"The Believers are but a single Brotherhood." [Al-Hujurat 49:10]
"A Muslim is the brother of another Muslim. He does not oppress him, nor does he
leave him at the mercy of others." [Sahih Muslim].
The Islamic Brotherhood is not based on economic interests, race, or color. It is based
on something infinitely superior: Rejection of falsehood and acceptance of the Truth as
revealed by the One True God.
Not only is this Brotherhood based on faith, it is also a part of that faith. The
Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, said: "You cannot enter paradise unless you
become a total believer and you won't become a total believer unless you love each
other." Obviously, faith and community are inseparable in the faith community
produced by Islam. Even a casual reader of Qur'an would note that it almost always
addresses the Believers and not the Believer. All acts of worship that are declared
pillars of Islam have a collective form. The five daily prayers are best performed in
congregation, that being twenty-seven times more valuable than the individual prayer. The
special Friday prayer cannot be offered individually at all. Zakat is obviously aimed at
making the rich of the community take care of the needs of its poor. Fasting, an
essentially individual act, has been given a collective form through unity in time. Hajj
enforces unity in both time and place, bringing the believers together in the plains of
Arafat in their remembrance of Allah.
Those who join in the worship of Allah produce a Brotherhood that embodies the best
moral values of the faith: Mercy, compassion, fear of Allah, piety, and justice. It is a
Solid Cemented Structure [As-Saff, 61:4], a tremendous force in the service of Right and
against Wrong. Its members are to help each other in righteousness and piety but not in
sin and rancor [Al-Maida 5:2]. They are to be "strong against unbelievers but
compassionate amongst each other [Al-Fat-h 48:29]. They do not do injustice to others nor
do they tolerate any injustice to themselves. In their love and concern for each other,
all members of this Brotherhood are one body: when any part of the body suffers, the whole
body feels the pain [Sahih Muslim].
This Brotherhood was established in the most unlikely place: Arabia, where before Islam
internecine war was a way of life. On both social and political levels, this was one of
the greatest achievements of Islam. On both levels, it remains one of Islam's greatest
goals. We can imagine the sensitivity of the Shariah about it by reflecting on its
teachings regarding the relations between believers. It is forbidden, for example, for two
Muslims to start a whispering conversation in the presence of the third. This might offend
the one left out and weaken the Brotherhood. It is not permissible for a Muslim to sever
relations with his brother for more than three days. "It is sufficient evil for a
Muslim that he should look down upon his brother. The life, wealth, and honor of a Muslim
are inviolable by another Muslim." [Sahih Muslim]. The books of hadith are full of
This Brotherhood was a force for good, a purveyor of peace and justice for everyone. It
provided stability in a quarrelsome world. To the downtrodden and oppressed everywhere, it
provided freedom. When it was powerful, it even saved the Jews and Christians in Palestine
and Spain from each other.
Two unfortunate developments in this century have impaired this Brotherhood. The first
was the destruction of Khilafah and the emergence of independent nation-states in the
Muslim world. This made it possible for "national interests" to be declared that
are at cross-purposes to the interests of the Brotherhood. Not only that, it destroyed the
means for both defining and defending the Brotherhood interests. The second development
was the emergence of the United Nations Organization and the participation of individual
Muslim nation-states in it, solely at its terms. The U.N. was and remains an organization
of unequal powers, designed to perpetuate that inequality. Its purpose was to establish
hegemony of the Western alliance over the rest of the world--- not for any higher moral
purpose but solely for economic exploitation. Its very structure (with real decision
making in the hands of a few in the Security Council ) guaranteed the disenfranchisement
of the weak, and the entire Muslim world found itself in that category at the end of
While the U.N. has failed miserably in its declared goals, it has been tremendously
successful in the real ones. While it promised peace and justice, it has delivered death
and destruction, exploitation and oppression. It provided legal cover for the first U.S.-
Iraq war in 1991. It facilitated the carnage in Bosnia by tying the hands of the victims.
It has perpetuated genocide in Iraq through the imposition of the most brutal economic
sanctions in the history of the world, resulting in death of a million people through
starvation and disease.
If any one country or group of countries had tried to commit such atrocities on their
own, there would have been a tremendous reaction. But we have allowed ourselves to be
deceived by the legal camouflage provided by the U.N. And witness how low we have fallen
with our own accord. Muslims are not allowed to kill the women and children of their
enemies even in war. How could we support the killing of our own women and children? A
Muslim is not really a believer if he eats his full while ignoring the plight of a hungry
neighbor. How could a believer then participate in economic sanctions designed to starve
his own people to death?
When giving commands regarding the Islamic Brotherhood, the Qur'an uses a beautiful
style with a profound message. Instead of saying, "greet each other" it says,
"greet yourself." [An-Nur 24:61]. Instead of saying, "do not defame each
other," it says, "do not defame yourself." [Al-Hujurat 49:11]. Instead of
saying, "do not kill each other," it says, "do not kill yourself."
[An-Nisaa 4:29]. The message is clear: Whatever is happening to others in the Brotherhood,
is actually happening to yourself. Any aggression against any part of the Brotherhood is
an aggression against all of it.
We must free the Brotherhood from the servitude to the ideology of nation-states and
the unjust international organizations so we can stop killing ourselves.