Basic Concepts

Islamic brotherhood and unity

            Islam believes and also stands for universal brotherhood of all Muslims all over the world. It preaches unity among Muslims and wants to see them as they were a solid structure. Al-Qur’an, the revealed book of Islam, calls upon the believers, “And hold fast, all of you together, to the cable of Allah, and do not separate” (3:103). It also enjoins upon them: “And obey Allah and His Messenger and dispute not with one another lest you falter and your strength depart from you …..” (8:46). The Qur’an tells the believers that they are naught else than brothers (49:10). Therefore they must make peace when there is some dispute between two brothers or two groups of brothers. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “A Muslim is brother to a Muslim. He does neither wrong him, nor puts him to disgrace, nor he hates him. Every Muslim’s blood, property and honour are sacred to a Muslim”. “Spread peace among you, eat together and be not separate, because blessing is with united body”.

            Let us reproduce some more traditions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to further explain the concept of brotherhood and unity among his followers.

1)     God’s messenger is reported as saying: “The believers are like a single man; if his eye is affected he is all affected, and if his head is affected he is all affected.”   (Muslim)

2)     Abu Musa al-Ash’ari reported the Prophet as saying: “Believers are to one another like a building whose parts support one another.” He then interlaced his fingers.   (Bukhari, Muslim)

3)     Nu’man-b-Bashir reported that the Messenger of Allah said: You will see the believers in their mutual kindness, love and sympathy just like one body. When a limb complains, the whole body responds to it with wakefulness and fever.   (Bukhari, Muslim)



Second concept is that of friendship. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is reported to have said: “Man is upon the religion of his friend and there is no good in friendship with one who does not see for you what he sees for himself”. The Almighty Allah has prohibited friendship with the unbelievers, idol-worshipers, polytheists, evil-doers such as drunkards adulterers, corrupt and wicked. Friendship with hypocrites and those non-Muslims who are working against Islam and against the interest of Muslims has also been prohibited. According to a saying, the liars, the illiterate, the foolish, the niggardly and the great transgressors should not be made friends, nor the proud, the flatterers, and the wicked be made friends.

The Qur’an advises the believers (the Muslims) not to take disbelievers for their friends (3:28, 5:57) nor to take the Jews and Christians for their friends (5:51). However, this injunction is not applicable if these people live peacefully with the Muslims (60:8).

Let us reproduce some verses of the Holy Qur’an and some traditions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to illustrate Islam’s concept of friendship.

1)     Let not the believers take disbelievers for their friends in preference to believers. Whoso doth that hath no connection with Allah unless (it be) that ye but guard yourselves against them, taking (as it were) security. Allah biddeth you beware (only) of Himself. Unto Allah is the journeying.   (Al-Qur’an 3:28)

2)     O ye who believe! Take not for intimates others than your own folk, who would spare no pains to ruin you; they love to hamper you. Hatred is revealed by (the utterance of) their mouths, but that which their breasts hide is greater. We have made plain for you the revelations if ye will understand.   (Al-Qur’an 3:118)

3)     And the believers, men and women, are protecting friends one of another; they enjoin the right and forbid the wrong, and they establish worship and they pay the poor-due, and they obey Allah and His messenger. As for these, Allah will have mercy on them. Lo! Allah is Mighty, Wise.   (Al-Qur’an 9:71)

4)     Imran-b-Khettan reported: I came to Abu Zarr and found him alone within the mosque covered with a black garment. Then I enquired: O Abu Zarr! Why is this loneliness? He said: I heard the Messenger of Allah say: Loneliness is better than a bad companion, and a good companion is better than loneliness; and the dictation of good is better than silence, and silence is better than dictation of evil.   (Baihaqi)

5)     Abu Musa reported that the Messenger of Allah said: A good and bad companion was like the bearer of musk and one who pumps but filth. As for the bearer of musk, he will either give you a share or you will get perfumed air from him, or you will purchase something from him and for one who pumps out filth, he will either burn your clothes or you will feel filthy smell from him.   (Bukhari, Muslim)


Concept of equality preached by Islam has won for it a larger number of conversions especially from the down trodden classes like serfs, slaves and harijans than any other idea or principle. Let us explain and discuss the concept of equality as held by Islam.

1-     In an Islamic society all are equal as human beings. None is superior to the other on account of race, language, colour, place of birth or tribe. This is because all human beings come of the same human stock and are children of one parents. The Qur’an says: “O mankind! Be careful of your duty to your Lord who created you from a single soul and from it created its mate and from them twain hath spread abroad a multitude of men and women. Be careful of your duty toward Allah in whom ye claim (your rights) of one another, and toward the wombs (that bare you). Lo! Allah hath been a Watcher over you.”   (4:1).

