community of believers.


The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "The parable of the believers with respect to their love, mercy and compassion for one another is like that of the body: if one of its limbs is hurting, the remainder of the body is afflicted by sleeplessness and fever." [Muslim & al-Bukhari]


»مثل المؤمنين في توادهم وتراحمهم وتعاطفهم، مثل الجسد. إذا اشتكى منه عضو، تداعى له سائر الجسد بالسهر والحمى « رواه البخاري ومسلم


Hence, from these two hadeeth one sees that the believers are happy when the other believers are happy and the believers are hurting when the other believers are hurt. However, this can only come about when the person's heart is free of jealousy and envy. If a person is jealous and envious of others, he will never feel happy when others receive what they love. Instead, he will only feel happy when he receives what he loves above and beyond the others. This selfishness and self-centeredness cannot co-exist with true Imaan. There is no such thing as a true believer who has such feelings in his heart for the others. Actually, how could a true believer think and feel in that way? A true believer realizes that everything comes from Allah. Allah's bounties are much greater than one can imagine. There is room for everyone and if a person does not receive much of this worldly life, there will be plenty for him in the Hereafter. There is no need for him to feel any kind of competition or envy with respect to his fellow believers.


Does This Hadeeth Mean that One Should give Preference to One's Brother?


Abu al-Zinaad once stated: The apparent meaning of this hadeeth is that one should desire equally [between what he has and what his brethren possess]. However, in reality, it means that one should love for his brother more than what he has for himself. This, because humans want to be the best among the people. If he loves the same for his brother, then that must be included [that is, he must love for his brother to be superior to all others in the same way that he loves for himself to be superior]. [1] Similarly, al-Fudhail Ibn Iyaadh once said, "If you love that the people be similar to you, you have not fulfilled your naseehah to your Lord. What about the case when you love for them to be below you?"


This is an interpretation that is mentioned by some scholars. The important question then arises: Is this a correct understanding of this hadeeth? According to most scholars, that is not the correct understanding of this hadeeth. They say that; describing a higher level of Imaan that one may aspire to, but it is not a necessary aspect that one must possess to have complete and true Imaan. For that, it is sufficient that one loves for his brother to have the same that he has, Ibn Rajab stated, [The statement of al-Fudhail] points to the fact that giving naseehah to them [the Muslims] is to love that they are even better than oneself. This is a very high level exalted state of well-wishing. However, that is not obligatory. What is required in the sharee'ah is that one loves for his brother to be similar to himself. At the same time, if he sees that someone else possesses a religious virtue that he does not have, he should strive to catch up with him and he should be sad due to his shortcoming and being behind those ahead of him. This is not being envious with respect to what Allah has given them but this is competing with them in virtues and being sad for oneself due to one's shortcoming and being behind those in the forefront.


This "competition" or outdoing each other in good deeds for the sake of Allah is praiseworthy. This is where people compete or try their best to please Allah as much as possible. This hadeeth does not condemn such behavior in anyway. Allah has said in the Qur'aan (meaning), "And for this [rewards] let those strive who want to strive" [al-Mutaffifeen 83:26]


{... ...وَفِي ذَٰلِكَ فَلْيَتَنَافَسِ الْمُتَنَافِسُونَ} المطففين: 26




Commenting on this required aspect of loving for another what one loves for himself, ibn al-Salaah stated, "This might be considered difficult or even impossible. However, that is not the case. The one who fulfills this characteristic loves that his brother has the same or similar things that he has, without anyone being short-changed out of any blessing because of what his brother has. This is very simple for the pure heart. However, [even that] is difficult for the corrupted heart."


