Brotherhood and equality between Believers
By: Ayatullah Shaheed Syed Abdul Husayn Dastaghaib Shirazi
Maintenance of brotherhood in the Muslim world is a God-given command, that is, the Almighty Allah Who has created man is also the giver of religion, a way of life or code of conduct. He himself has created brotherhood between the Muslims. Every Muslim is, by the order of God, brother of another: "The believers are but brethren." This verse is not introductory but is a Divine Command. There are orders regarding relatives, concerning marriage and inheritance. Then there is a ‘foster’ brotherhood. Foster siblings do not inherit one another but marriage rules apply to them, that is, the foster mother, sister and daughter cannot marry the foster son, brother and father (it is unlawful). But the religious brotherhood, which has been ordered does not involve rules regarding inheritance and marriage. These orders concern equality and brotherhood or being friends and helpers. A Muslim must help another Muslim as they are like organs of the same body. You return to one great grandfather, Muhammad Mustafa. You are like one organs of one body.
All human beings are one another’s body organs as in the matter of creation they are from one pearl. If one part of human body gets pain, other organs also become restless. (Persian couplets)
Your condition should be such that if you come to know that a Muslim anywhere is in some trouble you should feel that you yourself are in distress. How much efforts you make for your own work, be just like that for others too. You must not look only at your own interest. On the contrary, you should give preference to the happiness of your brother over your own happiness or pleasure because it is said that he is your brother. Almighty God says that you are brothers. You have overlooked (as a Muslim) yourself and your desire, as you have believed in God’s Command and Qur’an. So this is the true path. "The believers are but brethren." Be one another’s eyes. What does it mean? It means faults, defects and troubles facing one another be made known tactfully. Be well wishers of one another; give good advice to one another. It is your duty to tell your brother to look ahead so that he may not be hit with a stone and he may not come in a danger. Help him in every possible manner. "Therefore make peace between your brethren."
If two Muslims have an argument, you should come up and try to remove their disagreement and dispute. Do not say, "What I have to do with you!" They (the two at dispute) may either be a man and his wife, or a father and his son or two brothers. Any two whom the devil has thrown in dispute, you must hasten to bring them to agreement. Do not allow the dispute to linger on. If the matter is not settled soon it will result in hatred, furthering enmity from bad to worse. A matter, which was partial in the beginning, will turn into a whole big trouble. The way of settling disputes has been mentioned before. Pursue it and see where is the root cause of trouble.
Then improve things therefrom. If it is about money, spend money, as it will be the best kind of spending (charity). Arrange a meeting for restoring relations between quarrelling man and his wife, as no other charity is better than it. If someone has a complaint and he calls you, reach him soon and ask him what the trouble is and how much does it cost. If ten thousand Toomans can improve relations, give that amount and go. Do not allow a Muslim to go to the court against a Muslim as it may result in imprisonment of one of them and even that may not settle things.
"…and be careful of (your duty to) Allah… (49:10)"
If you desire that Allah should be kind to you, then pay attention to what He commands. Leave aside your desires and inclinations. Do not give up efforts for settlement and agreement. Leave aside your own interests for the sake of the brotherhood of Faith. See and hear what God says: Forgive and make peace. Give preference to others over your own self. Then see what God Almighty does to you:
"…that mercy may be had on you. (49:10)"
Here let me tell you a brief story.
Fulfilling the need of a Believer
Ahmed bin Hasan bin Khalid al Barqi was one of the great Shia scholars. He had written a book Mahasin in the fourth century of the Hijri era. He was living during the earlier years of the Major Occultation of the Master of the Age. He has written about an event he himself has experienced. In a summary, he writes: I had yearly dues to be paid to the government of Kudakeen (Apparently Kudakeen was a governor appointed by the Abbaside Caliph in Iran). I had purchased land in Kashan. The government was collecting an amount of ten thousand dirhams from me. For some years I calculated the amounts regularly and no government officer visited me to claim any amount. One year there was an error in accounting in my case.
