Khutbas by Imam Habib
Khutba on Brotherhood
الحمد لله، الحمد لله الذي آخى بين المومنين، وألّف بين قلوبهم وجعلهم في ربهم متحابّين، نحمده تعالى ونستعينه، ونشكره تعالى ونستغفره ونستغيثه، نعوذ بالله من شرور أنفسنا ومن سيئات أعمالنا، من يهد الله فهو المهتد ومن يضلل فلن تجد له وليا مرشدا، ونشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له، له الملك و له الحمد، يحيي ويميت، بيده الخير، وهو على كل شيء قدير، ونشهد أن سيدنا و مولانا محمداً عبده ورسوله، وحبيبه وصفيه، بلغ الرسالة وأدٌى الأمانة ونصح الأمة، النبي الأمي الذي أرسله الله بالهدى والدين الحق، بشيرا ونذيرا بين يدي الساعة، صلى الله عليه وسلم وعلى آله وأصحابه ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين.
أما بعد! فيا عباد الله اتقوا الله حق تقاته ولا تموتن إلا وأنتم مسلمون. يأيها الذين ءامنوا اتقوا الله وقولوا قولا سديدا يصلح لكم أعمالكم ويغفر لكم ذنوبكم. ومن يطع الله ورسوله فقد فاز فوزا عظيما. اتقوا الله فيما أمر وانتهوا عما نها عنه وزجر.
The human being in his natural fitra state is a communal animal, not a solitary one. A part of him yearns for the company of others and feels incomplete so long as he is alone. When given the choice, human beings nearly always choose to live together, forming villages, towns, cities and nations, and forming close links, relationships and bonds to others.
These relationships formed with others may be based on any number of things - living together, working together, or having shared interests or shared beliefs, and they are the glue that holds any society together. And yet today, they are starting to disintegrate and dissolve. Despite the fact that more and more people are choosing to live in close proximity to one another, despite the fact that single cities now contain more people than entire countries ever did, people have never been more isolated. Indeed, many go entire days without any sort of meaningful interaction with another human being, conducting all their shopping in faceless supermarkets and all the rest of their time in their homes in front of their TV sets, with their doors padlocked and their windows barred. They need human company, but they trust no one and fear every one. The internet becomes the sole safe outlet. This is the society that we live in.
And that is because the majority of the relations that we do form do not have haqq as their basis - they instead tend to be based on some transient aspect of this world. They are based on something which fades and so they inevitably fade. The bond that linked the French revolutionaries together seemed profound and unbreakable, but within a few short years had morphed into hatred, distrust and betrayal. The link that binds work colleagues often disappears the moment one of them is promoted and the other is not. And the same is true for any relationship not based on something true, on something real, even when it appears to us to be completely solid, like that which links the Jews together. Allah says,
تَحْسَبُهُمْ جَمِيعاً وَقُلُوبُهُمْ شَتَّىٰ
the translation of which is, “You consider them united but their hearts are scattered wide.”. They might appear to be united and to be part of a single body, but they are not. Their hearts are not truly united, and no matter how rich or influential they are or how much they spend, they never will be. True unity is only possible for those whose hearts have eschewed falsehood in favour of truth. True unity is only possible between those whose hearts are linked by Allah and who hold firm to the rope of Allah. Allah says,
هُوَ الَّذِي أَيَّدَكَ بِنَصْرِهِ وَبِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَأَلَّفَ بَيْنَ قُلُوبِهِمْ لَوْ أَنْفَقْتَ مَا فِي الْأَرْضِ جَمِيعًا مَا أَلَّفْتَ بَيْنَ قُلُوبِهِمْ وَلَكِنَّ اللَّهَ أَلَّفَ بَيْنَهُمْ
the translation of which is, “It is He who supported you with His help and with the believers, and unified their hearts. Even if you had spent everything on the earth, you could not have unified their hearts. But Allah has unified them.” Therein lies the cure to the ills that plague today’s society - a return to belief in Allah. That is the only bond that is meaningful and will lead to a society of mutual co-operation and justice, for as Allah says,
إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ إِخْوَةٌ
the translation of which is, “The believers are brothers,” And the word used here is ‘ikhwa’, a word which is generally only ever used for brothers in the familial sense, so the link that binds the Muslims is akin to, nay stronger than the link that binds them to their own physical family. And that is why we saw the early Muslims protecting their fellow Muslims in the early battles from their own families, and why Abu Bakr said that if he were to have met his own father, Abu Quhafah on the battlefield, he would have fought him. But, alhamdulillah that that never happened, for Abu Quhafah was one of those who entered into the deen of Islam.
