Just as loyalty and sincere devotion to Allah, brotherhood and solidarity are the important attributes of believers. The Qur’an tells that all believers are brothers; they are the people sharing the same feelings who strive for the same end, adhere to the same book and struggle to reach the same goal. Consequently, solidarity becomes the natural feature of a community made up of believers. Allah describes this attachment of believers in the following verse:
Truly Allah loves those who fight in His Cause in battle array, as if they were a solid cemented structure. (As-Saff, 4)
As related in the verse above, fighting in the cause of Allah is a command of Allah.
And hold fast, all together, by the rope which Allah (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves; and remember with gratitude Allah’s favor on you; for you were enemies and He joined your hearts in love, so that by His Grace, you became brethren; and you were on the brink of the pit of Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus do Allah make His Signs clear to you: That you may be guided. (Al-E-Imran, 103)
Believers are modest people who have fellow feeling and mercy for each other. Therefore, unity and solidarity among them is naturally maintained. But still in this community, there are reasons to be cautious; some erroneous behaviors may give harm to this solidarity and create an unfriendly atmosphere among believers.
The basic reason of such undesired behaviors is surely the soul. It is true that a believer is tolerant and warm. Yet, everybody has the wicked sides of the soul and in case of heedlessness, a person may well be driven by the negative side of the soul; to put it another way, jealousy, selfishness or ambition may influence him.
That is why the Qur’an stresses the impact of these negative aspects of soul as a serious threat to unity among believers. Considering that the soul, a manifestation of satan in human, can mislead man, believers should avoid to use a style or wording that will prompt the wicked side of another believer.
Say to My servants that they should (only) say those things that are best: for Satan do sow dissensions among them: For Satan is to man an avowed enemy. (Isra, 53)
The verse surely gives an important message. In the verse, Allah commands believers to address each other in the best manner possible (not in a good manner but in the best manner). Here an important feature of the satan is revealed: Satan aims to create dispute among believers.
The essential method satan employs to break the unity among believers is to inculcate the feeling of competition into the hearts of believers. In state of heedlessness, a believer may well be grabbed by delusions of grandeur and develop an ambition to attain a particular status in the society. In such a mood, it is all possible that he may try to establish supremacy over other believers. Similarly, he may feel envy of his brother for one reason or another. Though the word “envy” may sound as a feeling that may be excused, it actually has a more serious significance; it is an explicit rebel against Allah. In the Qur’an it is described as thus: “Or do they envy mankind for what Allah has given them of his bounty?…” (An-Nisa, 54) As the verse suggests, all the favors are bestowed by Allah and being envious of the favors given to others is simply opposing the will of Allah. That is why believers should mindfully stay away from such an attitude. Otherwise, it would not be a conduct which will serve in attaining the will and pleasure of Allah. Besides, as the verse informs, it is detrimental to the unity of believers:
Consequently, a believer should never let competition or dispute prevail among his brothers. Considering the primitive nature of this feeling, his soul should never be driven by it. Furthermore, he should never arouse this feeling in others. Being unpretentious and modest eradicates the danger of competition among believers. Another key attribute of a believer stressed in the Qur’an is being self-sacrificing. A believer always gives priority to the needs and wishes of other believers and displays a virtuous spirit. What is more he takes pleasure in assuming such an attitude. The Qur’an describes this attitude as follows:
But those who before them, had homes (in Medina) and had adopted the Faith,- show their affection to such as came to them for refuge, and entertain no desire in their hearts for things given to the (latter), but give them preference over themselves, even though poverty was their (own lot). And those saved from the covetousness of their own souls,- they are the ones that achieve prosperity. (Al-Hashr, 9)
Essentially, envy, competition and dispute are the three basic factors posing a serious threat to the maintenance of brotherhood and solidarity among the believers. Competition, likely to be aroused by ambition, do harm to the brotherhood bond. This is indeed a detriment to the soul and leads to a moral regression.
However, it is all senseless to waste time by hindering the efforts of other believers through competition and envy, while for each individual endless opportunities lie ahead to earn the good pleasure of Allah. Hence, competition never prevails in an environment where the common goal is the good pleasure of Allah. Never forget that the community of believers is like a body in which each organ functions in close cooperation with another for the general well-being. In this sense, believers should see the success of their brothers like their own success. This is quite an important concept. There are numerous verses in the Qur’an relating the importance of brotherhood. In one verse, a prayer made by believers is recounted:
And those who came after them say: “Our Lord! Forgive us, and our brethren who came before us into the Faith, and leave not, in our hearts, rancor (or sense of injury) against those who have believed. Our Lord! You are indeed Full of Kindness, Most Merciful.” (Al-Hashr, 10)
A dispute or controversy among the believers will impair the entire struggle. Such an attempt would lessen the unity and power of believers while strengthen the unbelievers. Indeed, unless believers remain as protectors of each other, oppression would prevail. The Qur’an relates the following:
Unbelievers are protectors, one of another: Unless you do this, (protect each other), there would be tumult and oppression on earth, and great mischief. (Al-Anfal, 73)
There are explicit commands about the brotherhood and unity among the believers:
Be not like those who are divided amongst themselves and fall into disputations after receiving Clear Signs: For them is a dreadful penalty,- (Al-E-Imran, 105)
They ask you concerning (things taken as) spoils of war. Say: “(such) spoils are at the disposal of Allah and the Messenger: So fear Allah, and keep straight the relations between yourselves: Obey Allah and His Messenger, if you do believe.” (Al-Anfal, 1)
As for those who divide their religion and break up into sects, you have no part in them in the least: their affair is with Allah: He will in the end tell them the truth of all that they did. (Al-Anaam, 159)
The believers are obliged to be merciful and compassionate towards each other. Modesty is the distinctive attribute of a believer. Arrogance and envy are not the characteristics of the believers, but the unbelievers. Thus believers should avoid to be grabbed by this evil side of their souls and constantly ask the protection of Allah, repent, and amend. The end that awaits those who do not curb the evil of the soul is described in the following verse:
O you who believe! if any from among you turn back from his Faith, soon will Allah produce a people whom He will love as they will love Him,- lowly with the believers, mighty against the rejecters, fighting in the way of Allah, and never afraid of the reproaches of such as find fault. That is the grace of Allah, which He will bestow on whom He pleased And Allah encompassed all, and He knew all things. (Al-Maeda, 54)