Assalamualaikum wa Rahmatulahi wa Barakatu!
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “A man will follow the way of his close friends, so let each one of you look at who he takes as a close friend.” Narrated by Abu Dawood, 8433; classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood, 4046
Saying goes, "you are what you eat" and to some degree I can definitely agree. The food we eat can be a true reflection of who we are, how we take care of ourselves, and how dedicated we are to Allah, The Almighty. Overeating and obesity can prove that we are not taking care of ourselves the way we should be, and eating healthy and in moderation shows that we have taken our bodies, the TRUST that Allah has given us, and caring for it properly so that we can worship Him the way we were created to. Similarly , drinking haram and eating haram indicates our lack of interest and fear for Allah. If what we eat can represent who or what we are, then what about the kind of companions we have? Do the people we have in our lives truly reflect who we are? Do they bring us closer to Allah and our deen? Do they help us do more good deeds than bad ones?
A year and a half later (plus some months), I still seek the truth to these answers but from what I have learnt so far, I can't express the importance and the seriousness of having good companions in one's life, especially during times like these where the society we live in has become so corrupt, deluded, and spineless.
Before Islam, my circle of friends were not hand picked according to the finest of grade/quality, but they were chosen mainly because we shared the same interests (partying, the gym, and our interest for shopping.) To me, a 'true friend' was someone who would cater to me, put up with my annoying selfishness, and someone I could use. I admit that I was probably the worst friend (for obvious reasons) but at the same time I always had a sense of loyalty towards them. On occasion, I would lend a helping hand or a listening ear and a shoulder for them to cry on but because I lacked self respect and good morals, it was hard for me to prioritize my intentions. I never became attached to my friends, as to me, as easy as it was to make friends, so was dropping them like a hot piece of coal. Thus, resulting in me having very few close friends, especially who I could trust. None of these people helped me become a better person and they would encourage me to do more bad then good. The friends I had , truly represented who I was. I mirrored them, and they mirrored me. The reflection I often saw through my friends, was a lost soul who constantly needed to behave in a rebellious way to fit into society. The only way I could seek approval from society was through the parties, the drinking, and the meaningless lifestyle we all were leading, but at least we were leading it together right?
This was my crew and this was how I rolled. I couldn't beat the crowd, so I went along with it. That was my past and now my present life, I still search for the close knit group of sisters, whom I can call companions for the sake of Allah.
and so I proceed,
The importance of having quality friends in Islam is extremely crucial. Friendship in Islam is completely different than a 'normal' friendship which the non-Muslims have with one another. Your companions in Islam are the ones who can lead you to Paradise, or drag you to the Hellfire. They are the ones who remind you of your purpose in life, and remind you of Allah instead of reminding you of their most favourite song or breakup with their boyfriend. Loving your sister for the sake of Allah and treating her kindly can actually earn us the Pleasure of Allah and His Rewards. These are just a few out of the countless Verses from the Qur'an and Ahadith stated by the Prophet Sallalahu aleyhi wasselam :
“The Believers are but a single brotherhood….” [Al-Hujuraat 49:10] (sisterhood)
“…. Nor speak ill of each other behind their backs. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? Nay, you would abhor it. But fear Allah: for Allah is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful.” [al-Hujuraat 49:12]
“There are three things that whoever attains them will find the sweetness of faith: if Allah and His Messenger are dearer to him than anyone else; if he loves a person solely for the sake of Allah; if he would hate to return to kufr after Allah has rescued him from it, as much as he would hate be thrown into the Fire.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
"So be patient. Verily, the Promise of Allaah is true, and let not those who have no certainty of faith, discourage you from conveying Allah’s message" [ar-Ruum 30:60]
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) 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 Al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Hadith 314)
“And keep yourself content with those who call on their Lord morning and evening, seeking His Countenance, and let not your eyes pass beyond them to those who seek the pomp and glitter of this life...” (Al-Kahf 18:28 - interpretation of the meaning)
The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: “There should be no breaking off of ties, no turning away from one another, no hating one another, and no envying one another. Be brothers, as Allah has commanded you.” [Muslim]Since I rarely leave my home (Alhamdulilah) , the only way to build my sisterhood is online. The big online ocean with the plethora of sisters swimming around waiting to be caught and sent to me by Allah. I've met a many variety and I am witnessing a constant pattern.
Many sisters who fear Allah and truly you can sense their sincerity over the computer, many sisters who go out of their way for you and to give you sound advice, many sisters who treat you like their own family, many sisters who are kind and gentle with their words and their akhlaq, many sisters full of pride, pointing fingers at others when they need to look at themselves (surely, we all fall into this category including I, but at least I admit it and am trying hard to work on it bidhniAllah). I've met many sisters who claim they follow the correct path yet their actions speak louder then words. I've met many sisters who wear the niqab yet their actions and words do not represent any sort of modesty or fear of Allah (Subhana'Allah). I've met amazing lovely sisters, who truly fear Allah and love one another for His sake and His alone. I've met many sisters who speak out of ignorance due to their lack of knowledge in the deen and their emotions that they don't know how to control. I've also met sisters who backbite me and act friendly to my "face (computer screen)". I've also met many sisters who are just plain arrogant and ignorant with their actions. I've also met many sisters that I just don't get along with. Subhana'Allah .. I've met many sisters ?!
