AN INTRODUCTION TO HADITH : Muslim Fellowship
Ibn Umar reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said:
“A Muslim is the brother of another Muslim. He should not wrong him nor surrender him to his enemy. Allah will take care of the needs of anyone who takes care of the needs of his brother. On the Day of Judgment, Allah will dispel the anxiety of anyone who dispels the anxiety of another Muslim. On the Day of Judgment Allah will veil anyone who veils another Muslim.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Mazalim, 3; Sahih Muslim, Birr, 58).
Abdullah ibn Umar
It is reported that Abdullah ibn Umar was born in the third year of Prophethood.
He embraced Islam at a young age, along with his father, and emigrated to Medina again with his father.
He was raised entirely in the Muslim community and with an Islamic training and education.
He participated in all battles alongside Allah’s Messenger from age eighteen onwards.
He passed away in 74 AH, aged 84, 85, or 86.
This hadith, first and foremost, declares Muslims brothers and sisters, precisely as is declared in the tenth verse of the Qur’anic chapter Al-Hujurat.
This fellowship has been Divinely determined and is a powerful fellowship encompassing both this world and the Hereafter. For instance, if the brother or sister of a Muslim has lost a loved one, they must attend their funeral and offer their condolences. The
Muslim must visit their brother or sister if they are ill, give them morale and attend to any of their needs. It is reported in one hadith that Allah will say on the Day of Judgment:
“O son of Adam, I fell ill and you visited Me not.”
He will say:
“O Lord, and how should I visit You when You are the Lord of the worlds?”
He will say:
“Did you not know that My servant So-and-so had fallen ill and you visited him not? Did you not know that had you visited him you would have found Me with him?”
Just as there is a great deal that falls upon the believer—such as responding to the greeting of their fellow Muslim, entreating Allah for their forgiveness, for instance saying “May Allah have mercy on you” when they sneeze, counseling
them when they request advice—the virtue of desiring for their fellow believer what they desire for themselves is also expected of them. And this is only possible through true love, such that Allah’s Messenger stresses its importance saying,
“By the one who has my soul in His hand, you will not enter Paradise until you believe, and you will not believe until you love one another.”
The second point that is demonstrated in the hadith is that a Muslim does not wrong their fellow believer.
In other words, they do not violate any of their rights, or encroach on their life, property, and
honor. So important is this matter that Allah’s Messenger, upon him be the most perfect of blessings and peace, made a point of stressing, that “the life and property of every Muslim [is] a sacred trust,” in his Farewell Sermon, or that these protected. No Muslim can hurt or offend their fellow Muslim in these matters or violate their rights. When describing the bankrupt in one of his Traditions, the Messenger of Allah presents, as it were, a vivid scene pertaining to the Hereafter:
“The bankrupt of my community are those who will come on the Day of Judgment with Prayer, fasting and charity but (they will find themselves bankrupt on that day as they will have exhausted their funds of virtues) since they hurled abuse upon, brought calumny against and unlawfully consumed the wealth of others and shed the blood of others and beat others, and their virtues would be credited to the account of those (who suffered at their hand). And if their good deeds fall short to clear the account, then their sins would be recorded in (their account) and they will be thrown into Hellfire.”
To that end, a believer shies away from unjustly distressing their fellow believer, let alone encroaching on their sacred values such as life, property, and honor. They shudder at the prospect of having to face the repercussions of their injustice in the Hereafter. In the continuation of the hadith under discussion it is stated that a Muslim does not surrender a fellow Muslim to the enemy. Just as a person cannot consent to having his or her own siblings handed over to the enemy and subjected to torture and punishment, a Muslim cannot accept this for their fellow believer and is obligated to approach the matter and behave in exactly the same way.
The hadith also states, “Allah will take care of the needs of anyone who takes care of the needs of his brother.”
This expression provides great incentive and inspiration to a person. In a hadith narrated by Muslim, the Messenger of Allah says, “Allah comes to the aid of His servants so long as His servants come to the aid of their fellow Muslims.” This matter is presented here in such a way that it is though what is expected from the Muslim is this characteristic of being at the aid of their fellow believers becoming their second nature, so to speak. Moreover, the Prophet enjoins believers to “Help [their] brother, whether they are an oppressor or the oppressed.” When it was then asked how it would be possible to help them if they are an oppressor, he replied, “By preventing them from oppressing others.That is to say, one should not forego providing aid to others in any case. The Prophet indicates this in the hadith, “Believers are like two hands: one washes the other.”
