Category : Health
Author : Heba Shakeel

Heba Shakeel in this introspective piece writes on the importance of good friends – and how they affect the quality of our lives.

Embarking on the adventure of life, we find ourselves on a winding road, where every twist and turn reveals encounters, challenges, and glimpses of joy. But have you ever taken a moment to examine your own company on this journey through life? Who are the people walking beside you on this path, and how are they shaping your destination? Have you considered the impact your friends have on your faith and character? Who do you keep yourselves with? Do we have a core group of loved ones who remind us and encourage us to do and be good?

In my search to understand the significance of having virtuous friends in our lives, I encountered the verses within Surah Al-Furqan (25:27-29) that shed light on the importance of making wise choices when it comes to our companions.

In the Quran, Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says: “And ‘beware of the Day the wrongdoer will bite his hands ‘in regret’ and say “Oh! I wish I had followed the Way along with the Messenger! Woe to me! I wish I had never taken so-and-so as a close friend. It was he who truly made me astray from the Reminder after it had reached me.” And Satan has always betrayed humanity.”

These verses serve as a strong reminder of the powerful impact our friends can have on us. The verses encourage us to reflect on the people we choose to walk alongside in our life’s journey, ensuring they lead us toward goodness, righteousness, and a closer connection to Allah. They also emphasize prioritizing friends who uplift our faith and character. The regret expressed in these verses by those who made poor choices in their companions serves as a stark warning about the consequences of misguided friendships.

On the Day of Judgement, when each soul will stand before his Lord, he will be held accountable for all his deeds, good or bad. Every action, word, and intention will be laid bare before the All-Knowing, and the weight of one’s existence will become evident. This is the day when the wrongdoers will find themselves in a state of utter hopelessness. The imagery here, of someone biting their hands, is to emphasize the intensity of their regret.

Regret can be a powerfully painful emotion. Sometimes it can haunt us for what we’ve done. Other times, for what we have left undone when we had the chance to do it. In all ways, it’s a horrible feeling, one that can crush our self-esteem and burden our minds.

But instead of letting regret consume us (as Satan would prefer), consider the wisdom it carries. It reminds us that what we experience in this life is but a fraction of what’s at stake in the Hereafter. We need to use that regret as a driving force, a reminder to avoid the ultimate regret – the one mentioned in this verse (and several others).

May Allah shield us from that agony.

These verses explicitly mention friends who would lead us astray from the truth. It may have been a buddy who summoned us to shirk, bid’ah, or any other form of evil. How many rightly-guided people end up practising fornication, drinking alcohol, and so on because they are surrounded by peers who have normalized these behaviours among themselves? People often seek solace in the masses, believing that since so many others are doing it, it must be alright or cool for me to do the same.

However, the same people who were once celebrated by the masses, or who advocated a specific immoral lifestyle that people thought was ‘cool,’ will be rejected on the Day of Judgment by their friends and followers.

And on that Day, the Messenger (ﷺ) will say: “O my Rabb! Indeed, my people have taken this Qur’an as [a thing] abandoned (neither listened nor acted on its laws and teachings).” [Al-Furqan 25:30]
In an authentic Hadith, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “A man is upon the religion of his best friend, so let one of you look at whom he befriends.” (Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim). This Hadith clarifies that our friends have a direct influence on our faith and actions. It also reminds us that our friends can sway us toward righteousness or misguidance. Therefore, we need to distance ourselves from those who may lead us astray.

And because all of us get distracted in life, Allah warns us of people we should avoid. Those individuals who haven’t internalized His guidance in their hearts and behaviours. Those who may talk a nice talk, but in reality are only interested in their gain and desires.

The Qur’an specifies in Surah Kahf, verse 28: “Do not follow him whose heart We have caused to be heedless of Our remembrance, and who follows his desires, and whose attitude is of excess.”

The characteristics of a good friend as described by the Prophet:

“The best of your friends is the one who sees the best in you, reminds you of Allah when you forget Him, and aids you when your deeds fall short.” (Sunan Abu Dawood)

A genuine friend is one who refrains from scrutinizing the faults of his brothers, opting instead to seek excuses for them. True chivalry, according to the wisdom of Al-Fudayl ibn ‘Iyaad, lies in the ability to overlook the errors of those we hold dear. In the words of Abu’l-Fayd ibn Ibraaheem al-Misri, the essence of companionship is found in those whose presence ensures your safety, inspires goodness, and he reminds you of your Lord.

The righteous friend, as described by various scholars, possesses a cheerful demeanour, gentle speech, generosity, and the ability to suppress anger. They avoid arrogance, and express joy and respect for the bond of friendship, all of which contribute to a harmonious connection.

A proverbial saying advises, “Do not befriend anyone unless their companionship enhances you.” A true friend offers support in times of need, fills the gaps in your shortcomings, preserves your virtues, and willingly extends assistance. Their loyalty is unwavering; whether offering criticism or maintaining distance, they remain steadfast. Envy has no place in the heart of a righteous friend. Instead, they rejoice in the blessings bestowed upon others, just as they would for themselves.

We ask the Almighty to grant us the tawfiq to avoid friends who influence us in the wrong way and make us from the most righteous of friends. We pray to Him to keep us in the company of people who uphold the noble traits. Let the verses mentioned earlier be a warning to us so we are not from those who regret on the Day of Judgement.

In conclusion, I would like to quote the words of Omar Sulaiman: “Keep the company of the righteous who possess higher standards and qualities you wish to acquire. That way when you fall short, you remain on the ladder looking upwards.”

The people we surround ourselves with will require serious examination. Choose your Choose your close
companionship wisely and carefully.
Creator of the heavens and earth, You are our protector in this world and in the Hereafter. Cause us to die a Muslim and join us with the righteous.

3 Comments

  1. Iman Shakeel

    Beautifully written. Powerful topic.

    Reply
  2. Nida

    Amazing write up!

    Reply
  3. Anonymous

    An important aspect of life which we almost neglect and ignore. Well written Masha Allah

    Reply

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