Islamic brotherhood is general
By: Ayatullah Shaheed Syed Abdul Husayn Dastaghaib Shirazi
Another meaning, which must be understood well is that is the generality of the command, which is given in the holy verse:
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"The believers are but brethren, therefore make peace between your brethren… (49:10)"
Here ‘believer’ has its common connotation. Anyone who said
: I believe that God is Only One Allah and Muhammad is His last Prophet and I also give witness that Judgment Day is True and Accounting is True and that Paradise and Hell are True. Anyone who gave witness to these three basic facts and believed in them has also accepted all other essential orders of Islam, that is, all apparent things like prayer, fasts and Hajj, which no one can deny.
He becomes a respectable Muslim. Shedding his blood is prohibited; may he belong to any sect. Apparently he is a Muslim. His body is clean and his life and honor are safe and so also his possessions and marriage with him is also valid. We have nothing to do with his Hereafter. Hereafter is relevant with a special meaning, but all the apparent orders (worldly matters) are based on the above mentioned three basic beliefs, be he a Sunni or a Shia. Sunni and Shia, both are Muslims. That is, both are the people of "There is no god except Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah". All general Islamic rules apply to him, which include brotherhood.
Yesterday, I said that it is ordered through this verse that there must be brotherhood among (between) common Muslims, men and women. Anyone who believes in these two formulae of faith: There is no god except Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and who accepted Qur’an as the Word of God and accepted the essentials of Islam is a ‘believer’ in the meaning of this verse and hence a brother of all other Muslims. Everyone must maintain this relation of brotherhood with him. They should consider him their brother and not an alien or outsider.
From all this what we mean to say and what the Sunni and Wahabi brothers do not hear is
: Are Shias other than the people of "There is no god except Allah"? Have we anything other than "Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah"? Have we any book other than Qur’an? Do we follow other than what Islam commands? Why do you call us polytheists? After all we are your brothers. What is very strange is that when we consider them our brothers, these gentlemen call us and believe that we are polytheists. It is because of that man named Ahmed Ibn Taiymiyah. This man, 150 or 200 years back, issued a religious decree that anyone who goes to a dead man’s grave is a polytheist. Ask this Shaykh on what ground he says this? How do you take this man’s word as a proof and say that you Shias are polytheists! (If Allah wills, henceforth, we shall discuss this matter in detail while explaining a later verse).
A Saudi policeman saw a Shia kissing the Zareeh (Sarcophagus) of the Prophet, in the Prophet’s mosque. When he intended to hit that man, he took out a copy of the Holy Qur’an from his pocket and handed it over to the said policeman. The policeman held the Holy Qur’an and kissed it. The Shia said, "O polytheist!" The policeman asked, "What polytheism?" The Shia said, "You kissed the leather. The cover of the Qur’an is made of leather. Kissing a piece of leather is just like kissing a piece of silver which I kissed." The policeman said, "No, it is not so. This leather is holy as it is related with Qur’an." The Shia said, "This shrine is also related with the Holy Prophet and hence it is respectable."
There is no one who could come out and say
: O Sunni gentlemen! O Wahabi people! Why are you making excess? Why are you excommunicating Shias who form a big part of Muslim population in the world; who believe in the truth of Islam. Shias are here ever since the advent of Islam. Whatever propagation work has been done in the world has been done mostly by the Shias, especially from Iran. They have written many books in support of Islam. The Shia is a faithful believer. You should consider us as your brothers, especially those who enter Mecca during Hajj pilgrimage every year. Qur’an says, "Travelers and settlers, all who enter Mecca are equal." Those who arrive here are guests, honorable guests. They have arrived in Allah’s House. How much should you respect them! But here a man takes out a lash asking ‘why did you kiss the tomb?’
Defense of Islamic lands is a must for all
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"The believers are but brethren… (49:10)"
A Shia has no right to be an enemy of a Sunni. Everyone and anyone who said
: "There is no god except Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah", and who believes in Qur’an and Judgment Day, even if he has no sense of the guardianship (Wilayat) of Ahle Bait, cannot be considered an enemy. He has no sense of Wilayat due to some misunderstanding. Yet he is a Muslim and therefore he must be considered a brother. This is the unanimous stand of all Shia jurisprudents. If, God forbid, an Islamic country, even if it is of the Sunni, is attacked by heathens, it is compulsory for all the Muslims, Shia as well as Sunni, to help that Muslim state.
