The example of the believers in their sympathy and affection
Glorification of Muslims' rights toward one another and exhorting them to kindness, affection, and support in things which are not sinful or reprehensible.
An-Nu`man ibn Bashir, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: «» (1).
Explanation of vocabulary (2):
(their sympathy) drawing closer to someone with the things which he likes.
(fever) A know sickness with which the heat of the body goes up.
Explanation of the Hadith:
Ibn Abu Jamrah said: It seems that mutual kindness, compassion, and sympathy are close in the meaning but there is a slight difference. As for mutual kindness, it means that Muslims should show mercy to one another because of the bond of religion and not because of something else. As for the compassion, it is the communication which brings about love such as paying visits and offering presents. As for sympathy, it is to support one another as the garment which is wrapped around the body to protect it. (3)
Al Qady `Iyad said: Comparing the believers to one body is a sound comparison which contains approximation of understanding and embodying the meaning.
Ibn Abu Jamrah said: The Prophet, peace be upon him, compared faith to the body and the believers to organs because faith is an origin and its branches are obligatory duties. So, when a person neglects some of the obligatory duties, it shall be like negligence in the origin (faith). The body is like a tree and its organs are like branches. So, when an organ aches, all organs feel pain; exactly as the tree when one of its branches is shaken, the entire tree shakes.
The point of resemblance is similarity in fatigue and rest. (4)
Lessons gained from the Hadith:
1- Glorification of Muslims' rights toward one another and exhorting them to kindness, affection, and support in things which are not sinful or reprehensible.
2- The permissibility of setting examples to illustrate the meanings (5).
3- One of the requisites of faith is to show kindness, affection, and sympathy to the believers, and negligence in that leads to the weakness of faith. The Shaykh of Islam, Ibn Taymiyah, said: Therefore, a believer becomes happy with the things which gladden the believers and becomes sad with the things which sadden them (6).
4- A Muslim has to exert efforts to purify his heart toward his Muslim brothers by being glad with the access of goodness to them and becomes sad with the things which harm or cause pain to them; moreover he should be by their side in afflictions to help the needy, support the oppressed, and cooperate with his Muslim brothers for goodness and piety.
5- The greatness and perfection of this religion through its exhortation to harmony and showing kindness, so a Muslim lives honorably among his Muslim brothers in difficulty and in easiness, in power and in weakness, and in all his conditions.
(1) Sahih Al Bukhari, No. (6011) and Sahih Muslim No. (2586) with his own wordings.
(2) See: Fathul-Bary of Ibn Hajar, 10/ 439.
(3) Fathul-Bary 10/ 439.
(4) Fathul-Bary of Ibn Hajar, 10/ 439.
(5) The previous reference.
(6) Majmau' al-Fataawa, 2/373.