Hadeeth 13 : Loves for his Brother that which he Loves for Himself

by an-Nawaw

: ( ) .
[ : 13 ] [ : 45 ]

On the authority of Abu Hamzah Anas bin Maalik (radiAllaahu anhu) - the servant of the Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) - that the Prophet (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) said :

None of you [truly] believes until he loves for his brother that which he loves for himself.

It was related by al-Bukhaaree and Muslim

Explanation of Hadeeth Number 13

This hadeeth has been narrated thus in Saheeh al-Bukhaaree as "for his brother" without any doubt on the part of the narrator, while in Saheeh Muslim the narrator mentions that the wording may have been "for his brother" or "for his neighbour".

The 'ulamaa have said that the meaning of the hadeeth is that the one who does not have this characteristic has not believed with the complete and perfect eemaan, while he has already achieved the basic level of eemaan.

And the intented meaning of "loves for his brother" is those things which are from obedience to Allaah, and the permissible matters, as opposed to the evil or Haraam matters, and this is proved from the narration collected by an-Nasaa'ee which mentions : "until he loves for his brother from the good that which he loves for himself".

Shaykh Abu 'Amr ibn as-Salaah said : And this appears to be something which is difficult/unobtainable, but this is not the case, beacuse its meaning is that the eemaan of one of you is not completed/perfected until he loves for his brother in Islaam that which he loves for himself [and not that he has no eemaan at all until he does so]. And establishing this is obtained through loving that he obtains something good without vying/competing with him in obtaining that thing, meaning that he does not desire any decrease in him of blessing. [This is the opposite of hasad or jealousy, where one wishes that his brother is deprived of a blessing, and that you posses it instead]. And this is easy and attainable for the Pure and Upright heart, but is difficult for the corrupt heart - may Allaah ta'aalaa forgive us and all of our brothers.

And Abu az-Zinaad said : What is apparent from this hadeeth is that one desires for ones brother the same as that which one wishes for oneself, but the real meaning is that one desires for him better than what one wishes for oneself. This is because man always wishes that he is the best of the people [in all things]; so if he loves for his brother what he loves for himself [to be the best], then he has placed his brother amongst the generality of those who are the best. [Also,] do you not see that man desires to receive justice for his rights and injustices done against him ? So if he has completed/perfected his eemaan, and then he sees that he has wronged his brother or his brother has a right upon him, then he makes haste to establish justice in that affair, even if this may cause himself difficulty.

And it is narrated that al-Fudail bin 'Iyaad said to Sufyaan bin 'Uyaynah "If you wish that the people are similar to you then you have not offered to Allaah, the Most Generous, the True Naseehah [sincerity - see Hadeeth 7], so how will it be if you love that they are less than you ?"

And some of the 'Ulamaa have said based upon this Hadeeth that the believer with another believer is like a single soul, and so it is desired that he loves for him that which he loves for himself, since they are as though a single soul. And similar to this has come in another hadeeth : "The Believers are like a single body; if a single limb feels pain, then the whole body along with it suffers with fever and sleeplessness."

Summary :

  • The hadeeth negates the perfection/completeness of Faith (eemaan) for someone who does not wish for his Muslim brother that which he likes for himself
  • That a believer will not want something to happen to another Muslim which he would not like for himself

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