Souls that Recognize Each Other
It is narrated from Abu Huraira (radhiallahu `anhu) that the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam said, “Souls are like recruited soldiers, those that recognise one another unite in harmony and those that do not recognise one another are at an aversion.” [Sahih Muslim]
Abu Hatim: The reason that people find concordancy and harmony between themselves – after the Decree – lies in the recognition of two souls. And likewise, their discord and seperation lies in the aversion of the two souls. Hence if two souls recognise each other, they will find familiarity and affection between themselves and if there is aversion between the two souls they will in turn find aversion and seperation between their beings.
Mujahid (rahimahullah) said, `Ibn `Abbas (radhiallahu `anhu) saw a man and said, `Indeed he loves me.’ They said, `And how do you know?!’ He said, `Because I love him and souls are like recruited soldiers, those that recognise one another unite in harmony and those that do not recognise one another are at an aversion.’
Abu Bakr al-Anbari recited,
Indeed the hearts are soldiers enlisted for Allah
Upon the earth, through affection do they recognise each other
So those at a familiarity are held in harmony
And those enstranged are at a difference
It is narrated from Qatadah (rahimahullah) that he said regarding the verse of Allah,
Except him on whom your Lord has bestowed His Mercy and for that did He create them.’
He said, `(Created them) for mercy and obedience. As for the people of obedience, their hearts and desires are unified even though they may be distant from each other (living apart). And as for the people of disobedience, then their hearts are at a discord even though they may be closel gathered and living together.
Whatever the eyes and heart behold will be in affection
For neither the heart nor the eyes can be concealed
But they are only two souls, one in view of the other
So one recognises the other and hence they meet
Abu Hatim: The greatest sign that alludes to what a person is like in his daily affair is expressed through whom he befriends and whom he is at enmity with, because a person is on the path of his friend and birds of a feather only flock together. I have never seen something more indicative of another, moreso even than smoke indicating fire, as much as I’ve seen a companion allude to the reality of his companion.
The smart one avoids accompanying the doubtful one and he keeps away from the one whose Deen is questionable because whoever keeps in the company of a people is known by them and whoever lives with a person ends up being attributed to him.
A man does not befriend except one who is like him or of his nature (i.e. in character). If a person does not find one to befriend from amongst the people, he seeks out one whose companionship will only beautify him and it will not disgrace him to be known by him. If he sees goodness from him, he counts it (and remembers it), and if he sees a bad thing he conceals it for him, and if he remains silent over it he’s the first to speak about it to him, and were he to ask of anything he would give it.
Indeed, from amongst Mankind is one who if a person were to see him, he would be amazed. And if he got to know him more, his amazement would increase. And from amongst them is one who has an aversion to another upon seeing him, and getting to know him only increases him in hostility. Their agreement is due to the agreement of their souls from aforetime, and their aversion is due to their souls’ aversion.
If two souls meet in affection and are then forced to depart with the departure of life without any hateful event or they depart due to death, then that there is shocking death and grevious pain. There has never been a moment of such prolonged grief, such apparant loss, lasting sorrow, deep sadness and lament more so than when two brethrens or beloveds are seperated. And no-one has tasted a taste more bitter than when two close friends are seperated and it’s all over.
I wonder at the one who extends his right hand
To his beloved at the time of seperation and he hastens therein!
I felt weak and incapable of saying farewell when I saw him
So my heart shook his hand whilst my eye wept.
Imaam al-Bukhaari (may Allaah have mercy on him) reported in his Saheeh that `Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: “I heard the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) saying: `Souls are like conscripted soldiers; those whom they recognize, they get along with, and those whom they do not recognize, they will not get along with.’” (Saheeh al-Bukhaari, Kitaab Ahaadeeth al-Anbiyaa’, Baab al-Arwaah junood mujannadah).
Ibn Hajar (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in his commentary on the hadeeth: “Concerning the phrase `Souls are like conscripted soldiers…’ al-Khattaabi said: `This may refer to their similarity as regards good or evil, righteousness or corruption. Good people are inclined towards other good people, and evil people are similarly inclined towards other evil people. Souls feel affinity with others according to the nature in which they were created, good or evil. If souls’ natures are similar, they will get along, otherwise they will not be on good terms with one another. It could be that what is being referred to is the beginning of creation in the realm of the unseen when, it is reported, souls were created before bodies, and used to meet one another and express their pessimism about the future. When souls have entered bodies (come to the physical realm) they may recognize one another from the past, and may be on friendly terms or otherwise based on that past experience.”
Al-Qurtubi said: “Although they are all souls, they differ in different ways, so a person will feel an affinity with souls of one kind, and will get along with them because of the special quality that they have in common. So we notice that people of all types will get along with those with whom they share an affinity, and will keep away from those who are of other types. [“Birds of a feather flock together” – Translator]. We may also note that within any given group or type, people may get along with some and dislike others, and this is in accordance with issues or qualities that form the basis of love or hate.”
We have narrated a mawsool report in Sunan Abi Ya’laa, at the beginning of which is the story narrated from `Amrah bint `Abd al-Rahmaan, who said: “There was a woman in Makkah who liked to joke, and she came and stayed with a woman in Madeenah who was like her. When `Aa’ishah heard about this, she said, `My beloved spoke the truth. I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) saying…’ and mentioned a similar hadeeth.”
The hadeeth was also narrated by Muslim in his Saheeh, 4773. Al-Nawawi said: “With regard to the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), `Souls are like conscripted soldiers; those whom they recognize, they get along with, and those whom they do not recognize, they will not get along with’, the scholars said that the meaning is groups gathered together, or different types. As for them getting along, this happens because of something in common between them that Allaah has created.
It was said that they are similar attributes that Allaah has created in them, or that they were created in a group and then dispersed in their bodies, so people who have similar characteristics will like one another, and those who do not have similar characteristics will not like one another. Al-Khattaabi and others said: this getting along with one another has to do with what Allaah decreed from the outset about the ultimate destiny of souls, whether they will be among the blessed [in Paradise] or the doomed [in Hell]. Souls are of two opposing kinds, and when they meet in this physical world, they will either love or hate one another depending on the way they were created. Good souls will be inclined towards other good souls, and evil souls will be inclined towards other evil souls.