The definition of Brotherhood varies between dictionaries, ranging from blood relationships to associations based on common interests and activities such as unions and professional associations.
Islam redefined brotherhood in a new and profound manner by changing the relationship from one based on personal interest or mutual activity to a permanent bond based on belief and acceptance of Islam.
Allah سبحانه وتعالى revealed:
إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ إِخْوَةٌ فَأَصْلِحُوا بَيْنَ أَخَوَيْكُمْ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُونَ
“The believers are nothing else than brothers. So make reconciliation between your brothers, and fear Allah, that you may receive mercy.” [Al-Hujjurat, 49:10]
The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم also said about brotherhood: “None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.” [Bukhari & Muslim]
Upon completion of the Hijrah and building the masjid in Madinah, the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم proceeded to establish one of the main pillars of an Islamic community – brotherhood. He paired up the Muhajireen and Ansar, who were virtual strangers to each other prior to this. The two groups understood and accepted the responsibilities that came with this pairing, leading to unique acts, such as sharing wealth and other brotherly deeds, which helped ease the difficulties facing the Muhajireen who left everything behind in Makkah.
This action had brought about a profound transformation in perception of what brotherhood means between members of the Muslim community. It redefined the concept of brotherhood beyond the typical understanding of blood or tribal relationships. This was clearly demonstrated by Mus’ab Ibn Umayr when he found his blood brother Abu ‘Azeez – who was among those captured during the battle of Badr. Upon reaching Madinah, Abu ‘Azeez was lodged with Abu Yusr Alansari, and Mus’ab ibn ‘Umayr said to Abu Yusr: “Treat him harshly, for his mother is a wealthy woman.” Abu ‘Azeez said: “Brother is it for you to give this counsel?” “You are not my brother,” replied Mu’sab, “my brother is the one who is tying up your hands.” [Ibn Hisham]
The brotherhood established after Hijrah came with explicit and implicit responsibilities between Muslims, as individuals and as members of the Islamic State. It was the responsibility of the strong to help the weak, of the rich to help the poor, and of the knowledgeable to help those seeking knowledge. Furthermore, it was a responsibility of brotherhood to enjoin the good and forbid the evil.
We should always keep these actions of the Sahabah at the forefront of our minds, since they are the practical interpretation of brotherhood as defined by Islam.
Brotherhood is an obligation, not a choice
The evidences (Adilla) regarding the obligation of brotherhood in the Qur’an, the Sunnah and the life of the Sahabah are strikingly clear. We must be extremely vigilant in correctly upholding this concept to prevent transforming the relationship into a shallow bond, lacking the true essence of Islamic brotherhood.
Sadly, one of the issues facing Muslims in the West is “life in the fast lane,” and due to this lifestyle, we tend to rush our dealings with one another. We should, for example, try to take a few minutes after Jum’ah prayers and greet our brothers next to us with Salaam, and introduce ourselves to them. We should neither be shy nor be afraid of a cold response, keeping in mind that we are only seeking the pleasure of Allah سبحانه وتعالى and following the Sunnah of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم.
The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “You will not enter paradise until you believe, and you will not believe until you love one another. Shall I not guide you to something which if you carry out you will love one another? Spread salaam amongst yourselves.” [Muslim]
It is necessary to let our brothers know that we care for their well-being, that we sincerely love them as we do our own blood brothers, and that we are ready to help them in any way we are able to.
It has been narrated by Al-Bukhari in Al-Adaabul-Mufrad that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “If one of you loves his brother for Allah’s sake, then let him know, since it causes familiarity to endure and firmly establishes love.”
Muslims have the responsibility to give sincere advice to their fellow brothers and sisters to abstain from haram and stay on the course of halal in every aspect of life, following the basic rule of verifying every action with Hukum Shar’iee – whether in our ibadah (worship) or muamulat (social transactions).
The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “Each of you is the mirror of his brother, so if he sees a fault in him he should wipe it away from him.” [Tirmidhi]
Brotherhood in Islam imposes a great responsibility on us to protect our brothers and sisters from harm, even from their own selves. We should ensure that we do not allow ourselves or others around us to engage in activities that could affect the unity of the Muslim Ummah. One such activity is backbiting; we must refrain from initiating or participating in it. Allah سبحانه وتعالى revealed:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اجْتَنِبُوا كَثِيراً مِّنَ الظَّنِّ إِنَّ بَعْضَ الظَّنِّ إِثْمٌ وَلَا تَجَسَّسُوا وَلَا يَغْتَب بَّعْضُكُم بَعْضًا أَيُحِبُّ أَحَدُكُمْ أَن يَأْكُلَ لَحْمَ أَخِيهِ مَيْتًا فَكَرِهْتُمُوهُ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ تَوَّابٌ رَّحِيمٌ
“O you who believe! Avoid much suspicion, indeed some suspicions are sins. And spy not, neither backbite one another. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it. And fear Allah. Verily, Allah is the One Who forgives and accepts repentance, Most Merciful.” [Al-Hujjurat, 49:12]
Envy and jealousy are also forbidden, which are the common causes of problems amongst brothers and sisters.
