Friends? Do we need to change them?
by Ibn Muzaffar Syed Hussain
Friends. Those people that will either make us or break us. We all know that we have to choose those friends who will make us better Muslims and who will help us attain Paradise, but how many of us pay attention to that? We are social creatures by nature, always in need of friends and companions. Not many people can spend their whole life by themselves, isolated from everyone and they're not expected to either. Especially us, here in America or Canada -- we're the minority, so we need to associate with each other in order to build a bigger and stronger community. It's essential for us to choose the right friends and companions to preserve our Deen. Yet how many of us can honestly say that the "friends" we have will help make us better Muslims?
Of course we all know that our goal in this world is to live the best life we can as a Muslim and hopefully, InshaAllah
, attain Paradise. One of those ways is to choose the best friends. Listen to what our beloved Prophet (saws) said: "A person is likely to follow the faith of his friend, so look whom you befriend."
Obviously this means that we can't take every person who talks to us as a friend. We have to be satisfied with that person's Deen and that person with ours. However sometimes we feel as if we have no one to answer to and we could do whatever we want. Maybe that's why we can go to parties where we know there will be alcohol and hang out with friends who will do nothing for us except bring us down in our faith. Instead of being an example to them, we let them be an example to us. If that wasn't true, then we wouldn't want to go out with them, be with them or do anything else with them.
Allah says in the Qur'an, about these people who we think are so 'cool' yet might not even be Muslim: "And We will proceed to what they have done of deeds, so We shall render them to scattered floating dust."
Allah is saying that He doesn't care about their actions, so how can they benefit us in any way? But if all we do is hang out with non-Muslims, sharing everything with them and making them our best friends, then eventually we'll stop being with Muslims and start acting like our non-Muslim friends. What does this mean? It means that we'll be even willing to hide our Islam in front of our friends and start avoiding being with other Muslims -- people who can truly help us become better Muslims. And we can see that nowadays when Muslims are ashamed, or embarrassed, to follow their religion when they are with these people. We won't pray when we're them or try to avoid any questions about Islam or what have you, as if there's something to hide or someone else is more important than the Almighty.
Brothers and sisters, it's easy for us to hang out with people who we think are cool in a worldly sense, with whom we'll only have fun and not have to worry about anything. However, this life isn't about fun and games...yes we can have entertainment, but that doesn't mean we forget about our religion, our Deen. Allah says that He has completed this Deen by choosing Islam as the religion for us, but then why is it that we love to do all that Islam teaches us not to? Why is it that we can live with ourselves when we don't pray or don't fast or drink or go hang out at bars? I mean we can still have 'fun' by hanging out with fellow Muslims who might not drink or smoke but can have a good time and just by being with each other, urge each other to do good deeds. So we enjoy ourselves in this life and InshaAllah
attain Paradise by pleasing Allah as well. Allah also tells us that these people that we call "friends" will ultimately hate us: "Friends on that Day will be enemies one to another, except al-Muttaqoon (those who have Taqwa)."
So, if we don't befriend each other on the basis of our religion, then on the Day that really
counts, we will hate our friends and they will hate us.
'Abdullah ibn 'Abbas (raa), a cousin of the Prophet (saws), said: "No one may taste true faith except by this (building relationships for Allah's sake) even if his prayers and fasts are many. People have come to build their relationship around the concerns of the world, but it will not benefit them in any way."
We have to learn how to love and associate with those who will only benefit us. The Prophet (saws) told us that we will be with those whom we love so if we love our friends and can't wait to be with them, then that's with whom we'll be raised on the Last Day. Do we really want to be raised with, and associate with, those who defy Allah, who do everything that Islam isn't and bring us down with them? Or do we want to be with those who will make us better and successful in the next life, the life that really counts?
'Ali (raa) said: "Mix with the noble people, you become one of them; and keep away from evil people to protect yourself from their evils."
Brothers and sisters, if we are truly concerned about our fate, we must come to this realization: those who take us away from remembering Allah, from obeying Him and His Prophet (saws), those who fail to remind us of our daily prayers and those who do not give us sincere advice in regard to our Deen, they are our enemies and not our friends.
But our Muslim brothers and sisters are our mirrors and if they see any fault in us then they'll give us sincere advice about it, help us give it up, and help us try to get rid of any evils we might have. A scholar said: "Anyone who criticizes you cares about your friendship. Anyone who makes light of your faults cares nothing about you."
In conclusion, how can we expect true, sincere advice about our religion from people who don't even like our Deen or are indifferent towards it? Will these people desire Allah's pleasure for us or will they NOT care? Think about it. Are they leading us to Heaven or straight to Hell?
I know I haven't done justice to this issue about who to have and not have as friends but I pray that we realize that we need to hang out with Muslims more so now than ever. If only for the reason that it is so easy to slip and fall and have no one there to pick us up but non-Muslims. But do we want to be with them and go to Hell or be with someone who will help us in this life and go with us to Heaven in the next InshaAllah
We ask Allah to make us of the righteous ones and give us companions that will take us away from His Wrath and lead us to His Pleasure and Paradise.