According to a common adage, a man is known by the company he keeps. Our friendships define and reflect our own persona and innate characteristics. Therefore, it is imperative to watch our steps, before we stride on the road to lifelong camaraderie. “Hiba” guides its readers regarding the kinds of people one should befriend, as mentioned in the Quran.
“A person is upon the religion of their friend.” (Tirmidhi) This simple Hadeeth of Prophet Muhammad (sa) defines the sort of relationship we should have with the people around us. If certain individuals are pious and religious, while their friends are not on the right path, the latter will bring about the former’s downfall. Hence, we should be very careful while making friends. Even if we have friends who are not on the right path, we should try to guide them and mend their ways instead of following their footsteps. The relationships that we have in this world can lead to our failure or success in the hereafter. Achieving the latter is the ultimate aim of all Muslims. Hence, we should try to make friends who help us achieve this goal.
Since the Noble Quran guides Muslims in every walk of life, it also enlightens regarding the type of friends one should keep. These guidelines are presented by giving friends different terms that help identify the right kind. Following is a brief explanation of the sort of friends that we come across in our life.
The word Qareen actually comes from the Arabic term Kiham, which means ‘a rope that ties two camels together’. Hence, Qareen is a kind of friend who is always spending time with you, and texting and emailing you. Such a friend is always around you.
When certain individuals achieve paradise, they will remember their friends. They will say: “I used to have this friend, this Qareen! I wonder what happened to him?” They will remember that Qareen used to lure them towards sin. Many a times, they listened to their friend and did all that they were invited to.
Friends generally engage in the same activities. For instance, when one goes to movies or to watch a basketball game, he invites others as well, so that he may have company. Hence, friendships are based on mutual interests. Therefore, there might have been times, when one was compelled to join their friend in some vain activity out of sheer pleasure.
However, they soon realize that such activities are nothing but sin and mend their ways. On the contrary, their friend keeps egging them on towards such pleasures, making fun of them when they refuse. When one in paradise will inquire about such friends, they will see that they are burning in the worst part of hell. The pious ones will thank Allah (swt) for guiding them and saving them from the hellfire. They will be happy that they stopped listening to their friend.
This is testimony to the fact that a friend can either utterly destroy you or guide you to the right path. The ones in paradise will thank Allah (swt) for guiding them and preventing them from following their friend. They have achieved the ultimate success, which in this context is to escape the temptation of a bad friend who wants to pull you into evil deeds.
You may be a Qareen or you might have a Qareen. You might be a bad influence yourself, or you might be someone who is influenced by the one far worse than you. Gauge yourself; think about your life. What kind of role do you play among your friends? Are you the person who always uses foul language to get attention? Are you a Qareen who makes fun of others, when they stop you from doing wrong? Do you look at the things that are highly inappropriate on the web and encourage other people to look at them too?
There is another Qareen that is discussed in the Quran and that is Satan. He befriends those who walk away from the remembrance of Allah (swt). Even when they perform prayers, they are not actually remembering Allah (swt). They just wait for it to be over, so that they can indulge in worldly activities. There is no other motivation for them. Their Qareen constantly compels them to indulge in evil. May Allah (swt) protect us from that kind of Qareen. Ameen.
Khazool is a kind of friend who only accompanies one in good times, and when the friend needs him, he simply vanishes. He poses to be sincere but shows his true colours in difficult times. Allah (swt) mentions that Satan has always been a Khazool for human beings. A person loses his/her humanity, when giving in to temptations. Satan deceives thousands of young people, because he wants everyone to land in hellfire. He is a Khazool, who will be with you in this life to misguide you. However, on the Day of Judgement, when people who follow him will be cursing him, he will simply rebuke them, saying that they followed him out of their own free will and he is not to be blamed.
Rafeeq comes from the Arabic word Mirfaq which means ‘a pillow; something on which you relax when you are exhausted’. A Rafeeq is a kind of friend that you can count on in the hour of need. Such a friend gives sincere advice and is a source of comfort. Allah (swt) explains that a person’s Rufaqah are Nabiyeen, Siddiqeen, Shuhada and Saliheen. Firstly, the prophets are our Rafeeq. Then the Siddiqeen: those who relentlessly confirm the truth. Thirdly, the Shuhada: those who bear witness of the truth. These are the people who live Islam and are not afraid to show it. Lastly, the Saliheen: the righteous people are our Rafeeq. These are the people upon whom one can depend.
In order to gauge who Rafeeq is, one should consider the character of a particular person. Does interaction with him or her make you a better person? One should befriend people who live Islam. They do not give in to temptations. Instead, they live life for a higher purpose. The best thing to do in this regard is to befriend older people. When one spends time with people that are elder, they become more mature and also get valuable advice.
In Islam, as soon as one reaches puberty, s/he becomes an adult. In other words, when you reach a certain age, there are some adult expectations from you. If prayer is binding upon you, then you have to pray, you have to be responsible, and you cannot do certain things that you could have done when you were a kid. Hence, in this age, it is imperative that one chooses friends wisely, so that they are guided to the right path.
Wali is a protective friend, who is there to watch your back. You can rely on him/her whenever there is a danger. Your first Wali is Allah (swt) followed by His Messenger Muhammad (sa). Holding on to the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (sa) is a means of protection. For example, for a young man, growing a beard is a big challenge; however, it protects him from so many temptations and problems. Just by holding on to the Sunnah of the Messenger (sa), by walking with humility and lowering your gaze, you will be saved from committing a lot of sins.
