Do you want a rational investigation of the truth? Philosophy poses many questions. Where did I come from and why am I here? Why is there suffering? Is there a God? What is my purpose in life? Get started on your trek to find answers to life's most important question This Blog is mainly for Islamic view of philosophy.
Saturday, April 16, 2011
Islam and Friendship
Humans are social creatures by nature; they're always in need of friends and companions. Most of our lives depend on interaction with others. Strong individuals are the core of a strong community, something that Muslims should always strive for.
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.
In an authentic Hadith, Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) said: "Man is influenced by the faith of his friends. Therefore, be careful of whom you associate with."
Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) who has the most noble character and dealings with fellow humans gave us a very clear and simple message and advice in regard to friendship.
How should we choose our friends? We should choose the friend that believes and abide by our religion (Islam) and gives great respect to what Allah (SWT) and Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) has ordered us. And we should stay away from that who is not well mannered and gives no attention to what Islam is about or what pleases or displeases Allah (SWT), for he will surely affect us negatively. There is no good in the companion drowns us in sins and displeasing Allah (SWT).
In another Hadith, Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) said: "The example of a good companion and a bad companion is like that of the seller of musk, and the one who blows the blacksmith's bellows. So as for the seller of musk then either he will grant you some, or you buy some from him, or at least you enjoy a pleasant smell from him. As for the one who blows the blacksmith's bellows then either he will burn your clothes or you will get an offensive smell from him."
When choosing our friends we should ask ourselves first: Are they going to help us achieve the purpose for which we were brought to life? Or will they take us away from it? Will they desire for us Allah (SWT)'s pleasure or is that completely irrelevant to them and not their concern at all? Are they leading us to Paradise or to the Hell?
Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) stated, "The believer is like a mirror to other believers (in truthfulness)." Like a mirror, your friend gives you an honest image. He forgives your mistakes, but does not hide or exaggerate your strengths and weaknesses.
Once the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) was asked, "What person can be the best friend?" "He who helps you remember Allah (SWT), and reminds you when you forget Him," the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh), counseled.
Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) was further asked, "Who is the best among people?" Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) replied, "He who, when you look at him, you remember Allah (SWT)". Such a friend reflects qualities of love, mercy, honesty, service, patience, optimism, professionalism, and the entire lifestyle taught by Islam. Imam Ali (as) Says: "The poor is one who does not have any friend."
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)."
Imam Ali (as) Says: "Friendship transfers a stranger in to a relative."
Imam Ali (as) Says: "Do not choose as your friend the enemy of your friend."
Imam Ali (as) Says: "Two true friends are a single soul in different bodies."
Imam Ali (as) Says: "He who discards a friend for slight offence risks loneliness."
Imam Ali (as) Says: "In time of distress a man can distinguished between his friend and enemy."
Imam Jafar Sadiq (as) Says: "Be careful to have truthful friends and try to obtain them, for they are your support when you are in welfare, and your advocator when you have misfortune."
Imam Ali (as) Says: "Be not friend with a fool, for he will harm you while meaning to do good to you."
Imam Ali (as) Says: "It is better to listen to a wise enemy than to seek counsel from a foolish friend."
Imam Ali (as) Says: "Keep away from friendship of liar surely he will show you as near what is far from you and will show as far what is near you."
Imam Ali (as) Says: "O' Kumayl! Say what is just in any condition. Be friends with the righteous and avoid the evil doers, stay away from the hypocrites and do not accompany the treacherous."
Imam Sajjad (as) Says: "Beware of the companionship of the sinful, and helping of the unjust."
Imam Ali (as) Says: "If a friend envies you, then he is not a true friend."
Imam Ali (as) Says: "Verily, there are three (types of) friends for a Muslim,
The friend who says: I am with you whether you are alive or dead', and this is his deed.
The friend who says: I am with you unto the threshold of your grave and then I will leave you', and this is his children.
The friend who says: I will be with you until when you die', and this is his wealth which will belong to the inheritors when he dies."
Imam Ali (as) Says: "He who is deserted by friends and relatives will often find help and sympathy from strangers."
