Friends in Islam – A Powerful Reminder

friends in Islam

Transcribed for hiba by Asma Imran

Every one of us is born into a society where we interact with people from a very young age: our neighbours, people we go to school with, those whom we’ve seen elsewhere in the neighbourhood, and so on. And as time passes, we become closer to them, and they begin to be known as our friends.

What does Islam teach us about friends? We need to be aware that we should follow a certain set of rules and regulations when interacting with people whom we consider to be our friends. What should we share with them? How should they impact our lives? Let us take a look at some of the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (sa) in this regard.

The Prophet (sa) said: “A man follows his friend’s religion, so you should be careful about who you befriend.” (Tirmidhi and Abu Dawood) Therefore it is very important to select our friends carefully, making sure we do not befriend those who will have a negative impact on us. These teachings of the blessed Prophet (sa) are priceless. If he says that a person is known by the type of friends that he/she keeps, we need to realize that this is exactly the way it will be.

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Love or Loss?

steppingstonesIt was around 11:00 p.m. and she was running on the road in an unknown direction. The streets were covered with fog and there was complete silence, with the exception of her loud cries. She was screaming for help as if burning in scorching heat. People are always afraid of going near the fire but she was experiencing blaze with soaring intensity. Her heart was beating so fast that she felt it will burst out if she ran for another minute. Suddenly a car stopped on the adjacent lane and called her “Sara”. She turned back and recognized that it was Hannah. Out of exhaustion and fear she instantly fell on the ground and lost her consciousness. The last words on her mind were from the Quran:

“(Shaitan) said: Because You have sent me astray, surely I will sit in wait against them (human beings) on Your Straight Path. Then I will come to them from before them and behind them, from their right and from their left, and You will not find most of them as thankful ones.” (Al-Araf 7: 16-17)

Few Days Back . . .

Sara was late for the Islamic Conference and it was raining unexpectedly. “Can’t you wake up early? Is it necessary for you to always get late?” she said to herself and went out of the house. “Oh Allah (swt) help me in reaching safely there!”

While she was thinking her phone rang, “Sara where are you girl?” Nageen inquired.

“I am stuck in rain. Can you please send someone to come and pick me?” she said.

“Yeah sure I am sending Hannah, just wait there alright?” Nageen replied.

“Yep I am waiting.” said Sara.

She was now standing on the road corner under a shade when someone called her from backside,

“Hey Sara, what happened?” said Faraj. “Were you not supposed to be at the convention by now?” he inquired.

“Yeah I am waiting for Hannah.”

“Hmm, alright. But listen I am also going there so why don’t you join me?”

Sara waited for a second and realized that it was raining heavily. She was thinking what to say and just then someone whispered to her, “Sara you are already late and why disturb Hannah? She will have to leave all her work to come and pick you. Faraj’s offer isn’t really bad. Come on it’s just a 15-fifteen minutes drive.”

“Hmm yeah right!” she thought and sat in Faraj’s car. Then she called Hannah and told her not to come.

Sara and Faraj were volunteers at a non-profit organization which arranges lectures of renowned Islamic scholars in USA. They met for the first time a month ago at the annual meeting of volunteers. Although there was complete segregation between men and women but in order to resolve some technical issues in the ladies’ hall, Sara had to call Faraj and then they both arranged another room for the girls. There they had very limited conversation regarding work. They next met at a shopping mall and again had some formal exchange of greetings. Now almost two weeks later she was sitting in his car “accidently”.

The convention proved to be very successful and the audience immensely appreciated the managing team. When Sara reached home it was around 7:00 p.m. She prayed and then rested. Later in night, she woke up to check the convention response on their Facebook page. As soon as she logged in she saw a friend’s request. She opened the notification and to her surprise it was Faraj. She thought for a while and then someone whispered to her, “Yeah that’s really good that you avoid accepting friend requests from “brothers” but come on its Faraj! Remember he gave you lift today in the morning? It is inappropriate to reject his request. Don’t forget his favour…Yeah?” And she clicked “Accept”!