However, there is no question that Allah is very pleased with the person when he reaches that higher level of sacrificing on behalf of his brother in Islam. Allah has stated (meaning): "But those who, before them, had homes [in Madina] and had adopted the faith love those who emigrated to them and have no jealousy in their breasts for that which they have been given [of the booty], but give them [the Emigrants] preference over themselves, even though they were in need of that. And whosoever is saved from his own covetousness, such are they who will be the successful" [al-Hashr 59:9]


}وَالَّذِينَ تَبَوَّءُوا الدَّارَ وَالْإِيمَانَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ يُحِبُّونَ مَنْ هَاجَرَ إِلَيْهِمْ وَلَا يَجِدُونَ فِي صُدُورِهِمْ حَاجَةً مِّمَّا أُوتُوا وَيُؤْثِرُونَ عَلَىٰ أَنفُسِهِمْ وَلَوْ كَانَ بِهِمْ خَصَاصَةٌ ۚ وَمَن يُوقَ شُحَّ نَفْسِهِ فَأُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ{ الحشر: 9


Transliteration:Waallatheenatabawwaooalddarawaaleemana min qablihimyuhibboona man hajarailayhimwalayajidoona fee sudoorihimhajatanmimmaootoowayuthiroonaAAalaanfusihimwalaw kana bihimkhasasatunwamanyooqashuhhanafsihifaolaikahumualmuflihoona


There are some principles that must be kept in mind here. One does not have the right to actually bring about physical harm to those who are dependent on him in order to apply this noble principle of giving preference to others.


Muhammad ibnMasrooq said, "[This can be done] without harming the rights. For example, if a person only has what is enough for him to survive or only enough to cover his own private parts, then it is obligatory upon him to start with himself before his own son, father or bother, not to speak of a distant person. This is based on foundational points of the Shareeah, such as the hadeeth, "begin with yourself," and the one who the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) told him, "Give in charity upon yourself" [Authenticated by Al-Albani]


» ابدأ بنفسك فتصدق عليها...« صححه الألباني


What One Should Love for His Brother?


Some people love things for themselves that are not even permissible according to the shareeah. Does this hadeeth apply to acts of this nature, where one wishes those same things for his brother? This question has been discussed by the commentators of this hadeeth. Before getting to their response, this author would like to note that it is difficult to conceive of a person who has reached this level of complete faith desiring such things for himself. Assuming that could be the case, the response to this question is found in one of the other narrations of this hadeeth that was mentioned earlier. In a narration in Musnad Ahmad, it states, "By the One in whose hand is my soul, a servant does not truly believe until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself of goodness."


» والذي نفسي بيده لا يؤمن عبد حتى يحب لأخيه ما يحب لنفسه من الخير‏ «رواه أحمد


Commenting on the additional words, "of goodness," al-Albani wrote, "Know that this addition of the words, "of goodness," is very important as it defines what is meant by this hadeeth in detail. This is because the word "goodness" is a comprehensive term that covers all acts of obedience, permissible deeds of this world and the Hereafter and it excludes everything that is prohibited, because the word "goodness" clearly does not entail them. Therefore, it is from the completeness of a Muslim's behavior that he loves for his brother Muslim whatever goodness and good things that he loves for himself. At the same time, he hates for his brother Muslim any evil that he hates for himself. This is implied by the hadeeth, even though it is not mentioned explicitly in the hadeeth, this is because to love one thing requires that one hates its opposite."


Who is One's Brother?


Al-Nawawi, al-Haitami and al-Mudaabaghi say that this hadeeth addresses us in reference to both one's Muslim brethren in faith and one's non-Muslim brethren in humanity. That is, according to them, one should love for the non-Muslim to be guided to Islam in the same way that he has been guided to Islam. There is no question that every Muslim should have a desire to see everyone embrace Islam and submit to Allah. This desire should be very strong in the heart of the believer. In fact, this was the way of all of the Prophets. However, to understand the meaning of, "his brother" in this hadeeth to mean both Muslim and non-Muslims is far-fetched indeed. In his commentary to this hadeeth, al-Sanoosi is adamant that it is not conceivable that "brother" here refers to both Muslims and non-Muslims. He wrote, "If the word "brother" is stated unconditionally in the sharee'ah, like in this case, the first thing that comes to mind is brother in the faith. In fact, Allah has confirmed such brotherhood between the believers when He said (meaning), "Verily the believers are but brethren" [alHujuraat: 10]


{إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ إِخْوَةٌ...} الحجرات: 10


Transliteration: Innamaalmuminoonaikhwatun


It is understood by this description that the non-believers are not brethren [Furthermore,] the hadeeth stresses the compassion, mercy, aid and complete assistance for every good [as part of Imaan] and that is why it is mentioned, as such brotherhood requires that the believers be like one building The relationship toward the disbelievers in the sharee'ah is the exact opposite of that, one of the opposition and enmity [He then quotes some Quranic verses that give that meaning.] The Qur'aan and Sunnah are filled with evidences that [disbelief] cuts off relation between believers and their blood relatives of the disbelievers, even if they are the closest to them, such as the child and father [such is the case with the laws of inheritance] The word "brother" makes it clear that it is referring only [to brothers in the faith]." Indeed, it is not considered proper to call a non-Muslim one's brother, as is common among many people today. Abdul AzeezibnBaazwas once asked the following question, "I live with a Christian who calls me his brother and we are like brethren, we eat and drink together. Is this kind of deed permissible?" His response was, "A disbeliever is not a Muslim's brother. Allah has said, "Verily the believers are but brethren" [alHujuraat: 10]


{إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ إِخْوَةٌ...} الحجرات: 10


Transliteration: Innamaalmuminoonaikhwatun


The Prophet (peace be upon him) also said, "A Muslim is a brother to a Muslim." [Reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim]


»المسلم أخو المسلم«رواه البخاري ومسلم


A disbeliever, whether he be Jew, Christian, Magian Socialist or whatever, is not a brother to a Muslim. It is not allowed to take him as a companion and close friend. However, if one eats with him sometimes, without taking him as a companion, due to a general invitation or specific gathering, there is no harm in that. But to take him as a companion, close friend and dining associate, this is not allowed. Allah has cut off ties of love, loyalty and friendship between Muslims and disbelievers. Allah says in His Book (meaning), "Indeed, there is an excellent example for you in Abraham and those with him, when they said to their people, 'Verily, we are free from you and whatever you worship besides Allah, we have rejected you, and there has started between us and you, hostility and hatred forever - until you believe in Allah alone" [al-Mumtahina 66:4]


{قَدْ كَانَتْ لَكُمْ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ فِي إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَالَّذِينَ مَعَهُ إِذْ قَالُوا لِقَوْمِهِمْ إِنَّا بُرَآءُ مِنكُمْ وَمِمَّا تَعْبُدُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّـهِ كَفَرْنَا بِكُمْ وَبَدَا بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَكُمُ الْعَدَاوَةُ وَالْبَغْضَاءُ أَبَدًا حَتَّىٰ تُؤْمِنُوا بِاللَّـهِ وَحْدَهُ} الممتحنة: 4


Transliteration: Qad kanat lakum oswatun hasanatun fee ibraheema waallatheena maAAahu ith qaloo liqawmihim inna buraao minkum wamimma taAAbudoona min dooni Allahi kafarna bikum wabada baynana wabaynakumu alAAadawatu waalbaghdao abadan hatta tuminoo biAllahi wahdahu


Allah has also said (meaning), "You (O Muhammad) will not find any people who believe in Allah and the Last Day making friendship with those who oppose Allah and His Messenger, even if they were their fathers, or their sons, or their brothers, or their kin. For such He has written faith in their hearts and strengthened them with proofs from Himself, and We will admit them to gardens through which rivers flow, and they with Him. They are the party of Allah. Verily, it is the party of Allah that will be the successful" [al-Mujaadilah 58:22]


