Aug 31, 2012

Are your friends taking you to heaven or hell?

By Amina Edota

Friends can bring great joy and happiness to one’s life and good friendship can last a lifetime. But just as such relationships can be a source of goodness, so could they bring about harm in many ways. In a common narration, it is reported that the Messenger of Allah, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said:

"The parable of a good friend and a bad friend is like that of a carrier of musk and a blacksmith. The carrier of musk will give you some, or you will buy some, or you will notice a good smell; but as for the blacksmith, he will burn your clothes or you will notice a bad smell." (Sahih Muslim, Hadith 6692)

Such is the beautiful similitude given to us to show how friendship can impact either positively or negatively on our lives. It gives a pointer as to what direction one’s live can take by having certain friends, either the fragrant garden or the hot burning abode.

But it is an important choice to make, showing awareness and critical judgment, such as when making a decision to buy a dream asset or make a big investment. And yes, that’s what a friend could be – a priceless investment for the future or a source of regret, just as a saying goes: Company makes a man; company marks a man – so choose your friends wisely!

Show me your friends 
Who are your friends? Are they the 500+ people on your facebook or blackberry profile; or your good ol’clique from school; or the ever present neighbourhood bunch; or the reliable childhood buddies?

In today’s world of global networking and social media, friendship has taken on a new meaning, evolving to different dimensions daily. But our shining example should remain that of our beloved Prophet, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, who advised us (as narrated by Abu Hurayrah) that,

‘A person follows the religion of his friend; therefore let each of you look carefully at whom he chooses for friends’. [Tirmidhi]

But are you taking heed and watching out? Take a moment to ponder. When you look at your friend(s), do you like what you see, of faith, worship, character, obedience & submission? They will be a huge reflection of yourself and the likely path you will take sooner or later. Remember the saying of a famous poet, "Tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are"!

Making a decision

It is inevitable with time, that people begin to pick up some of the language and mannerisms of their friends; habits, dress sense and even jokes. But is it equally easy to escape the temptations of a bad friend? If the heart is clean, then one will leave all that is disliked but if its rusty, then one may sink even further into the bad ways.

On this journey of life, it is good to stop and reflect. Think about all the things we own of material possessions and know that a time will come when it will cease to exist. The end will surely come and the countless blessings - flowers, fun, and friends will no longer be around.

Even relationships will be cut off on the day of resurrection. And then will come the questioning. Indeed we will be questioned about our friends and the good ol’ times spent together. So be prepared! Question yourself before you get questioned.

Best of friend

Here are a few questions to begin pondering?

Can you make it through life without your friend(s)? Is your character getting better or worse from your friendships? What value do you place on such friendships?

People make friends easily with people they have something in common with, whether it’s a hobby, being on the same course or committee, living in the same locality or age group; and find it easy spending time together, sharing and caring. But in addition to this, and most importantly should be the commonality of abiding by the divine laws.

Allah is our first guardian and friend, followed by the Prophet, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam and then the pious believers. The most rewarding friendship will come from holding firmly onto the divine book (Qur’an) – containing the speech of Allah, subhaana wa ta'aala and also the sunnah of our beloved Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam.

Allah is Able to do all things – He alone guides and can turn the hearts of His slaves, so hold on firmly to that friendship manual.

Great Reward

Umar ibn al-Khattab reported the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam as saying:

There are people from the servants of Allah who are neither prophets nor martyrs; the prophets and martyrs will envy them on the Day of Resurrection for their rank from Allah, the Most High. 

They (the people) asked: Tell us, Apostle of Allah, who are they? He replied: They are people who love one another for the spirit of Allah (i.e. the Qur'an), without having any mutual kinship and giving property to one. I swear by Allah, their faces will glow and they will be (sitting) in (pulpits of) light. They will have no fear (on the Day) when the people will have fear, and they will not grieve when the people will grieve.

He then recited the following Qur'anic verse:

"Behold! Verily for the friends of Allah there is no fear, nor shall they grieve." (Dawud: Hadith 3520)

Soul searching 
Is it difficult to see where success lies? Which qualities do you seek in a friend? Which of the following which do you think is more benefiting in a friendship and why?

Ø Good or Bad character

Ø Humility or Arrogance

Ø Enjoining the right & forbidding the wrong or Bad advice

Ø Permissible (Halaal) fun or Forbidden activities

Ø Sincere concern or Heedlessness

Ø Obedience to Allah or Not being concerned with worship

Ø Aiding to do good or Causing conflicts in other relationships (eg with spouse, parents)

Ø Calling to remembrance of Allah or Calling to bad (foul language, movies)

Ø Attending blessed gatherings or Spending too much time doing unbeneficial things

Ø Love for the sake of Allah or Love based on worldly matters (looks, wealth, reputation)

Win - Win

Our lives are filled with trials, one of which is being in relationships. Friends can be very important yet it is quite easy to form and remain in friendships for all the wrong reasons. We must remember that our first duty is to be obedient to Allah subhaana wa ta'aala.

Friends are valuable when they aid each other to stay on the right path – the path of obedience to Allah subhaana wa ta'aala. It is equally important to think about the role you play in a friendship. Remember when the Prophet (SAW) was escaping from Makkah and said to his friend "Don’t be scared, Allah is with us". What better source of comfort and remembrance of Allah in a time of trial!

Be that friend you seek and be moderate in the love of your friend. And remember, it is up to each person to decide, where they are heading with their friendships – Paradise or Hell! There is no third destination.

‘’O my people, this worldly life is only [temporary] enjoyment, and indeed, the Hereafter - that is the home of [permanent] settlement.’’ Q40:39

Which is your choice, Dear seeker of friendships?

I'd love to hear your views on this topic.  Please post in the comments section below! :)


mashallahhh....reallyyy nice...thanxxx for giving such a goood definition of friendship....jazakallah....

A timely reminder. JazaakiLLahu Khairan..

Masha Allah. Well articulated. Its time to look around and pencil down who our friends are and sift for the hereafter. Most friendships are formed unconciously where we spend most part of our lives - work, mosque, school, weekends, social gatherings......Let Islam reflect in all of these so that we can be/find the friend we want to have.....Jazakallahkhyr fo the article

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