Imam Hassan (as) Says: "Befriend people in the same manner you would like them to befriend you."
Imam Jafar Sadiq (as) Says: "Be the friend of him who may grace you, not of one whom you are better than." (Viz. make friends with ones who are higher than you so that you progress.)
Imam Jafar Sadiq (as) Says: "My most beloved brother is he who (makes me aware of) my faults."
Imam Hassan Askari (as) Says: "Those who advise their friend secretly are respecting them, and those who advise them openly are humiliating them."
Imam Jafar Sadiq (as) has narrated from his father Imam Muhammad Baqir (as) who said his father Imam Sajjad (as) stated: "O' my son! Beware of five (groups) and do not seek companionship (friendship) with them, do not speak with them, and do not make friends with them on (the) way."
Then, Imam Muhammad Baqir (as) asked his father who they were and might he introduces them to him. Imam Sajjad (as) responded:
"Beware of and do not associate with the one who tells lies. He is as a mirage which makes near for you what is far, and makes far to you what is near."
"Beware of and do not associate with an immoral person, because he will sell you at the price of a morsel or less than that."
"Beware of and do not associate with a miser because he will deprive you of his wealth when you are seriously in need of it."
"Beware of and do not associate with a fool, because he wants to be of avail to you but he harms you."
"Beware of and do not associate with the one who disregards his kinfolks, because I found him (such a person) cursed in the Book Allah, Almighty and Glorious, in three occurrences." They are: (Sura Al-Baqarah, 2:27; Sura Ar-Rad, 13:25; and Sura Muhammad, 47:22).
Two friends were traveling together, when a Bear suddenly met them on their path. One of them climbed up quickly into a tree and concealed himself in the branches. The other, seeing that he must be attacked, fell flat on the ground, and when the Bear came up and felt him with his snout, and smelt him all over, he held his breath, and feigned the appearance of death as much as he could. The Bear soon left him, for it is said he will not touch a dead body. When the Bear was quite gone, the other friend descended from the tree, and jokingly inquired of his friend what it was the Bear had whispered in his ear. "He gave me this advice," his companion replied. "Never travel with a friend who deserts you at the approach of danger."
A story tells that two friends were walking through the desert. During some point of the journey they had an argument, and one friend slapped the other one in the face.
The one who got slapped was hurt, but without saying anything, wrote in the sand:
TODAY MY BEST FRIEND SLAPPED ME IN THE FACE.
They kept on walking until they found an oasis, where they decided to take a bath. The one who had been slapped got stuck in the mire and started drowning, but the friend saved him. After he recovered from the near drowning, he wrote on a stone:
TODAY MY BEST FRIEND SAVED MY LIFE.
The friend who had slapped and saved his best friend asked him, "After I hurt you, you wrote in the sand and now, you write on a stone, why?" The other friend replied "When someone hurts us we should write it down in sand where winds of forgiveness can erase it away. But, when someone does something good for us, we must engrave it in stone where no wind can ever erase it."
LEARN TO WRITE YOUR HURTS IN THE SAND AND TO CARVE YOUR BENEFITS IN STONE.
They say it takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them, but then an entire life to forget them.
"Ah! Woe to me! Would that I had never taken such-and-such as a friend!" Noble Qur'an (25:28)
The one who is always there to console you when you want to talk about a problem, the one who sticks by you through thick and thin, the one whom you can count on to be there for you - this is the person who leaves no doubts in your mind that he or she is your "best friend". You like each other's company and love to spend time together. If something important happens in your life, they're the first to know. You trust them and depend upon them in times of need. They may be a classmate, a colleague, a neighbor, a sister, a mother; or even your spouse! It could be anyone who fits this description.
But are they really your "true" friend? How can you find out? Ask yourself: are they taking you towards the most certain and perpetual success and benefit: that of the Hereafter, or are they going to be the cause of regret for you on the Day of Judgment? See for yourself. Here is a checklist.
When in each other's company, you both:
Comfortably backbite and make fun of people. Pass comments about others.
Laugh at others together, be it a passerby or someone you are discussing.
Call each other demeaning names in fun. Laugh at each other's cruel jokes about someone else.