They must defend it. The Jews attacked Palestine and they intend to destroy Muslims and annihilate them. We cannot say that they are Sunni. Here there is no question of Shia or Sunni. All are Muslims. A Muslim must always be sympathetic towards another Muslim. Islam must be protected. There is no difference. Qur’an is one, Religion is one, God is one and Prophet is one, common to both. So there is no difference. The only thing is that they, in the matter of jurisprudence and in their manners follow one of the four persons – Abu Hanifah, Ahmed bin Hanbal, Malik and Shafei. We also follow Ja’far bin Muhammad as Sadiq.
What is your argument for following one these four? Your only argument is that since our elders did it, we also do it and because the caliph of the time appointed these four. Our argument also is that as Muhammad, the last Prophet, prescribed Qur’an and Progeny (Itrat), we do not give up the Progeny. This is the difference between us. How strange! Some follow Ja’far and some Abu Hanifah. It is all right; the followers of all the four are good. We don’t know what the followers of Ja’far did that they have so much enmity towards them!
Do not speak bad of religious leaders
By the way, I would like to point out one thing. Shias also have a doubt and it should be removed. It is that they openly insult the chiefs of other sects while it is unlawful. For example, if one insults Abu Hanifah openly, it will make the Hanafis angry. Some kinds of enmities are against dissimulation (Taqayyah) while our duty is to observe it fully.
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"And do not abuse those whom they call upon besides Allah, lest exceeding the limits they should abuse Allah out of ignorance."
After all, they have followed them for a time. Now, if you insult them openly they will resort to indecency. If you condemn Abu Hanifah, they will definitely speak and think badly about Ja’far bin Muhammad or his followers. So, the Shias should be very careful. Open condemnation is wrong. You do your best. Describe the virtues of Ali as much as you can. Mention the rightfulness of Ja’far. Leave alone Abu Hanifah and others. Why should you name them? This is the method of dissimulation.
Observe rights of brotherhood
The third point in today’s discussion is the fabrication of brotherly rights. We mention the fabricated rights from first to last. The first right was the same, which is mentioned in this verse, that is, a Muslim is a brother of another Muslim. The demand of brotherhood is that if one brother is in distress another must not sit at rest until the trouble of the former is removed. It means that if a Muslim falls in dispute and trouble, other Muslims must not rest until the fire of trouble is extinguished. This is the smallest right of one Muslim over another.
This issue is religious. Do not take it lightly. It is a religious duty. Perhaps this matter may not come up again. Of course the condition for every duty is ability. If you are able, it is your duty to try to make peace and reconciliation. If you are unable, you are not bound. For example, if you are alone and you see that ten or twenty persons are fighting fiercely with one another. In what way can you stop them? Suppose the quarrel is over a lot of money. You do not have enough to settle the dispute. Or for instance the fighting people are brutal bullies and it is not likely that they will at all listen to you as they look at you hatefully.
Worst of all, they also have arms that you don’t have. Two hotheaded fellows are attacking one another dangerously. You should not approach them otherwise; you will be like that son of one of our friends.
Mediator falls prey to corrupt fighters
One of our friends who is also present today in this meeting has faith. He has a religious minded youthful son. Two months ago, this youth did an unwise thing. It resulted in serious trouble. In the words of his father: While passing by, this youth saw that two persons were quarrelling with one another. They were making contrary claims. This youth, with an intention to making peace, stepped forward. One of the ruthless fellows, in order to push him aside, hit him forcefully on his head. The youth fell down at once.
He was taken to the hospital, where it was found that his brain has been damaged. He had to remain in hospital for a long time in an unconscious state. When those two devilish fellows came to know that this man may die of the injury inflicted by one of them and when they feared that they might fall in legal trouble, they at once, went to the police station and filed a complaint against the (injured) youth and made false allegations against him saying that he had done so and so to us at such and such place on such and such day and wounded so and so etc.
A warrant was issued against this youth who had not yet recovered and had not recovered consciousness. The poor youth who was injured badly experienced further mental trouble. His senses did not function properly. When it was decided to shift him from the hospital to his house, policemen arrived and arrested him. Now he is in a prison. Why did he interfere between two fighting bulls?
