يٰوَيۡلَتٰى لَيۡتَنِىۡ لَمۡ اَتَّخِذۡ فُلَانًا خَلِيۡلًا 25:28
“Oh, woe is me! If only I did not take such a one who disbelieved for an intimate friend.”
(Surat Al-Furqan, Verse 28)
(Translation by Ahmad Zaki Hammad)
Our siblings, parents, and most importantly, our friends. This is perhaps one of the most important topics that we all need to be reminded of on a regular basis. Every other Muslim and I have a certain level of spirituality. In which, that spirituality is dictated by those surrounding us. Even the people that Allahﷻ has put us with such as our parents and siblings have a large impact on what kind of person we are going to be. More importantly, the people whom we choose to be around have an even larger impact on the person that we will be. These people that I am referring to are our friends.
How Does Islam address this Matter of Friends?
“A Day when the godless wrongdoer shall bite his very hands in regret, saying: Oh! If only I had taken a path to salvation together with the Messenger! Oh, woe is me! If only I did not take such a one who disbelieved for an intimate friend. Very truly, he has led me away from the Remembrance of the Quran after it had come to me. For Satan has ever been deserting of humankind, indeed.” (Surat Al-Furqan, Verses 27-29)
We must understand as Muslims that our friends are not just people, we spend time with. Rather, we become our friends. As the saying goes, your friends are who you are as a person. An example of this is if the friends we are with do not pray. We know that salah is very important and we must pray on time 5 times a day. However, when you are around people who do not care to pray, you will find yourself slowly forgetting about salah as well. Asr will come and you won’t realize, Maghreb comes, and you completely forgot. Since the people around us are not performing nor care about Salah, we will take on their same bad traits and attitude towards Salah. However, if our friends are people who always care and perform their Salah, then we will find ourselves praying every prayer when it’s time to enter with them. In fact, when you may be feeling lazy, they will pick you up and encourage you to pray. Our friends should be the ones to encourage us to pray on time. We should all be encouraging one another. This is a healthy and fruitful friendship that should be maintained. Sahih Hadith according to Imam Al-Nawawi, Abu Huraira narrated that the Prophetﷺ said, “الرَّجُلُ عَلَى دِينِ خَلِيلِهِ فَلْيَنْظُرْ أَحَدُكُمْ مَنْ يُخَالِل”.
“A person is known by the friends he or she keeps, so let one of you look at and be careful of whom he befriends.”
We need to constantly evaluate who our friends are. Every single person, regardless of how old or young you are, should ask these questions: “Who are my friends? Why are they my friends? What habits have I taken from them?” Did you start swearing, raising your voice on your parents and others, watching haram things, neglecting your prayers, etc? It happens so often that an individual is a very kind and respectful person, however, after being in the company of certain people, they become the opposite. They have taken on the bad habits of the company they chose to surround themselves with. Do not allow friendship to overtake and replace your good habits with bad habits. After many years, it may be difficult to change your group of friends. So, that means that you should then at least correct your friends for their mistakes. If that does not work, then you must find a new group of friends that will lead you closer to Allahﷻ and not lead you astray from the straight path.
A true friend is the one who corrects you for your mistakes and shortcomings. It doesn’t matter who the person is: father, mother, brother, sister, friend, etc. If they are wrong, then they are wrong and if they are right, then they are right.
Surat Al-Nisa Aya 135 states,
“Oh you who believe, stand firm for justice. Even if it is against your own self, or your parents, or your relatives.”
A friend is not a person who tells you what you want to hear all the time. A friend is someone who supports you, comforts you, and most importantly: corrects you when you are wrong. The uncomfortable reality is that you probably will not like to hear the truth from the mouth of your friend. However, know that they are valuable to you.
I will end with an analogy. Our friends will either bring us with them to heaven or drag us down with them to the hell fire. If our friends have bad character, influences, actions, and morals, then not only will we take on those same traits, but they will drag us down to hell fire with them. Bad friends are like an anchor. If the anger is tied to our feet and we are in the middle of the ocean, it will drag us down to the depths of the ocean and drown us. We will not be able to fight it. Bad friends are the exact same way. They will drag you down to the depths of hell fire.
We ask Allahﷻ to protect us from the hell fire. We ask Allahﷻ to grant us righteous friends. We ask Allahﷻ to forgive us for our sins. Allahumma Ameen.
By Ahmad Salah