The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “Do not have malice against a Muslim; do not be envious of other Muslims; do not go against a Muslim and forsake him. O the slave of Allah! Be like brothers with each other. It is not allowed for a Muslim to desert his brother for over three days.” [Muslim & Tirmidhi]
We should also be aware that a brother or sister in Islam has five rights over us, as the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “Every Muslim has five rights over another Muslim: to return the greetings, to visit the sick, to accompany funeral processions, to accept an invitation, and to respond to the one that sneezes.” [Bukhari & Muslim]
It is clear from the above examples that, in Islam, brotherhood is not merely a word we mention to each other when we meet casually or when we engage in business transactions. Rather, it is an obligation, and a deep sense of responsibility and caring for the well-being of our brothers and sisters, not only in our local communities but around the world as well.
Muslims are like one body
One of the most fatal ideas to the concept of brotherhood that has been promoted is the concept of “Ummah fragmentation.” This concept suggests that issues of Muslims in one country should not be of concern to Muslims in other countries. The fragmentation of the Ummah is like a fatal virus that, when adopted intentionally or unintentionally by the Muslims, leads to a clear violation to the aforementioned evidences in the Qur’an and Sunnah, and consequently causes a complete decay in the obligation of brotherhood.
The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم described the Ummah as one body; if one member becomes sick then the other members of this one body will take care of the sick one:
“The Believers, in their mutual love, mercy and compassion, are like one body: if one organ complained, the rest of the body develops a fever.” [Bukhari & Muslim]
The media outlets and internet have no shortage of news revealing the turmoil that Muslims are living in around the world: from occupation of Muslim lands to the dire poverty of our brothers and sisters. This is where a sense of brotherhood becomes the vital connection between Muslims around the globe. It is our obligation to be politically and intellectually aware of all affairs impacting Muslims everywhere. Allah سبحانه وتعالى has described the believer as a brother to another believer, and therefore it should pain us – just as it would if it were our own blood brother – when we read about the plight of our fellow Muslims.
Sustaining the sense of brotherhood
The enormity of events facing Muslims, coupled with the visible impotence and corruption of the ruling regimes in Muslim lands, are creating frustration and an artificial sense of helplessness among Muslims. This sense of frustration and helplessness is also further fuelled by the daily pressures of life facing Muslims. All these factors lead to a gradual decline in reacting to the turmoil facing Muslims outside of their immediate circle of friends and blood relatives – causing a fatal departure from the very foundations and ties of the Ummah.
Muslims should always gravitate toward the concept of brotherhood and the obligation of helping and sympathizing with our brothers and sisters in Islam regardless of where they are or what their condition is.
Although helping our brothers and sisters may not be physically possible in all circumstances, it is imperative to always care and be concerned for their affairs, regardless of geography or language, and do whatever is possible within the circumstances. It is imperative to care, or even train ourselves to care for Muslims in nearby or remote parts of the world by reminding ourselves that our bond with all Muslims is that of brothers and sisters.
Preserving our Muslim identity is both an obligation and a challenge at the same time. It is paramount for Muslims anywhere and at anytime to remain aware of the concept of brotherhood as a most critical tool in striving to keep our distinct identity, especially in the West. Therefore, it is an obligation to follow the lead of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and his Companions in this manner and do whatever is necessary to maintain it.
May Allah سبحانه وتعالى bless us with the same brotherhood the Sahabah had under the shade of Khilafah Rashidah. Ameen.
وَاعْتَصِمُواْ بِحَبْلِ اللّهِ جَمِيعًا وَلاَ تَفَرَّقُواْ وَاذْكُرُواْ نِعْمَتَ اللّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذْ كُنتُمْ أَعْدَاء فَأَلَّفَ بَيْنَ قُلُوبِكُمْ فَأَصْبَحْتُم بِنِعْمَتِهِ إِخْوَانًا وَكُنتُمْ عَلَىَ شَفَا حُفْرَةٍ مِّنَ النَّارِ فَأَنقَذَكُم مِّنْهَا كَذَلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللّهُ لَكُمْ آيَاتِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَهْتَدُونَ
“And hold fast, all of you together, to the Rope of Allah and be not divided among yourselves, and remember Allah’s Favour on you, for you were enemies one to another but He joined your hearts together, so that, by His Grace, you became brethren, and you were on the brink of a pit of Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus Allah makes His Ayat clear to you, that you may be guided.” [Al-Imran, 3:103]
Source of this Article Khilafah.