Officials came to me and said, "Make payment of ten thousand dirhams on account of the land of Kashan." I was in trouble financially and did not have this amount to pay. I said, "Let me go and see the accountant and ask him to recheck." When I went to see him I found that he was kind hearted, aged and was physically very weak. His body was like a skeleton even having some scars. It was very strange. When he saw me he fell on my feet and began to weep saying, "O my brother! Rush to help me. You are the Shia of the Progeny of Muhammad and I am also a Shia of the Progeny of Muhammad. Kindly help me."
Finally the author of Mahasin says, "I asked him, ‘What is your problem? I may solve it.’" He replied, "Some bad people have backbitten me. They have made an allegation against me before Kudakeen that I have corresponded with the caliph and have complained against Kudakeen and requested the caliph to remove him. So they caught me and beat me so much that you can see (my wounds) and they have confiscated all my possessions as well my property and taken away whatever cash I had. Now I have nothing. I am deprived of everything. My body is also weak and wounded. I do not know what more they will do to me."
The author of Mahasin, this noble scholar, says, "I said to myself, ‘O My Lord! I wish I should go to the accountant, Mazandarani and do something for removing the trouble of this servant of God. Is it possible? Finally, I may talk about ten thousand dirhams myself and seek his relief. I may say it is my money, not his but this was against the friendship with the Progeny of Muhammad. He is also a friend of the Progeny of Muhammad.’ I was confused when my eye fell on a book in a corner of my room. I took it up. When I opened it, it was mentioned on its first page: ‘It is narrated in Kashaf that Ja’far bin Muhammad Sadiq has said that if one goes out with an intention for fulfilling the need of a faithful believer for God’s sake, God improves his affairs. If he himself has any need, God fulfils it.’ When I read this statement, I got up and went ahead to solve the problem of that old gentleman. I reached the gathering of Mazandarani and he gave me a lot of respect (Of course he was one of the respectable scholars of his time). When he sat down he recited holy verses to the effect: "And seek by means of what Allah has given you the future abode, and do not neglect your portion of this world, and do good (to others) as Allah has done good to you, and do not seek to make mischief in the land, surely Allah does not love the mischief-makers."
I recited in response: "Is the reward of goodness aught but goodness?"
Mazandarani, who was a wise person, said, "O Mr. Barqi! It seems you have something to recommend. Please ask. You have, purposefully, recited this verse of Qur’an. If you seek any help from me, please tell me, so that I may do whatever you want." Baqi also did not make him wait and told everything about the poor oppressed man against whom allegations were made in the government office, that they complained to the caliph about him. Consequently they took away his wealth and beat him up. Then he asked, "Do you know him?" He replied, "Yes. By God, he is a Shia, by God, he is one of the friends of Ahle Bait." He ordered, "Bring him here soon."
Then said, "Bring his files." Then all that was confiscated from him was returned to him and so also all his money. He also gave him his personal dress and made much apology and gave him a lot of respect and honor and made him return to his business. Then he turned towards Ahmed bin Khalid Barqi and before the latter could speak a word, he said, "I want to give you the ten thousand dinars. So please bring me paper." Thus he did the work of Barqi without asking. Barqi was astonished.
He thanked and apologized. He said, "Please do not destroy my deed. I have done nothing. Whatever I did it was only for God’s sake." Ahmed Barqi, the author of Mahasin wanted to kiss his hand. He said, "Woe unto me. Do you want to destroy my deed? I should kiss your hand. You are the means of a good deed in my favor. I, the unfortunate fellow, had done a sinful deed. You relieved me. I had oppressed an innocent person without knowing the truth. You have done me a great favor. You guided me aright. You deserve that I should give you ten thousand dirhams in exchange of the guidance you gave me. Barqi says, "In addition to what he had paid to the government, he gave these ten thousand in cash."