Oct 12, 2012

who do you hang out with - part 1

By Nasmira Firdous 


Back in the days as a teenager, there were two goals I wanted to achieve: top in academics and have “cool” friends. The ones who are popular in class, the ones who would take part in all the extra curricular activities and come off as well-rounded, the ones whom others would look at in awe; not the snobbish ones though, let me clarify.

And, since I had almost 75% of those qualities, it was not too difficult to find “like-minded” friends and hang out with. Of course, where was Islam here, you might wonder. For me, back in the days when I was revelling in my pre-Islamic ignorance, Islam was limited to praying 5 times a day (without understanding a word) and reciting the Quran (without understanding a word, again). Needless to say, I was excelling in this dunya but had invested nothing for my Hereafter.

Countless advices and encouragement on why hijab was a blessing fell in deaf ears. It seemed “un-cool”. When I was told that Islam was a way of life and had a lot more to it than what I perceived it to be, I never bothered much either.

Moving on, during University days, my “goals” hadn’t changed much. So where exactly was I going wrong? A little bit of introspection made me realize that I wasn’t necessarily spending my time with the right type of friends. I had no friend who would remind me about Islam, about the stories mentioned in the Quran or about Allah subhaana wa ta'aala’s Names and Attributes or about why and how I had to consider Islam a way of life.

I’ve heard countless stories of how people change when a loved one passes away or when they meet with an accident that leaves them bed ridden, but for me change took place when I was left with lots of time, which I leisurely spent on doing nothing.

And so the change began. It began when I randomly landed upon audios of tafseers by Muhammad al Shareef. So what happened to those friends, you might ask. I started becoming a bit insular. Naturally my time spent with them was limited but I didn’t cut off my friendship altogether. That would have been naïve. I wanted to limit time with them because I had spent enough time neglecting Islam and was thirsty for knowledge, much like a traveler on a desert searching for an oasis. The more I heard about why a surah was revealed and what it signified, the more my heart yearned for.

Since I had time (and lots of it), scholars and their audios became my constant companions. I would have them in my mp3 and listen to it day and night. And Allah subhaanahu wa ta'aala started blessing me with more alhamdulillah. If you are familiar with the situation I was in, it is easier to conclude that having righteous company is extremely important in helping you stick to the Straight Path.

If you are having a difficult time finding the right type of friends, read on:

1. Make The Right Intention
Make your intentions clear. Tell Allah subhaanahu wa ta'aala that you want to get closer to Him subhaanahu wa ta'aala, and understand the beauty of this religion. I of course, had no intention whatsoever, quite simply because I was Islamically ignorant at that point of time and really did not know what the big deal was, back then.

2. Make Allah subhaanahu wa ta'aala your Friend and Guide
Want to make Allah subhaanahu wa ta'aala your friend? Start by building your relationship with the Book of Allah. Why do I say this? Because you would be building your relationship with Allah subhaanahu wa ta'aala by trying to understand why He subhaanahu wa ta'aala revealed what He subhaanahu wa ta'aala revealed and why He subhaanahu wa ta'aala chose us to reveal His sacred words. My entire perspective about Qur'an changed when I started listening to the audio tafseer series of Juzz Amma (Touched by an Angel) by Muhammad alShareef.

So, go out of your way and make an effort to understand the Miraculous Book that has survived without any type of change for more than 1,400 years. You have miracle in your own house! It is more than just a Book. It’s Allah subhaanahu wa ta'aala’s way of talking to you, of trying to assure you that everything will be fine. Acknowledge that. Make Him your companion by listening to what He subhaanahu wa ta'aala has to say to you, insha’Allah.

3. Cut Back A Little Bit
If you don’t have the right type of friends to hang out with, spend less time with them and more time with yourself in doing beneficial things. Sitting idle is a self-made disaster. Never ever ever sit idle and do nothing. Satan will become your companion then. Rather, play a beneficial Islamic video in the background even if you’re not listening to it. You might hear a word or two that might interest you to listen to more.

4. Make Imaginary Friends
I obviously did not have a large Islamic friends circle, so, I made imaginary friends (yeah, you can laugh, that’s okay). I started building friendship with the videos and scholars whom I’ve never gotten to meet personally so far. Yet, I would wake up and tell to myself, “So right, I would be listening to the tafseer of this surah and spend time with that scholar by listening to that audio about that Prophet, and then I would go on to memorize this surah after asr and understand why it was revealed by listening to such-and-such scholar.” So, you see, my life started revolving around videos and audios of scholars whom I never got a chance to meet but who became my constant companions. I started hanging out with my mp3.

We have access to cool sheiks who are half way across the world. Do you realize the blessing Allah subhaanahu wa ta'aala has gifted you with? In other words, we have been chosen by Allah subhaanahu wa ta'aala to live in an age where a jummah khutbah being delivered in the United States will reach the other part of the world in a matter of minutes. All we have to do is sit on YouTube and watch it. We have been chosen to live in an age where we are blessed with multiple sheiks and scholars, who in our own words can be termed “cool” and “hilarious”, someone whom we can relate to, alhamdulillah. Utilize this blessing excessively to learn more about this deen. Remember, ignorance in Islamic matters will breed ignorance. Instead, be an Ummah that would one day become the torchbearers of Islam, insha’Allah.