2011 Tōhoku Earthquake and Tsunami Post-Scenario in Japan
Japan, on Friday 11th March, 2011 has experienced the worst ever earthquake disaster in its modern history. It was followed by a deadly tsunami leading to massive destruction in the northern part of the country. The earthquake was caused by a 9.0-magnitudeundersea megathrust earthquake off the coast of Japan . The epicenter was approximately 72 km east of the Oshika Peninsula of Tōhoku, with the hypocenter at an underwater depth of approximately 32 km. On 1 April 2011, the Japanese government officially named this disaster resulting from the earthquake and tsunami as the “Great Eastern Japan Earthquake” with the duration of almost 6 minutes. It’s the fifth biggest earthquake ever recorded. It’s certainly the biggest to hit Japan for at least 140 years. The earthquake moved largest island of Japan, Honshu to 2.4 m (7.9 ft) east and shifted the Earth on its axis by almost 10 cm (3.9 in).
The earthquake triggered extremely destructive tsunami waves of up to 37.9 metres that struck Japan minutes after the quake. .Tsunami warnings were issued and evacuations ordered along Japan’s Pacific coast and at least 20 other countries, including the entire Pacific coast of the Americas soon after it hit Japan. The earthquake and tsunami caused extensive and severe life and structural damage in Japan, approximately 12,175 deaths, 2,858 injured and 15, 48 missing people have been confirmed. Many electrical generators were taken down, and at least three nuclear reactors suffered explosions after cooling system failure which resulted in build up of hydrogen gas within their outer containment buildings. Almost eleven nuclear reactors at The Fukushima I, Fukushima II, Onagawa Nuclear Power Plant and were automatically shut down following the earthquake.
At Fukushima I and II tsunami waves overtopped seawalls and destroyed diesel backup power systems, leading to two large explosions and radioactive leakage at Fukushima I. Japanese Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency reported that radiation levels inside the plant were up to 1,000 times normal levels and that radiation levels outside the plant were up to 8 times normal levels. A state of emergency was declared at the Fukushima II nuclear power plant. Soil has been badly contaminated and radioactive cesium and iodine have also been detected in some places near Fukushima. Food products have also been contaminated by the radioactive matter in several places near the plants. The Fujinuma irrigation dam in Sukagawa ruptured, causing flooding and washing away of homes. The north-eastern ports of Hachinohe, Sendai, Ishinomaki and Onahama were destroyed, while Chiba port (which serves the hydrocarbon industry) and Japan’s ninth-largest container port at Kashima have been slightly affected. Japan’s transport and communication networks have suffered severe disruptions. Cosmo Oil Company JX Nippon Oil & Energy, were also set ablaze by the quake. The earthquake has changed the entire picture of Japan into a wrecked, naturally disastrous and a causality afflicted country.
The aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami included both a humanitarian crisis and a major social and economic impact. The tsunami resulted in over 300,000 refugees in the Tōhoku region, and shortages of food, water, shelter, medicine and fuel for survivors. In response the Japanese government mobilized the Self-Defence Forces; it has specifically requested teams from Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, United Kingdom, and United States for search and rescue operations. China has offered roughly $150,000 in aid to Japan for recovery and also sent its rescue team which is a positive step in improvement of relations between the two countries. According to Japan’s foreign ministry, 116 countries and 28 international organizations had offered assistance in the form of rescue teams, aid shipments and financial help to Japan.
The Japanese Prime Minister had immediately set up an emergency task force to respond to the disaster. Rescue and Relief operations were started. Post-disaster measures and disaster management teams were introduced. Aid organizations both in Japan and worldwide have responded, with the Japanese Red Cross reporting $490 million in donations. Russia had also send a special radiation treatment vessel to help dispose of contaminated water from a Japanese nuclear power plant crippled by this massive earthquake and tsunami on Japanese demand. The US troops almost 40,000 military personnel had been stationed across the country who played key role in the post tsunami clean up.
