Q: These days, Muslims look down upon each other. Each considers the other as inferior and many groups go to the extent of denouncing each other. Then what is all this talk of Brotherhood? Is it all only in books? Please explain.
“Do not hate each other and do not envy one another, and do not turn your back on each other. Servants of Allah, be always brothers. It is not lawful for anyone to boycott his brother for over three nights. They may meet and each of them turns his face away. The one who is first to greet the other is the better one of the two of them. ” This Hadith shows how much importance Islam attaches to the brotherhood of Muslims and how it discourages any action that tends to weaken the bond of brotherhood. That means that it is permissible, although by no means encouraged, for two Muslims not to be on speaking terms for a shorter period. This should be understood as a concession which is given in view of what quarrels may take place between people who are otherwise good Muslims. It is only natural for a human being to get angry at times and to allow his anger to get the better of him. This may lead to an estrangement or a boycott between them. Muslims who find themselves in such a situation are allowed three days to let their tempers cool down. Quarrels which result from long harbored hate or envy will take much longer to mend. However, we are commanded by the Prophet not to entertain such feelings for any length of time against fellow Muslims. Perhaps it should be added here that when a person fears that his continued relationship with a particular person is bound to cause him harm, whether in respect of his worldly interest or in respect of his fulfillment of his Islamic duties, he will be right not to maintain a very close relationship with that person. He need not boycott him altogether, but he may keep him at arm’s length. Sometimes when a quarrel takes place between two people, they regret it and both of them are eager to mend the relationship, but they cannot bring themselves to start the process of reconciliation.