15 – Duties of Brotherhood – Shaykh Riad Saloojee

In this lesson, visiting scholar, Shaykh Riad Saloojee gives an overview of the Chapter on Duties of Brotherhood from Imam Al-Ghazali’s Ihya. This chapter is divided into several sections:

[1] The virtues of fraternal relations and brotherhood
[2] Loving one another for the sake of Allah
[3] How one should deal with and interact with people engaging in varying levels of disobedience
[4] The criteria for choosing a companion
[5] The rights that are due upon us vis a vis others

This lesson will focus on the first principles of character and its connection to the spiritual quest to Allah. The first question then is, what is character? Character is what one looks like on the inside, our internal image. Character is dependent on the beauty of one’s heart, and the fruits of a beautified heart is character.

The Prophet, peace be upon him, was of the utmost character and he is our guide to the best of character. In fact, the Prophet, peace be upon him, says that the reason he was sent was to perfect our character. As such, whomever is better than you in character is better than you in deen. Shaykh Riad goes on to describe some of the characteristics of those with good character such as respect, patience and truthfulness.

Shaykh Riad concludes the lesson by reminding us that our societies and cultures are cultivated through the sum of our individual characters. The key to lifting our institutions and societies is to first begin by beautifying our individual characters.

In this brief overview of Imam Ghazali’s opus magnum, Ihya Ulum al-Din (Renewing the Religious Sciences), this series will serve as blueprint for how the believer can bring to life their religion. It will aim to help the believer to not just practice the form of the religion properly, but to also practice it with excellence.

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