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Golden Rule in Islam

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. In some form this is found in almost all religions and ethical systems

By Abu Amina Elias / 26 Feb 2013

The golden rule, or the ethics of reciprocity, is an Islamic moral principle which calls upon people to treat others the way they would like to be treated. According to the Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy, the golden rule is defined as:

Any form of the dictum: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. In some form this is found in almost all religions and ethical systems. [Blackburn, Simon. "Golden Rule."]

This principle was stated several times by our Prophet Muhammad, so it is a principle Muslims should discuss when sharing Islam with people of other religions.

Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

لَايُؤْمِنُأَحَدُكُمْحَتَّىيُحِبَّلِأَخِيهِأَوْقَالَلِجَارِهِمَايُحِبُّلِنَفْسِهِ

“None of you has faith until he loves for his brother or his neighbor what he loves for himself.” [Sahih Muslim, Book 1, Number 72]

An-Nawawi comments on this tradition, saying:

 الأولىأنيحملذلكعلىعمومالأخوةحتىيشملالكافروالمسلمفيحبلأخيهالكافرمايحبلنفسهمندخولهفيالإسلامكمايحبلأخيهالمسلمدوامهعلىالإسلامولهذاكانالدعاءبالهدايةللكافرمستحباوالمرادبالمحبةإرادةالخيروالمنفعةثمالمرادالمحبةالدينيةلاالمحبةالبشرية

“It is better to interpret this as brotherhood in general, such that it includes the disbeliever and the Muslim. So he should love for his brother, the disbeliever, what he loves for himself which is his entering Islam, just as he should love for his brother Muslim that he remains in Islam. For this reason, it is recommended to supplicate for the disbeliever to be guided. The meaning of love here is an intention for good and benefit, and this meaning is religious love, not human love.” [Sharh Arba’een An-Nawawi, Hadith Number 13]

In another narration, he (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

وَالَّذِينَفْسِيبِيَدِهِلَايُؤْمِنُعَبْدٌحَتَّىيُحِبَّلِأَخِيهِمَايُحِبُّلِنَفْسِهِمِنْالْخَيْرِ

“By Him in whose Hand is my soul, a servant does not believe until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself of goodness.”[Musnad Ahmad, Number 12734, Sahih]

In another narration, he (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

لَايُؤْمِنُأَحَدُكُمْحَتَّىيُحِبَّلِلنَّاسِمَايُحِبُّلِنَفْسِهِوَحَتَّىيُحِبَّالْمَرْءَلَايُحِبُّهُإِلَّالِلَّهِعَزَّوَجَلَّ

“None of you has faith until he loves for the people what he loves for himself; and until he loves a person only for the sake of Allah the Exalted.”[Musnad Ahmad, Number 13463, Sahih]

In another narration, he (peace and blessings be upon him)  said:

لايَبْلُغُعَبْدٌحَقِيقَةَالإِيمَانِحَتَّىيُحِبَّلِلنَّاسِمَايُحِبُّلِنَفْسِهِمِنَالْخَيْرِ

“The servant does not reach the reality of faith until he loves for the people what he loves for himself of goodness.”[Sahih Ibn Hibban, Book of Faith, Number 238, Sahih]

In another narration, he (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

لَايَجِدُأَحَدٌحَلَاوَةَالْإِيمَانِحَتَّىيُحِبَّالْمَرْءَلَايُحِبُّهُإِلَّالِلَّهِ

“None of you will find the sweetness of faith until he loves a person only for the sake of Allah.”[Sahih Bukhari, Book 73, Number 67]

Abdullah ibn Amr (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

مَنْأَحَبَّأَنْيُزَحْزَحَعَنْالنَّارِوَيَدْخُلَالْجَنَّةَفَلْتُدْرِكْهُمَنِيَّتُهُوَهُوَيُؤْمِنُبِاللَّهِوَالْيَوْمِالْآخِرِوَيَأْتِيإِلَىالنَّاسِمَايُحِبُّأَنْيُؤْتَىإِلَيْهِ

“Whoever would love to be delivered from the Hellfire and entered into Paradise, then let him die with faith in Allah and the Last Day, and let him treat the people the way he would love to be treated.”[Musnad Ahmad, Number 6768, Sahih]

In another narration, he (peace and blessings be upon him)  said:

مَنْسَرَّهُأَنْيُزَحْزَحَعَنِالنَّارِوَيَدْخُلَالْجَنَّةَفَلْتَأْتِهِمَنِيَّتُهُوَهُوَيَشْهَدُأَنْلاإِلَهَإِلااللَّهُوَأَنَّمُحَمَّدًاعَبْدُهُوَرَسُولُهُوَيَأْتِيإِلَىالنَّاسِمَايُحِبُّأَنْيُؤْتَىإِلَيْهِ

