Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Muslim's rights on other Muslims: examining the Hadeeth

Abu Hurairah [R.A.] reports the Prophet [Sall Allahu 'alayhi wa sallam] as saying: The Muslim has, as a right {Haqq}, six [things]: [1] When you meet him, greet him [i.e. As salaamu 'alaikum], [2] When he invites you, accept his invitation, [3] When he asks advise, give it, [4] When he sneezes and praises Allah, say "Allah have mercy on you", [5] Visit him when he is ill, [6] When he dies, follow his funeral procession. [Saheeh Muslim]
Salaam greetings

Throughout all Muslim cultures and sects, the common demoninator is the greeting of As salaamu 'alaikum ["Peace be upon you"]! This is not something that was started with the Prophet Muhammad, upon whom we pray for peace and the choicest of blessings. Rather, this can be accurately described as the Sunnah of the messengers and teachers of old as well.

When you enter a house, first say, 'Peace to this house.'[ Luke 10:5, NIV]

While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them,
" Peace be with you."[Luke 24:36

A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said,
" Peace be with you ! "[John 20:26]

Accepting invitation

Ideally, every Muslim is to be equal to each other socially. There should be no problems with the rich dining with the poor and vice versa. Indeed, if one were to read any biography of Prophet Muhammad, we find that he even accepted dinner invitations from slaves!


Again referencing Saheeh Muslim, the Prophet is reported to have stated that religion itself is advice! To give advice is to show care, warmth and consideration. This principle is not limited to telling someone where to buy a car and the like, but can also extend to correcting that person's theological views! This particular angle of understanding this hadeeth has application in many areas of the world, but especially so in the United States, and among Muslim inmates. By seeing even the followers of pseudo-Islamic or heretical movements as also bethren, deserving advice and guidance, and not condemnation or hatred, we can be more affective and we can diminish confrontations. Here, we have in mind people such as those in the Nation of Islam[NOI], led by Minister Louis Farrakhan. Surely, their God concept and ideas surrounding the Prophethood are at variance with the Qur'an, yet, they call themselves Muslims, they believe in the Qur'an and have respect for the Prophet Muhammad. If we view them as brothers, needing advice and correction via the Qur'an, we build a lasting relation with them. Indeed, in our experience, advice and understanding is a much better weapon than yelling "Kaafir" and the like. This is also the Prophet's practice, as seen in the following Qur'anic verse:

And it was by God's grace that thou [O Prophet] didst deal gently with thy followers, for if thou hadst been harsh and hard of heart, they would indeed have broken away from thee. Parden them, and pray that they be forgiven.." [Q 3:159, Muhammad Asad translation]
Saying 'YarhamukumUllaah'

The person who sneezes is to praise Allah [i.e. by saying Alhamdulillaah] because their heart has stopped, yet they still live. The Muslim nearby hearing this says "May Allah have mercy on you". Indeed, to wish for Rahmah on another is to also invite Rahmah on yourself.

Visiting when ill

The worldview taught by Islam is one of fraternity, love and brotherhood. To visit the ill gives heart to them, and strengthens bonds. This is, in the end, the desire of Allah.

And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided. And remember the favor of Allah upon you - when you were enemies and He brought your hearts together and you became, by His favor, brothers. And you were on the edge of a pit of the Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus does Allah make clear to you His verses that you may be guided. [Qur'an 3:103, Saheeh International translation]

Funeral [Janaazah]

The Funeral rites in Islam are very simple. Indeed, if the deceased is absent or in a far away location, it is still possibe to fulfill the last right they hold on you, by offering Salaat al Janaazah! In the Salaat al Janaazah, at least according to the Prophetic Sunnah, one prays [Du'aa] for both the deceased and the community in general.

Thus, the rights [Huqooq] Muslims have on each other are powerful, they are to create a bond that is to not be broken. The rights of Muslims to each other is a concept that should never be abandoned nor neglected.