Aisha* and Nafisah,* both reverts to Islām had been friends for four years. Nafisah passed away a few months ago, and Aisha* says, “Before when my dear friend was with me, I used to feel what would I do without Nafisah*, but now Allāh made me realize after her death that only He would be there for us at all times and I should depend only on Allāh.”
“After I embraced Islām, I found myself bumping into both Muslims and non Muslim who were hostile towards me,” she adds. “Then it so happened that I bumped into this wonderful soul who guided me and encouraged me at all times and she always helped me to realize my flaws. Though she has left this world, her words of counsel are still living in my heart and will continue to live till I die.”
“Fathima* has always told me that I act silly when I am with her,” says Sumaya, who is in her twenties. “I can be like this only with her as she is my best friend and I tell her she acts silly when she is with me,” she adds with a grin.
“We have been friends for five years and I truly love her. She has always been a genuine friend. When we are in a lighter mood, we both act silly and when we face problems, we both counsel each other and I think that’s how friends should be. I really thank Allāh for her friendship and thank her for all that she did for me. I really wish Allāh would bless us with a never-ending friendship,” she concludes. They met in a Yahoo e-group and their little chats grew into a strong friendship.
Yameena,* 28, says, “Friends are a blessing. I always yearned to have a good friend but I consider myself unfortunate, as I have never had the right friends. The friends who I had were all temporary and misleading. Because of one of the so called friends I had, I always wished to be away from Islām and their shameful activities seemed incredible at that time but to be honest I think Allāh had mercy on me and showed me I was on the wrong path only when they broke my trust.”
“Before I used to choose friends based on physical appearance and lifestyle,” she adds. “The result was I became deceived. If I had continued my friendship with them I would have been a loser in this world and the hereafter. So thanks to God. Now I pray for a good companion who will be guide me and be there for me whenever I need her.”
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Every soul on this earth needs a companion to share both, happiness and sorrow. Friendship is one of the most beautiful and vital aspects of a person’s life. Friends are our truest treasures. The above-mentioned experiences should serve as a reminder to us to clinch the opportunity when we find good friends. True friends are rare to find nowadays. Yameena* thought a friend is someone whom you should have fun with. It is important to realize that a good friend in Islām is someone who encourages, supports and care for you at all times. A friend in Islām is someone who not only accommodates your faults, but also corrects them by giving you the right counsel. Therefore, in Islām, friendship holds an important place.
The Prophet y taught us how to choose our friends and also explained the importance of friendship in Islām. He also set an example of how to choose and treat our companions.
Narrated Abū Mūsa: “Allāh's Apostle y said, "The example of a good companion (who sits with you) in comparison with a bad one, is like that of the musk seller and the blacksmith's bellows (or furnace); from the first you would either buy musk or enjoy its good smell while the bellows would either burn your clothes or your house, or you get a bad nasty smell thereof." [Bukhāri]
He y was also reported to have said, “None of you [truly] believes until he loves for his brother that which he loves for himself.” [Bukhāri and Muslim]
Abū Hurayrah also reported that Rasulullah y said: “A person visited his brother in another town and Allāh deputed an Angel to wait for him on his way and when he came to him he said: ‘Where do you intend to go?’ He said: ‘I intend to go to my brother in this town.’ He said: ‘Have you done any favour to him (the repayment of which you intend to get)?’ He said: ‘No, excepting this that I love him for the sake of Allāh, the Exalted and Glorious.’ Thereupon he said: ‘I am a meesenger to you from, Allāh: (to inform you) that Allāh loves you as you love him (for His sake).’” [Muslim]
Abū Mūsā reported Allāh's Messenger y as saying: “A believer is like a brick for another believer, the one supporting the other.” [Muslim]
Nu'man ibn Bashir reported Allāh's Messenger y as saying: “The similitude of believers in regard to mutual love, affection, fellow-feeling is that of one body; when any limb of it aches, the whole body aches, because of sleeplessness and fever.” [Muslim]
Islām encourages its followers to take righteous people as their companions and to avoid the company of the vicious, as one might tend to pick up their slipped qualities without knowledge.
"O woe is me! Would that I had not taken such a one as my friend." [Qur'ān 25:28]
Every Muslim should try to select the best companion for his/her life span. A companion should be a friend from the same gender. If the companion is from the other gender, then that companion should be a spouse with whom one can live with within the confines of the Sharee’ah.
When someone observes a friend taking a wrong and sinful course and, while possessing the capacity to restrain him, does not do so out of indifference, he has actually betrayed his friend.
Islām permits friendship with people in error, when one’s Īmān is strong - when one finds out that his or her friend is committing a sin, then it becomes obligatory for him or her to help to guide them to the right path and help them make amends. A friend is a person, who is there during grief and joy and who is willing to advise us when we are moving away from the right track.
Always remember that a friend is a person who will express what he or she feels. Friends should be honest with each other and should correct and guide each other when they are in the wrong. Encourage each other and take care of each other. Without friends life would be meaningless.
* Name changed for privacy sake.
**This article first appeared in An Nisa Magazine
© Amatullah Abdullah 2006