Division of human beings into tribes and nations was ordained by the Creator for the purpose of recognition, otherwise nobody is superior to the other except on basis of piety. In one of its well known verses the revealed book of Islam states this fact: “O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye know each other (not that ye may despise each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you…. (49:13)”. Thus this verse places all the human beings on the equal level and makes the pious and righteous superior to the wicked and evil doers on the basis of virtuous conduct. 

2-     In the legal field also, Islam treats all the people equal. In the sight of law, all the citizens of the state are equal. They enjoy equal rights and in case of violation of law they are given equal punishment. In cases of retaliation, murder, theft and adultery all are given equal treatment in respect of punishment. Similarly in civil matters and in case of rewards for actions, all are equal. 

3-     However in the moral and religious field, Islam makes distinction between the people and gives superiority to those who are good, pious, God fearing, observers of all religious practices and bearers of good moral character over impious, evil doers, bad characters, persons of lose morals, disbelievers and non-practicing believers. The Holy Qur’an says:

·        Say: The evil and good are not alike even though the plenty of the evil attract thee.   (5:Al-Maidah:100)

·        And the blind man and the seer are not equal, neither are those who believe and do good works (equal with) the evil-doer. Little do ye reflect! (40:Al-Mu’min:58)

·        Or do those who commit ill-deeds suppose that We shall make them as those who believe and do good works, the same in life and death? Bad is their judgement! (45:Al-Jathiyah:21)

·        O mankind! Lo! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. Lo! The noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Lo! Allah is knower, Aware.   (49:Al-Hujurat:13)

In his famous sermon delivered on the occasion of farewell pilgrimage, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) addressed the people as under; “O people, be aware: your God is one. No Arab has any superiority over a non-Arab, nor any non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab, and no white one has any superiority over a black one, and no black one any superiority over a white one except on the basis of taqva (piety). The most honourable among you in the sight of Allah is he who is the most pious and righteous of you”. Again, according to another tradition, the Prophet said: “You are all the children of Adam, and Adam was created from the dust. Let the people give up boasting of their ancestors, otherwise they will stand more degraded than a mean insect in the sight of Allah”. There is yet another Hadith; “Allah does not see you outward appearances and your possessions but He sees your hearts and your deeds.” 

4-     In the economic field, Islam establishes equity, fairness and justice in the production of wealth, and in ownership of means of livelihood. However it recognizes that like other natural things there is no equality among human beings as regards the earning of income and possession of worldly wealth. This inequality has been presented by the Qur’an as a part of Divine Economic order. The Qur’an does not consider these inequalities in the distribution of Divine sustenance as punishment or reward and does not try to eliminate them, because no two individuals have been blessed with hundred percent equal mental and physical abilities.

However disparities in economic field are not allowed by Islam to take dangerous proportions. Islam stands for fair and equitable distribution of wealth and its system of social security and social justice comes into play when gap between the rich and the poor widens beyond certain limits.

Enjoining good and forbidding wrong

Next comes enjoining good and forbidding wrong. This concept is rather most important. The followers of Islam have been directed to enjoin good and forbid wrong. It is because of the fact that they are the last Ummah (community) and their prophet, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), is the final prophet. No prophet is to come after Muhammad (PBUH) and so the mission of the prophets regarding enjoining good and forbidding wrong will have to be performed by the followers of Muhammad (PBUH). According to the Qur’an, the last revealed book of Allah, Muslims are the best community that has been raised by Allah for the mankind and it is their duty that they enjoin good conduct and forbid the mankind from doing wrong.   (3:110)

The Holy Qur’an motivates the believers to stand up for enjoining good and for forbidding wrong in many of its verses. It says: And there may spring from you a nation who invite to goodness, and enjoin right conduct and forbid indecency. Such are they who are successful.   (Al-Imran 3:104)

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has highlighted the merits of enjoining good and forbidding wrong in the following traditions:

·        Hudhaifa reported the Prophet as saying: “By Him in whose hand my soul is, you must enjoin what is reputable and forbid what is disreputable, or God will certainly soon send punishment from Himself to you. Then you will make supplication and not receive an answer.”   (Tirmizi)

·        Abu Bakr as-Siddiq said: I heard God’s Messenger say: “When people see something objectionable and do not change it, God will soon include them all in His punishment.”

·        Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri reported God’s Messenger as saying: “If any of you sees something objectionable he should change it with his hand, but if he cannot do it with his hand he should do it with his tongue, and if he cannot do it with his tongue he should do it in his heart, that being the weakest form of faith.   (Muslim)

·        Jabir reported God’s Messenger as saying that God who is great and glorious revealed to Gabriel that he should overthrow such and such a city with its inhabitants, and he (Gabriel) said: “My Lord! Among them is Thy servant so and so who has not disobeyed Thee by as much as the glance of an eye.” He replied: “Overturn it on him and on them, for his face never once showed anger on my behalf.”   (Mishkat)

Conduct and Manners

            Please see Chapter 18

Human Rights

            Please see chapter 20 and 21


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