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Contents of Duties of Brotherhood in Islam

by Sangharakshita

The Duties of Brotherhood in Islam” Seminar CONTENTS Page 1



1Why this text was chosen for a seminar
2Buddhist texts dealing specifically with friendship?
Background reading on Islam?
2-3The Sunnis and the Shi'as The Imams
The Ayatollahs
4The eight Duties of Brotherhood
4-5Marriage versus friendship
5'Mits' Nepalese blood brothers
6The First Duty of Brotherhood - The material duty
7A Hadith - a saying attributed to Muhammad
7-12Friends engaged in a common enterprise
8-9Only a human being can make a promise or a contract
9An abandonment of possessiveness and selfishness
10Violence within the nuclear family
11-12Comparing the nuclear family and the extended family
12The importance of having a common aim
12-13The three degrees of the first duty
i)Not waiting for someone to ask (one to give) - placing your brother on the footing of a slave
13ii)Placing your brother on the same footing as yourself
14iii)Preferring your brother to yourself
15-18Sufi fraternities and the Sufis in general
18-19How far back does one go to encounter one's real roots?
Marriage and celibacy in Sufism.
19Sex and spirituality in Sufism not in conflict
20Living in communities away from the family but still being in the family
20-22Various illustrative examples from the text
22The seven levels of meaning in Christianity and the Bible
The Christian God laughing his enemies to scorn
The Duties of Brotherhood in Islam” Seminar CONTENTS Page 2
23Brothers/friends are co-owners of each other's worldly goods
24The positive concept of slavery in Islam. Concepts of slavery in the West, and among the Ancient Greeks
24-29Real freedom and real slavery The slave of god
26Importing understandings of terms from one tradition to another and creating confusion
29Illustrations to show the importance of sharing and giving
Putting the brother before oneself
29-35Giving to one's brother rather than to the poor. Showing the importance and value of cultivating brotherhood
36Christian views of Muhammad
37Taking every opportunity to observe the duties of brotherhood
38More individualism and possessiveness in modern Western (English) society?
40General Islam - Prophets before Muhammad but not after
41Buddhism coming into contact with communism
41-44Next Session. Chapter Two The Second Duty - rendering 'personal aid' to the satisfaction of needs
44Giving one's brother the benefit of the doubt
45No exchange or bargaining in friendship
No tradition of thanking people in India
47Reasonable and unreasonable demands
48Do not estrange even your enemies
49Breaches of human solidarity
Attending to the needs of one's brother's dependants
51Responsibility to one's parents when they are older
52Thinking seriously before taking on extra responsibilities which may conflict with responsibilities as an Order member
53Giving preference over oneself to one's brother's need
54-55Brothers being even dearer than the family
56Angels in Islam
57'If they are sick, visit them, if they are busy, help them, if they have forgotten remind them.'
58Making the most of the situation in hand
59A brother without need?
60Greeting someone
61Sharing happiness, food
63A little about angels
Next Session - speech
Disruptive gossiping during lectures in India
64Chapter Three - The Third Duty - the tongue
65Concealing people's faults rather than revealing them
65-66Not disputing or arguing
The Duties of Brotherhood in Islam” Seminar CONTENTS Page 3
66Starting conversations at inappropriate times or on inappropriate matters (or both!)
67Even telling lies if questioned inappropriately
68Breaching confidentiality
69Separate womens's quarters in the Muslim household
69-70Being able to chastise the children of others
70-71Not passing on criticisms and passing on praise
Expressing thanks more often
'Promote good and prevent evil' in the Muslim context
Burning people at the stake out of one's love for them (in Christianity)!
72Feasting on people's misdeeds in Sunday (and other) newspapers - why?
72-74Condemning other's faults whilst ignoring our own
75Freud and the inhibition of the sexual impulse
75-77Reducing everything to economic and historical forces
76Artistic genius
77Next Session
Keeping in mind the good qualities of one's brother
78The believer tries to find excuses for others
Giving people the benefit of the doubt
80The god of judgement and forgiveness
Concealing the good and revealing the bad
81-87The curse of egalitarianism
82Treating people as non-individuals - Feminism
86Seeing others as sex objects
87Being wilfully stupid and not wanting to think clearly and logically and intelligently
88The sexual relationship as mutual exploitation
89-91Inevitable sexual 'hanky-panky' in mixed sex situations
91More text. Rationalisation
92Unquestioning acceptance of pseudo-liberal ideology!
93Male terminology in books and readings
94Why are there more women than men on mixed retreats?
95Feminism as the near enemy of the spiritual life?
96Inferring the state of horizontal relationships from vertical relationships and vice-versa
97Giving up suspicions
97-102Suspicion and giving the benefit of the doubt
100-101The word imagination used in a negative sense in Johnson's writings
The Duties of Brotherhood in Islam” Seminar CONTENTS Page 4
103Concealing and overlooking (deliberately) the faults of one's brother
104-106Giving preference to one's brother over oneself
107What is the Inner?
Experiencing one's rancour in isolation
108Being put off Islam or Buddhism by those not being able to practise whilst claiming to
The Jewish Torah
110Is lying permissible under any circumstances in Buddhism?
A hierarchy among the silas/precepts
111Living together without disharmony
112Public behaviour and private behaviour
113Victorian values and male friendships
115Did the Buddha have a 'private' life?
Assuming familiarity when it doesn't exist
116Tibetans posing for photographs in their best clothes
117-119Formality and reactions to it
118-119Formal modes of greeting
120Honesty and openness as a principle
121Instances when confidentiality cannot be kept
The duty to 'the church' versus the duty to society
122Lying in court
123Not placing oneself in open conflict with society, if possible
125Breaking laws with which one is in moral disagreement
Mahatma Gandhi's legacy of disrespect for the law
126The constitution of a country and its laws
127The partition of India and end of British rule
128-131The ability to keep a secret
131Quotes from the texts about secrets
132-134Being selective in telling and accepting secrets
134The observance of silence
134-135Giving away secrets when losing self control - through anger, contentment, greed or desire.
137-144Unnecessary contention/dispute
139Being very careful about making enemies
140Expression of emotion as opposed to indulgence in negative emotion
141-143Not mocking one's brother - ridicule
143Showing a cheerful face around the Centre
The Duties of Brotherhood in Islam” Seminar CONTENTS Page 5
A lack of trust and co-operativeness
144Bhante's experience of husbands and wives
145Co-operativeness as an aspect of individuality
General comments from the study of this chapter - the individual and the state
146The danger of loyalty to a particular political party
147Simplistic views and assumptions about government/authority
148Political slogans and caricaturing attitudes in the FWBO?
148-149Resorting to extreme statements in politics
149-150Nuclear weapons and nuclear disarmament
Being clear about ends but open to different means to that end
152The United States and the Soviet Union's quest for world domination
154Chapter Four Expressing affection
156-157The mutual communication of love enhancing the feeling
157Seeing the Eightfold Path as a circle
158Calling one's friend by his favourite names
160Names for different castes in the Hindu system
Not to abbreviate Order Members' names
162Praising good qualities
163Expressing thanks
163-167Defending a brother verbally in his absence
165-169What is self-respect? Respect and being respect worthy
169The angel ...

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