Many Muslims think that it suffices to consider each other as brothers without taking necessary steps to put that principle of brotherhood into practice. That is why we see nowadays Muslims showing indifference to calamities befalling their brethren across the globe, thinking that so far they are far away from the hot spots, from the scene of calamities, they have nothing to worry about. Thus, you see many of them, at the times that their brothers are being slaughtered at some other parts of the globe, they pass time at cafes, hotels, giving out celebrations, as if nothing happened. We Muslims need to feel for each other, not hypocritically, but heart and soul.
Elaborating more on this, we’d like to cite for you the following:
“Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said: ‘You will not enter Paradise until you have faith, and you will not have faith until you love each other. Shall I direct you to something which if you fulfil you will love one another? Spread peace among yourselves.’ (It was reported by Muslim)
1) In this hadith, our beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) recommended that we should spread peace. This is fulfilled through many things: by saluting each other with the words ‘As-Salam `alaykum‘ (peace be with you); by spreading a state of peace and not conflict, and by trying to spread peace in the society through reconciling our differences. This, in fact, is the slogan of Islam, namely spreading peace. For indeed ‘Islam’ means peace among other things, and this is the first right of brotherhood in Islam.
2) It’s also part of rights of brotherhood for a Muslim to put on smiling face when he meets his brothers in faith. Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) said: ‘Don’t belittle any good deed even to meet your brothers with a smiling face.’ He also said: ‘Your smile in the face of your brothers is an act of charity.’ That is why the Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) had a smiling face all the time.
A man came to Abu ad-Darda’ and said: ‘Guide me to do a good deed that would benefit other Muslims?’ Abu Ad-Darda’ replied: ‘Command them to do good and forbid them from evil.’ The man said: ‘I cannot.’ Then Abu Ad-Darda’ said: ‘Repel evil from them.’ The man said: ‘I cannot.’ Then Abu Ad-Darda’ said: ‘Spend charity on them.’ He again said: ‘I cannot.’ Then Abu Ad-Darda’ said: ‘Meet them with a smiling bright face.’ The man however said: ‘I still cannot.’ Fed up with what he heard, Abu Ad-Darda’ finally said: ‘Then may Allah smite you with a thunder bolt from Heaven by which He would make the land and the people get rid of you.’
3) Brotherhood in Islam also means that one should love for one’s brothers what one loves for himself. Confirming this the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: ‘Each of you cannot be a believer until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.’
Not only this but the early Muslims used to prefer their brothers over their own selves. That is why the Qur’an praised them in the following verse: ‘And they prefer (their brothers) over themselves even if they are hungry.’ (Al-Hashr: 9)
4) Avoid harming other Muslims by words or actions:
As a matter of fact Islam forbids vain or evil talk, as clarified by the following Qur’anic verse: ‘And when they hear vain talk, they turn away therefrom and say: To us our deeds, and to you yours; peace be to you: we seek not the ignorant.’ (Al-Qasas: 55) Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) said: ‘The Muslim is he from whom people are safe from his tongue and hand (actions).’
One day, `A’ishah, the Prophet’s wife, heard some Jews in Madinah offending the Prophet by greeting him with the wish that poison would strike him. Getting angry at their offence she retorted: ‘And upon you be poison and curse O you children of apes and swine.’ Hearing this, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) pacified her saying: ‘You should have said only, same be upon you also, for the Muslim is not an offender, nor a curser nor a mischief monger nor one who uses dirty language.’
5) Humbleness and modesty: A Muslim should exercise humbleness and modesty in his dealing with other Muslims, nay even with all other people. That is why one precious piece of advice a pious father called [Luqman] gave to his son as the Qur’an reports is that: ‘Never turn your cheek to other people in arrogance.’ (Luqman: 18)
In practice, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) used to be humble with all other people. It is reported that once a Bedouin met him; when he saw him he trembled in fear. Seeing this the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: ‘Calm down. I am only the son of a woman who used to eat dry meat in Makkah (meaning a poor woman).’
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) used to tell his Companions: ‘Don’t exaggerate in praising me, as Christians exceeded the limits in praising the Messiah, son of Mary, for I am the slave and Messenger of Allah.’ He also used to declare: ‘Whoever humbles himself to Allah, Allah will raise him (in respect) and He will not enter Paradise who has in his heart an atom’s weight of arrogance.’
6)Turning deaf ears to other people’s slandering of your brothers or sisters: This means the elimination of backbiting and slandering in the Muslim society. That is why the Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) once passed by two graves. He stood in front of them and said: ‘They (the dead ones) are punished due to minor sins.’ One of them used to spread calumny and slander among people. Thus Muslims are reminded that: ‘He who slanders others in front of you will eventually slander you.’
7) Doing good to people all as best as you can. In this context Allah says in the Qur’an: ‘And cooperate with one another in all that is good and pious and don’t cooperate in sin and aggression.’(Al-Ma’idah: 2) Allah’s Messenger was asked: ‘Who is the dearest person to Allah?’ He said: ‘Those who are most useful to (other) people.’ That is why in another hadith the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: ‘And Allah will surely help the person as long as he helps his brother.’
8) Treating them nicely and with best manners: In this connection Allah says about Prophet Muhammad: ‘And you are indeed of supreme conduct.’(Al-Qalam: 4) The Messenger of Allah, therefore says: ‘The most perfect believers are those who are best in conduct and who are nicest to their household.’
9) Rights of brotherhood also implies that one should not forsake his brothers over three days: Allah says in the Qur’an:‘Believers are indeed brothers so reconcile your brothers.’(Al-Hujurat: 10) The Messenger of Allah also said: ‘Let not any one of you desert his brother more than three days. They meet and each of them turns away from the other; but the best of the two is the one who starts with the salutation of peace.’ In another hadith, the Prophet said: ‘Don’t exchange hatred, envy or forsaking, for every Muslim is a brother to other Muslims. Thus, he should not wrong him, nor surrender him, whoever walks to fulfil the needs of other Muslims, Allah will attend to his needs.’
10) Not to enter upon a Muslim’s house without his permission: Allah says in the Qur’an: ‘O ye who believe! Enter not houses other than your own without first announcing your presence and invoking peace upon the folk thereof. That is better for you, that you may be heedful.’(An-Nur: 27)
11) Acknowledging the rights of scholars by showing due respect to them.
12) Fulfilling one’s promise to his Muslim brothers.
13) Settling the rights of other Muslims and returning to them whatever has been taken from them without right.
14) Granting to other Muslims the status they deserve, and acknowledging their prestige.
15) Reconciling the differences among Muslims and restoring harmony.
16) Hiding their shame and concealing their weaknesses.
17) Preserving their wealth and honor.
18) Saying ‘may Allah bless you!’ to anyone who sneezes.
19) Avoiding mingling with the evil mongers.
20) Visiting the sick Muslims: This is based on a Qudsi hadith indicating that Allah would say to His slaves on the Day of Judgment: ‘My slave I was sick and yet you did not visit me?’ The slave would exclaim: ‘How can I visit You when You are the Lord of the worlds?’ Allah would answer: ‘Did you not know that My slave so-and-so fell ill; don’t You know that had you visited him you would find Me with him?’
21) Attending the funeral prayer and to follow a funeral to the grave.
22) Visiting graves of Muslims and invoking Allah’s mercy upon them.
These are the main rights of brotherhood in Islam.