The last section of the hadith proclaims that whoever screens the shortcomings and flaws of their fellow believer, Allah will screen their shortcomings and flaws on the Day of Judgment, at the most dreadful hour and terrifying place where a person is to be disgraced, and does not abase them before all humankind.
What a great proposal is this!It is for this reason that Allah has not charged any of His servants with seeking out the faults of others. Moreover, in the words of a blessed servant, “Allah does not grant anyone authority to expose the faults of another.” Allah is the All-Veiler, Who veils the shame, shortcomings, faults, and sins of His servants, and He commands His servants to veil both their own sins, as well as the sins of their fellow believers.
WHAT WE HAVE LEARNED
Allah has associated and connected fellowship to firm foundations through such vivid examples.
Allah has guaranteed that the reward of such fellowship between believers will be conferred upon them, beyond measure, by Allah Himself.
Mutual trust between human beings is essential for a much more livable and happy world.
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS: Why Was the Prophet Polygamous?: Part 2
Khadija was the Prophet's first wife. As mentioned above, she married him before his call to Prophethood. Even though she was 15 years his senior, she bore all of his children, except for Ibrahim, who did not survive infancy. Khadija was also his friend, the sharer of his inclinations and ideals to a remarkable degree. Their marriage was wonderfully blessed, for they lived together in profound harmony for 23 years. Through every trial and persecution launched by the Makkan unbelievers, she was his dearest companion and helper. He loved her very deeply and married no other woman while she was alive.
This marriage is the ideal of intimacy, friendship, mutual respect, support, and consolation. Though faithful and loyal to all his wives, he never forgot Khadija and mentioned her virtues and merits extensively on many occasions. He married another woman only 4 or 5 years after Khadija's death. Until that time, he served as both a mother and a father to his children, providing their daily food and provisions as well as bearing their troubles and hardships. To allege that such a man was a sensualist or driven by sexual lust is nonsensical.
'A'isha was the daughter of Abu Bakr, his closest friend and devoted follower. One of the earliest converts, Abu Bakr had long hoped to cement the deep attachment between himself and the Prophet through marriage. By marrying 'A'isha, the Prophet accorded the highest honor and courtesy to a man who had shared all the good and bad times with him. In this way, Abu Bakr and 'A'isha acquired the distinction of being spiritually and physically close to the Prophet.
'A'isha proved to be a remarkably intelligent and wise woman, for she had both the nature and temperament to carry forward the work of Prophetic mission. Her marriage prepared her to be a spiritual guide and teacher to all women. She became one of the Prophet's major students and disciples. Through him, like so many Muslims of that blessed time, her skills and talents were matured and perfected so that she could join him in the abode of bliss both as wife and as student.
Her life and service to Islam prove that such an exceptional person was worthy to be the Prophet's wife. She was one of the greatest authorities on hadith, an excellent Qur'anic commentator, and a most distinguished and knowledgeable expert on Islamic law. She truly represented the inner and outer qualities and experiences of Prophet Muhammad. This is surely why the Prophet was told in a dream that he would marry 'A'isha. Thus, when she was still innocent and knew nothing of men and worldly affairs, she was prepared and entered the Prophet's household.
Umm Salama of the Makhzum clan, was first married to her cousin. The couple had embraced Islam at the very beginning and emigrated to Abyssinia to avoid persecution. After their return, they and their four children migrated to Madina. Her husband participated in many battles and died after being severely wounded at the Battle of Uhud. Abu Bakr and 'Umar proposed marriage to her, aware of her needs and suffering as a destitute widow with children to support. She refused, believing that no one could be better than her late husband.
Some time after that, the Prophet proposed marriage. This was quite right and natural, for this great woman had never shied from sacrifice and suffering for Islam. Now that she was alone after having lived many years in the noblest Arabian clan, she could not be neglected and left to beg her way in life. Considering her piety, sincerity, and what she had suffered, she certainly deserved to be helped. By marrying her, the Prophet was doing what he had always done: befriending those lacking in friends, supporting the unsupported, and protecting the unprotected. In her present circumstances, there was no kinder or more gracious way of helping her.