But this brotherhood that Allah has given the Muslims is a gift that brings with it responsibility, for as soon as you take someone on as a brother (or a sister), he has rights over you and you have rights over him - he is family. Brotherhood is not just a concept, it is something real. So we must take care to make it real by fulfilling its obligations and not just giving it lip service. Those duties of brotherhood are systematically laid out by Imam al-Ghazali in his great work ‘Ihya Ulum ad-Din’ as well as in the ‘Basic Research - al-mabahith al-asliyya’ of Shaykh Ahmad ibn Ajiba. But before we look into them in detail, I wanted to say a few words about a phenomenon we see today amongst far too many of the Muslims, and that is addressing others as ‘akhi’ or ‘ukhti’. It is an example of giving something a name without a reality - does anyone here feel the need to address his brother through family with the word ‘brother’, or his sister with the word ‘sister’? Then why should we address our Muslim brothers and sisters in that way? And, moreover, it is disrespectful - you do not know their station with Allah nor their station in society, and yet you insist on bringing them down to your level and making them the equal of yourself. Would you address your father as akhi? No, but he is your brother in the deen. Would you address your mother as ukhti? No, but she is your sister in the deen. Similarly, you should not address your elders nor your teachers with akhi, but rather use a term of respect. And nor should you use akhi for your youngers, but rather make use of a term of mercy like son or nephey. And as for those who are your same age, if you think highly of them and assume they are further along the path than yourself, you would never have the temerity to call them akhi. Rather, call them ‘sidi - my master’ instead, for that way you protect yourself from ujb and bad opinion. That is true brotherhood, preferring your brother to yourself.
As for the duties of brotherhood, they are eight in number:
The first duty is the material one. The Prophet said,
مثل الأخوين مثل اليدين تغسل إحداهما الأخرى
“The likeness of two brothers is that of two hands washing each other.” Neither hand on its own can get clean, but when they work together and share their resources, they both get clean. True brothers share what they have, both in times of hardship and those of ease. The lowest degree of that is sorting out your own needs first and then giving him whatever is left over; the second degree is treating him as an absolute equal; and the highest degree is preferring him to yourself. And it is this final degree towards we should all strive, for thus was the example of the Companions of the Messenger of Allah. When the Muhajirun arrived in Madinah, the Ansar to whom they were joined in brotherhood offered them a choice of their homes and even a choice of their wives. Even the very poorest among them preferred their Muslim brothers to eat than themselves or their own families. Abu Hurayra narrated,
أن رجلاً بات به ضيف فلم يكن عنده إلا قوته وقوت صبيانه؛ فقال لامرأته: نَوِّمي الصِّبية وأطفئي السراج وقَرّبي للضيف ما عندك؛ فنزلت هذه الآية وَيُؤْثِرُونَ عَلَىٰ أَنفُسِهِمْ وَلَوْ كَانَ بِهِمْ خَصَاصَةٌ
“A guest spent the night in the house of a man who only had enough food to feed himself and children, so he said to his wife, ‘Put the children to sleep, put out the light, and put whatever you have in front of our guest.’ Thereupon, the aya was revealed: “and prefer them to themselves even if they themselves are needy.”
The second duty is personally going to the aid of another whenever he needs help, without him having to ask you first and putting his needs before your own. There was a Muslim from the salaf who saw to the needs of the family of a Muslim brother of his who had died, feeding and clothing them out of his own money for forty years and visiting them on a daily basis, while another would go to the houses of Muslim brothers to ask them if they needed anything that day. Ata said,
تفقدوا إخوانكم بعد ثلاث فإن كانوا مرضى فعودوهم أو مشاغيل فأعينوهم أو كانوا نسوا فذكروهم
“Seek out your brothers after three things: if they have fallen ill, then visit them; if they have become snowed under with work, then help them; and if they have forgotten, then remind them.”
