The Caring Believer

Hadith Gateway

The Caring Believer

Mawlana Muhammad Nasir Jamal Attari Madani

The beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم said:

مَثَلُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ فِي تَوَادِّهِمْ وَتَرَاحُمِهِمْ وَتَعَاطُفِهِمْ مَثَلُ الْجَسَدِ اِذَا اشْتَكَى مِنْهُ عُضْوٌ تَدَاعَى لَهُ سَائِرُ الْجَسَدِ بِالسَّهَرِ وَالْحُمَّى

"In their mutual affection, mercy, and compassion towards each other, the believers are like a body; when one of its limbs is afflicted with illness, the entire body shares its restlessness and fever."[1]

The Prophet’s choice of words is unparalleled. In this hadith, three similar, yet slightly different, words had the privilege of being articulated from the blessed tongue of the beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم:

1.   "تَرَاحُم" means showing mercy to one another, which implies that Muslims should have mercy on each other solely based on Islamic brotherhood, and not due to any other reason.

2.   "تواد" means to love one another. Here, it refers to fostering fraternal ties and mutual love through gestures of kindness such as giving gifts and visiting each other.

3.   "تعاطف" means to be gentle with each other and refers to helping one another.[2]

Through this statement, the noble Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم shares a powerful metaphor to stress the importance of upholding the rights of fellow believers, supporting each other, and dealing with our siblings in faith with gentleness.[3]  The name of each body part is different, its form is also different and so too is its function, but the soul is one. Hence, the pain felt by one part of the body makes the other parts restless, and that one part invites the other to share in this pain. As long as that part is not at ease, the entire body remains restless and uncomfortable.

The same is the case of perfect Muslims. Although their names, neighbourhoods, cities, countries, continents, languages, cultures, and lifestyles are different, they share the one "spirit of Islam". Hence, an affliction of a single Muslim makes the perfect Muslims restless and together they try their utmost to eliminate it.

When did flour become expensive?  

Individualism, whereby people focus on their own wellbeing while disregarding the state of other Muslims, is against the spirit of Islam. A journalist conducted a survey in a deprived area of his city. There, he met a poor person and asked him, “How do you survive? Flour has become so expensive; people are in great hardship.” The poor person asked in astonishment, “When did it become expensive? How many days has it been like this?’’ The journalist replied, “Which world do you live in? Flour became expensive a week ago!” The poor person said regretfully, “I acquire flour through begging and sell it to the nearest shopkeeper every day. He has been buying flour from me at the old rate for the past week!”

Become an expert of feelings

While indifference and individualism deprive society of empathy and sincere love, being an expert of feelings helps tremendously in removing pain, affliction, worry and suffering from society. A great advantage of being an expert of feelings is that the small actions of a person save him from big problems. Try to understand this from the following story:

A man came to know that two of his friends were suffering from stomach pain, so he went to one of them who was very poor and lived alone. After greeting him, he asked the reason for his stomach pain to which his poor friend replied, “I am in this state because I have not eaten anything for days.” Hearing this, he arranged food for his poor friend. After leaving from there, he went to the other friend who was very rich. After greeting him, he asked the reason for the stomach pain to which his rich friend replied, “I have reached this state due to eating too much.”

After visiting the two friends, he concluded that if they had eaten together, perhaps neither would have been in this state. If the person suffering from stomach pain due to overeating had empathised with his poor friend, he would have fed the excess food to another hungry person and been mindful of how much he eats.

Practical ways of removing suffering 

Feeling the pain of fellow believers and wanting to alleviate their plights are hallmarks of a true, perfected Muslim. There are a number of ways in which you can actively extend help to others:

1.   Support sick people as per their needs and regularly visit them. It is narrated in a hadith: “Whoever visits a sick person, he continues to dive in the ocean of mercy until he returns, and when he sits, he becomes drowned in mercy.”[4]

2.   We cannot help everyone, but we can help at least one person. We cannot change the entire world by helping one person, but we can change the world of one person. Therefore, try to remove the pain and suffering of an afflicted Muslim. A blessed hadith states, “Whoever removes the difficulty of a Muslim, Allah Almighty will remove a difficulty of his from the difficulties of Judgement Day.”[5]

3.   Be a loyal guard to and protector of the honour of Muslims. It is stated in a hadith, “When a Muslim protects the honour of his fellow believer, he is guaranteed to be saved by Allah Almighty from the fire of Hell on the Day of Judgement.”[6]

4.   Take relevant steps to bring joy to the hearts of Muslims who are suffering or facing challenging times. It is mentioned in a hadith, “After the obligations, the most beloved of all deeds to Allah Almighty is to please the heart of a Muslim.”[7]

5.   Forgive a suffering Muslim if he hurts your feelings, as it is mentioned in the hadith, “Allah increases the honour of the one who forgives, and whoever adopts humility for Allah’s sake, Allah elevates him.”[8]

6.   Help the victims of oppression, as it is mentioned in the hadith, “Whosoever removed a difficulty of a grieving believer or helped an oppressed person, Allah writes forgiveness for that person seventy-three times over.”[9]

7.   Give respite to believers who are in debt to you or waive a part of the debt. It is stated in a hadith, “Whosoever gives respite to an indigent person or forgives his loan, Allah will protect him from the heat of Hell.”[10]

May Allah Almighty give us the strength to sympathise with Muslims and relieve their pain.

اٰمِیْن بِجَاہِ النَّبِیِّ الْاَمِیْن صَلَّی اللہ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلہٖ وَسَلَّم

[1] aī Muslim, p. 1,071, adīth 6,586

[2] Fat al-Bārī, vol. 11, p. 372, adīth 6,011

[3] Fat al-Bārī, vol. 11, p. 372, adīth 6,011

[4] Musnad Ahmad, vol. 5, p. 30, adīth 14,264

[5] aī Muslim, p. 1,069, adīth 6,578

[6] Sharh al-Sunnah, vol. 6, p. 494, adīth 3,422

[7] Al-Mu’jam al-Kabīr, vol. 11, p. 59, adīth 11,079

[8] aī Muslim, p. 1,071, adīth 6,592

[9] Shu’ab al-Īmān, vol. 6, p. 120, adīth 7,670

[10] Musnad Ahmad, vol. 1, p. 700, adīth 3,017




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