It is merely through my experiences , my many trials & errors through meeting sisters, that I am writing this post, and warning, and advising you. Showcasing just how important it is to find a sister who fears Allah and follows the CORRECT teachings of the Qur'an and Sunnah (and not just make claims that they do). It's hard to tell during the first few months, but with time, as people grow, you will see for yourself their true colours (and asking Allah for His guidance).
It may take as short as days, months and as long as years for you to see what kind of friendship you have and if it is based solely out of the love for Allah's sake of if it is based on your own nafs and ignorance.
I sit at home most of my days, busy trying to unite the sisterhood and what is left of it (at least online) and I've learnt that, building a friendship online (without any sort of voice communicating) is a bit difficult and at times can cause much misunderstanding between each other. But it is only out of the fear and love of Allah that you are able to develop forgiveness and throw away your pride issues and make your sisterhood strong. Subhana'Allah. I think about all the relationships I have had with many sisters, and I continue to reflect. I am able to see how much I have grown, what I need to work on with myself, and what Islam teaches about sisterhood:
Learning to forgive, learning to put away your pride, learning not to belittle people through your own ignorant comments, learning to NOT start a senseless debate because you want to prove your invalid valueless point (based on your own emotions), learning to IGNORE people who make you angry or upset, learning to leave a situation that does not concern yourself, learning to seriously NOT backbite, learning to control your temper and attitude when a sister attacks you and oppresses you with her pride, learning to walk away from the situation fearing Allah, learning to treat all your sisters like they are your good friend, learning to not sever ties due to your own nafs and shaitan (but sometimes certain sisters CALL FOR having to cut them off permanently), learning that the "block" and "delete" button can also become your "best friend", learning how to maintain good character and manners ALL THE TIME, learning to properly balance your time with your other priorities, learning to prioritize your time and not over exert your efforts with sisters, learning to NOT feel guilty just because you know you're right yet people make you feel wrong, learning your RELIGION ( so you don't get manipulated, brainwashed, weakened into thinking that the path you are following is wrong), learning to take time to yourself and to not spend too much time wasted on sisters who don't care about your Akhirah, learning that the most important quality to look for in a sister, is her fear for Allah, her GENUINE fear for Allah. If she fears Allah, she will have good akhlaq and good adaab. She will always greet you with the proper Islamic greeting no matter what. She will be happy to encourage you with all your affairs especially related to DEEN. She will not confuse you with her own ideologies and she knows that the Qur'an and Sunnah are the absolute two things that must be followed in order to be successful in this dunya AND the Akhirah. She will never make you feel lower than her. She is genuinely interested in your Akhirah. She never opens the door for debates or confrontations. She is gentle and kind with her words. She respects you and you respect her and there is always a mutual understanding between the two of you. Quality OVER quantity.
Having good companions who are on the correct upright middle path is one of the most important things in Islam. A person who constantly reminds you of Allah instead of stresses you out and a person who brings out your good qualities instead of your bad ones, is truly a good companion. When she reminds you always about Allah and you can tell her sincere, gentle tone is very genuine. Those who remind you about other than Allah, do not consider them as a close companion. Those who always mention Allah in their speech (online, on phone, in person) are the ones that you should hold onto. Remembering Allah is not only in the heart, but it is from the tongue and the actions as well. I have realised that over time, the search for a true companion still prevails. Never attach yourself too tightly to anyone, for it may not bring you any good to do so. With time, people grow, people change. Attach yourself to Allah first and foremost and if that person turns out to be someone you didn't expect them to be, take it as a blessing from Allah that He saved you from harm or that He has someone better for you insha'Allah.
While writing this post, I was able to truly reflect upon the person that I have become since Islam. I have a definite long way to go. I realise much of my faults and my shortcomings that need to seriously be addressed and it is only through distancing myself with people, that I can really focus on correcting myself. I noticed a pattern that surfaces over and over again, and it is that if we expect good from someone or something, if we expect the world to change, or an individual to change... WE must START with OURSELVES. The key to success in this dunya: REMEMBER ALLAH FIRST AND FOREMOST before ANYONE or ANYTHING else and FEAR HIM LIKE YOU NEVER FEARED ANYTHING OR ANYONE IN YOUR LIFE BEFORE! Educate yourself with seeking knowledge, apply it, and share it. Once you have established your firm, solid foundation then insha'Allah this is only when good friendships begin and last, resulting in CHANGE within the Ummah.
If I have ever wronged any of you or made you feel oppressed due to my own shortcomings and ignorance, please forgive me. May Allah continue to guide us all and keep us grounded with humility and never let our own pride be the reason we go to the Hellfire (NAUDHUBILAH).
My last two piece of advice (well not really advice but amazing reminders) :
The great Sahabi Abu Darda (radiallahu 'anhu) used to say: “Shall I not tell you about something that is better for you than charity and fasting? Reconcile between your brothers, for hatred diminishes reward.” (reported by al-Bukhari in Ad-Adab al-Mufrad)
May Allah forgive me for anything that I've said that has offended you, anything good I've said is from Allah and anything bad is from my own self and I seek refuge in Allah from Shaitan the accursed. Ameen!