Hadith 13

Chapter: Part of eemaan is loving for one’s brother what one loves for himself

Musaddad narrated from Yahya from Shu’ba from Qatadah from Anas that the Prophet said, “None of you believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.”

Ibn Hajar’s explanation

His (Bukhari) saying, “Part of eemaan”

Al-Kirmaani said, “He (Bukhari) used the wording ‘part of eemaan….’ whereas his brothers (other scholars) named the characteristic before eemaan, ‘feeding people is part of eemaan’. Bukhari intended either to emphasize the importance or confine the meaning (i.e. eemaan is restricted to this attribute), as if saying ‘This type of love only occurs when eemaan exists.’ The later assessment is agreeable except that it would also have to apply to the (heading of) the following chapter, ‘loving the prophet is from eemaan’, which deserves its importance emphasized and meaning restricted (however the wording is reversed). So apparently he (Bukhari) only altered the words as a method of variation, or he put the Prophet’s name forward to bring attention to loving the prophet. And Allah knows best.

  • This narration was also recorded with the wording mentioned by Musaddad, “A slave (of Allah) does not believe until he loves for his brother and for his neighbor.”

  • It was recorded by Al-Isma’eeli by way of Rawh from Hussain as, “until he loves for his Muslim brother what he loves for himself of good”, indicative of the purpose of brotherhood and what this type of love entails.

  • Muslim added in the beginning (of the same narration) by way of Abu Khaythamah from Yahya Al-Qattan, “By the one whose hand my soul is in…”

His saying, “None of you believes (has eemaan)”

This is reference to a person who claims eemaan, and it only negates the perfection of eemaan (not eemaan in its entirety). This is an example of using the name (eemaan) to negate perfection from it, which occurs at times in their language (the Arabs) as when they say, “So and so is not a person” (meaning he lacks certain qualities of a good person)

-If it were said, this understanding also means that the one who possesses this quality (loving for his brother what he loves for himself) would then have to be considered a complete believer.

The answer is that it this quality must be combined with the other characteristics of the believer, as is supported by the narration of Ibn Hibban, “The servant does not reach the reality of eemaan…”,‘Reality’ here meaning completeness.  It is important to note that the one who does not possess this quality does not become a disbeliever. As was described earlier, the eemaan is of levels or ranks and this is one of the branches of eemaan and part of humbleness as will be explained.

His saying, “Until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself”

Meaning from good (things), as Al-Isma’eele and An-Nas’ai recorded.  This general word ‘good’ includes (wanting for one’s brother) obedience to Allah as well as benefits in the worldly life and in the hereafter, and does not include (wanting for one’s brother) that he indulge in the prohibitions because they are not of the good.

‘Loving’ (for his brother) includes wanting for him everything believed to be good. Al-Nawawi said, “’Loving’ is preferring what is pleasing for the one who is loved, and this may include apparent good, doing good actions (towards him), and helping with what benefits and prevents harm (from him).”

Preferring the good (for him) comprises of hoping that the same type of good that would occur to oneself would also occur (to his brother), whether it be from tangible matters or meaningful (intangible) matters.  It does not necessarily mean that one should hope exactly what occurred to oneself should occur to his brother.

Abu Al-Zanad Ibn Siraj said, “The apparent meaning of the hadith is seeking equality (of good for one’s brother), and its reality entails preference (of one’s brother to oneself) because every person wants to be better than others. So if he loves for his brother what he loves for himself then he would want his brother to be better than him (as he wants to be better than others). Although Al-Qadhi `Eyadh also endorsed this opinion, it is debatable due to the fact that the aim of the hadith is to rid people of this feeling (of wanting to be better than others).  Humbleness, being a sought after characteristic (in Islam), entails that one does not have to be better than others, and this is also understood from the words of Allah,

تِلْكَ الدَّارُ الْآخِرَةُ نَجْعَلُهَا لِلَّذِينَ لا يُرِيدُونَ عُلُوّاً فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلا فَسَاداً

That home of the Hereafter (i.e. Paradise), We shall assign to those who do not rebel against the truth with pride and oppression in the land nor do mischief by committing crimes.

And this is not accomplished except by abandoning envy, grudges, spite, and cheating which are all despised qualities.


Al- Kirmaani said, “Also from eemaan is hating for one’s brother what one hates for oneself of evil, and this wasn’t mentioned because loving something includes hating its opposite.”

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