Dear brothers in Islam,
Allah has given the Muslims the title of brothers between each other because they are connected by religion and belief. The connection by belief is the strongest of all connections. Prophet ^alayhis-salam made apparent the elements of this brotherhood. He, peace be upon him, said what means: <<Beware of thinking ill of your Muslim brothers, for that can be – in most cases – to the contrary of the truth, do not chase their defects, do not spy on them, do not con them into buying something, do not envy them, do not show hatred towards them and do not take them as foes, rather, be brothers in obedience to Allah>>.
In this hadith, the Prophet ^alayhis-salam advised us to refrain from thinking ill of our Muslim brothers without any valid religious reason. The Prophet did not mean the mere thoughts that cross one’s heart, as one is unable to prevent them.
It was narrated that ^Umar Ibn al-Khattab said: “it is not permissible for a Muslim who hears his Muslim brother saying a word to rush and hold ill thoughts about it when there is a possibility that it could carry a positive implication”.
Imam ^Aliyy said: “If you know of your Muslim brother as having good traits, then you should ignore the bad talks of people about this person. Furthermore, the one who outwardly has a good reputation amongst people, then we would tend to assume that inwardly such a person is good as well”.
What is meant here by thinking ill of your Muslim brother is the unjustifiable accusation such as to accuse one of fornication without any valid proof. For that reason, the Prophet added: “do not chase their defects” which means that you should not investigate to get information about your Muslim brothers using your eyes and ears.
As to spying, it is to look for something that is hidden, particularly to expose people for the bad things they might have done.
As to the najash which the Prophet forbade, it occurs when a person offers a higher price for an item to con another buyer by making him think that if he buys it for the offered price he would be making a good bargain. This is unlawful because one is not allowed to trick his fellow Muslim.
As to envy, which is Haram and is mentioned in the hadith, it is for one to feel disturbed that another Muslim has a certain endowment to a point that one acts in a way to make that Muslim lose this endowment.
As to the saying of the Messenger of Allah peace be upon him: “ولاتباغضوا”, it means that one should not seek the means that lead to holding grudges against his fellow Muslims.
As to ‘at-tadabur’, it is defined as enmity or breaking up with one’s Muslim brother. This occurs when they turn their back to each other upon meeting.
In this hadith, the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him started by warning Muslims against thinking ill of one another, then connected this ill thinking with the grudges one holds in his heart or envy one demonstrates because these bad traits stem from ill thinking.
As to the saying of the Messenger of Allah “وكونواعباد الله إخوانا” which means ‘O slaves of Allah be like blood brothers’, it means treat your Muslim brother the way you treat your blood brother. Treat one another with sympathy, mercy, and kindness, support each other, advise each other and help one another in doing the acts of obedience. Do all that with sincerity and seeking rewards from Allah.
Brothers in Islam, the Scholars of Islam authored many books highlighting the bad traits people may possess and how to seek remedy for them. They took their information from the teacher of goodness, the Messenger of Allah peace be upon him who summarised all that by saying: <<One will not have all the characteristics of a pious believer until one loves for his Muslim brother that which he loves for himself>>.