Start a conversation with "Hi instead of Salaam" and plunge into an exchange of the latest gossip.
Hardly ever mention or discuss Allah (SWT), Noble Qur'an, Ahlul Bayt or Hadith in the time spent together.
Feel hesitant to discuss religion, unless it is a criticism of any aspect of Islam.
Confirm each other's doubts about the Hereafter.
Get involved in activities that delay/do away with salaah (Islamic Prayer), the major obligation from Allah (SWT). Have never prayed any salaah together.
Support each other in fulfilling every desire - a dress that caught your fancy, or the in-fashion shoes, even if they are not needed. End up spending money on things you don't need.
Discuss unimportant things and events in meticulous detail, such as a film, the latest clothes you got tailored, or a wedding party you attended.
Never point out each other's faults politely; if one does, the other quickly changes the subject or gets defensive.
Besides the above points, you both are fully aware of each other's family's and in-laws' faults and short-comings. When one of you feels guilty about having committed a sin, the other quickly offers reassurance that "It's no big deal, everyone does it", and comes up with convincing excuses for the other not to feel guilty about it. When one of you starts doing something that is impermissible in Islam, the other offers support and help; for example, when one starts to backbite, the other becomes attentive and listens closely. When one discovers a shortcoming of the other, they leave no chance to make fun of it.
About a 'friendship' that has most of the above characteristics, Allah (SWT) says in the Noble Quran:
"Friends on that day will be foes to one and another - except the Righteous Ones." Noble Qur'an (43:67)
All such "friends" will, on the Day of Judgment, become each other's enemies, each lamenting and blaming the other before Allah (SWT), for having supported and encouraged them towards the ultimate and eternal destruction. Allah (SWT) makes an exception to this situation in the Qur'anic verse above: "except those who are al-muttaqeen: the righteous ones". So who are these 'righteous ones', who will be happily together in the Hereafter just as they were together in the world? How can you tell whether your friend is really and truly your sincere "friend"? Here is another checklist of characteristics that depict a friendship that will lead to success in the Hereafter.
When together, you both:
Remind each other of Allah (SWT) when you set eyes on each other.
Leave each other's company with a higher level of imaan [faith in Allah (SWT)].
Inevitably start the conversation with the Islamic greeting 'As-Salaamu Alaykum', and receive the masnoon reply for it.
Do the masnoon mu'aanaqah (hug) and musafahah (handshake) on a regular basis.
Almost always mention Allah (SWT), Noble Qur'an, Ahlul Bayt or Hadith in some context or the other, in your conversations.
Strengthen each other's belief on the Hereafter. Give each other more duaa's (well wishes) than material gifts.
Always end up exchanging useful and mature ideas and thoughts. Love each other above and beyond worldly benefits.
Attend religious study-circles/ halaqah's together. Have prayed salaah together many times.
Have watched each other cry, out of fear of Allah (SWT) or out of regret for committing a transgression.
Listen attentively if the other is saying something that pleases Allah (SWT).
Politely point out and reform each other's mistakes or bad habits in the best way possible.
Return an Amanah (item placed in other's trust/safekeeping) belonging to the other in its original state.
Smile together, but with decent, non-malicious humor. Enquire regularly about the health of the other's family.
Become uninterested and change the subject if the other starts to say something that is impermissible.
Always discourage the other if they plan to do something wrong.
Always encourage the other if they intend to do a good deed that they're hesitant to do.
Consult each other in important matters. Give each other advice seriously and sincerely.
Never waste each other's time in useless activities. Never invite the other to a place or gathering of sin.
Have full trust that they will never reveal secrets or personal problems to others, nor will they gossip about you behind your back.
Address each other in a respectful and loving manner. Forgive each other's faults and shortcomings, and hide them from others.
Those whose friendships possess most of the above characteristics are among the fortunate people who can experience a glimpse of the assembly of Paradise in the life of this world itself, where they have such sincere and true friends - friends who love them for the sake of Allah (SWT). It is they who shall be saved from all kinds of discomfort and pain on the Day of Judgment when their Lord will provide them with a special place, as per His promise.