Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said, “A Muslim is a brother of another Muslim.” I believe the prophet was teaching us that we should treat each other as brothers irrespective of one’s complexion/colour, tribe or financial status. On whether we Muslims today follow this teaching or not that is subjective.
I took a random survey among the working Muslim brothers to find out what they think about working for their fellow Muslims and those working for them, their experiences.
“I wouldn’t like to work for my fellow Muslim because they don’t treat us well. When one complains may be due to poor conditions of employment, they will tell you not to be like those non Muslims. You are my brother in faith and yet they will make you work more hours than your fellow workers who are not Muslims.” Said one brother who preferred anonymity for fear of being victimized.
While another brother commented: “that is why most Muslim professionals prefer not to work for their fellow Muslims because the employers tend not to recognize them as professionals especially if they are of different race or tribe.” This reminded me when I traveled to South Africa and got a job from one of our Muslim brothers there.
The experience I had really made me think the same way like my brothers. What really surprises me is that our prophet (SAW) advised his followers who owned servants to treat them fairly, give them the same food that those masters ate and yet here we are treating our fellow brothers like second class citizens. In recent times, we have seen in the media how the women from Indonesia who go to Saudi Arabia to work as maids are treated. It is indeed inhuman to treat others the way those individuals treated those women.
What we do not realize is the message such treatments to our fellow human beings send to the world and how such messages tarnish the image of Islam. The way we treat other people also says a lot about our faith. Islam is a way of life. But imagine how others will look at that “way of life”. If we Muslims lived according to the teachings of Islam, we could become good models to humanity and this in turn has a potential of acting as a public relations for our religion Islam.
Have we forgotten that day when our prophet (saw) went out of the town and met this lady who told him that she was leaving the town because she didn’t want to meet Prophet Muhammad who was a bad person. But when he disclosed to her that he was actually prophet Muhammad, the woman embraced Islam because what she saw was different from what she heard. I believe this is how we should live. We are the followers of the living Qur’an (Muhammad-SAW)