Being a Sister to My Sisters in Islam

Being a Sister to My Sisters in Islam

Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “There is no kindness in a thing but it adds beauty to it, and there is no absence of kindness but it disfigures a thing.” (Muslim)

More than 20 years ago the poem “Isn’t the woman there my sister” was penned to voice the concerns of a new revert to Islam and her struggle to be accepted and included in the sisterhood of Islam. Our Muslimah sisterhood involves support, loyalty, inclusiveness and is a trust.  

Welcome Each Other 

The Prophet taught us the best Adab (etiquette) for welcoming the newcomer that shows our mutual affection as Muslims. 

“Oh you who have believed, when you are told, 'Make room [for one another]' in gatherings, then make room; Allah will make room for you. And when you are told: 'Arise!' then arise. Allah will raise those who have believed among you and those who were given knowledge by degrees. And Allah is acquainted with what you do.”

(Quran 58:11). 

Give Each Other The Salams 

By nature, we crave to be acknowledged.  Extending the Salams (Islamic greeting) is a mercy and good deed that can brighten someone’s day. We certainly cannot let shyness or unfamiliarity cause us to neglect this Adab (etiquette). There are no cliques in Islam!

The Prophet said, “By the One in Whose hand is my soul, you will not enter Paradise until you believe, and you will not believe until you love one another. Shall I not tell you of something that if you do it, you will love one another? Spread Salam amongst yourselves.” (Sahih Muslim)

Pray Together 

Congregational prayer increases our collective reward and intensifies our sisterhood.  When Muslimahs are together, it is Mustahabb (recommended) to pray in congregation, shoulder to shoulder and also for one woman to stand in the center and lead. Mustahabb is an Islamic term referring to recommended or virtuous actions and means a ‘beloved thing' that under Islamic Fiqh (jurisprudence) falls between a neutral and Wajib (required) act. 

The Prophet said, “Make your rows straight, stand shoulder to shoulder and close the gaps, and do not resist your brothers’ hands. Do not leave any gaps for the Shaytan. Whoever completes a row, Allah will reward him, and whoever breaks a row, Allah will forsake him” (Bukhari, Muslim). 

No Racism 

In our sisterhood, our diversity enhances our love and respect for each other. The Quran instructs us to recognize and acknowledge our differences.  Variations of the Arabic word “Arafa” as a passive particle can mean “honorable”,”‘rights”, “kind”, and “fair”, which broadens our understanding of the way we should regard each other.  

“Oh humankind! We have made you…into nations and tribes, so that you may get to know one another. The noblest of you in God’s sight is the one who is most righteous.”

(Quran 49:13)

No Ridicule

In a true sisterhood we support each other and create a safe space. Sisters protect the interests of each other and refrain from harming, even jokingly, with our deeds or words.

“O believers! Do not let some men ridicule others, they may be better than them, nor let some women ridicule other women, they may be better than them. Do not defame one another, nor call each other by offensive nicknames. How evil it is to act rebelliously after having faith! And whoever does not repent, it is they who are the true˺wrongdoers.”

(Quran 49:11)

Compassion And Concern 

In our sisterhood we uphold the values of graciousness and attend to the needs of each other in both good times and times of trial.

The Prophet said, “The rights of one Muslim over another are six.” It was said: “What are they, O Messenger of Allah?”  He said:

“(1) If you meet him, greet him with salaam;

 (2) if he invites you, accept the invitation;

 (3) if he asks for advice, give him sincere advice;

 (4) if he sneezes and praises Allah, say Yarhamuk Allah (may Allah have mercy on you);

(5) if he falls sick, visit him; and

(6) if he dies, attend his funeral.”

(Sahih Muslim – The Book of Salam)

No Division And Love Each Other For The Sake Of Allah 

As sisters, we may disagree sometimes, but we are not divided. The most important part of our sisterhood is our humbleness with each other and unification in our desire to do what is most pleasing to Allah, The Most High.

And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided... 

(Quran 3:104)


Isn’t The Woman There My Sister?

Isn’t the woman there my sister?

in Islam, I mean to say

For I just took my shahadah

at the masjid here today


Isn’t the woman there my sister?

I openly ask without any qualms

The one who just walked past me

Without offering me her salaams


Isn’t the woman there my sister?

Though she stands alone to pray

Each time I move to touch her shoulder

She takes a step and pulls away


Isn’t the woman there my sister?

the lady that is not of my race,

for both of us are Muslim women

with varied hues making up our face


Isn’t the woman there my sister?

Who laughed and made fun of me

And those other sisters of mine who listened

Doesn’t their silence make them also guilty


Isn’t the woman there my sister?

Who didn’t call me when I was sick

For she seems to only show concern

for those special sisters, in her own clique


Isn’t the woman there my sister?

Who I invited for iftar in my home

But unfortunately, she did not make it

How I wish she had bothered to phone


Isn’t the woman there my sister?

Don’t we both love our religion – this Deen?

Then why am I sharing my lament

About her being uncaring, indifferent and mean?

Isn’t the woman there my sister?

Won’t she open up and try to treasure

The love I want and need to share with her

As we both seek Allah’s Merciful Pleasure


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