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Friday, November 14, 2008

The Muslim Woman and Her Friends and Sisters in Islam

She loves them as sisters for the sake of Allah (SWT)

The way in which the true Muslim woman relates to her friends and sister in Islam is different from the way in which other women conduct their social affairs. Her relationship with her sisters is based on ta'akhi (brotherhood or sisterhood) for the sake of Allah (SWT). This love for the sake of Allah (SWT) is the highest bond that may exist between one human being and another, whether man or woman. It is the bond of faith in Allah (SWT) which Allah (SWT) established between all believers when He said:

( The Believers are but a single brotherhood . . .) (Qur'an 49:10)

The brotherhood of faith is the strongest of bonds between hearts and minds. It comes as no surprise to see that Muslim sisters enjoy a strong, enduring relationship that is based on love for the sake of Allah (SWT), which is the noblest and purest form of love between human beings. This is a love which is untainted by any worldly interest or ulterior motive. It is the love in which Muslim men and women find the sweetness of faith:
"There are three things that whoever attains them will find the sweetness of faith: if Allah (SWT) and His Messenger are dearer to him than anyone or anything else; if he loves a person solely for the sake of Allah (SWT); and if he would hate to return to kufr after Allah (SWT) has rescued him from it, as much as he would hate to be thrown into the Fire."1

The status of two who love one another for the sake of Allah (SWT)

Many hadith describe the status of two people who love another for the sake of Allah (SWT), whether they are men or women, and describe the high position in Paradise which Allah (SWT) has prepared for them and the great honour which He will bestow upon them on the Day when mankind is resurrected to meet the Lord of the Worlds.

It is sufficient honour for those who love one another for the sake of (SWT), men and women alike, to know that their almighty Lord will take care of them on the Day of Judgement and will say: "Where are those who loved one another for My glory? Today I will shade them in My shade on the Day when there is no shade but Mine."2 Such is the magnificent honour and tremendous reward that will be bestowed upon those who truly loved one another for the sake of Allah (SWT), on that awesome Day.

Love for the sake of Allah (SWT), and not for the sake of anything else in life, is very difficult, and none can attain it except the one who is pure of heart, for whom this world and all its pleasures are as nothing in comparison with the pleasure of Allah (SWT). It is not surprising that Allah (SWT) should give them a status and blessing which is commensurate with their position in this world, above whose concerns they have risen. We see proof of this in the hadith of Mu`adh, who said that the Prophet (PBUH) said:

"Allah (SWT) said: `Those who love one another for My glory will have minbars of light, and the Prophets and martyrs will wish that they had the same."3 Allah (SWT) bestows upon those who love one another for His sake a gift which is even greater than this status and blessing: that is His precious love which is very difficult to attain. This is proven by the hadith of Abu Hurayrah (RAA) in which the Prophet (PBUH) said: "A man went to visit a brother of his in another village. Allah (SWT) sent an angel to wait for him on the road. When the man came along, the angel asked him, `Where are you headed?' He said, `I am going to visit a brother of mine who lives in this village.' The angel asked, `Have you done him any favour (for which you are now seeking repayment)?' He said, `No, I just love him for the sake of Allah (SWT).' The angel told him, `I am a messenger to you from Allah (SWT), sent to tell you that He loves you as you love your brother for His sake.'"4 What a great love, that raises a person to a position where Allah (SWT) loves him and is pleased with him!

The Prophet (PBUH) understood the impact of this strong, pure love in building societies and nations, so he never let any occasion pass without advocating this love and commanding the Muslims to announce their love for one another, in order to open hearts and spread love and purity among the ranks of the ummah.

Anas (RAA) said that a man was with the Prophet (PBUH), when another man passed by. The first man said, "O Messenger of Allah (SWT), indeed I truly love this man." The Prophet (PBUH) asked him, "Have you let him know that?" He said, "No." The Prophet (PBUH) said, "Tell him." He caught up with him and told him, "Truly I love you for the sake of Allah (SWT)," and the man said, "May Allah (SWT) love you who loves me for His sake."5 The Prophet (PBUH) used to do the same thing himself, teaching the Muslims how to build a society based on pure love and brotherhood. One day he took Mu`adh by the hand and said, "O Mu`adh, by Allah (SWT) I love you, so I advise you, O Mu`adh, never forget to recite, after every prayer, `O Allah (SWT), help me to remember You and to give thanks toYou and to worship You properly (Allahumma, a`inni `ala dhikrika wa shukrika wa husni `abadatika).'"6

Mu`adh began to spread this pure love among the Muslims throughout the Muslim lands, telling them what he had learned from the Prophet (PBUH) about the great reward that Allah (SWT) had prepared for those who loved one another for His sake, and about His great love for them. In al-Muwatta', Imam Malik gives a report with a sahih isnad from Abu Idris al-Khulani who said: "I entered the mosque of Damascus, where I saw a young man who had a bright smile, and I saw the people gathered around him. When they disagreed on some matter, they referred it to him, and accepted his opinion. I asked who he was, and they told me, `This is Mu`adh ibn Jabal (RAA).' Early the next day, I went to the mosque but I found that he had arrived even earlier than I. He was praying, so I waited until he had finished, then I approached him from in front, greeted him and said, `By Allah (SWT), I love you.' He asked, `For the sake of Allah (SWT)?' I said, `For the sake of Allah (SWT).' He repeated his question, `For the sake of Allah (SWT)?' And I said, `For the sake of Allah (SWT).' So he took hold of my collar, pulled me towards him and said, `I have good news for you. I heard the Prophet (PBUH) say: "Allah (SWT) says: "My love is granted to those who love one another for My sake, who visit one another for My sake, and who spend on one another for My sake.'"'"7

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