Why do Muslims call fellow non-related Muslims brothers or sisters?

It seems strange that you get married to someone who you referred to (in the passed) as your brother or sister?

Is this encouraged behaviour in Islam, or is it some kind of cultural thing?

5 Answers 5


Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

Allah says;

إنما المؤمنون إخوة فأصلحوا بين أخويكم واتقوا الله لعلكم ترحمون

The believers are nothing else than brothers (in Islamic religion). So make reconciliation between your brothers, and fear Allah, that you may receive mercy.

[Surah Hujurat 49:10]

Also it is narrated Abdullah Ibn Umar: Allah's Apostle (peace be upon him) said,

"A Muslim is a brother of another Muslim, so he should not oppress him, nor should he hand him over to an oppressor. Whoever fulfilled the needs of his brother, Allah will fulfill his needs; whoever brought his (Muslim) brother out of a discomfort, Allah will bring him out of the discomforts of the Day of Resurrection, and whoever screened a Muslim, Allah will screen him on the Day of Resurrection."

[Sahih al-Bukhari, Book of Oppressions, number 622]

So when one mentions 'brother' or 'sister' it is meant in the sense of 'religion'.

And Allah alone knows best

May Allah bless you and I with that which is beneficial, ameen

Wa assalam


Calling each other brother and sisters is not just an Islamic thing but Christian one also. In addition it is also a cultural thing. Chritains call each other brothers in the same way as Muslims do. They might have a better explanation for this. According to this site, which make sense

Because we are all Gods children and that makes us siblings, so to speak.

Because we are all brothers and sisters in god

Keeping in view that we are all children of Adam and Eve (from Islamic point of view), we are in a way brother and sisters.

It seems strange that you get married to someone who you referred to (in the passed) as your brother or sister?

This is a valid concern. But usually when you call someone sister, you show her respect and that you do not have any awkward feeling towards here. That makes the communication far more easy then staring with something awkward, which may not be appropriate.

Speaking of the such verbal relationship, the prophet (PBUH) married wife of his adopted son Zaid bin Harithath to stress that it was only a verbal relationship and not a blood relationship, therefore it was no longer valid. So this is a little bit contradiction here. While calling a woman a sister does show sign of respect but then she can never become your real sister. You can marry her at some point if you want to, which is awkward, at least to me.


why do Muslims call each other brother and sister.


Is it some kind of cultural thing?


I've seen people in London call each other 'bro'; and they were neither Muslim nor related.

In Bangladesh (which is majority Muslim) and West Bengal (majority Hindu) - and more broadly - the Indian subcontinent there are many qualifications of the term brother or sister - indicating degree of friendliness, trust or relationship; especially in rural areas where using names is frowned on.

It seems strange that one would get married to someone who you call brother or sister

Its strange only given the European context where this cultural form is rarely found; it is found there though in Christian religious orders.

And this use of brother and sister should be distinguished from the use of brother or sister in its cultural sense.

Is this encouraged in Islam?

It appears so, given the content of a separate answer given to this question.


When you say brothers and sisters in Christianity it means by spirit. Muslim, Hindus all do it because you walk in the same faith and we all have one creator. (Father)


Actually, this has roots from the colonization and socialist/communist influence on Muslim lands. Try find a reference where the companions or the earlier generation of Muslims went around referring/calling each other as 'Brother' or ya "Akhii" ;)

Seriously, it is very silly.

  • Please read and try to understand Aayah 12 of Al-Hujraat (49:12).
    – Farhan
    Commented Sep 25, 2014 at 20:24
  • hmmm.... Something to ponder over... Commented Mar 15, 2015 at 15:39

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