What I mean to say is that though I have told you to make peace and reconciliation, but it is not everywhere. Just see who are up to kill one another? Should you come in between even if two wolves are fighting? Can a lamb or a deer make peace between the two? Sometimes you see that he has a Muslim name, but he is among the wolves of the time. Islam is higher than that such fellows may claim to be Muslims. A Muslim is more honorable. A believer is liked by God. For what should he be sacrificed? For the sake of these perverted people’s lust and greed? They are like two-footed animals, liars, slanderers and faithless. What kind of people are they who blame falsely a gentleman who came to make peace between them? These are real transgressors.
Rights of brothers in faith
Now I will tell you about the higher rank. Rights of brotherhood are many. In a narration the holy Imam says that they number thirty and as per another narration, seventy. The narrator insists and says, "O master! Please tell us what they are all." According to reports the Imam said, "I am afraid, if I tell you, you will not observe them and will not act accordingly." Woe if one knows and does not act while these rights of brotherhood are such that if not observed both this world and Hereafter will be ruined. It will bring divine punishment in both worlds.
According to one narration: One of the rights of brotherhood is that if one puts forth his need to the other, the latter must not reject it. His need had an aspect of honor. Since you had honor and influence, the seeker sought your influence and recommendation but you rejected his request. Consequently, when you will be called up on the Day of Judgment, there will be no flesh on your face. It will be a mark of your dishonor. Also in this world, you will not die before being dishonored. It will be so because you did not spend this honor, which you had and left that helpless person to himself. You did not do his work with the help of your influence. So you will also be dishonored here. Wait! He asked you to lend him some money. You did not give it despite your ability to do so. So now, wait for the day when this money goes out of your pocket. The smallest or the least right, it is said in narrations that the smallest or lowest or the minimum right is that you should like for him what you like for yourself.
O Mr. Grocer! You wish that when you go to a perfumer to purchase saffron, the latter should give pure saffron to you, not counterfeit. So when the perfumer comes to you to purchase oil from you, you too must give him pure oil, not impure or adulterated. Now, who is there among you who likes that someone should give you a bad name in your absence? So, you too must never give a Muslim a bad name in his absence. "Dislike for him what you dislike for yourself." Likewise, if you dislike that someone should destroy your effort in your absence, you also must never render someone’s effort fruitless.
Be good to others as they are with you
It is here that scholars and religious leaders have propounded as to what is our duty and responsibility. If the rights are just as reported above and if one has to behave in this way as said above with all Muslims, life might become difficult. For example, suppose, one of the rights is that if one asks for a loan the other one must not refuse. If you may go on giving like this during the day, you will have nothing left with you by the end of it. They may take and may not return, especially the people of today. Or they borrowed something from you. They took it, broke it and then brought back to you making it useless. Then what should be done? They have not told you to do so with everyone. Be such with those who are so with you. If you want to become so with everyone then some people are so much selfish that they would like to trample you under their feet. So it is never so with everyone. According to a narration, someone said to the holy Imam, "My neighbor borrowed my carpet. After burning and destroying it he brought it back to me. If he asks me again for it, and if I do not oblige him, then will I be at fault?" The Imam said, "No, in that case, you will not be held responsible."
When it is told to you that you should give to your neighbor what he wants to borrow, Islam also orders the borrower to take care of the borrowed thing. So, if your neighbor does not fulfill his responsibility, you too are not duty-bound to give him what he asks. If you see that he does not return your thing, then do not give him. Take a guarantee from him. It is not ordered to you that if someone asks for a loan you must give it to him at once, even if you do not know him. The Holy Qur’an itself says: Take a bond, a deposit or a security. Pawn his house so as to satisfy yourself about the return of your money. You may not give unless he agrees to such a condition.
These rights are for those who do likewise with you. They must also be truthful. They should act according to their word. They must be righteous and God fearing. They should not be greedy, lustful and selfish. Where is that religious minded friend who befriends you for the sake of God? Who considers you his friend in faith? Such men are very less in number. Now, do not say that the responsibility or duty is much more. Say that responsible people are less.
Who is he who wants you for God’s sake, who considers you a religious friend? Most of the people befriend one another due to selfishness and personal interest, not from religious viewpoint. I mean how many are there who befriend others hoping that this friendship will strengthen their faith? Do they desire piety and self-improvement? Do they befriend others with a hope to get salvation tomorrow as a result of such friendship? Such sincere friendship does never break off. One, sometimes, befriends another selfishly and to serve his own interest. They give loans also. But such friendships do not last, because they are not friendships in faith, religious brotherhood. It has no divine aspects. It is a farce!