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LOVE FOR HUMANITY WHAT YOU LOVE FOR YOURSELF – (I)

LOVE FOR HUMANITY WHAT YOU LOVE FOR YOURSELF – (I)

In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

The golden rule, or the ethics of reciprocity, is an Islamic moral principle that calls upon Muslims to treat others the way they would like to be treated. According to the Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy, the golden rule is defined as follows:

Any form of the dictum: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. In some form this is found in almost all religions and ethical systems.

Source: Blackburn, Simon. “Golden Rule.”

This principle was stated several times by our Prophet, SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam, so Muslims should use it as a point of agreement when sharing Islam with people of other religions. In fact, An-Nawawi states that this principle is the root of all good character and manners.

The primary expression of this teaching is stated in the following authoritative tradition:

Anas ibn Malik, RadhiAllahu Anhu, reported: The Messenger of Allah, SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam, said:

لَا يُؤْمِنُ أَحَدُكُمْ حَتَّى يُحِبَّ لِأَخِيهِ أَوْ قَالَ لِجَارِهِ مَا يُحِبُّ لِنَفْسِهِ

None of you has faith until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 13, Grade: Muttafaqun Alayhi

Many scholars interpreted “brother” in this and other traditions to mean universal brotherhood that includes all of humanity.

An-Nawawi comments on this tradition, saying:

 الأولى أن يحمل ذلك على عموم الأخوة حتى يشمل الكافر والمسلم فيحب لأخيه الكافر ما يحب لنفسه من دخوله في الإسلام كما يحب لأخيه المسلم دوامه على الإسلام ولهذا كان الدعاء بالهداية للكافر مستحبا والمراد بالمحبة إرادة الخير والمنفعة ثم المراد المحبة الدينية لا المحبة البشرية

This is interpreted as brotherhood in general, such that it includes the disbeliever and the Muslim. So he should love for his brother, the disbeliever, what he loves for himself which is his entering Islam, just as he should love for his brother Muslim that he remains in Islam. For this reason, it is recommended to supplicate for the disbeliever to be guided. The meaning of love here is an intention for good and benefit, and this meaning is religious love, not human love.

Source: Sharḥ al-Arba’īn 13

And Ibn Hajar Al-Haytami writes:

والذي يظهر أن تعبيره بالأخ جري على الغالب لأنه ينبغي لكل مسلم أن يحب للكفار الإسلام وما يتفرع عليه من الكمالات … قوله يحب لنفسه أي من الخير فيكون معه كالنفس الواحدة

What is apparent is that the use of the word brother is based upon its widest meaning, such that it is befitting for every Muslim to love for the unbeliever to have Islam and the virtues that derive from it… His saying to love for himself means of what is good, so that he will be together with them as if they were one person.

Source: al-Fatḥ al-Mubīn 1/305

And Hamza Muhammad Qasim writes:

الأولى أن يحمل قوله حتى يحب لأخيه على عموم الأخوة حتى يشمل الكافر و المسلم فيحب لأخيه الكافر ما يحب لنفسه من الدخول في الإسلام ولذلك ندب الدعاء له بالهداية وقد كان النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم يدعو لكفار قريش بالخير و يحبه لهم و يقول اللهم اهد قومي فإنهم لا يعلمون ومما يؤكد أن المراد محبة الخير للناس جميعاً لا فرق بين مسلم وكافر قوله صلى الله عليه وسلم أفضل الإيمان أن تحب للناس ما تحب لنفسك و تكره لهم ما تكره لنفسك

The Prophet’s saying to love for his brother what he loves for himself is interpreted as universal brotherhood, such that it includes the disbeliever and the Muslim, and he should love for his brother the disbeliever what he loves for himself which is his entering Islam. For this reason it is recommended to supplicate for their guidance. The Prophet invited the unbelievers of the Quraish to goodness and he loved good for them. He would say: O Allah, guide my people for they do not know. This confirms that the meaning is to love good for all people. There is no difference between a Muslim and a disbeliever in his saying that the best faith is to love for people what you love for yourself and to hate for people what you hate for yourself.

