Love Your Brother for the Sake of Allah
In Islam, true friendships are bound by brotherhood and sisterhood bonds that are stronger than typical friendships.
In our contemporary society, friends are made at school, at work, in neighborhoods and even over the Internet. Friends are made and kept for a variety of reasons. People make friends with others who share common interests, hobbies, and even vices. The final goal of a friendship is often simply company, a desire to spend time with someone, doing something that they both enjoy. A Muslim ought to choose friends more carefully and critically.
Certainly, Muslims, like everyone else, want friends who share interests and who are fun to be with. We all enjoy having a picnic with a friend or going out to dinner with friends, and who wouldn't like to go to a gathering with some of their best friends? But, that is not only what a truly Islamic friendship is all about. In fact, an Islamic friendship is not that simple at all. In Islam, true friendships are bound by brotherhood and sisterhood bonds that are stronger than typical friendships. They are bonds that exist for a much higher reason and with a greater goal.
Muslims make friends knowing that the relationship they will ensue is an important bond between two people who share mutual goals. Their friendship is one that exists primarily for the sake of Allah the Almighty. The love and camaraderie that is born from such a friendship is a secondary benefit, for sure.
True love for the sake of Allah
Love for others comes in different forms. Love between a husband and wife is one type of these forms, all friendship is another form. However, all forms of fondness that any one person can have for any other person, for the purpose of this article, will be referred to as love.
Realistically, pure love of another person only for the sake of Allah is difficult. Few people can attain such a friendship, which is why Allah rewards such an act of faith generously. The Prophet, may Allaah exalt his mention, explained, «» (At-Tirmithi).
Nevertheless, many of us, in an attempt to reach this high level of faith, must try to make and build strong friendships that benefit us and our Ummah (Nation). In Islam true friendship is brotherhood or sisterhood- a bond that is strong and enduring. In this bond, men and women can find the sweetness of faith as the Prophet, may Allaah exalt his mention, said: «» (Al-Bukhaari and Muslim).
The rewards of loving another for Allah's sake are consistent with its importance. Its impact is not singular- it affects the entire society. For entire society to exist in harmony and peace, its constituents must be at peace. If we could each want for our friends what we want for ourselves, the world would be a better place. This is what Islam ensures. If there is brotherhood and unity among the people, the society at large will be united.
The Prophet, may Allaah exalt his mention, instilled a deep-rooted love in the hearts of the companions may Allaah be pleased with them to create a model Islamic society that all Muslims thereafter can emulate. Prophet Muhammad, may Allaah exalt his mention, tried to eliminate hatred, jealousy and rivalry by inducing brotherhood, a sincere love and friendship. The Islamic society is ideally built upon the foundation of brotherhood, as the Prophet, may Allaah exalt his mention, advised: «» (Al-Bukhaari and Muslim).
How to love someone
Since love among the believers is a condition of faith in Islam, the peace and harmony that is desired by all can be achieved, as each individual strives to do good and earn reward. So, what can we do? How can we be sure that our friendships are for the sake of Allah? Our lives are full of opportunities to increase and improve our friendships. First, as with any undertaking, we need to make clear, pure and sincere intentions. Pertaining to the existing friendships that we already have, we should make a conscious effort to love our friends for the sake of Allah. When we make friends in the future, we should also make conscious intentions that those new friendships will be for the sake of Allah.
After a pure intention, we need sincere actions. The Prophet, may Allaah exalt his mention, recommended a very simple but significant way to help Muslims gain brotherhood saying: «» (Muslim) Greeting each other frequently and lovingly is the first step to achieving the ideal brotherhood.
It would seem that greeting another with “As-Salaam Alaykum” is an easy action. However, given the nature of men and women and our vulnerability to changing emotions, sometimes these simple words are hard to utter. In other words, there are times when even this simple greeting is hard to say to someone with whom we might have argued. The beauty of Islam is that it is realistic. So, it is allowed for us to take time to "cool off," but we are not allowed to cut off friendships based on rash and unreasonable emotions. The Prophet, may Allaah exalt his mention, said, «» (Al-Bukhaari and Muslim).
These teachings encourage Muslims to improve themselves, thereby improving their society. «» (Al-Bukhaari)
The Prophet's, may Allaah exalt his mention, memory and words live in our hearts and minds. Heeding his advice, we should realize that we are supposed to be brothers or sisters in Islam because we share a common religion and belief. We are to be brothers and sisters in our hearts because we share a common goal-Allah's pleasure.