HOW SHOULD A MUSLIMA TREAT HER SISTERS IN ISLAM?
1. SHE LOVES THEM FOR THE SAKE OF ALLAH :
This is a love untainted by any worldly interests or ulterior motives. True sisterly love is a relationship whose purity is derived from the light of Islamic guidance (Dr. Muhammad A. al-Hashimi). It is a bond that links a Muslims to her sister regardless of geographical origins, ethnicity, skin color, hair form, eye shape, or language. (It is) a bond based upon faith in Allah (subhaanahu wa ta’aala) Who is greater than all our little petty divisions.
“The Believers are but a single brotherhood….”
A love which is an expression of the sweetness of faith:
“There are three things that whoever attains them will find the sweetness of faith: if Allah and His Messenger are dearer to him than anyone else; if he loves a person solely for the sake of Allah; if he would hate to return to kufr after Allah has rescued him from it, as much as he would hate be thrown into the Fire.”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
So this is not love for the sake of status, notoriety, or fame. It is a love that requires a clean heart, a light heart, a soft and pliable heart.
In the hadeeth of Mu’adh reported by at-Tirmidhi, the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said:
“Allah said: ‘Those who love one another for My glory, will have minbars of light, and the Prophets and martyrs will wish that they had the same”
[hasan saheeh hadeeth]
This kind of love is the only way to eliminate hatred, jealousy, and rivalry from peoples hearts.
2. SHE SHOWS THEM KINDNESS, FAITHFULNESS, AND EQUITY:
The importance of kindness is mentioned hundreds of times in the Qur’aan! Islam instills in its followers the characteristic of kindness and faithfulness towards one’s friends, including the parents of one’s friends.
The seerah is filled with examples of kindness and faithfulness among the early believers. If you remember the story concerning our mother ‘Aaisha (radiallahu ‘anhaa) who used to become upset with Rasoolullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) because he used to extend himself to the friends of his late first wife, Khadijah (radiallahu ‘anhaa). He (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) spoke highly of Khadijah (radiallahu ‘anhaa) and sometimes he would slaughter a sheep and send a large portion to Khadijah’s friends.
3. SHE MEETS THEM WITH A WARM, FRIENDLY, SMILING FACE :
In Muslim it is reported our beloved Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said:
“Do not think little of any good deed, even if it is just greeting your brother with a cheerful countenance.”
The act of smiling actually stimulates the secretion of certain chemicals (endorphins) that increase our sense of well-being.
“Your smiling at your brother is an act of charity (sadaqah)”
[reported by at-Tirmidhi who said it is hasan gharib]
4. SHE IS SINCERE TOWARDS THEM:
Sincerity is one of the most basic principles of Islam and a central foundation of the faith. Without sincerity, a sister’s faith is invalid and her Islam is worthless. When the first believers gave allegiance (bay’ah) to the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), they pledged their sincerity. This is confirmed by the statement of Jarir ibn ‘Abdullah (radiallahu ‘anhu):
“I gave allegiance to the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) and pledged to observe regular prayer, to pay zakat and to be sincere towards every Muslim.”
Furthermore, our beloved Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said:
“None of you truly believes until he likes for his brother what he likes for himself”
It is impossible to do this without sincerity.
5. SHE DOES NOT FORSAKE OR ABANDON HER SISTER(s):
The religion that calls for love continued contact, and mutual affection is also the religion (Islam) that has forbidden sisters in faith to hate or abandon one another. It is reported by al-Bukhari in al-Adab al-Mufrad:
“No two people who love one another for the sake of Allah, or for the sake of Islam, will let the first minor offense of either of them come between them.”
This hadith and others tell us that prolonged estrangement from our sister is not acceptable. The longer the estrangement lasts (3 days or more) the greater the sin and the more severe is the punishment that will befall the two who are split by the dispute. Reconciliation among sisters-in-Islam is encouraged and the better of the two (disputing) Muslimahs is the first to give salaam. The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said:
“There should be no breaking off of ties, no turning away from one another, no hating one another, and no envying one another. Be brothers, as Allah has commanded you.”
The great Sahabi Abu Darda (radiallahu ‘anhu) used to say: “Shall I not tell you about something that is better for you than charity and fasting? Reconcile between your brothers, for hatred diminishes reward.”
[reported by al-Bukhari in Ad-Adab al-Mufrad]
6. SHE IS TOLERANT AND FORGIVING TOWARDS THEM:
Sometimes it seems so easy to become angry with our sisters in Islam about just about anything. However, the true Muslim restrains her anger and is quick to forgive her sister, and does not see any shame in doing so. Rather, she recognizes this as a good dead that can bring her closer to Allah and earn her His love which He bestows only on those who do good:
“…[those] who restrain anger and pardon (all) men – for Allah loves those who do good.”
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7. SHE DOES NOT GOSSIP ABOUT OR BACKBITE THEM:
The believing woman does not gossip about or backbite her sisters in Islam. She knows that gossip is haraam as the Qur’an says:
“…. Nor speak ill of each other behind their backs. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? Nay, you would abhor it. But fear Allah: for Allah is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful.”
The believing woman restrains her tongue and speaks only good of her sister, remembering the words of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam):
“Do you know what gossip is?”
‘Allah and His Messenger know best.’
“It is your saying about your brother something which he dislikes.”
He was asked:
‘What do you think if what I say about my brother is true?’
“If it is true then you have gossiped about him and if it not true then you have slandered him.”
Being two-faced is an aspect of this. In fact the two-faced person is regarded as being one of the worst people in the sight of Allah. Our beloved Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said:
“You will find among the worst people in the sight of Allah on the Day of Resurrection, the one who is two-faced, who approaches some people in one way and others in another.”
[al-Bukhari & Muslim]
8. SHE AVOIDS ARGUING WITH THEM, MAKING HURTFUL JOKES, AND BREAKING PROMISES:
It is reported by al-Bukhari in al-Adab al-Mufrad that our Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said:
“Do not argue with your brother, do not joke excessively with him, do not make a promise to him then break it.”
Arguing leads to further misunderstanding, rigidity, and is an easy opening for Iblis; hurtful jokes often lead to hatred and loss of respect, and breaking promises upset people and destroys love. We need to learn to be able to “back off” to not have the final say, to sometimes just “agree to disagree” until the matter can be resolved by someone with more knowledge. The kind of posturing and gesticulation that poisons so many disagreements is leftover jahl (ignorance). We need to run away from this.
9. SHE IS GENEROUS AND SELF-SACRIFICING:
The Muslimah prefers friendship with a Muslim over the non-Muslim. The bond of common belief forms the foundation for generosity, a basic Islamic characteristic. We are entreated by Allah (subhaanahu wa ta’aalaa) to be
“… lowly [or humble] with the believers, mighty against the kafirun …”
10. SHE PRAYS FOR HER SISTERS IN THEIR ABSENCE:
The sincere Muslimah who truly likes for her sister what she likes for herself does not forget to pray for her sister in her absence. This is a practical demonstration of sisterly love and care. A sincere, pure prayer of this kind is the kind most quickly answered. It is reported by al-Bukhari in al-Adab al-Mufrad that,:
“The quickest prayer to be answered is a man’s supplication for his brother in his absence.”