Birds of a feather flock together

Abu Hurayrah narrates that the Messenger of Allah (‘alaihis salaatu was salaam) said:

الأرواح جنود مجندة فما تعارف منها ائتلف وما تناكر منها اختلف

“Souls are like conscripted soldiers: Those who are share similar qualities are inclined to one another, but those who have dissimilar qualities, differ.”

[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Imam al-Nawawi, in his explanation of of Sahih Muslim, writes:

[ وقيل : لأنها خلقت مجتمعة ، ثم فرقت في أجسادها ، فمن وافق بشيمه ألفه ، ومن باعده نافره وخالفه .وقال الخطابي وغيره : تآلفها هو ما خلقها الله عليه من السعادة أو الشقاوة في المبتدأ ، وكانت الأرواح قسمين متقابلين . فإذا تلاقت الأجساد في الدنيا ائتلفت واختلفت بحسب ما خلقت عليه ، فيميل الأخيار إلى الأخيار ، والأشرار إلى الأشرار . والله أعلم ]

“It is said: That is because the souls were created together (at the beginning of creation), then they were dispersed into their respective bodies. So whoever agrees in their innate nature, then they will be together, and whoever disagrees, they will be averse and differing.

“Imam al-Khattaabi (319-388 AH) and others said: Their camaraderie is based upon the condition which Allaah had initially created them, whether an ultimate fate of happiness or sorrow (i.e. Paradise or Hellfire). And souls are of two opposite types. So when bodies meet in this worldly life, their mutual affection or mutual aversion is according to the condition upon which they have been created. And the best of people tend to find mutual affection for the best of people, and the worst of people with the worst of people. And Allaah knows best.”

And Ibn al-Jawzi said about this hadith:

[ قال ابن الجوزي : ويستفاد من هذا الحديث أن الإنسان إذا وجد من نفسه نفرة ممن له فضيلة أو صلاح فينبغي أن يبحث عن المقتضي لذلك ليسعى في إزالته حتى يتخلص من الوصف المذموم , وكذلك القول في عكسه ]

“And one can derive from this hadeeth that when man finds in himself aversion to those whom he judges as virtuous or righteous, then he should search for what is necessary to remove that aversion until he is completely purified from that blameworthy trait. And the inverse of this is true as well (i.e. if you find in yourself attraction to those who are blameworthy, then you should seek to remove that as well).”

And al-Qurtubi said about it:

[وقال القرطبي : الأرواح وإن اتفقت في كونها أرواحا لكنها تتمايز بأمور مختلفة تتنوع بها , فتتشاكل أشخاص النوع الواحد وتتناسب بسبب ما اجتمعت فيه من المعنى الخاص لذلك النوع للمناسبة , ولذلك نشاهد أشخاص كل نوع تألف نوعها وتنفر من مخالفها . ثم إنا نجد بعض أشخاص النوع الواحد يتآلف وبعضها يتنافر , وذلك بحسب الأمور التي يحصل الاتفاق والانفراد بسببها ]

“The souls, though they share a commonality in their being souls, however they are distinguished by differing factors and categorized accordingly. So the people of one category are formed and made to fit together because of something specific which joins them together, and that is a suitable category. And we see that people of each category are gathered to that category and are averse to differing categories. Then we find that some people from within a single category find themselves feeling mutual compatibility and others find themselves feeling mutual aversion, and that is according to the factors upon which they are in agreement, and exclusively because of that.”

One thought on “Birds of a feather flock together

  1. Pingback: “People whose hearts are like the hearts of birds”: Sharh al-Nawawi | Tulayhah

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