“Whoever would be delighted to be delivered from the Hellfire and entered into Paradise, then let him die while he witnesses that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad is His servant and His messenger; and he treats people the way he loves to be treated.”[At-Tabarani, Al-Ma’jam Al-Awsat, Number 4881, Hasan]

Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

لَاتَدْخُلُونَالْجَنَّةَحَتَّىتُؤْمِنُواوَلَاتُؤْمِنُواحَتَّىتَحَابُّواأَوَلَاأَدُلُّكُمْعَلَىشَيْءٍإِذَافَعَلْتُمُوهُتَحَابَبْتُمْأَفْشُواالسَّلَامَبَيْنَكُمْ

“You will not enter Paradise until you believe and you will not believe until you love each other. Shall I show you something that, if you did, you would love each other? Spread peace between yourselves.”  [Sahih Muslim, Book 1, Number 96]

In another narration, he (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

وَالَّذِينَفْسِيبِيَدِهِلاتَدْخُلُواالْجَنَّةَحَتَّىتُسْلِمُواوَلاتُسْلِمُواحَتَّىتَحَابُّوا  وَأَفْشُواالسَّلامَتَحَابُّواوَإِيَّاكُمْوَالْبُغْضَةَفَإِنَّهَاهِيَالْحَالِقَةُلاأَقُولُلَكُمْتَحْلِقُالشَّعْرَوَلَكِنْتَحْلِقُالدِّينَ

“By the one in whose hand is my soul, you will not enter Paradise until you submit, and you will not submit until you love one another; greet each other with peace and you will love one another; and beware of hatred, for it is the razor; I do not say it shaves hair, but it shaves away the religion.”

[Al-Bukhari, Al-Adab Al-Mufrad, Number 260, Hasan]

In another narration, he (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

وَأَحْسِنْإِلَىجَارِكَتَكُنْمُؤْمِنًاوَأَحِبَّلِلنَّاسِمَاتُحِبُّلِنَفْسِكَتَكُنْمُسْلِمًا

“Be kind to your neighbor and you will be a believer; love for the people what you love for yourself and you will be a Muslim.”[Sunan At-Tirmidhi, Book of Asceticism, Number 2305, Sahih]

In another narration, he (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

وَأَحِبَّلِلنَّاسِمَاتُحِبُّلِنَفْسِكَتَكُنْمُؤْمِنًاوَأَحْسِنْجِوَارَمَنْجَاوَرَكَتَكُنْمُسْلِمًا

“Love for the people what you love for yourself and you will be a believer; behave well with your neighbors and you will be a Muslim.”[Sunan Ibn Majah, Book of Asceticism, Number 4217, Sahih]

In another narration, he (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

وَأَحِبَّلِلْمُسْلِمِينَالْمُؤْمِنِينَمَاتُحِبُّلِنَفْسِكَوَأَهْلِبَيْتِكَوَاكْرَهْلَهُمْمَاتَكْرَهُلِنَفْسِكَوَأَهْلِبَيْتِكَتَكُنْمُؤْمِنًاوَجَاوِرْمَنْجَاوَرْتَمِنَالنَّاسِبِإِحْسَانٍتَكُنْمُسْلِمًا

“Love for the Muslims, the believers, and the people of your house what you love for yourself; and hate for them and the people of your house what you hate for yourself, and then you will be a believer; be a good neighbor to whomever will be your neighbor among the people and you will be a Muslim.”

[Al-Bayhaqi, Shu’b Al-Iman, Number 10369, Sahih]

Abu Muntafiq (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: He said, “O Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him), teach me what will save me from Allah’s punishment and enter me into Paradise.” The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

اعْبُدِاللَّهَوَلاتُشْرِكْبِهِشَيْئًاوَأَقِمِالصَّلاةَالْمَكْتُوبَةَوَأَدِّالزَّكَاةَالْمَفْرُوضَةَوَحُجَّوَاعْتَمِرْوَأَظُنُّهُقَالَوَصُمْرَمَضَانَوَانْظُرْمَاتُحِبُّلِلنَّاسِأَنْيَأْتُوهُإِلَيْكَفَافْعَلْهُبِهِمْوَمَاتَكْرَهُأَنْيَأْتُوهُإِلَيْكَفَذَرْهُمْمِنْهُ

“Worship Allah and do not associate anything with Him; establish the prescribed prayers; give the obligatory charity; (and I think he said) fast the month of Ramadan; and however you love for the people to treat you, then treat them that way; and however you hate for the people to treat you, then do not treat them that way.”[At-Tabarani, Al-Ma’jam Al-Kabeer, Number 15833, Sahih]

Khalid ibn Abdullah Al-Qasri (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: He was giving a sermon upon the pulpit, saying that his father told him that his grandfather said: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

أَتُحِبُّالْجَنَّةَ

Do you love Paradise?

