Saturday, 15 September 2012

CHOOSING FRIENDS

    
    Allah has awarded us this short, temporary worldly life as a priceless opportunity to attain His pleasure for eternity. Every second that we have in our hands is like an expensive pearl in need of our utmost protection so that it can be spent in the most profitable of actions. One of the most important choices in life, and undoubtedly one of the most delicate, is who to spend some of these limited and precious moments with.


       Our choice of company is such a crucial one that it has a sizeable effect on the worldly life as well as the eternal life of Aakhirah. Choosing a good friend will result in a pleasant and fruitful worldly life and eternal peace in the Aakhirah, while the choice of bad company will result in a miserable worldly life and eternal regret in the Aakhirah. Nabi Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said, "A man is on the creed of his friend, so each of you should ponder over who he befriends." (Abu Dawud) This means that a man will adopt those qualities which he finds in his friends. A Persian poet conveys this meaning in simple words - "a pious companion will make you pious whilst and evil companion will make you evil." Considering the above sentence, each of us should ponder over who he/she befriends. The Muhadditheen infer two injunctions - to seek pious company and to refrain from evil company. These injunctions can be found in clear, unambiguous words in a number of Ahaadith. Rasulullah Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said, "The similitude of good company and that of bad company is that of the owner of musk and of the blacksmith blowing bellows. The owner of musk would either give the musk to you as a gift, or you would buy it from him, or you would atleast get from him a pleasant fragrance. The blower of bellows would either burn your clothes, or you would get from him a repugnant odour." (Bukhari) In another hadith, Nabi Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said, "Do not befriend anyone except a believer, and let only a pious person eat your food." (Tirmidhi) Mufti Muhammad Shafi (RA) writes that we learn from this hadith that a man should associate only with a pious person.


          A question might arise in the reader's mind as to which qualities should one look for in a friend. Allah says in the Qur'an, "Friends will be enemies on that day except for those with taqwa." (Surah Zukhruf V 67) Hafiz Ibn Kathir (RA) has mentioned in the commentary of this verse a narration of Ali (RA) in which he says that there were two friends who were believers and two friends who were disbelievers. From the two friends who were believers, one of them died and was given the glad tidings of Jannah. He remembered his friend and made dua to Allah, "Oh Allah, I had such and such a friend who used to encourage me to obey You and Your Messenger Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam, he used to enjoin upon me good and forbid me from evil, and he used to remind me that one day I will have to meet You. O Allah, don't lead him astray after me so that he may see those scenes (of Jannah) which you have shown me, and be pleased with him as You have been pleased with me." In reply to this dua, Allah will say, "If you were to know what rewards I have kept for your friend, you would laugh more and cry less." After that the second friend will die and both their souls will come together. Then Allah will command them to praise each other, so one will say to the other, "What a good brother, what a good companion, what a good friend." The narration continues to explain the case of the two disbelievers as being the total opposite. (Ibn Abi Hatim) From this we learn that a friend should have four qualities: 1) He encourages you to obey Allah and His Messenger (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) 2) He enjoines upon you good 3) He forbids you from evil. 4) He reminds you that one day you have to meet Allah. Ibn Abbaas (RA) says that Nabi ?" He replied, "When you see him you remember Allah, by his speech your knowledge increases, and his actions remind you of the hereafter." (Qurtubi)

        Finally, we should keep in mind two important points. Firstly, we should be moderate about expressing our friendship and love. Nabi Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said, "Make friends after deliberation (i,e exercise restraint) because your friend might become your foe tomorrow." (Tirmidhi)
Secondly, we should remember that true love and friendship is only for Allah. Nabi Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said "Had I taken a friend, it would have been Abu Bakr (RA)."

May Allah grant us the wisdom to make the right choices, Ameen.

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