Since the beginning of time (Islamically – the time of Hazrat Adam (A.S) and Hawwa (R.A) ), humans have interacted with each other, making friendships to survive and sustain collaboratively. The moment a child opens his eyes in this world, he is surrounded by family members who are already trying to attract his attention. If seen closely, this depicts the human nature of interaction and friendly relations.
While in the beginning, a child’s friendships are more spontaneous and usually determined by his parents. As he slowly matures into teenage and young adulthood, he gets sensible enough to choose his own friends.
I personally see friendships as an investment into your future self. The people we befriend have the potential to impact our personality and life, both positively and negatively. It’s therefore crucial to carefully (and subtly) inspect the nature of the person you’re befriending. Sometimes (consciously or subconsciously), these bonds may influence one to let go of their moral and religious values, which could negatively affect the quality of life.
Research shows that man is the average of the five people he most frequently interacts with. I’m sure we can all relate to the times in our lives where our actions were heavily influenced by how our friends acted. And, over time, how those interactions impacted our lives both negatively and positively.
If philosophically thought, we’re all beings majorly shaped and moulded by different social interactions we have had over the years. That’s why as Muslims, we are instructed to be mindful of everything that we do in this life, which this also extends to our friendships. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), emphasizing the importance of a good company, said, “A good friend and a bad friend are like a perfume-seller and a blacksmith: The perfume seller might give you some perfume as a gift, or you might buy some from him, or at least you might smell its fragrance. As for the blacksmith, he might singe your clothes, and at the very least, you will breathe in the fumes of the furnace.” [Sahih-Bukhari]
We must therefore be careful that our friendships do not transcend the boundaries fixed by Allah Almighty. We ought to periodically question ourselves whether our friends are making us go closer towards Ihsan (Excellence), in the Duniya as well as Akhirah, or it otherwise? If yes, they are good friends, otherwise, although they may have the potential to improve at the same time, there is a big chance for you to stray away from the right path, so you need to weigh the pros and cons for yourself before staying committed to a friendship like that.
Now you may think to avoid all the hassle of choosing the right friends and the difficulties that wrong friendships may bring, better be alone, right? Not really. Islam being a religion of peace appreciates friendships and instils a sense of goodwill between human beings. The Quran regards all of the Believers as constituting one brotherhood. It deems each Muslim individual as the brother of every other Muslim. As Allah (SWT) says in the Quran: “Without doubt, the believers are brothers of one another, so then make peace and harmony between your brothers and have consciousness of Allah so that maybe He will show you mercy.” [49:10]
Think of your five closest friends. Do they have the qualities (including a strong Iman) that you want your future self to embody? Think of the topics you guys mostly converse about. Are your conversations centered around drugs, partying, haram relations, and worldly pleasures? Or are they really good and pious Muslims who are committed to becoming better versions of themselves with every passing day?
You might be thinking about how it’d be possible to judge someone’s aspirations so easily? However, the words and actions reveal the true identity of people. Look for signs. Do they frequently backbite or lie? Do they respect their families? Do they have healthy habits like reading, exercising, meditating, etc.? Question these little things for yourself, especially since, these tiny things can have an enormous impact on your lives moving forward.
Again, the purpose of this blog is to educate people to make wealth. Still, more important than that is to inculcate the true mindset a believer needs to have before diving into the ways to make money. After all, if wealth is all we desire, we may achieve it, but in the process, we lose our true identity as Muslims; what’s the use of wealth like that?
Finally, as Muslims, our prime Aqidah (belief) should be achieving the pleasure of Allah SWT. If we have the right friends, they’ll push us to do more good deeds and achieve more in life. Moreover, on the Day of Judgment, only those friendships will remain unaffected, which were based on piety and righteousness in this world. All other friendships with ulterior motives will turn into enmities on that day. May Allah SWT enable us to become better Muslims and give the company of righteous friends who would help us achieve our goals in the Duniya and Akhira.