Also, all the believing Muslims are your Wali. They are the ones who perform prayers and follow the limitations set by Islam. By performing regular prayers, they show humility. Nowadays, in schools and colleges, arrogance is being glorified. Five to six days a week, the youth witness that the one who shows arrogance is considered to be the star of the school. On the contrary, when such youth go to a Friday sermon, they hear humility being glorified. Hence, they remain confused and it does not impact their minds.
Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “Whoever has a seed’s worth of arrogance in their hearts will never see paradise.” (Muslim) This Hadeeth includes even those who are religious – because of their following Islam, they have become arrogant; when they see others who are comparatively less religious, they think they are better than them. This is also the arrogance that earns Allah’s (swt) wrath. Analyze yourself, remove arrogance from your heart and befriend a Wali.
Siddique is the most sincere friend who will tell you the truth, whether you want to hear it or not. Such a friend knows what is in your best interest and does not shy away from expressing it. Sometimes your friends will not say the right thing, because they are afraid that your feelings might get hurt – a Siddique will not do that. S/he is a sincere friend who can point out your flaws and help you change.
We can learn a lesson from the sincerity of Yusuf (as), when he was thrown in prison. There were criminals all around him who are considered to be the worst kind of people in the society. He remained in such an environment; however, he did not change. Those with whom he interacted called him ‘al-Siddique’, the sincere one, who never shies away from telling the truth. We should have this kind of character.
Khaleel is a very close friend for whom you feel love in your heart. Anything that hurts them hurts you; any joy that comes to them gives you joy. This is the kind of relationship that is so honoured in the Quran. Allah (swt) chose Ibrahim (as) as a Khaleel. Ibrahim (as) shared a special relationship with Allah (swt). Many a times, when he was afflicted with trials, he relied only on Allah (swt), such as when he was thrown in the fire and when he was in the middle of the desert.
Hameem is the one who is very close to you through kindness and generosity. They are always there, where you want them to be. Khaleel is in the heart; Hameem is in the manifest, on the outside.
Waleejah is the friend whom you trust to the extent of involving him/her in your private matters. They help you out in business transactions or personal relationships. They assist you in managing problems and disputes in your life. Your Waleejah should only be a true believer. Allah (swt) has strictly forbidden us to keep as Waleejah other than Muslims, as they will employ every means possible to harm you.
Make sure you are friends with those who are good role models, rather than those who open doors to sins. The responsibility lies with parents as well. If they do not want their kids to be in trouble or have problems in life, they should make sure that their children have good, sincere Muslim friends. The five hundred people on your Facebook profile are not your friends. Your true friends are those who guide you to the right path.
Akhdam are friends to whom you are attracted. Nowadays, we call them boyfriend or girlfriend. Allah (swt) speaks about them in the Quran, too. Allah (swt) guides that marriage should not be based on some shallow infatuation. Media misguides youngsters, and they enter wedlock having lowly standards. Lose your addiction to entertainment. If you are involved with someone out of wedlock, then walk away from it; save yourself now. You think nobody is watching you; however, Allah (swt) is always there. You think you are not in trouble because your parents do not know; however, Allah (swt) knows. If you even have an ounce of belief left in your heart, then you know that it is better to walk away.
Following are a few verses of the Noble Quran that explain how our friends will turn away from us on the Day of Resurrection.
“And (remember) the Day when the Zalim (wrong-doer, oppressor, polytheist, etc.) will bite at his hands, he will say: ‘Oh! Would that I had taken a path with the Messenger (Muhammad). Ah! Woe to me! Would that I had never taken so-and-so as a Khalil (an intimate friend)! He indeed led me astray from the Reminder (this Quran) after it had come to me. And Satan is to man ever a deserter in the hour of need.’ And the Messenger (Muhammad) will say: ‘O my Lord! Verily, my people deserted this Quran (neither listened to it, nor acted on its laws and teachings.’” (Al-Furqan 25:27-30)
Before making friends, we should understand the reality of resurrection. Those who believe in resurrection are well-aware of the fact that there shall be no relationships on that day. They will mean nothing on the Day of Judgement. All the worldly relationships that we nurture and blindly follow will not help us. We will be alone with our records in front of Allah (swt).
It is difficult for youngsters to save themselves from peer pressure at school. No matter how much parents try to guide their children, they succumb to it at times and, as a result, indulge in something that is forbidden by Allah (swt). They do it just because all their friends are doing it; hence, it is really important to choose our friends wisely – those who do not force us to tread the forbidden path. At that moment, one thinks that they are deviating from what the whole world is doing and being experimental. A person feels his reputation will be at stake in this world. However, this is not so. People do not care for whatever we do in this. They forget, as they have problems of their own to deal with.
We should only think of saving our reputation in front of Allah (swt). Allah (swt) has blessed this Ummah with health and luxury, but we have forgotten His favours! We indulge in petty worldly affairs, whining about everything. This is all because we are over influenced by the company around us. Materialistic, self-centered people have become our role models. We should redefine our priorities by fixing our relationships with fellow human beings. We should be friends only with God-fearing people for the sake of Allah (swt). May Allah (swt) guide us. Ameen.
Transcribed and adapted for “Hiba” by Sadaf Khalid.