The drastic economic impact included both immediate problems, with industrial production suspended in many factories, and the longer term issue of the cost of rebuilding which had been estimated at ¥10 trillion ($122 billion). Early estimates placed insured losses from the earthquake alone at US$14.5 to $34.6 billion. Japan’s government said the cost of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the northeast could reach $309 billion, making it the world’s most expensive natural disaster on record. The Bank of Japan offered ¥15 trillion (US$183 billion) to the banking system in an effort to normalize market conditions and to uplift the economic losses.
Even after almost a month now the economic and social situation is worst there. The country is still under slow process of recovery to get out of this natural calamity. Japan’s traditional pride in self-reliance doesn’t adapt easily to accepting foreign aid and help. It needs shrewd strategy to deal with the constructive use of foreign aid and physical assistance in order to speed up its recovery measures. To bring Japan back to its prior condition, this time and patience taking huge catastrophe, requires a gradual rehabilitation and reconstruction process. Although full recovery or pre-2011 Tōhoku Earthquake and Tsunami situation is not possible still hopes are high seeing Japan to be back to its normal routine life once again and to carry on with its status of being an “Asian Tiger”, the third largest economy and being among the most developed nations of the world even in the post-2011 Tōhoku Earthquake and Tsunami scenario.
The Real Outcome of the Recent Pak-US Official Visits
US vice President, Joseph Biden recent visit to Pakistan was a matter of great concern for the entire nation, media and our US-led government, which is strongly believed to be acting like a puppet in US hands after its failure to resolve the issue of military insurgency and continuous drone attacks in the tribal areas of Pakistan. It was a shrewd and tactful move on the part of the USA as the trust deficit between Pak-US relations continues to increase after the Indo-US nuclear deal, Obama’s visit to India and his endorsing India to become a permanent member of Security Council. Infact all these policies point directly towards its deep-rooted strategic interests and inclination towards India. The simple logic or reason behind all this is America’s fear of China and security threat from Pakistan. In the upcoming years it is not likely to be Iraq or Afghanistan. It’s Pakistan who can possibly become a safe haven for the terrorists and its previous Pro Taliban policy still haunts the Americans. USA alleges Pakistan’s ISI being supportive to these extremist elements and considers its nuclear arsenals being unsafe. Out of this fear, Biden has announced in his few days back visit to Afghanistan that USA forces would continue to stay and expected gradual withdrawal, starting this summer of US troops, can be postponed if Afghanistan wants, in order to prevent civil war and to fully eliminate the terrorists from its land.
America’s security depends greatly on Pakistan so it is bound to establish good ties with Pakistan and this surprise visit was another goodwill gesture out of courtesy and more likely out of its own self interest. In his visit, Joe Biden tried to clarify the misconceptions that prevail in Pakistan about US intentions and actions. He appreciated Pakistan’s fight against terrorism and reiterated US support to democracy in Pakistan and its stability. Biden assured that the new US administration would support Pakistan’s efforts to counter terrorism, religious radicalism and to meet its developmental needs and capacity building. He also expressed his condolence over assassination of Governor Salman Taseer. He assured Pakistan that no US boot will tread on Pakistani soil and there will be no violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,”
Our President Asif Ali Zardari recently also visited USA to attend the memorial services of Pak-Afghan envoy Richard Holbrook. There was no ceremonial welcome, no state banquet, and no joint presser, not even an opening statement on his arrival. No one is really quite sure what Zardari had hoped to accomplish, by meeting the US President and the state secretary Hillary Clinton as the two countries are battling an enormous trust deficit despite public protestations of cooperation in combating terrorism. The two leaders renewed pledges of cooperation over the aspects of the US-Pakistan strategic partnership, including mutual commitment to economic reform, support for good governance, democracy and joint efforts against terrorism. The discussion focused on shared efforts to fight terrorism, resolve the issue of blasphemy law and to promote regional stability, specifically on the importance of cooperating towards a peaceful and stable outcome in Afghanistan. However, Washington is not ready to pay any heed over the Kashmir issue and the real outcome of these two visits seems quite bleak for Pakistan, giving us neither new hopes for betterment nor any positive prospects for the future.
The years of US policies toward Pakistan based on financial allurements and conventional weaponry have done little to induce any change. Despite all these assurances, Pakistani nation is now skeptical of US motives having bad experiences in the past like drone strikes on Pakistani border areas, failure of Kerry Lugar bill and inadequate US material and financial aid for the war on terror and in crucial times of floods. These two visits are another deceptive picture by USA to allure Pakistan towards itself, after foreseeing Pakistan’s growing diplomatic and economic cooperation with China in December. No matter how much USA assures Pakistan of its staunch support, the atmosphere of misperceptions and doubts continue to hail around the country and America can never win the hearts and minds of Pakistani people through its fake assurances, callous policies and political/ military tactics as the two sides have a long way to go to overcome their significant differences. As it is well said that assurance cannot be bought but achieved only through mutual trust, cooperation and it requires time and experience.