Umm Salama also was intelligent and quick to understand. She had all the capacities and gifts to become a spiritual guide and teacher. When the Prophet took her under his protection, a new student to whom all women would be grateful was accepted into the school of knowledge and guidance. As the Prophet was now almost 60, marrying a widow with many children and assuming the related expenses and responsibilities can only be understood as an act of compassion that deserves our admiration for his infinite reserves of humanity.
Umm Habiba was the daughter of Abu Sufyan, an early and most determined enemy of the Prophet and supporter of Makkah's polytheistic and idolatrous religion. Yet his daughter was one of the earliest Muslims. She emigrated to Abyssinia with her husband, where he eventually renounced his faith and embraced Christianity. Although separated from her husband, she remained a Muslim. Shortly after that, her husband died and she was left all alone and desperate in exile.
The Companions, at that time few in number and barely able to support themselves, could not offer much help. So, what were her options? She could convert to Christianity and get help that way (unthinkable). She could return to her father's home, now a headquarters of the war against Islam (unthinkable). She could wander from house to house as a beggar, but again it was an unthinkable option for a member of one of the richest and noblest Arab families to bring shame upon her family name by doing so.
God recompensed Umm Habiba for her lonely exile in an insecure environment among people of a different race and religion, and for her despair at her husband's apostasy and death, by arranging for the Prophet to marry her. Learning of her plight, the Prophet sent an offer of marriage through the king Negus. This noble and generous action was a practical proof of: We have not sent you save as a mercy for all creatures (21:107).
Thus Umm Habiba joined the Prophet's household as a wife and student, and contributed much to the moral and spiritual life of those who learned from her. This marriage linked Abu Sufyan's powerful family to the Prophet's person and household, which caused its members to re-evaluate their attitudes. It also is correct to trace the influence of this marriage, beyond the family of Abu Sufyan and to the Umayyads in general, who ruled the Muslims for almost a century.
This clan, whose members had been the most fanatical in their hatred of Islam, produced some of Islam's most renowned early warriors, administrators, and governors. Without doubt, it was this marriage that began this change, for the Prophet's depth of generosity and magnanimity of soul surely overwhelmed them.
Zaynab bint Jahsh was a lady of noble birth and a close relative of the Prophet. She was, moreover, a woman of great piety, who fasted much, kept long vigils, and gave generously to the poor. When the Prophet arranged for her to marry Zayd, an African exslave whom he had adopted as his son, Zaynab's family and Zaynab herself were at first unwilling. The family had hoped to marry their daughter to the Prophet. But when they realized that the Prophet had decided otherwise, they consented out of deference to their love for the Prophet and his authority.
Zayd had been enslaved as a child during a tribal war. Khadija, who had bought him, had given him to Muhammad as a present when she married him. The Prophet had freed immediately him and, shortly afterwards, adopted him as his son. He insisted on this marriage to establish and fortify equality between the Muslims, and to break down the Arab prejudice against a slave or even freedman marrying a free-born woman.
The marriage was an unhappy one. The noble-born Zaynab was a good Muslim of a most pious and exceptional quality. The freedman Zayd was among the first to embrace Islam, and he also was a good Muslim. Both loved and obeyed the Prophet, but they were not a compatible couple. Zayd asked the Prophet several times to allow them to divorce. However, he was told to persevere with patience and not separate from Zaynab.
But then one day Gabriel came with a Divine Revelation that the Prophet's marriage to Zaynab was a bond already contracted: We have married her to you (33:37). This command was one of the severest trials the Prophet, had yet had to face, for he was being told to break a social taboo. Yet it had to be done for the sake of God, just as God commanded. 'A'isha later said: "Had the Messenger been inclined to suppress any part of the Revelation, surely he would have suppressed this verse."
Divine wisdom decreed that Zaynab join the Prophet's household, so that she could be prepared to guide and enlighten the Muslims. As his wife, she proved herself most worthy of her new position by always being aware of her responsibilities and the courtesies proper to her role, all of which she fulfilled to universal admiration.
Before Islam, an adopted son was considered a natural son. Therefore, an adopted son's wife was considered as a natural son's wife would be. According to the Qur'anic verse, former "wives of your sons proceeding from your loins" fall within the prohibited degrees of marriage. But this prohibition does not apply to adopted sons, for there is no real consanguinity. What now seems obvious was not so then. This deeply rooted tribal taboo was broken by this marriage, just as God had intended.
To have an unassailable authority for future generations of Muslims, the Prophet had to break this taboo himself. It is one more instance of his deep faith that he did as he was told, and freed his people from a legal fiction that obscured a biological, natural reality.
