As-Sunnah Vol. 2 Issue No. 11

 

Qualities to look for in a friend: Faith - Righteousness, God-fearing - Morals and Good Character - Those who remembering Allah

Faith
Faith should be the first criterion for a meaningful friendship. Allah says, ‘The believers, men and women, are Awliya (helpers, supporters, friends, protectors) of one another; they enjoin (on the people) al Maroof (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam orders one to do), and forbid (people) from al Munkar (i.e. polytheism and disbelief of all kinds, and all that Islam has forbidden); they perform as-Salaah (Iqamat-as-Salaah), and give the Zakaat, and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah will have His Mercy on them. Surely, Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.’ [Soorah Tawbah (9): 71]

Thus, the friendship based on the correct faith aims towards supporting and encouraging one another towards the obedience of Allah. Its goal is much more sublime than the friendship that is done for worldly gain, and amongst its benefits is that it is a means to safeguard one’s Aqeedah from being tainted with incorrect beliefs and practices.

Righteousness, God-fearing
The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: '…Men are of two types, a man who is righteous, fearful of Allah and honorable to Allah, or a man who is vicious, miserable and insignificant to Allah, the Exalted,…' [al-Muntakhab by Abd bin Humayd (793)] The best of people to befriend are those who possess Taqwaa (fear of Allah) for, 'Verily, the most honorable of you with Allah is that (believer) who has Taqwa.' [Soorah al-Hujurat (49): 13] and 'Allah loves those who are al-Muttaqin (those who possess Taqwa).' [Soorah Maryam (19): 63]

Islam gives precedence to Taqwa in all matters, for example, in cases of marriage while choosing a life partner - Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) stressed upon choosing a pious spouse, he (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said, 'A women is married for four (reasons); her wealth, her nobility, her beauty and her piety. Choose the pious one and you will be successful.' [Saheeh al-Bukharee (7/27)] He (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) also said, 'If a man, whose practice of the religion satisfies you, asks you for your daughter in marriage, you should marry them; otherwise, there will be corruption on the Earth.' [At-Tirmidhee] Choosing a friend is as important as choosing a life partner, therefore the wise choice are the Muttaqoon (those who possess Taqwa). Ali (radhi allahu anhu) advised, 'Befriend righteous people, for they are a good resource to use in this and the last life. Have you not heard the statement of the people of the Fire, 'Now we have no intercessors. Nor a close friend (to help us). (2): 175' [al-Ihya]

Benefits of accompanying righteous people are numerous, amongst which is improving one's religion. As people are always found to be competitive within friends, associating with righteous individuals inspires competing them in righteous deeds, thus expanding the scope of performing righteous deeds and perfecting the religion. Narrated Abu Musa, it was said to the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam), 'A man may love some people but he cannot catch up with their good deeds?' The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said, 'Everyone will be with those whom he loves.' [Saheeh al-Bukharee (8/191)] Allah says, 'and the blessed end is for al-Muttaqin (those who possess Taqwa).' [Soorah al-A'raf (7): 128]

Consider the example of the Sahabah (radhi allahu anhu), they were only second in righteousness to Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam), because they were so close to the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) - the most pious. Also, a number of narrations show that the Sahabah (radhi allahu anhu) would compete each other in performing righteous deeds and achieving high ranks with Allah. For instance, Umar (radhi allahu anhu) said, 'The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) ordered us to give charity at a time when I had some money. I said to myself, 'This day, if ever, I will be ahead of Abu Bakr (radhi allahu anhu).' I brought half of my money and the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) asked me, 'What have you left for your family?' I said, 'A similar amount.' Abu Bakr brought all he had and the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) asked him, 'What have you left for your family?' He said, 'I left for them Allah and His Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam).' So, I said to myself, 'I will never compete with you again.' [Abu Dawood and at-Tirmidhee]

'O you who believe! Take not for Awliya those who take your religion for a mockery, …'
[Soorah al-Maidah (5): 57]