{لَّا تَجِدُ قَوْمًا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّـهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ يُوَادُّونَ مَنْ حَادَّ اللَّـهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَلَوْ كَانُوا آبَاءَهُمْ أَوْ أَبْنَاءَهُمْ أَوْ إِخْوَانَهُمْ أَوْ عَشِيرَتَهُمْ ۚ أُولَـٰئِكَ كَتَبَ فِي قُلُوبِهِمُ الْإِيمَانَ وَأَيَّدَهُم بِرُوحٍ مِّنْهُ ۖ وَيُدْخِلُهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا ۚ رَضِيَ اللَّـهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُوا عَنْهُ ۚ أُولَـٰئِكَ حِزْبُ اللَّـهِ ۚ أَلَا إِنَّ حِزْبَ اللَّـهِ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ} المجادلة: 22


Transliteration: La tajidu qawman yuminoona biAllahi waalyawmi alakhiri yuwaddoona man hadda Allaha warasoolahu walaw kanoo abaahum aw abnaahum aw ikhwanahum aw AAasheeratahum olaika kataba fee quloobihimu aleemana waayyadahum biroohin minhu wayudkhiluhum jannatin tajree min tahtiha alanharu khalideena feeha radiya Allahu AAanhum waradoo AAanhu olaika hizbu Allahi ala inna hizba Allahi humu almuflihoona


Therefore, it is obligatory upon a Muslim to be free of the people of infidelity and to hate them for the sake of Allah. However, one must not harm them, hurt them and oppose them without justice and rights to do so, as long as they are not fighting us. At the same time, though, one does not take them as comrades or brothers. If one coincidentally eats with them at a general invitation or specific event, without companionship, loyalty or love for them, then there is no harm in that act.


It is obligatory upon Muslims to deal with disbelievers in an Islamic fashion with proper behavior, as long as they are not fighting the Muslims. One must fulfill one's trusts to them, must not deceive them, must not betray them or lie to them. If there is a discussion or debate between them, one must argue with them in the best manner and be just with them in the dispute. This is in obedience to Allah's command, "And argue not with the People of the Scriptures (Jews and Christian) unless it be in a way that is better, except with such of them as do wrong" [al Ankaboot 29:46]


{ وَلَا تُجَادِلُوا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ إِلَّا بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ إِلَّا الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا مِنْهُمْ...} العنكبوت: 46


Transliteration: Wala tujadiloo ahla alkitabi illa biallatee hiya ahsanu illa allatheena thalamoo minhum


It is sanctioned for the Muslim to invite them to the good, to advise them and to be patient with them at the same time being neighborly and polite to them. This is so because Allah has stated, "Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom (of the Quran) and fair preaching, and argue with them in a way that is better" [al-Nahl 16:125]


{ادْعُ إِلَىٰ سَبِيلِ رَبِّكَ بِالْحِكْمَةِ وَالْمَوْعِظَةِ الْحَسَنَةِ ۖ وَجَادِلْهُم بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ...} النحل: 125


Transliteration: OdAAu ila sabeeli rabbika bialhikmati waalmawAAithati alhasanati wajadilhum biallatee hiya ahsanu…


Allah has also said, "Speak good to people" [al Baqarah 2:83]


{ ...وَقُولُوا لِلنَّاسِ حُسْنًا...} البقرة: 83


Transliteration: waqooloo lilnnasi husnan


The Prophet (peace be upon him) has also said, "The one who guides to good will have the same reward as the one who does that good." [Reported by Muslim and others];


»من دعا إلى هدى، كان له من الأجر مثل أجور من تبعه« رواه مسلم وغيره


Actually, there are numerous verses and hadeeth with the same meaning. Therefore, this hadeeth does not imply that to be a true believer one must love for non-Muslims what he loves for himself - with the possible exception of wanting them to embrace Islam. However, this hadeeth does apply to all other Muslims. That means regardless of Muslim's nationality, language, race, economic status, and so forth, to be a true believer one must love for that brother what he loves for himself. If a person is not yet at the stage, this means that he is not yet at the stage of true and complete faith.