Source: Manār al-Qārī 1/91

In another narration, the Prophet, SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam, said:

لَا يُؤْمِنُ أَحَدُكُمْ حَتَّى يُحِبَّ لِأَخِيهِ أَوْ قَالَ لِجَارِهِ مَا يُحِبُّ لِنَفْسِهِ

None of you has faith until he loves for his brother or his neighbor what he loves for himself.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 45, Grade: Sahih

And in another narration, the Prophet, SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam, said:

وَالَّذِي نَفْسِي بِيَدِهِ لَا يُؤْمِنُ عَبْدٌ حَتَّى يُحِبَّ لِأَخِيهِ مَا يُحِبُّ لِنَفْسِهِ مِنْ الْخَيْرِ

By Him in whose Hand is my soul, a servant does not believe until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself of goodness.

Source: Sunan al-Nasā’ī 5017, Grade: Sahih

And in another narration, the Prophet, SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam, said:

لَا يَجِدُ أَحَدٌ حَلَاوَةَ الْإِيمَانِ حَتَّى يُحِبَّ الْمَرْءَ لَا يُحِبُّهُ إِلَّا لِلَّهِ

None of you will find the sweetness of faith until he loves a person only for the sake of Allah.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 5694, Grade: Muttafaqun Alayhi

And in another narration, the Prophet, SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam, said:

لَا يُؤْمِنُ أَحَدُكُمْ حَتَّى يُحِبَّ لِلنَّاسِ مَا يُحِبُّ لِنَفْسِهِ وَحَتَّى يُحِبَّ الْمَرْءَ لَا يُحِبُّهُ إِلَّا لِلَّهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ

None of you has faith until he loves for the people what he loves for himself, and until he loves a person only for the sake of Allah the Exalted.

Source: Musnad Aḥmad 13463, Grade: Sahih

And in another narration, the Prophet, SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam, said:

لا يَبْلُغُ عَبْدٌ حَقِيقَةَ الإِيمَانِ حَتَّى يُحِبَّ لِلنَّاسِ مَا يُحِبُّ لِنَفْسِهِ مِنَ الْخَيْرِ

The servant does not reach the reality of faith until he loves for the people what he loves for himself of goodness.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Ibn Ḥibbān 238, Grade: Sahih

The reference to “people” in this and other versions of this tradition indicate that this principle applies to all of humanity.

Al-Munawi writes:

ولفظ الناس يشمل الكفار فينبغي لكل مسلم أن يحب للكافر الإسلام وما يتفرع عليه من الكمالات

The use of the word people includes the unbeliever, so it is befitting for every Muslim to love for the unbeliever to have Islam and the virtues that derive from it.

Source: Fayḍ al-Qadīr 1/228

There are many traditions on the authority of several companions in which the Prophet, SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam, taught us to treat people the way we would love to be treated, to hate for evil things to happen to others, and to spread peace on earth.

Abdullah ibn Amr, RadhiAllahu Anhu, reported: The Messenger of Allah, SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam, said:

مَنْ أَحَبَّ أَنْ يُزَحْزَحَ عَنْ النَّارِ وَيَدْخُلَ الْجَنَّةَ فَلْتُدْرِكْهُ مَنِيَّتُهُ وَهُوَ يُؤْمِنُ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَيَأْتِي إِلَى النَّاسِ مَا يُحِبُّ أَنْ يُؤْتَى إِلَيْهِ

Whoever would love to be delivered from the Hellfire and entered into Paradise, then let him die with faith in Allah and the Last Day, and let him treat the people the way he would love to be treated.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 1844, Grade: Sahih

An-Nawawi comments on this tradition, saying:

هَذَا مِنْ جَوَامِعِ كَلِمِهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَبَدِيعِ حِكَمِهِ وَهَذِهِ قَاعِدَةٌ مُهِمَّةٌ فَيَنْبَغِي الِاعْتِنَاءُ بِهَا وَأَنَّ الْإِنْسَانَ يَلْزَمُ أَلَّا يَفْعَلَ مَعَ النَّاسِ إِلَّا مَا يُحِبُّ أَنْ يَفْعَلُوهُ مَعَهُ

This is among the comprehensive sayings of the Prophet, SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam, his marvelous wisdom, and an important rule. It deserves to be given close attention, that the human being must not deal with people except in a way he would love to be treated by them.

