When we think of faithful friends, we can only think of THE most faithful friend of all time, Abu Bakr As-Siddiq. The Prophet (peace be upon him), said about him: “I called people to Islâm, everybody thought over it, at least for a while, but this was not the case with Abu Bakr, the moment I put Islâm before him, he accepted it without any hesitation”. What amazing foundations to their friendship subahanAllah! The Prophet (peace upon him) trusted him so much that he was entitled ‘As-Siddiq’, because his faith was too strong to be shaken by anything, and his friendship was as solid as a rock for he gave up his wealth, and his own security on many occasions in support of the Prophet’s message.
Friends who love you for His sake
A key ingredient for good friends then is to love for the sake of Allah. One amazing narration shows that those who love each other for Allah’s sake will be among those who are shaded on the Day of Judgement! The Prophet (peace be upon him) said there are 7 whom Allah will shade in His Shade on the Day when there is no shade except His Shade: amongst them will be ‘two men who love each other for Allah’s sake, meeting for that and parting upon that’ [Bukhari], which signifies the lofty status we can reach through good companionship in our life’s journey.
Friendship can be likended to a traveller seeking a final destination, as one writer says: “It is possible to travel alone. But the good traveller knows that the journey is human life and life needs company. ‘Companion’ means the one who eats the same bread. Happy are those who feel they are always on the road and that everyone they meet is their chosen companion. Good travellers take care of their weary companions. They guess when they lost heart. They take them as they find them, listen to them. Intelligently, gently, above all lovingly, they encourage them to go on and recover their joy in the journey.”
A scholar once said to explain this beautiful concept of loving one another for the sake of Allah Subhanhu wa Ta’ala that it is: “To seal a friendship for Allah’s sake indicates the obligation of establishing relationships of love and trust for His sake; this is a friendship for the sake of Allah Subhanhu wa Ta’ala. It also indicates that simple affection is not enough here; indeed what is meant is a love based upon alliance. This entails assistance, honor, and respect. It means being with those whom you love both in word and deed. Loyalty for the sake of Allah really means to love Allah and to come to the assistance of His Deen; to love those who are obedient to Him Azzawajal and to come to their help”.
In having good company, we are sowing the seeds of faith therefore friendship is based upon faith, and one’s faith should motivate them to seek out good friends.
Practical tips to find good company
To help you find those friends, here are a few practical tips to take away:
1. Be sincere and start with yourself:
The key to finding good friends is to be sincere in intentions as with all actions in Islam, and to embody the characteristics and traits we so desire in good friends ourselves such as those mentioned above.
2. Quit bad friends:
I know quitting bad friends is not an easy decision to make, but remember if you leave something for the sake of Allah Subhanhu wa Ta’ala, He will grant you far better in replacement. This doesn’t mean you leave friends who are harmful to your faith altogether, instead encourage them in good deeds, be a source of inspiration for change in them and make du’a for them.
3. Search for righteous friends:
This can only happen by being in the gatherings of people of knowledge, those who are known for being truthful, righteous and notable for their good company. Go to the right places. To improve our eman, we should aim to be in the places where good people are found (the mosque, or gatherings of knowledge, or your MSA/ISoc is a good place to start!) and avoid harmful places.
Remember that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
“The example of a good companion and a bad companion is like that of the seller of musk, and the one who blows the blacksmith’s bellows. So as for the seller of musk then either he will grant you some, or you buy some from him, or at least you enjoy a pleasant smell from him. As for the one who blows the blacksmith’s bellows then either he will burn your clothes or you will get an offensive smell from him.” [Bukhari & Muslim]
4. Make du’a to Allah:
Always make du’a that you are guided towards good companionship, and that Allah Subhanhu Wa Ta’ala blesses not only you but also your friends with the best in this life and in the Hereafter!
So those are 4 tips to start your search for friends who will help sow the seed to righteousness, and I pray we are amongst those who are faithful friends in the Hereafter. Ameen.
PS: Another pertinent reminder on the Importance of Good Companionship by our brother Nouman Ali Khan