The third duty is holding your tongue, and not saying anything bad about him. Ibn al-Mubarak said, the believer is the one who looks for excuses for his brother while the hypocrite is the one who looks out for his faults. And the truth is that every person has faults - it is our nature because we are human beings. And if you spend your time looking for faults and telling others about them, that is all you will ever see. And it will be difficult, if not impossible, for you to find any one about whom you can speak good. And a poor opinion of creation leads to a poor opinion of the Creator and to kufr and nifaq. And that is why the Prophet said,
استعيذوا بالله من جار السوء الذي إن رأى خيراً ستره وإن رأى شراً أظهره
“Seek Allah’s help against the bad neighbour - the one who when he sees good, conceals it, but when he sees bad, announces it.” So beware of badmouthing your brother in any way, regardless of what you say is true or not and regardless of whether he is present or not. Instead, overlook his faults and concentrate on his good qualities. And beware of betraying any of his secrets or anything that he has confided to you. There is an Arab proverb,
إن قلب الأحمق في فيه ولسان العاقل في قلبه
“A fool’s heart is in his mouth, while a man of intellect’s tongue is in his heart.” Only a fool divulges what has been told him in private - the true brother lends an ear but keeps what has been told to him locked away in his heart.
And beware of argumentation. The Prophet said,
لا تمار أخاك
“Do not argue with your brother.” For contention and argumentation plant seeds of enmity in the hearts. It does not matter whether you or he are in the right - silence is always the best option. The Prophet said,
من ترك المراء وهو مبطل بني له بيت في ربض الجنة، ومن ترك المراء وهو محق بني له بيت في أعلى الجنة
“If a man gives up contention when he is in the wrong, a house will be built for him within the Garden, and if a man gives up contention when he is in the right, a house will be built for him in the highest part of the Garden.”
The fourth duty of brotherhood is speaking out when speaking out is required. When you see good in your brother, you must tell him and tell others. And when others speak badly about him or slander, you must stand up for him and protect him. The Prophet said,
إذا أحب أحدكم أخاه فليخبره
“If you love your brother then tell him.” And, similarly, if you love anything about him, then tell him and tell others.
Another part of this duty of speaking is nasiha, and that means reminding your brother when he goes astray. But that must be done with wisdom - criticising the action and not the man - and in private, not in the presence of other people. Imam Shafii said,
من وعظ أخاه سراً فقد نصحه وزانه ومن وعظه علانية فقد فضحه وشانه
“Whoever reminds his brother in secret has given him nasiha and honoured him, but whoever reminds him in public has disgraced and dishonoured him.”
أقول قولي هذا وأستغفر الله لي ولكم ولسائر المسلمين من كل ذنب فاستغفروه إنه هو الغفور الرَّحيم
الحمد لله الحمد لله رب العالمين، وأشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له وأشهد أن محمداً عبده ورسوله، صلى الله وسلم وبارك عليه وعلى آله وصحبه، والتابعين وتابعي التابعين ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين.
أما بعد! فيأيها الذين ءامنوا اتقوا الله ما استطعتم واسمعوا وأطيعوا وأنفقوا خيرا لأنفسكم. يا عباد الله أوصيكم وإياي بتقوى الله وطاعته وأحذركم وإياي عن معصيته ومخالفته. قال النبي صلى الله عليه وسلّم: الْمُؤْمِنُ لِلْمُؤْمِنِ كَالْبُنْيَانِ، يَشُدّ بَعْضُهُ بَعْضاً
The Prophet said, “When believers are together, they are like a well-built wall, each of them strengthening the other.”
The fifth duty of brotherhood is forgiving them any mistakes or failings. And that means not abandoning them when they slip up in their deen, but being constant in your friendship and helping them to get back to the sirat al-mustaqim. For, indeed, it is in such situations that they are in most need of your friendship.
And as for when he acts wrongly towards you, you should seek seventy excuses for him. And if your heart still refuses to accept them, then you must lay the blame at your own door and say to your heart, ‘What is it with you! Your brother has given you seventy excuses and you have not accepted one. The fault lies with you not with my brother!”
