Friendship in Islam


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Human Beings in all phases of life, from the very beginning of childhood and youth, old age till his death, are in need of friendship and association with others. Owing to his social nature, man is compelled to live in society and with other individuals. And most of our lives depend on interaction with others.

Friendship is such a beautiful gift. A friend in need is a friend in deed after all. A friend is a very important person in one’s life. Those who have worthy friends are never lonely and friendless in the world, since in joy and sorrow, their true friends help and support them. Naturally, a human being feels happy at the companionship of friends, and is sad at being lonely and distress and having no worthy companions.

Islam has placed tremendous importance on the aspect of sociability and friendship. This sense of companionship holds a lot of significance in any relationship. In the Noble Qur’an, Allah (SWT) clearly states that He too chose friends for himself; who were none other than Prophet Ibrahim, Khalil Allah (as), and Prophet Muhammad, Habib Allah (saw).

Today, we see intense disputes and altercations arising even between parents and children and as well as among siblings. This is chiefly due to the fact that, though their relationship is marked with blood ties, the all-important sentiments of fellowship and friendship are sorely missing. Our experience will tell us that friendship often takes precedence over blood relations. Man tends to heed his friends more than his relatives. He trusts his companions more than his own kin. The youth today, confide in their friends, while being discreet with their parents.

Islam is in complete harmony with man’s nature. Hence, it has dealt with this topic of friendship in detail. Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw)and Ahlul Bayt (as) were at pains to explain the etiquette and decorum of true friendship, so that we can acquire benefit out of companionship; a benefit whose effects will be manifested in the world as well as the hereafter. Imam Ali (as) observes, “He indeed is unfortunate who does not have any friends, but worse is the one who has friends, but loses them.”

Imam Ali (as) Says: “Live amongst people in such a manner that if you die they weep over you and if you are alive they crave for your company (friendship).”

We all know that Allah (SWT), the Most High has brought us to life in order to test us. Thus we are here for a relatively short period of time and that we shall meet Allah (SWT) one Day, so we need to use our present life for what is best for us in the Hereafter. Once we know our purpose and our goal in life, we should seek ways to achieve them so as to benefit our own selves.

Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (as) considers real friends as the treasures of this world and the hereafter, and he says: “Find friends for yourself from among your coreligionist brethren, since they are the treasures of this world and also the next world.”

Friends are by no means only a means for ‘time-pass’ or entertainment. Indeed friendship is more profound than that. Friendship and companionship are inseparable aspects of an individual’s life. Experience has shown, too, that many friendships have changed the destiny of individuals and their course of life. Friends influence each other’s ways, faith and religion. That is why while Islam has emphasized the importance of friendship, it has also stressed on the qualities that a friend should necessarily possess. It has clearly demarcated who is worthy of friendship and who is not.

One of the Hadith says as: “Don’t judge anyone’s goodness or badness until you see his friend, since a person is recognized by his likes and companions, and is related to his friends.”

Thus, for building up morality nothing is more useful and effective than association with learned and active individuals, since such contact enhances our mental powers, adds to our willpower, sublimate to our objective in the world, and prepares us for managing our own affairs and assisting others.

-Wish you a good day!
Esoofi

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