Islamic brotherhood as expressed in the Quran (“Indeed the believers are brothers”) is not just a fancy idea. It had been implemented by the Prophet in Medina. There are certain rights which the believers have over each other. Allah has described some of those rights immediately after the verse quoted above.
In this article, you will learn six of the moral rights of brotherhood from the Quran:
- “No people should laugh at, or make fun of, another people.”
You might laugh at others because of what you see, their appearance, dress or way of living. But you do not know anything about their hearts and minds. Their faces and dresses might look funny to you, but inside they may be better than you. Therefore, do not make fun of other people “because those who are being laughed at may be better, in Allah’s view, than those who laugh.” (49:11)
- “Do not find fault with your own Muslim brothers.” (49:11)
A Muslim should pay more attention to his own deeds and try to amend his own mistakes. There is no need to probe and find the faults or mistakes of others.
- “Do not call one another by insulting nicknames.” (49:11)
Every Muslim has a good name; call others by their proper name or by a nickname which they use for themselves. But never call names because Allah does not like that one Muslim should insult his own brother-in-faith.
After mentioning these three rights of Muslim over each other, Allah ends the verse with the following statement: “And those who (commit such sins and) do not ask forgiveness, they are the unjust people.”
This verse of the Quran makes it clear that even such trivial things are so much disliked by Allah that He considers such sins as “injustice”. And He surely does not like the unjust people!
- “O you who believe! Avoid most of the suspicious [thoughts about other Muslims].” (49:12)
The reason why Allah wants us to avoid most of the suspicious thoughts about other Muslims has been explained by Allah in the next sentence: “Surely suspicion in most cases is a sin.” Islam wants you to think positively about your Muslim brother and sister.
- “And do not spy [on each other].” (49:12)
Spying on your Muslim brother or sister and trying to find their weak points and secrets is not allowed in Islam.
- “Nor should some of you backbite others.” (49:12)
“Backbiting” is known in Arabic as ghibat. Ghibat means talking about the hidden bodily defects or secret inappropriate behavior of someone behind his/her back.
The reason why ghibat of another Muslim is forbidden in Islam has been explained by Allah in the next sentence of the verse: “Does any one of you like to bite the flesh of his dead brother?! Surely you dislike it.”
Ghibat is just like biting the dead body of your own brother: he cannot defend himself. Saying bad things about someone in his absence is almost the same, he is not present to defend himself. In this sense, the term “backbiting” is very close to the meaning of “ghibat”.
The last three sins, suspicion, spying and backbiting, are connected to each other. If you avoid the first one, you will be able to stay away from the other two sins. But if you always suspect others, then you will be tempted to spy on them or find bad things about them. If you find out anything negative about others, then you are tempted to gossip about them.
So keep your mind clean and try to think good of your Muslim brethren. These are some ethical rights which Muslims have over each other.