The sixth duty of brotherhood is to make dua for them during their lives and after their deaths with everything that they would want for themselves and their families. And you must choose the best times to make those duas. Abu ad-Darda’ said,
إني لأدعو لسبعين من إخواني في سجودي أسميهم بأسمائهم
“I used to make dua for seventy of my brothers in my sajda, all of whom I would mention by name.” And do not let the fact that a person has died stop you from making dua for him, for dua is one of the few things that benefits a person after death. Indeed, the duas are said to descend into his grave like pillars of light. Those in the grave lie there, as the Prophet said, awaiting the dua of their children, family and brothers. So make use of every opportunity that you get to ask Allah on their behalf. And remember that it is not just them who benefit from your dua, but you as well, for the Prophet said,
إذا دعا الرجل لأخيه فهو في ظهر الغيب قال الملك: ولك مثل ذلك
“When a man does dua for his brother when he is apart from him, an angel says, ‘And may you have the like of that.’”
The seventh duty is loyalty and sincerity. This means being constant in one’s love and support, maintaining it until the day that he dies, and extending it after his death to encompass his family, children, friends and descendants. You honour his family and friends as if they were your own family and friends. There is no such thing in the din as a nuclear family - everyone’s home must be open and full of guests and visitors. The community is your family - your brother’s children are like your own children, and his parents like your own parents. We are not little cut-off isolated units, but rather part of one big brotherly community.
And the eighth duty is making things easy for one’s brother and not imposing on him too much. In other words, not overburdening him with your own problems or taking advantage of his good nature. Friendship and brotherhood is a two-way street, not a take take dynamic. Aisha said,
الْمُؤْمِنُ أخو الْمُؤْمِنِ لا يغتنمه
“Believers are brothers to one another and do not take advantage.”
These eight duties are incumbent upon every Muslim man and women and until we fulfil them we will not have unity between us. They are the foundation of a strong and healthy community.
So we ask Allah to join our hearts together and make us a single body and a well-built wall. We ask Him to bless all our brothers who have died and to fill their graves with light and baraka, and we ask Him to join us with those whom we love in the Garden, and we ask Him to strengthen the ties between us and to increase our love for each other inwardly and outwardly.
إنَّ اللهَ ومَلائِكَتَهُ يُصلُّونَ على النَّبِي يَا أَيُها الذينَ آمنوا صَلُّوا عَلَيْهِ وسَلِّمُوا تَسْليماً. اللهمَّ صَلِّ وسَلِّم وبارِك عَلَيْهِ وعلى آلِهِ وصَحْبِهِ أجمعين.
وارض اللهم عن الخلفاء الراشدين المرشدين الحنفاء ساداتنا وأئمتنا أبي بكر وعمر وعثمان وعلي ، وعن سائر الصحابة أجمعين، خصوصا الأنصار منهم والمهاجرين، وعن التابعين وتابعي التابعين ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين.
اللهم اهد أولات أمور المسلمين لما يرضيك ولاتباع سنة نبيك صلى الله عليه وسلم وثبت أقدامهم على الصراط المستقيم وأصلحهم يا رب العالمين.
اللهم بارك على شيخنا، و على أميرنا، وعلى جميع أمراء وزعماء المسلمين.
اللهم بارك على المسلمين في هذه المدينة ووفقهم لما تحبه وترضاه يا أكرم الأكرمين.
اللهمّ أَعِزَّ الْلإسلامَ والمُسِلمينَ (3) واَخْذُلِ الكُفْرَ والكافِرينَ، وانْصُرِ المُجاهِدينَ في سَبِيلِ اللهِ. واجْعَلْ كَلِمََتَكَ هِيَ العُلْيَا وكَلِمَةَ الكُفْرِ هِيَ السُّفْلى.
ربنا ءاتنا في الدنيا حسنة وفي الأخرة حسنة وقنا عذاب النار.
ربنا ءاتنا من لدنك رحمة و هيئ لنا من أمرنا رشدا.
ربنا هب لنا من أزواجنا وذريتنا قرة أعين واجعلنا للمتقين إماما.
ربنا اغفر لنا ذنوبنا وإِسرافنا في أمرِنا وثبت أقدامنا وانصرنا على القوم الكافرِينَ.
إن الله يأمر بالعدل والإحسان وإيتاء ذي القربى وينهى عَنِ الفحشاءِ والمُنكَرِ والبغي، يعظكم لعلكم تذكرون، ولَذِكْرُ اللهِ أكبر والله يَعْلَمُ ما تَصْنَعُون. وقُومُوا إِلَى صَلاتِكُمْ يرحمكم الل