Source: Sharḥ Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 1844

Abu Huraira, RadhiAllahu Anhu, reported: The Messenger of Allah, SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam, said:

لَا تَدْخُلُونَ الْجَنَّةَ حَتَّى تُؤْمِنُوا وَلَا تُؤْمِنُوا حَتَّى تَحَابُّوا أَوَلَا أَدُلُّكُمْ عَلَى شَيْءٍ إِذَا فَعَلْتُمُوهُ تَحَابَبْتُمْ أَفْشُوا السَّلَامَ بَيْنَكُمْ

You will not enter Paradise until you believe and you will not believe until you love each other. Shall I show you something that, if you did, you would love each other? Spread peace between yourselves.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 54, Grade: Sahih

In another narration, the Prophet, SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam, said:

وَالَّذِي نَفْسِي بِيَدِهِ لا تَدْخُلُوا الْجَنَّةَ حَتَّى تُسْلِمُوا وَلا تُسْلِمُوا حَتَّى تَحَابُّوا  وَأَفْشُوا السَّلامَ تَحَابُّوا وَإِيَّاكُمْ وَالْبُغْضَةَ فَإِنَّهَا هِيَ الْحَالِقَةُ لا أَقُولُ لَكُمْ تَحْلِقُ الشَّعْرَ وَلَكِنْ تَحْلِقُ الدِّينَ

By the one in whose hand is my soul, you will not enter Paradise until you submit, and you will not submit until you love one another. Greet each other with peace and you will love one another. Beware of hatred, for it is the razor. I do not say it shaves hair, but rather it shaves away the religion.

Source: al-Adab al-Mufrad 260, Grade: Hasan

And in another narration, the Prophet, SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam, said:

وَأَحِبَّ لِلنَّاسِ مَا تُحِبُّ لِنَفْسِكَ تَكُنْ مُؤْمِنًا وَأَحْسِنْ جِوَارَ مَنْ جَاوَرَكَ تَكُنْ مُسْلِمًا

Love for the people what you love for yourself and you will be a believer. Behave well with your neighbors and you will be a Muslim.

Source: Sunan Ibn Mājah 4217, Source: Sahih

And in another narration, the Prophet, SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam, said:

وَأَحْسِنْ إِلَى جَارِكَ تَكُنْ مُؤْمِنًا وَأَحِبَّ لِلنَّاسِ مَا تُحِبُّ لِنَفْسِكَ تَكُنْ مُسْلِمًا

Be kind to your neighbor and you will be a believer. Love for the people what you love for yourself and you will be a Muslim.

Source: Sunan al-Tirmidhī 2305, Grade: Hasan

Abu Huraira, RadhiAllahu Anhu, reported: The Messenger of Allah, SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam, said:

سَأَلَ مُوسَى رَبَّهُ وقَالَ فَأَيُّ عِبَادِكَ أَحْكُمُ قَالَ الَّذِي يَحْكُمُ لِلنَّاسِ كَمَا يَحْكُمُ لِنَفْسِهِ قَالَ فَأَيُّ عِبَادِكَ أَعَزُّ قَالَ الَّذِي إِِذَا قَدَرَ غَفَرَ

Moses said: Who is the best in judgment of your servants? Allah said: Those who judge people as they would love to be judged themselves. Moses said: Who are the most honored of your servants? Allah said: Those who forgive when they have power over others.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Ibn Ḥibbān 6352, Grade: Hasan

Az-Zubair ibn Awwam, RadhiAllahu Anhu, reported: The Messenger of Allah, SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam, said:

