Man is influenced by the faith of his friends. Therefore, be careful of whom you befriend.
– Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)
In today’s times, nothing much has changed, except the fact that virtual friends have taken the place of real friends. While friendships are celebrated now more than ever, unfortunately the irony is that we are all actually feeling more isolated and lonely. Virtual media has created a very glamorous and exciting image of friendship goals, squad goals etc., and everybody wants to be known as someone with the highest number of friends, followers and subscribers. But at the core of it all, each person is lonely and has nobody to talk to in times of need though on the face of it, he/she might have several “friends” online. The very essence of having a deep sense of solidarity and oneness in friendships is lost.
Friendship is a relaxing shadow in a desert of life. It is a bond which provides solace in times of difficulty. It is a sip of sweet water in times of intense thirst. Under the benevolent mercy of friendship, true companionship is found. It is a river which overflows with sentiments of mutual love, respect and regard for the other. Productive friendships that harbor honest feelings of growth give rise to situations where every person thrives and climbs the ladder of success and prosperity. Whereas, on the other hand friendships that are built on disregard and sheer self-glorification set hurdles for growth.
The Perfume of Friendship
With regards to the essence of friendships, our beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said that people are recognized by the company they keep. He described it with a very thoughtful analogy i.e., if a person stands by a perfume vendor, he’ll instantly be scented with various fragrances and eventually a beautiful aroma will be emanating from him. On the contrary, if the same person passes by a blacksmith working with coals, he’ll be at the risk of having his clothes blackened due to the coal smoke and his body would be filled with pangs of tiredness due to the smell and harrowing impact of coal. This analogy is a great lesson for every wise person who has foresight. Keeping company which uplifts in every aspect of life will not only be a source of intense pleasure but also be a true shoulder to lean on in times of misfortune and misery. It’s important to develop a friend circle that contributes to our social, emotional, intellectual, spiritual and psychological well-being.
While we are progressing towards a technologically advanced and a mechanical world, we must understand that deep-rooted friendships do not number in zillions. They are rare. Even though the meaning of the word friendship is changing on a rapid scale, we need to cultivate honest bonds of companionship with the people whom we care the most. As result of this, we shall be relieved by the modern burden of anxiety of not having enough friends and followers and instead realize which relationships are most valuable and worth cultivating in reality. With a holistic understanding of what friendship is, we can set on a path of forming deeper and more long-lasting relationships, which can become our ray of hope even in the darkest hour.