Apr 19, 2013

None of you truly believes....

By Binta Diop


Anas relates that the Prophet, salallahu alayhi wa salaam, said: “None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.” (1)

In Islam, complete faith is linked to loving for our fellow believers what we love for ourselves. One cannot perfect one's faith until he or she gives up selfishness, jealousy and envy. The above hadith shows that true believers should have nothing but love for each other and should be ready to share whatever they love with each other for the sake of the Almighty. Thus, the hadith shows how we should interact with each other if we want to perfect our faith and become stronger believers.

It does not mean, however, that if we are not able to love for others what we love for ourselves, that we do not have faith. The hadith here refers to having ‘complete’ faith, a higher level of faith. Whoever is able to stop his heart from feeling jealousy and envying others and instead, is able to share whatever they love with others, will be able to attain a higher level of faith.

In today’s society, there is so much focus on ‘mine, mine, mine’ that we can find it hard to share our blessings with others. We are so consumed with impressing others with what we have, that we hate for others to have the same things. A sister buys a certain dress and when she is asked where she got it from, she does not want to share the information in order to remain the only one in her group to have such a unique dress. She wants to stand out, distinguish herself from her sisters. Islam on the other end wants her to be part of the group, to be one with her sisters and to want them to also have access to the dress she loves so much if they so desire. This hadith shows that Allah subhannahu wa ta’ala wants us to always recognize that all blessings come from Him. The sister contemplates, I did not get this beautiful dress because of some special effort of my own; rather, Allah made it possible for me to get it and Allah can take it away from me at any moment. Therefore, I should want for my sisters to have the same dress if they so please.

This hadith defines what true brotherhood and sisterhood is. To be true sisters in faith means to share what we love with each other. A beautiful house, a great husband, beautiful children, wealth, and great looks are all blessings but they are also tests to see if we still remember who is the real Benefactor and where our eternal home is. All these pleasures of the world are here for us to use in a manner pleasing to Allah so that they help us reach our better eternal world in which all our desires are satisfied.

We can look at the companions of the Prophet, salallahu alayhi wa salaam, for a great illustration of what this hadith means. When the Quraishi Abdur Rahman bin ‘Auf migrated to Madina, our beloved Prophet salallahu alayhi wa salaam paired him with the Ansari Sa’d bin Ar-Rabi. Sa’d bin Ar-Rabi understood the real meaning of loving for your brother what you love for yourself. He offered half of his wealth and even one of his wives to his Quraishi brother, Abdur Rahman bin ‘Auf.

“I am the richest among the Ansar, so I will give you half of my wealth and you may look at my two wives and whichever of the two you may choose, I will divorce her, and when she has completed the prescribed period (before marriage) you may marry her.” (2)

Abdur Rahman refused the offer, probably out of brotherly love, not wanting to inconvenience his Ansari brother. Abdur Rahman then went to the market to make it on his own. We see from this example that dunya and its pleasures did not distract the companions from their ultimate goal of pleasing Allah and reaching Heaven. Thus, if we want to attain true faith and reward of Jannah, we have to be ready to share what we love with our brothers and sisters. We have to sacrifice our ego for others. Allah subhannahu wa ta’ala tells us in the Qur’an:

“Never will you attain the good [reward] until you spend [in the way of Allah] from that which you love. And whatever you spend - indeed, Allah is Knowing of it.” (3: 92)

Reaching this state of selflessness may not be easy at first, but the more we focus on our ultimate destination, the easier it will be to implement this hadith in our lives. Heaven is our ultimate goal. Allah promises us everything we desire in Heaven and Heaven is forever. On the other side, this world and everything in it is temporary and will perish. Thus, we would be among the great losers if we hold on selfishly to what we have in this world.

One of the best ways to get rid of the feelings of possessiveness, jealousy and envy is to frequently remember death. Death is the destroyer of pleasures as our Prophet salallahu alayhi wa salaam said in the following hadith:

“Frequently remember the destroyer of life’s pleasures; death.” (3)

Remembering that death can take us at any moment helps us avoid holding strong to our worldly possessions. We are able to share more because we understand that we may have to leave it all behind at any moment.

Another way to get rid of these selfish feelings is to make dua and ask Allah for help. Ask for your heart to be purified from these feelings. Ask for Allah to perfect your faith. Ask Allah to bless those whom you felt envy towards. Allah responds to the sincere invocations and HE is the only one capable of changing our hearts. Let us therefore turn to HIM and ask for help so that we can learn to share more and to love more for our brothers and sisters what we love for ourselves.

What are some ways we can implement this hadith in our daily lives and reach a higher state of eeman (faith)? Please share your thoughts with us.

(1) Sahih Bukhari and Muslim

(2) Sahih Bukhari chapter 34, the book of sales page 463

(3) Tirmidhi


This is really great. The part about not being selfish is so important right now, as it seems that more and more people are "hoarding" things. What's even worse is the attitude that says, "Well, God has been good to me," implying that somehow God feels such a person is more deserving, and thus has blessed him or her. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm not seeing anywhere that God blesses people with abundance and then tells them not to share it because the less fortunate are somehow undeserving.

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