دَبَّ إِلَيْكُمْ دَاءُ الْأُمَمِ قَبْلَكُمْ الْحَسَدُ وَالْبَغْضَاءُ هِيَ الْحَالِقَةُ لَا أَقُولُ تَحْلِقُ الشَّعَرَ وَلَكِنْ تَحْلِقُ الدِّينَ وَالَّذِي نَفْسِي بِيَدِهِ لَا تَدْخُلُوا الْجَنَّةَ حَتَّى تُؤْمِنُوا وَلَا تُؤْمِنُوا حَتَّى تَحَابُّوا أَفَلَا أُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِمَا يُثَبِّتُ ذَاكُمْ لَكُمْ أَفْشُوا السَّلَامَ بَيْنَكُمْ

There have come to you the diseases of the nations before you: envy and hatred, and hatred is the razor. It shaves the religion and it does not shave hair. By the one in whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, you will not believe until you love one another. Shall I tell you something which, if you did, you would love each other? Spread peace between yourselves.

Source: Musnad Aḥmad 1415, Grade: Sahih

Abdullah ibn Al-Muntafiq, RadhiAllahu Anhu, reported: He said, “O Messenger of Allah, teach me what will save me from Allah’s punishment and enter me into Paradise.” The Messenger of Allah, SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam, said:

اعْبُدِ اللَّهَ وَلا تُشْرِكْ بِهِ شَيْئًا وَأَقِمِ الصَّلاةَ الْمَكْتُوبَةَ وَأَدِّ الزَّكَاةَ الْمَفْرُوضَةَ وَحُجَّ وَاعْتَمِرْ وَأَظُنُّهُ قَالَ وَصُمْ رَمَضَانَ وَانْظُرْ مَا تُحِبُّ لِلنَّاسِ أَنْ يَأْتُوهُ إِلَيْكَ فَافْعَلْهُ بِهِمْ وَمَا تَكْرَهُ أَنْ يَأْتُوهُ إِلَيْكَ فَذَرْهُمْ مِنْهُ

Worship Allah and do not associate anything with Him. Establish the prescribed prayers, give the obligatory charity, fast the month of Ramadan. However you love for the people to treat you, then treat them that way. However you hate for the people to treat you, then do not treat them that way.

Source: al-Mu’jam al-Kabīr 15833, Grade: Sahih

Yazeed ibn Asad, RadhiAllahu Anhu, reported: The Messenger of Allah, SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam, said:

يَا يَزِيدُ أَحِبَّ لِلنَّاسِ مَا تُحِبُّ لِنَفْسِكَ

O Yazeed, love for people what you love for yourself.

Source: Musnad Aḥmad 16220, Grade: Sahih

In another narration, the Prophet, SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam, said:

أَتُحِبُّ الْجَنَّةَ

Do you love Paradise?

Yazeed said yes. The Prophet, SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam, said:

فَأَحِبَّ لِأَخِيكَ مَا تُحِبُّ لِنَفْسِكَ

Then love for your brother what you love for yourself.

Source: Musnad Aḥmad 16219, Grade: Hasan

Abu Al-Mughirah, RadhiAllahu Anhu, reported: I said, “O Messenger of Allah, tell me about a deed that will bring me near Paradise and distance me from the Hellfire.” The Messenger of Allah, SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam, said:

تُقِيمُ الصَّلَاةَ وَتُؤْتِي الزَّكَاةَ وَتَحُجُّ الْبَيْتَ وَتَصُومُ رَمَضَانَ وَتُحِبُّ لِلنَّاسِ مَا تُحِبُّ أَنْ يُؤْتَى إِلَيْكَ وَتَكْرَهُ لَهُمْ مَا تَكْرَهُ أَنْ يُؤْتَى إِلَيْكَ

Establish the prayer, give the charity, perform pilgrimage to the House, fast the month of Ramadan, and love for people what you would love for yourself, and hate for people what you would hate for yourself.

