The Obligation of the Believer to Other Believers
The obligation the believer has towards another is drawn from a universal and deep view of existence. As long as man relates himself to the Lord, he will be a ‘divine’ being who enjoys the bestowed divine state of inviolability. Acting unjustly towards the man who holds this state however is surely considered acting unjustly towards the one who granted it.
By ‘the believer’, we do not mean someone who has attained the highest rank in faith; rather, we mean the one with an acceptable degree of commitment to the Sharia and who is determined on following the religion even if he relinquishes his commitment in one of the stages. If the word ‘believer’ mentioned in the Holy Qur'an and the Tradition is taken as meaning members of that elite group of believers, none would qualify.
Not having this divine view, because of the constant association with the believer, helps in violating his rights because constant association plays down the missive side of a person. Thus, we mistreat the believer forgetting his association to Allah who does not consent to the weakening of his servant. This is why Allah hurries to his defence especially if he was defenceless.
The obligation of the believer to other believers has many dimensions; the material dimension is one of them. The issue of relieving each other’s financial distresses is one of the greatest means of endearment to Allah. In addition, as you notice in the Holy Qur'an, meditation-which is an individual form of worship-is linked to almsgiving-which is a social form of worship. The consequence of separating these two kinds of worship is the incomplete benefit from each.
Another obligation is taking care of the spiritual dimension. We all know that psychological disturbances are among the most important problems that stand in the way of achieving progress in working for this world and the hereafter. Therefore, comforting the believer-even with half a word-could save him from a destructive abyss.
Because comforting the believer is bound by the laws of spirituality, the one who embarks upon it must work hard to achieve professionalism in this field. Nowadays, there are different schools of psychoanalysis and psychotherapy. These help give an academic dimension to the process of natural thinking, even though they are not totally right.
Both the Sharia and the mind do not object to taking the initiative in looking for other people’s worries instead of waiting for them to ask for help, for he who starts people with kindness is better than the one who answers their requests. A man must hurry to evaluate his fellow believer’s problems-especially, if he was a relative-to prevent him from falling into sin, once he sees a sign of abnormal conduct.
Because not all men are logical and rational, one must be extremely careful when dealing with people who are sensitive and emotional especially regarding relations with women. The wise man should recognize the individual differences in everyone when dealing with him.
Another obligation believers have towards each other is protecting each other’s social grace. Allah has forbidden defaming-even if it was based on facts-as man experiences different states and may make mistakes in any of the stages. Therefore, if one discloses his fellow man’s faults, he would disgrace him, which would prevent him from reversing his mistakes when social disgrace becomes a reality.
Spreading other peoples scandalous acts-especially of those who are not expected to be involved-could make some people lose their faith in other believers, which will in turn negatively affect their commitment to their faith! The solution in this case is to help these people get out of the state they are in so that their deviation is not used as an excuse for others to deviate.
The sayings made by the infallible Imams (A.S.) strongly emphasise the seriousness of discrediting the believer in people’s eyes. What a painful chastisement it is that Imam al-Sadiq (A.S.) threatens of saying, “Allah ousts him from His guardianship to Satan’s guardianship, and then Satan will not accept him”. How miserable is someone whom even Satan does not accept as a follower!