Narrated by Ḥaḍrat Anas, Allāh be pleased with him:
Said the Prophet of Allāh (peace and blessings of Allāh be on him): “By God Who holds my life in His Hand, none of you can be a truly faithful Muslim, unless he liked for his brother what he liked for himself.”
This Ḥadīth sets forth the true standard of Islāmic brotherhood. It is unfortunate that most of the people of our day are engrossed in self-interest and in accumulating every benefit for themselves to the exclusion of others. It is about these people that the Holy Qur’ ān observes:
“Woe unto those who, when they receive the measure from others, they get it in full but when they weigh it out to others, they give out less. Do they think they will never be raised and brought before their Lord?”
Islām cuts at the root of egoism and makes it obligatory on true Muslims to like for their brothers what they would like for themselves. It does not, however, mean that the special rights of relations that the Sharī‘ah has laid down should be ignored. As, for instance, a father is bound to maintain his young children, the husband to maintain his wife, and children to support their aged and dependent parents. Likewise, the Sharī‘ah has apportioned shares for heirs on the death of a person: widow, children, parents and others inherit definite portions of the legacy as their respective shares. Similarly it has been enjoined with great emphasis to look after the well-being of other relations, neighbors and friends. These rights as laid down are of course there.
Leaving them aside, in our day-to-day relationships and dealings, Islām expects every Muslim, and enjoins upon him, to like for his brother what he would like for himself and should not have a double measure, one set for himself and another set for others. In another Ḥadīth our Lord the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of All āh be on him) has described Muslims as limbs of one body and as the whole body is ill at ease where a limb pains, so should all the Muslims feel ill at ease when one Muslim suffers. This is the high place of brotherhood to which the Prophet of Allāh (may my soul be devoted to his cause) proposes to elevate us. Would that we valued this injunction.
[taken from Forty Gems of Beauty]