THE SILENT MAJORITY
by Arslan Khalid
A couple of days ago Pakistan saw The Governor of its largest province murdered in broad daylight by his own security personal. The murderer has claimed it to be in reaction to governors’ statements against blasphemy law. Irrespective of the political turmoil it may have created, the society is divided into two groups over this issue. 5% people claiming it to be a justified act while 5% considers governor as a martyr .
Now where does majority 90% stand on this issue? Well they are once again busy doing their usual thing which is “to keep silent”.
Maulana Roomi once said that Nations die when they fail to differentiate between the right and wrong .It would have been very convenient to accept that our nation had died many years ago but the fact is that this silent majority of our nation has still got the ability to differentiate between right and wrong only if they can come out of their self created prison .Their major concern is just to pass there solitary lives in captivity without being disturbed. They have become immune to oppression and injustice. They have allowed a minority to rule over them and to represent them as a nation whether this minority be extremists or liberal fascists.
In Islam we are blessed with an eternal gift. A blessing that no other religion is offering which is a clear guideline to pass our lives. The whole message of Almighty is there in Quran and then elaborated clearly by Hadiths and the Holy life of The Holy Prophet (Peace be upon him).Unlike other religions where u follow a church or a synagogue to understand it, we Muslims can lead good,pious lives by studying Quran and Hadiths ourselves. So role of a Molvi becomes very well defined . His job should just be spreading the message of namaz,zakat and basic principles of Islam. If some Mullah tries to spread the message against the spirit of Islam which is peace why cant the majority sitting in mosque take a stand and ask him afterwards that he shouldn’t indulge himself in that domain. The little contribution on our part can save somebody from getting wrong meaning of Islam by that Mullah. However as followers, people need to understand that Islam is a religion and not a fashion that needs change with time. There is no radical or moderate Islam .The radicalization is a whole different phenomenon and has more to do with political and social issues than religious ones.
It will take long to explain causes for the radicalization and intolerance that we witness in our society so I would rather stick to my topic about the silent people out there who sometimes gather courage and decides to speak up but limit their voice to facebook or twitter only. alas!! Almost all my friends living abroad on watching governors’ murder news, updated their status on face book showing immense disappointment and remorse. Unfortunately none of them ever update their status when everyday drone attacks are killing innocent people in our tribal region .In an estimate 42% people who died in last yrs drone attack were just a collateral damage and the missile never differentiated between a child, a woman or a 70 yr old man. Last month people affected by drones from South and North Waziristan protested in Islamabad. Prominent human rights associations that claim to be champions of human rights in Pakistan and get dollars for their NGOs in return for their services never turned up for them. Nobody even bothered that a 8 year old child waiting for mercy after having lost his parents in drone attack is an ideal target to get exploited by terrorists.
Even American and British people adopted Iraqi orphans after Iraq war but our silent class has gone so selfish that they couldn’t help one of their own. Living their lives in fear and avoiding trouble, not foreseeing that few yrs from now this very child’s activity can give them some irreplaceable loss.
We always blame an individual for some act but never bothered that this was bound to happen. Give me one explanation why should we only blame an individual and never considered our silence responsible for the act. Why do we expect peace when we are so far from the concept of Islam? Why do we expect logical decisions from people when there is no effort of educating people on real issues? How can we expect a better future for us when we haven’t learnt anything from history? Why do we even think of being sovereign when we know we are being ruled by corrupt puppets of super powers and do nothing to remove them? We want people to be keep deep sentiments for the country but want to restrain their sentiments when somebody shows mala fide intentions towards the religion? How can we expect a great Muslim scholar to come out of some madarasa when we ourselves have generalized all madarasas as terrorist training centers and have labeled all students there as terrorists? Why do we hope for some genuine National heroes when we are busy making disputed people of past as heroes and martyrs? Why do people mention about Rule of Law and States authority to implement some law when the people running the state are the biggest thugs and frauds? why do we even mention about making better laws when the law makers are themselves the biggest law breakers? How can we wish for a revolution that can change the fate of this nation but aren’t willing to sacrifice for it? Aren’t these questions enough to tell that where we demand others to be clear in their heads we ourselves are confused? Last but not least why am I expecting answers to these questions when I know that these questions were addressed to ‘The Silent Majority’ of this nation which hopefully will one day wake up from the deep slumber they are presently in.
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