Morals and Good Character
It is necessary that the friends you choose have good character and possess Islamic morals and etiquettes. Good character is a sign of excellence in Eeman. The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said, 'The most perfect of the believer in faith is the one who is best in conduct and the best of you are those who are best to their wives.' [At-Tirmidhee. Authenticated by Shaikh Al-Albanee. See, Saheeh al-Jamee al-Sageer (1/1232)]

Allah, the Exalted, has encouraged His slaves in the Qur'aan to associate with those who have good characteristics. Allah says, 'O you who believe! Fear Allah and be with those who are true (in words and in deeds).' [Soorah at-Tawbah (9): 119]

It is essential that those whom you choose as friends recognize and respect the limits of Allah. For example, they should understand the Islamic etiquettes of speaking and language, for sometimes talks among friends can go beyond bounds, like one may be involved in sins like Gheebah (backbiting), nick-naming, slandering, etc. which are generally considered to be very insignificant, but can have disastrous affect on one's Hereafter. The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said, 'Beware of sins which are treated as being minor; just like a people who encamp in the center of a valley, so someone brings a stick of firewood and someone else brings a stick until they are able to bake their bread. Likewise, sins which are treated as being minor and for which the person is taken to account will destroy him.' [(Saheeh) Musnad Ahmad (5/331) and others] It is related that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) was once passing through one of the graveyards of Medina or Makkah; he heard voices of two persons who were being tortured in their graves. The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said, 'These two person are being tortured, (but) not for a major sin.' He further added, 'Yes. Indeed, one of them never saved himself from being soiled with his urine while the other used to go about with calumnies (to make enmity between friends).' [Saheeh al-Bukharee (1/215)]

The importance of good character is also manifest in the Hadeeth of Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) who said, 'Nothing will be heavier on the Day of Resurrection in the scale of the believer than good manners. Allah hates one who utters foul or coarse language.' [At-Tirmidhee] The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) was asked about the deed, which will be foremost to lead a man to Jannah, he replied, 'Fear of Allah and the good character.' Then he was asked about the indulgence, which will admit a man to Hell and he replied, 'The tongue and the genitals.' [At-Tirmidhee]

Remembering Allah
One's associates and surrounding should help him remember Allah because man is ordered to remember Allah at all times. Remembrance of Allah strengthens the slave's bond with His Lord and prevents his heart and mind from being heedless of divine guidelines and limits. Abu Hurayrah (radhi allahu anhu) reported the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) saying, 'If anyone sits in a gathering where he does not remember Allah, he will bring grief upon himself (on the Day of Resurrection), and he who lies down in a place where he does not remember Allah, will bring grief upon himself (on the Day of Resurrection).' [Abu Dawood]

The superiority of the remembrance of Allah was explained by Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam), who said: 'The example of the one who remembers his Lord, in comparison to the one who does not remember his Lord, is that of a living creature compared to a dead.' [Saheeh al-Bukharee]

In the present time of trials and tribulations, it is very easy to be caught up in worldly affairs. Allah warns His slaves against associating with those who busy themselves in worldly pleasures and give no heed to the remembrance of Allah. Allah says, 'And keep yourself patiently with those who call on their Lord, morning and afternoon, seeking His Face and let not your eyes overlook them, desiring the pomp and glitter of the life of the world; and obey not him whose hearts We have made heedless of Our Remembrance, one who follows his own lust and whose affairs (deeds) have been lost.' [Soorah al-Kahf (18): 28]

The Qur'aan informs us that on the Day of Judgment there will be people who will bite their hands in regret that they were lead astray because of choosing wrong people as their friends, they would say, 'Woe to me! Would that I had never taken so-and-so as a friend! He indeed led me astray from the Reminder (this Qur'aan) after it had come to me.' [Soorah al-Furqan (25): 27] Whereas, those who help one another in piety, truth and remembrance of Allah will surely benefit each other in the Hereafter. Allah will grant them His Shade on the Day of Judgment and He says, 'Friends on that day will be foe's one to another except Al-Muttaqoon (pious, righteous).' [Soorah az-Zukhruf (43): 67]


Taken from As-Sunnah Newsletter - http://www.qsep.com

 

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