Source: Musnad Aḥmad 15453, Grade: Hasan

Ibn Mas’ud, RadhiAllahu Anhu, reported: The Messenger of Allah, SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam, said:

فَمَنْ كَانَ يُؤْمِنُ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الآخِرِ فَلْيَأْتِهِ مَنِيَّتُهُ وَهُوَ يَأْتِي إِلَى النَّاسِ مَا يُحِبُّ أَنْ يُؤْتَى إِلَيْهِ

Whoever has faith in Allah and the Last Day, then let him meet his end while he treats people the way he would love to be treated.

Source: al-Mu’jam al-Kabīr 10370, Grade: Hasan

Mu’adh ibn Anas, RadhiAllahu Anhu, reported: The Messenger of Allah, SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam, said:

أَفْضَلُ الْإِيمَانِ أَنْ تُحِبَّ لِلَّهِ وَتُبْغِضَ فِي اللَّهِ وَتُعْمِلَ لِسَانَكَ فِي ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ

The best faith is to love for the sake of Allah, to hate for the sake of Allah, and to work your tongue in the remembrance of Allah.

Mu’adh, RadhiAllahu Anhu, said, “How is it, O Messenger of Allah?” The Prophet, SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam, said:

وَأَنْ تُحِبَّ لِلنَّاسِ مَا تُحِبُّ لِنَفْسِكَ وَتَكْرَهَ لَهُمْ مَا تَكْرَهُ لِنَفْسِكَ وَأَنْ تَقُولَ خَيْرًا أَوْ تَصْمُتَ

That you love for the people what you love for yourself, and you hate for the people what you hate for yourself, and that you speak goodness or remain silent.

Source: Musnad Aḥmad 21627, Grade: Sahih li ghayri

Aisha, RadhiAllahu Anha, reported: The Messenger of Allah, SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam, said:

أَتَدْرُونَ مَنْ السَّابِقُونَ إِلَى ظِلِّ اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ

Do you know who are the foremost to the shade of Allah the Exalted on the Day of Resurrection?

They said, “Allah and his Messenger knows best.” The Prophet, SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam, said:

الَّذِينَ إِذَا أُعْطُوا الْحَقَّ قَبِلُوهُ وَإِذَا سُئِلُوهُ بَذَلُوهُ وَحَكَمُوا لِلنَّاسِ كَحُكْمِهِمْ لِأَنْفُسِهِمْ

They are those who accept the truth when they receive it, who offer the truth when they are asked for it, and who judge people the way they judge themselves.

Source: Musnad Aḥmad 23858, Grade: Hasan

An-Nu’man ibn Basheer, RadhiAllahu Anhu, reported: The Messenger of Allah, SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam, said:

الْمُسْلِمُونَ كَرَجُلٍ وَاحِدٍ إِنْ اشْتَكَى عَيْنُهُ اشْتَكَى كُلُّهُ وَإِنْ اشْتَكَى رَأْسُهُ اشْتَكَى كُلُّهُ

The Muslims are like a single man. If the eye is afflicted, then the whole body is afflicted. If the head is afflicted, then the whole body is afflicted.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2586, Grade: Sahih

Al-Halimi commented on this tradition, saying:

وَكَذَلِكَ يَنْبَغِي أَنْ يَكُونُوا وَكَمَا لا يُحِبُّ أَحَدٌ لإِحْدَى يَدَيْهِ إِلا مَا يُحِبُّ لِلأُخْرَى وَلا لإِحْدَى عَيْنَيْهِ أَوْ رِجْلَيْهِ أَوْ أُذُنَيْهِ إِلا مَا يُحِبُّ لِلأُخْرَى فَكَذَلِكَ يَنْبَغِي لَهُ أَنْ لا يُحِبَّ لأَخِيهِ الْمُسْلِمِ إِلا مَا يُحِبُّ لِنَفْسِهِ

It is befitting for them to be like that. As one hand would not love but what the other loves, and one eye or one leg or one ear would not love but what the other loves. Likewise, he should not love for his Muslim brother except what he loves for himself.

Source: Shu’b al-Imān 10379

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