We all know the importance of brotherhood in Islam. But a reminder nonetheless; Allah (swt) says:
The Believers are but a single Brotherhood: So make peace and reconciliation between your two (contending) brothers; and fear Allah, that ye may receive Mercy.
And the Prophet (saw) said:
“A believer to another believer is like a building whose different parts enforce each other.” The Prophet then clasped his hands with the fingers interlaced (while saying that).
And this concept of brotherhood in Islam is well-known and understood by all. But in practice it seems to be lacking. It is easy for us to have goodwill and mahabbah for those whom we like, for our friends and family. It is easy for us to get along with those who agree with our views. But when it comes to those who disagree with us, suddenly it is a different matter. When disagreements come up and we start arguing with people over whatever, it seems as if the rules of brotherhood in Islam no longer apply. And this is really where the real test of brotherhood lies – our ability to get along respectfully with those who disagree with us. If one follows the ways of the Deobandis and he does not have any sense of brotherhood with those who are Barelwis (and vice versa), then where is the brotherhood? If one is a Salafi and he has no sense of fellow-feeling with those who practice Tasawwuf (and vice versa), then where is the brotherhood? Aina al-mahabbah? Aren’t we all believers in the same Allah? So why do we allow these differences to divide us? Why is there enmity in the hearts of those who all bow down to one Allah? And the worst are those who have taken this to the extreme, in that declare as kafir those who do not subscribe to their views. How is this in concordance with the spirit of brotherhood which should exist? It is not uniformity of opinion that is sought, for this is an impossibility. It is only that our hearts be united and that we do not let minor differences create barriers between us. If someone holds a certain view concerning any issue, and it is something which is not of the fundamentals of the Din, and his view is one that does not take him outside the fold of Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah, then these views should be tolerated.
So look to those who disagree with you and see if you still find in your heart brotherhood and love, or enmity and hate. And remove the enmity from your heart. It will make you of the people of Paradise.