The Believer Is the Mirror of His Brother and Sister

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“The believer is the mirror of the believer. A believer is the brother of a believer, protecting his wealth in his absence and surrounding him against future evils.” 1

In a similar hadith, the Messenger of God (peace and blessings be upon him) said: ‘The believer is the mirror of the believer. When he sees something on him, he takes it and throws it away.’’ 2

What does it mean for a believer to be the mirror of another believer?

Just as a mirror cannot see itself, a person may not see their own flaws. However, like a person looking at themselves in a mirror and recognizing their faults in another object, one of the important ways to see our own mistakes is to reflect upon the errors and shortcomings we observe in our fellow believers. Similarly, seeking guidance from our fellow believers and asking them to advise us on our mistakes can be another valuable method.

The hadith also indicates that an individual can only blossom within society, meaning that one can develop their individual capabilities within the community.

If an individual isolates themselves from society—given their nature as social beings—they will have deviated from their inherent path and closed off the avenue to develop their capabilities. Within the community, believers will see the generally positive aspects of each other, thus creating a virtuous and fertile cycle of mutual observation.

The greatest favor from God to a person is showing them their own faults. True believers with insight can, as a result of their worship performance and by the grace of God recognize and correct their own shortcomings.

In his famous work Ihyau Ulum ad-Din, Al-Ghazali mentions four ways in which a person can recognize their own faults:

1. By seeking guidance from a mature spiritual guide who is aware of the states leading to moral decay;

2. By finding a sincere, pious, and insightful fellow believer and mutually committing to checking and advising each other;

3. By observing one’s enemies and learning from the criticisms spoken against oneself in their words;

4. Recognizing that a believer is the mirror of another believer, thus looking at other believers and reflecting on their mistakes to realize similar faults within oneself.

They asked Jesus, “Who taught you?” He replied, “I distanced myself from it because I disliked the ignorance of the ignorant.”3

What is the relationship of the believer with another believer?

The hadith “The relationship of one believer with another is like two hands washing each other clean” 4 beautifully illustrates the state of brothers. When we wash our hands, the distinction

between the two hands disappears, and they function as a single hand. Similarly, believers should look at each other with a brotherhood that transcends worldly concerns, aiming to purify one another from sins.

“The believer is a brother to another believer. In their absence, they safeguard what belongs to them and prevent harm to their possessions.’’5.

As expressed in this hadith, a fundamental aspect of the ethics of brotherhood is to protect the belongings of one’s brother. A believer is a trustworthy individual who instills confidence and preserves the property, family, and rights of their brother in their absence.

These hadiths emphasize the importance of believers advising and counseling each other. Additionally, they guide Muslims to protect the possessions, families, and rights of one another.

Selçuk Camcı

Selçuk Camcı is a graduate of Theology in 1992 and completed his master’s degree in the Department of Hadith. He is currently a doctoral student in Islamic law. Camcı has worked as an editor in religious publications, including the Yeni Ümit magazine. Additionally, he received training in Chaplaincy (spiritual guidance) in the United States.

Footnotes

1.Bukhari, Al-Adabu’l-Mufrad, 178; Tirmidhi, Birr, 18; Abu Dawud, Adab, 49.

2.Munawi, Fayzu’l-Qadir, 6/352.

3.Al-Ghazali, Ihyau Ulum ad-Din, 3/146-148.

4.Ali al-Muttaqi, Kanzu’l-Ummal, 1/155.

5.Ali al-Muttaqi, Kanzu’l-Ummal, 1/152.

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