Al Sindi pointed out that at that stage one loves only for the sake of Allah. All believers are equal to him, whether they be close relatives or distant folk. He then says that very few people reach that state. However, if a person cannot reach that state completely, he should reach the highest level he can with respect to that goal.


Other Points Derived From This Hadeeth


If a believer sees his brother lacking in his religion, he strives his best to improve the plight of his brother - as piety is the best that he can achieve for himself and it is what he should wish for his brother also. One of the early pious people said: "Those who love each other for the sake of Allah look by the light of Allah. They, for the sake of Allah, have compassion for those who commit sins. They hate their deeds but have compassion for them. They try to change their ways by admonishing them to stop their deeds and they show pity for them to keep their bodies away from the Fire.”


The implementation of this hadeeth is not with words only. That is, a person does not simply claim to love his brother and to love for his brother what he loves for himself. It cannot be a case of mere lip service. Instead, as is the case with all true love, that love must be translated into action. In this case, it means action on behalf of one's brother when one has the means to help him to improve his situation. [2]


If a person sees his brother possessing a virtue that he does not possess, it is permissible for him to wish that he also had that virtue himself. It is permissible for one to wish he had the same virtue but it is not permissible for one to wish that the virtue be removed from his brother. It is reported in Sahih al Bukhari and Sahih Muslim that the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself wished he could attain martyrdom. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) also said: "There is no jealousy except with respect to two people: A man who Allah has given wealth and he uses it up for the sake of the Truth and a man whom Allah has given wisdom and he decides by it and acts accordingly." [Bukhari and Muslim]


»من دعا إلى هدى،كان له من الأجر مثل أجور من تبعه« رواه البخاري ومسلم


This hadeeth means that a person should also wish that Allah gives him those characteristics although, at the same time, he does not wish that those characteristics be taken away from the other.


The true Islamic society - the society of true believers - is one where the relation between its members is built upon love and compassion. This was truly the case among the companions. Every member works for the good of all of the members of society. Peace and tranquility is spread throughout such a society. This only comes about when people truly love for each other what they love for themselves. This hadeeth lays down a general principle of behavior towards all other Muslims. However, there are specific Muslims that have even more rights upon a Muslim. These would include one's parents, relatives and wife. Sometimes a person may apply this hadeeth in general when it comes, for example, to his brothers in the mosque. He will love for them what he loves for himself. But when it comes to his own wife he does not apply this principle, even though his wife has more rights upon him than the general masses. He will not, for example, treat his wife in an appropriate manner, in the way that he also likes to be treated by those in authority over him. This is improper behavior and a Muslim should be aware of this type of mistake. [3] If a person finds himself lacking in his piety and religious deeds, he should wish that others would be better than he is and he should also try to improve himself and make himself better than he currently is.


Summary of the Hadeeth


The true believer loves for his brother Muslim what he loves for himself of good things. Without possessing this quality, one has not yet reached the level of true and complete Imaan.






  1. Quoted in IbnDaqeeq al-Eid, Sharh, pp. 44-45. In reality, not everyone possesses that feeling of wanting to be superior. Perhaps it should be said that if somebody desires that for himself, then he should desire it for his brother also.


  1. Al-Baitaar, p. 91. Al-Sanoosi gives many reasons for why the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "Love" instead of "Does for his brother what he does for himself." One of the reasons he states was that the Prophet (peace be upon him) went to the root of the matter and the real key. It is possible that one may do for others while not really loving them. In the long run, this may not be beneficial. Hence the Prophet (peace be upon him) mentioned the source that will always lead to positive results.


  1. A common example is where a Muslim man marries a second wife without consultation with or even knowledge of the first wife and even though the man knows that his first wife will be very hurt by that act… From a sharee'ah point of view, the second marriage is valid. However, if the man was treated in a similar fashion - a brother does something to him that he knows would hurt him he would become very unhappy. Hence, he should treat his wife in the same manner that he would like to be treated.


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