Friends – everyone needs them but not everyone has them.
When the character of a man is not clear to you, look at his friendsJapanese proverb
As children or even as young high school or college students, we don’t give much thought to what sort friends we make. During those care free years of our life, friends just kind of happen.
However, once student life ends, the people in our life start to shake themselves into more distinct tiers. Friendship is one such relation that can open our eyes to many realities.
In a culture that’s afraid to offend or go against cultural norms, many of us find ourselves in shallow friendships. We might go out and have fun with them, but it’s not the kind of company we need to experience breakthrough in our lives. In fact, the truth being some of these friendships are simply not worth holding on to.
Why do we healthy friendships?
We need healthy friendships in our lives because:
- Good friends remind us and encourage us to grow in our faith
- Bring out the best in us
- Help us to make healthy decisions holistically in different areas of our life
If we aren’t able to have those good healthy bonds in our life, we will always have a missing link.
Unfortunately many have fallen into the morass of sins because of indiscreetly selecting bad company. Narrated Abu Hurayrah:
The Prophet (ﷺ) said: A man follows the religion of his friend; so each one should consider whom he makes his friend.Sunan Abi Dawud 4833
Meaning to say a man will follow the ways and habits of his friends so we need to be cautious about the company we adopt. In another Hadith Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) 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.”Sahih al-Bukhari 2101
This Hadith clearly shows how your company rubs off on you eventually. Hence, one needs to choose their friends wisely.
We need to bear in mind when we draw closer to Allah, we may lose many old friends. We also might end up suffering on many levels – physically, mentally, spiritually and socially. But suffering for the sake of Allah is a high compliment. When something is left solely for the sake of Allah, Allah surely replaces it with something better.
What to look for in a friend?
When choosing your friends you must look for certain traits. Just any warm body won’t do.
- Look for friends that value the same things as you.
- More than just initial attraction, keep Allah at the centre of your friendship. Such a friendship will stand the test of time.
- Make friends that add value to your life and help you invest in good deeds in your afterlife.
Imam Zain ul Abidin advised his son:
“O My son Avoid acquaintance of five type of people:
1. Don’t be friends with a liar. He will be like a mirage. He will trick you. When a thing is far, he will say it is near; and when it is at hand, he will say that it is very far.
2. Don’t make a transgressor and sinner your friend because he might sell you for as low a price.
3. Don’t make a parsimonious and stingy person your friend who may not help you in times of need.
4. Don’t make a stupid person your friend, lest he bring harm to you with his stupidity. It is possible that with all good intentions, he might bring harm to you with his foolish actions.
5. Don’t be friend with those who deprive their kin of their rights. Such persons are shorn of Allah’s Blessings and are accursed people.”
Friendships are more than just about having fun:
Friends have influence over every orbit of your life. You will have their invisible presence with you even when you’re not in their physical company. That is why Islam stresses a lot on friendships. Friendships aren’t merely a social construct but religiously they are a very significant relationship.
It’s important to choose our friends wisely. Because friends are not only essential to our well-being, but they’re also important for us to step into our true calling as people with mindful and God conscious living.
Author’s bio: Nikhat Fatima is a bioinformatician by degree, a journalist in making, an avid reader and a writer of long caption. She has a soul of a wayfarer on life’s journey headed for home. You can find her penning away her thoughts on her Instagram.