Juwayriya bint Harith the daughter of Harith, chief of the defeated Bani Mustaliq clan, was captured during a military campaign. She was held with other members of her proud family alongside her clan's "common" people. She was in great distress when she was taken to the Prophet, for her kinsmen had lost everything and she felt profound hate and enmity for the Muslims. The Prophet understood her wounded pride, dignity, and suffering; more important, he understood how to deal with these issues effectively. He agreed to pay her ransom, set her free, and offered to marry her.
When the Ansar and the Muhajirun realized that the Bani Mustaliq now were related to the Prophet by marriage, they freed about 100 families that had not yet been ransomed. A tribe so honored could not be allowed to remain in slavery. In this way, the hearts of Juwayriya and her people were won. Those 100 families blessed the marriage. Through his compassionate wisdom and generosity, the Prophet turned a defeat for some into a victory for all, and what had been an occasion of enmity and distress became one of friendship and joy.
Safiyya bint Huyayy was the daughter of the chieftains of the Jewish tribe of Khaybar, who had persuaded the Bani Qurayza to break their treaty with the Prophet. From her earliest days, she had seen her family and relatives oppose the Prophet. She had lost her father, brother, and husband in battles against the Muslims, and eventually was captured by them.
The attitudes and actions of her family and relatives might have nurtured in her a deep desire for revenge. However, 3 days before the Prophet reached Khaybar, she dreamed of a brilliant moon coming out from Madina, moving toward Khaybar, and falling into her lap. She later said: "When I was captured, I began to hope that my dream would come true." When she was brought before the Prophet as a captive, he set her free and offered her the choice of remaining a Jewess and returning to her people, or entering Islam and becoming his wife. "I chose God and his Messenger" she said. Shortly after that, they were married.
Elevated to the Prophet's household, she witnessed at first hand the Muslims' refinement and true courtesy. Her attitude to her past experiences changed, and she came to appreciate the great honor of being the Prophet's wife. As a result of this marriage, the attitude of many Jews changed as they came to see and know the Prophet closely. It is worth noting that such close relations between Muslims and non-Muslims can help people to understand each other better and to establish mutual respect and tolerance as social norms.
Sawda bint Zam'ah ibn Qays was the widow of Sakran. Among the first to embrace Islam, they had emigrated to Abyssinia to escape the Makkans' persecution. Sakran died in exile, and left his wife utterly destitute. As the only means of assisting her, the Prophet, though himself having a hard time making ends meet, married her. This marriage took place some time after Khadija's death.
Hafsa was the daughter of 'Umar ibn al-Khattab, the future second caliph of Islam. This good lady had lost her husband, who emigrated to both Abyssinia and Madina, where he was fatally wounded during a battle in the path of God. She remained without a husband for a while. 'Umar desired the honor and blessing of being close to the Prophet in this world and in the Hereafter. The Prophet honored this desire by marrying Hafsa to protect and to help the daughter of his faithful disciple.
Given the above facts, it is clear that the Prophet married these women for a variety of reasons: to provide helpless or widowed women with dignified subsistence; to console and honor enraged or estranged tribes; to bring former enemies into some degree of relationship and harmony; to gain certain uniquely gifted men and women for Islam; to establish new norms of relationship between people within the unifying brotherhood of faith in God; and to honor with family bonds the two men who were to be the first leaders of the Muslim community after his death. These marriages had nothing to do with self-indulgence, personal desire, or lust. With the exception of 'A'isha, all of the Prophet's wives were widows, and all of his post-Khadija marriages were contracted when he was already an old man. Far from being acts of self-indulgence, these marriages were acts of self-discipline.
Part of that discipline was providing each wife with the most meticulously observed justice, dividing equally whatever slender resources he allowed for their subsistence, accommodation, and allowance. He also divided his time with them equally, and regarded and treated them with equal friendship and respect. The fact that all of his wives got on well with each other is no small tribute to his genius for creating peace and harmony. With each of them, he was not only a provider but also a friend and companion.
The number of the Prophet's wives was a dispensation unique to him. Some of the merits and wisdom of this dispensation, as we understand them, have been explained. All other Muslims are allowed a maximum of four wives at one time. When that Revelation restricting polygamy came, the Prophet's marriages had already been contracted. Thereafter, he married no other women.