5. Friendship For The Sake Of Allah subhaanahu wa ta'aala
A random friend request on Facebook to a friend whom I had hardly met for a few minutes in my University went on to become one of the most sweetest relationships I could ever get into. Why? Because our friendship started for the sake of Islam. It’s been four years and our enthusiasm to discuss about Islamic talks and verses or some funny incident shared by some funny scholar remains the same till today. There’s a beauty in hanging out with friends who remind you to do good and ask you to persevere for the cause of Islam. Prophet Muhammad sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said in a longer hadith, “There are seven whom Allah will shade in His Shade on the Day when there is no shade except His Shade: …two people who love each other for Allah's sake, meeting for that and parting upon that...' [1]

Wouldn’t you want to be covered under the Shade when there would be no other? So, start making friends for the sake of Allah subhaanahu wa ta'aala, friends who would remind you of Him and whose company might please Allah subhaanahu wa ta'aala, insha’Allah.

1. Narrated by Abu Hurairah & collected in Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol.1, p.356, no.629 & Sahih Muslim, Vol.2, p.493, no.2248

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


Amazing mansha'Allah:)

Excellent article! Masha Allah! I also like the lectures of Sh. Muhammad Alshareef. May Allah (SWT) continue to guide all of us.

alhamdulillah! :)
Stay tuned for Part II insha'Allah..

Sounds a lot like my life for the past year or so... It's nice to read someone else finding friends in such talks and looking at it as a mercy from our Lord - for suddenly I don't feel like I have to defend myself to all those who think I'm wasting away in my ''solitude''.

JazakiAllah khayr for the share :)

A humble observation: Point (2), second last line has a typo, where in I believe the word you intended to use was 'sacred' - but came down here as 'scared'. Since it was important for coherence sake - I thought to point it out - and for no other reason...

Alhamdulillah!! :))
Barakallahu feek..I'm glad you were able to relate to it.

JazakumAllahu khayran for pointing the typo out...its been fixed now, alhamdulillah :)

Subhanallah !!! its like as though i wrote dis article ;) just de same happened in ma life !! Only de will of Allah subhaanahu wa ta'aala has helped us change .. der r lot more in ignorance .. i pray dat de almighty bring s out those in darkness nd enrich more knowledge nd wisdom on dem nd make us among de righteous nd blessed ones whose steps are firm in deen .. insha allah !!

aww masha'Allah! alhamdulillah! :))

I'ts amazing how many of us have been in the same situation. All praise belongs to Allah swt alone for having guided us. Ameen to your beautiful dua Sister Aafreen. :)
May Allah swt reunite us all in Jannah! Ameen

Ur article is sooo amazing nasmira MaashaAllah.Keep up ur good work in writing more article like this so tat whoever reads and pass on this article, their knowledge ll also increases and u also ll get end less reward.In Sha Allah may Allah reward u more and more knowledge.

Sounds like my life for the last year! SubhanAllah.

Now I'm fast approaching the end of graduate studies and need to buckle down to write up my thesis but all I want to do is spend time with Allah and the works of those online friends that bring the light of knowledge from Allah (swt) into my life. Have you experienced this lack of motivation to do material things? If yes, how did you counter that?
Jazzak Allah Khair

Assalaamu 'alaykum ukhti,

Maasha'Allah that sounds good sis - to feel more attached to Allah Ta'ala and aakhirah and give insignificance to this dunya/material things

if there are dunya things that have to get done, try to formulate an intention for them that would be beneficial..like insha'Allah I will do this to please my parents, or after I finish this I can do such and such good, or will dedicate more time to Qur'an

if not done already, try to include in your day times of reciting Qur'an, voluntary prayers, and other 'ibadaat so you can have that connection which you yearn for too

Try keeping your heart attached to aakhirah while being in dunya

This is a beautiful feeling sis that you just want to spend time with Allah Ta'ala and don't try to get rid of it or let Shaytan try to steer you away... insha'Allah as you finish your graduate studies perhaps you could do memorization (&understanding) of Qur'an and spend time with the Beautiful Words of Allah.)

Baarak Allahu feeki

Asalamualaikum wr wb sis...
Woww!! mashaAllah...to have a constant yearning to be close to Him swt and not get distracted by worldly affairs is an amazing feeling to have, mashaAllah! :)
An excellent advice given by Sis Amal S mashaAllah..

I would like to add a little bit more...
Maybe you could direct your materialistic goals towards pleasing Allah swt...for example, you could make an intention that you want to finish your thesis in order graduate with high grades, so you could use your graduate degree to serve people around you in order to please Him swt..?

By doing so, you're not neglecting something like thesis but at the same time, clubbing your worldly goals with pleasing Allah, gaining His rewards and blessings inshaAllah....

Coz if He has chosen to place you in a position where you are able to get a good education, then Allah swt believes in you, that you could use your talent/graduate degree to benefit yourself and this ummah in the best possible manner inshaAllah..

I pray you continue to have the amazing feeling of closeness to Allah swt without getting distracted, helping you reach your ultimate goal: to worship and please Allah, and enter Jannah!
Please remember me and my family in your duas.
Barakallahu feek! :)

Asalamualaikum wr wb sis Naseema! :)
JazakumAllahu khayran for your kind words..it means a lot to me! :)
Ameen to your beautiful dua..May Allah swt accept it.
And may He swt reward you with the best in both worlds. Ameen

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