Narrated ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr radhiAllahu ‘anhu:
The Prophet said,
“A Muslim is the one who avoids harming Muslims with his tongue and hands. And a Muhajir [emigrant] is the one who gives up (abandons) all what Allah has forbidden.”
[Volume 1, Book 2, Number 10]
This hadeeth tells us about two things:
- Who is a Muslim? (In specific terms)
- Who is an emigrant? (In general terms)
First, a Muslim is one who does not hurt or harm another Muslim, be it by his tongue or by his hands.
Hurting Others by Tongue
This is done through backbiting, slandering, lying, scolding using abusive language, taunting and mocking, irritating and annoying others. For e.g., the way we annoy and tease our siblings by hurling names at them, spreading rumors about others, etc.
Hurting Others by One’s Hands
One can hurt others by hitting, pushing, shoving off or poking them. We can also hurt others by our hands by writing nasty comments about them online, writing something that harms others’ feelings, dignity and honor. Other ways through which we can harm others by our hands is stealing or hiding someone else’s belongings. How often do we do this with our siblings and friends? Just to tease them we hide their belongings and then take pleasure in their frantic search.
Does this mean that whosoever hurts other Muslims by any of these two ways, does not remain a Muslim?
No, this is incorrect. As mentioned in the beginning, the hadeeth talks about who a Muslim is in specific terms. It cannot be generalized for all the Muslims. In general a Muslim is one who adheres to the five pillars of Islam stated in hadeeth # 8. But when we talk about the specific attributes of a Muslim it is that his fellow Muslims are safe from him. The hadeeth uses the word “Al-Muslim” which suggests being a complete Muslim – complete in submission to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. And how does that happen? By combining the rights of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and the rights of the servants of Allah. Rights of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala can be fulfilled by abiding by the five pillars of Islam. And the rights of the people can be honored by not hurting them in the least.
Second, an emigrant is one who leaves all that Allah Almighty has forbidden. It is important to note in this definition as well that Muhajir is also of two types:
- General: one who leaves all that Allah Almighty has forbidden
- Specific: one who leaves that place where there is Fitnah for his religion
This hadeeth is talking about the general hijrah [migration]. It means leaving all types of bad habits and deeds which not only ruin a person but also bring upon Allah’s displeasure, for example, watching haram stuff, backbiting, hanging out with opposite gender, etc. Our specific hijrah can only be beneficial if it is accompanied with general hijrah. Some people claim that the one living in a non-Muslim country can only perfect his faith when he migrates to a Muslim majority country. But are there not non-practicing Muslims in the Muslim countries? The way some Islamic countries have emerged in the recent past, they put the Western countries to shame. There are open bars and clubs providing haram entertainment to the people. There is free-mixing between opposite genders in the schools, at work places and at social gatherings. There is loud music at weddings and parties to which men and women freely dance together.
As Muslims, we should remember that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is everywhere, and one is responsible for the faith no matter where in the world they are. One should stay with the righteous companions whether they are in a Muslim country or a non-Muslim country and stay away from all that is forbidden.
It is of utmost importance, in both the definitions of a Muslim and an emigrant that their specific and general types be combined in our daily lives. We cannot consider one of the two types and neglect the other. What good are our prayers and fasting if we still lie and spread false rumors about others? Similarly, what good is our hijrah to a Muslim country where while going in the mosque we step over others to get to the first row which is already full? Or that we throw garbage wherever we want to?
May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala give us deep understanding and implementation of His Deen, aameen.