Take to maintaining close ties with each other, standing shoulder to shoulder, advising each other, being nice to each other, meeting and visiting each other, supporting each other, consoling each other. Each of you should love for his brother whatever he loves for himself. Fulfill the obligations imposed on you by being brethren in faith, which Allah Almighty mandated when He said: "The believers are but a single brotherhood” (Qur'an, 49:10).
Texts have emphasized this to such an extent that there is left no room for excuse. In the authenticated narration of Abu al-Ma’aza, Imam al-Sadiq (peace be upon him) is quoted as having said, "A Muslim is the brother of another Muslim; he does not oppress him, nor does he betray or deceive him. Muslims must endeavor to stay in touch with each other, be affectionate towards each other and console those who are in need…"[i]
In the reliable narration of al-Sukuni, the Imam (peace be upon him) is quoted as citing the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him and his progeny) saying, "People are dependents of Allah; so, the one among people who is the most loved by Allah is the one who benefits Allah's dependents, bringing happiness into a home."[ii]
In a tradition narrated by Aban ibn Taghlib from Imam Al-Sadiq (peace be upon him), the latter said, "If one is always in touch with his brethren, either assisting in preventing loss or bringing about gain, Allah Almighty will keep his feet firm on the Day on which the feet will slip away [into Hell]."[iii]
In a tradition narrated by Abu Hamzah al-Thumali, Imam Zain al-Abidin (peace be upon him) is quoted as having said, "One who takes care of his brother's need, he has actually started to do what Allah wishes from him, and Allah will reward him by taking care of a hundred of his needs in one of which lies Paradise."[iv]
And in his authenticated narration, he quotes Imam al-Baqir (peace be upon him) citing the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him and his progeny) saying, "Whoever makes a believer happy, makes me happy, and whoever makes me happy, makes Allah Almighty happy."[v]
In the authenticated narration of al-Mufaddhal ibn Umar, Imam al-Sadiq (peace be upon him) is quoted as having said, "Nobody should think that when he pleases a Muslim, he did so only to him; rather, by Allah, he thus pleases us; rather, by Allah, he thus pleases the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him and his progeny)."[vi]
In an authenticated narration of Shu`ayb al-Aqarqufi, the latter says that he heard [Imam] Abu Abdullah [al-Sadiq] (peace be upon him), as saying this to his followers: "Fear Allah and be kind to your brethren, loving each other for the sake of Allah, remaining in touch with each other, enjoining mercy. Visit each other, meet with each other and remind each other of us and keep our message alive."[vii]
In a tradition narrated by Khaythamah, the Imam (peace be upon him) is quoted as telling him the following: "Convey our greetings to our followers, and enjoin them to fear Allah and to do what is right: Their healthy ones should visit their sick; their rich should visit their poor; their living should attend the funeral of their dead; they should meet at their homes, teach each other the religion's sciences, for this is how our message remains alive; may Allah have mercy on a servant of Allah who keeps our message alive…"[viii]
There are many such texts narrated in various words, all containing lofty meanings in encouraging people to uphold these teachings and prohibiting its abandonment, warning against the latter.
All the above should be done accompanied by good demeanor, ease and clemency and such requirements of good companionship. Islam has in its great Book emphasized it, and so has the Holy Prophet and his immaculate Progeny (peace be upon them all), all condoning good manners, leniency, good companionship and a beautiful way of socializing with non-Muslims, as will come later, in addition to the believers among each other.
All believers must pay attention to this aspect. They must awake the motivation of brotherhood in their souls; stimulate the attitude of affection among them. This is especially emphasized for you living in foreign lands, when you get together at the time of calamity and affliction. Wherever you go in these lands, you are a minority which cannot maintain its entity except by doing the above. It is through this that you remain together, united. Allah will assist you and support you.
[i]Wasaail Al-Shi'a, Vol. 8, p. 542.
[ii]Ibid., Vol. 11, p. 563.
[iii]Ibid., Vol. 11, p. 564.
[v]Ibid., Vol. 11, p. 569.
[vi]Ibid., Vol. 11, p. 570.
[vii]Ibid., Vol. 8, p. 411.