He said, “Yes.” The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

فَأَحِبَّلِأَخِيكَمَاتُحِبُّلِنَفْسِكَ

“Then love for your brother what you love for yourself.”[Musnad Ahmad, Number 16219, Sahih]

Az-Zubair ibn Awwam (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

دَبَّإِلَيْكُمْدَاءُالْأُمَمِقَبْلَكُمْالْحَسَدُوَالْبَغْضَاءُهِيَالْحَالِقَةُلَاأَقُولُتَحْلِقُالشَّعَرَوَلَكِنْتَحْلِقُالدِّينَوَالَّذِينَفْسِيبِيَدِهِلَاتَدْخُلُواالْجَنَّةَحَتَّىتُؤْمِنُواوَلَاتُؤْمِنُواحَتَّىتَحَابُّواأَفَلَاأُنَبِّئُكُمْبِمَايُثَبِّتُذَاكُمْلَكُمْأَفْشُواالسَّلَامَبَيْنَكُمْ

“The diseases of the former peoples are creeping towards you, envy and hatred, and hatred is the razor; I do not say that it shaves hair, but rather it shaves the religion; and none of you has faith until he loves others; shall I tell you what will establish that for you? Spread peace between yourselves.”

[Sunan At-Tirmidhi, Book of Resurrection, Number 2510, Hasan]

Abu Al-Mughirah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: He said, “O Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him), tell me about a deed that will bring me near Paradise and distance me from the Hellfire.” The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

تُقِيمُالصَّلَاةَوَتُؤْتِيالزَّكَاةَوَتَحُجُّالْبَيْتَوَتَصُومُرَمَضَانَوَتُحِبُّلِلنَّاسِمَاتُحِبُّأَنْيُؤْتَىإِلَيْكَوَتَكْرَهُلَهُمْمَاتَكْرَهُأَنْيُؤْتَىإِلَيْكَ

“Establish the prayer, give the charity, perform pilgrimage to the House, fast the month of Ramadan, and love for people what you would love for yourself, and hate for people what you would hate for yourself.”[Musnad Ahmad, Number 15453, Hasan]

Mu’adh (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

أَفْضَلُالْإِيمَانِأَنْتُحِبَّلِلَّهِوَتُبْغِضَفِياللَّهِوَتُعْمِلَلِسَانَكَفِيذِكْرِاللَّهِ

“The best faith is to love for the sake of Allah, to hate for the sake of Allah, and to work your tongue in the remembrance of Allah.”

Mu’adh (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “How is it, O Messenger of Allah?” He (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

وَأَنْتُحِبَّلِلنَّاسِمَاتُحِبُّلِنَفْسِكَوَتَكْرَهَلَهُمْمَاتَكْرَهُلِنَفْسِكَوَأَنْتَقُولَخَيْرًاأَوْتَصْمُتَ

“That you love for the people what you love for yourself, and you hate for the people what you hate for yourself, and that you speak goodness or remain silent.”[Musnad Ahmad, Number 21627, Hasan]

Ibn Rajab comments on these traditions, saying:

  قَالَبَعْضُالصَّالِحِينَمِنَالسَّلَفِأَهْلُالْمَحَبَّةِلِلَّهِنَظَرُوابِنُورِاللَّهِوَعَطَفُواعَلَىأَهْلِمَعَاصِياللَّهِمَقَتُواأَعْمَالَهُمْوَعَطَفُواعَلَيْهِمْلِيُزِيلُوهُمْبِالْمَوَاعِظِعَنْفِعَالِهِمْوَأَشْفَقُواعَلَىأَبْدَانِهِمْمِنَالنَّارِوَلَايَكُونُالْمُؤْمِنُمُؤْمِنًاحَقًّاحَتَّىيَرْضَىلِلنَّاسِمَايَرْضَاهُلِنَفْسِهِوَإِنْرَأَىفِيغَيْرِهِفَضِيلَةًفَاقَبِهَاعَلَيْهِفَتَمَنَّىلِنَفَسِهِمِثْلَهَافَإِنْكَانَتْتِلْكَالْفَضِيلَةُدِينِيَّةًكَانَحَسَنًا

“Some of the righteous predecessors said, “The people who love Allah look by the light of Allah, and they are compassionate with those who disobey Allah. They hate their actions but show mercy to them so that through their admonitions they might leave their actions. They are afraid that the Hellfire will consume their bodies. The believer will not truly be a believer until he is pleased for people to have what he is pleased for himself. If he sees in someone else some merit by which they excel him, then he wishes the like of it for himself. If that merit is related to the religion then it is good.”[Ibn Rajab, Jami’ Ulum wal-Hikam 13]

Success comes from Allah, and Allah knows best.

 

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