Jun 28, 2011

The Believer's Fortress Part 1

By Sabiha Iqbal

Perfecting your friendships

During the Abbasid Caliph, a great scholar, Waqidi, may Allah have mercy on him, narrated this incident.

Like many of the scholars, he had few friends, but they were people whom he loved dearly, whose company reminded him of Allah, subhaana wa ta'aala and whose trustworthiness was unquestionable. He beautifully described their friendship as one soul in three bodies.

One day before Eid, aware of the fact that they had no money to spare; his wife said that he should strive to gain money to buy the children new clothes for Eid. He decided to write to one of his friends, a Hashemite, requesting his aid.

His friend, without question, sent him a sealed bag which contained 1000 dirhams. Before he had the chance to open the bag, a messenger from his other friend came, saying he desperately needed financial help. He gave him the unsealed bag from his Hashemite friend. Feeling guilty about returning home empty handed, Waqidi retired the mosque for the night. The next morning however, his dear believing wife praised his altruism to his friend. Not long after this, his Hashemite friend arrived.

“Tell me the truth,” he said, “what have you done with the bag of money which I sent yesterday?”

At which point, he explain the previous day’s occurrences.

His friend bowed his head and paused, before saying: “Yesterday when you sent me a message and asked for help, I had no money except this sealed bag. I sent it to you and wrote a letter to our other friend, seeking his help. He sent me my own sealed bag and I could not understand the matter till you just explained it to me.”

These three friends, who deeply loved one another for the sake of Allah were willing to sacrifice their own needs for one another. They split the money amongst themselves to spend in the way of Allah, subhaana wa ta'aala.

Let’s pause a second.

When your friends ask you for help, do you give them less than you are able? Even though you know that by Will of Allah, you are guaranteed a warm meal and a bed when you go home at night?

Forget money. When was the last time you made an effort to arrange a unique gift for them? Or give them a full smile, a real hug and not a half hearted effort? To them your full attention when they speak to you? To meet them on time and fulfil your promises?

The believers who truly love one another for the sake of Allah are given the guarantee of Allah’s shade on qiyaamah, because this love is based on the deep and unshakeable love of Allah Himself. This is an act of ibadah, and true nourishment for the individual’s soul and the society at large.

You probably remember at school when the ‘popular’ people had the most ‘friends’. But you must also remember these people were subject to gossiping, backbiting and continuous fallouts. Often. The more people you know; the less friends you have. We’ve reduced the term ‘friends’ to people who we have worldly commonalities with, and who desert us when we are of no worldly use to them.

By no means does this mean you unrealistically restrict your interactions, or avoid opportunities for da’waah and righteous company. It does mean however, that, as with any act, you think through your intention and seek to perfect how you fulfil the essence of your purpose.

The obligation of righteous company

Ibn Kathir narrates an instance during the life of the noble Messenger, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, where nobles of the Quraysh asked him to sit with them and discuss the message. The Prophet, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam always eager to give da’waah, was willing to take the invitation, despite an additional clause. He could not bring with him his ‘weak’ companions, the early Muslims who were of a low status and minor influence in the Makkan society.

Allah subhaana wa ta'aala stopped the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, in his tracks… “And keep thy soul content with those who call on their Lord morning and evening, seeking His Face; and let not thine eyes pass beyond them, seeking the pomp and glitter of this Life; no obey any whose heart We have permitted to neglect the remembrance of Us, one who follows his own desires, whose case has gone beyond all bounds.” (18:28)

What a profound verse indeed. Contentment, we know, comes from submission, this is the definition of Islam. Allah also tells us. “Unquestionably, by the remembrance of Allah hearts are assured (gain tranquility).” (13:28)

This company cause one to remember Allah. They seek His Face and pleasure, and their inspiration is jannah. They don’t soothe your calamities through distractions of the dunya, rather; they remind you of the reward of all rewards - Jannah inshaAllah!

What is so profound about this verse is that the Messenger of Allah, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, the best of mankind…is ORDERED by Allah subhaana wa ta'aala to keep good company. So really, when we think we can take on the whole world alone, when we think bad company won’t affect us…who are we kidding?!

Ibn Abbas 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.”[1]

Righteous friends are your fortress, they are a mercy from Allah subhaana wa ta'aala. The word friend in Arabic, rafiq, comes from the word mirfaq, which is something you rest upon.

Do you value your company?

In Part 2 we’ll talk more about the crucial nature of seeking good company and those awkward situations where you don’t want to leave behind those who need you.

[1] Abu Dawood and at-Tirmithi

I'd love to hear your views on this article. Please tell me in the comments section below :)


wonderful article keep it up mashAllah 

Salaam aleikum excellent and to the point. Jazak Allahu Khairun

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