“And come not near to adultery. Verily, it is a Fahishah (i.e. anything that transgresses its limits (a great sin)) and an evil way (that leads one to Hell unless Allah forgives him).” (Al-Isra 17:32)

Few Days Later…

Sara was doing some of her college assignments late night. Her Facebook account was logged in and suddenly a conversation window popped up. It was Faraj.


“Asalaamu ‘alaikum.”

“Oh lol Wa alaikum salaam.”

“So how you are doing?”

“I am good and how are you?”

“Yeah fine. Actually very tired just got back from a party :D”

“Ohk so you do party?”

“Lol yeah what’s so shocking about it?”

“Nahh I was just saying….”

Out of the blue, Sara realized that it was a useless conversation. She shut down the window and continued with her work. Faraj also did not say anything. But then after a while the window popped up again.

“Hey sorry I got a call. . . so how about Sunday?”

“This Sunday?”

“Nahh next month’s fifth Sunday :P”

“Lol hmm nothing special . . . why?”

“I am having a party at my place . . . you know I have cleared my exams”

“Congratulations . . . that’s good news. Which course?”

“Business Management. So are you coming?”

“Hmm I’ll tell you about it…”

“Don’t worry I’ll send you my car :P”

“Haha nah that’s not an issue. Actually that day my father left early and I could not bear the risk of driving in such an intense weather.”

“Yeah I can understand. Alright I gotta go now. Talk to you later and yes be there Sunday 8pm. I’ll text you my address send me your number. Okay bye.”

Sara did not know what trigged her and she just wrote her number in the conversation window.

Next day in the morning, Faraj called her and explained the address. Although she was still undecided whether to go or not, she noted down the address and promised him to be there.

On Sunday evening, she received a text message while sleeping. “Hey I’ll be waiting for you . . . do come.”

Someone whispered to her “Oh he is being so nice and look how rude you are. Can’t you attend a simple party in return of his favour? Now don’t come up with a lame excuse that it’s not good. Just don’t drink and dance there. Attend the party for him and come back!”

“Yeah . . . it’s just a party! What’s the big deal?” she talked to herself. “Yes I will come.” she replied.

This became a regular pattern. Sara was amazed as to how in a few days she had come so close to Faraj. Initially she was just trying to return his favour which gradually turned into friendship.

This became a regular pattern. Sara was amazed as to how in a few days she had come so close to Faraj. Initially she was just trying to return his favour which gradually turned into friendship. She was always attracted to Muslims and tried to make friends in her community only. Therefore she had very few friends, but they were all trustworthy. However, Faraj was slightly different. She knew that he was gaining more importance than just a friend. Sara felt something in her heart “Maybe its love…” someone whispered. She smiled to herself and then went to sleep.

Sara belonged to a family where parents communicate all the religious obligations while leaving rest on the experiences of their children. She was brought up with Islamic values while also enjoying the freedom of choice. From day one, she knew that her relationship with Faraj was highly inappropriate in the religious context but she was continuing it, assuming that it was no big thing. On the other end, Faraj was an Asian, pursuing professional education in America. His family was by-the-way Muslim and had a huge architecture business in their hometown. Belonging to such a background, money and values were never his problems. He was actually very “different”’ in his routine life and he joined the conventions only on the emphasis of some fellows belonging to his district back home. He was not at all religious and that was pretty evident from his ways and attitude. But at the same time he knew that living alone in USA can be very challenging if he does not have good terms with the Muslim community. Hence he chose to volunteer for the Islamic organization.

Days turned into months and now it was the best time for Faraj to extend his relationship with Sara. By now he had gained her confidence and knew that she was blindly in love with him. When he finally proposed to her, she was overwhelmed with happiness and instantly accepted him as her future husband.

One day Faraj called her in the morning:

“Free tonight?”

“Yes what’s the plan?”

“That’s a surprise! Get ready at 9:00 am sharp. And yeah dress your best; you are going to remember this night forever.”

“Haha sure!”

“And O Adam! Dwell you and your wife in Paradise, and eat thereof as you both wish, but approach not this tree otherwise you both will be of the Zalimun (unjust and wrong-doers).

Then Shaitan (Satan) whispered suggestions to them both in order to uncover that which was hidden from them of their private parts (before); he said: Your Lord did not forbid you this tree save you should become angels or become of the immortals.” (Al-Araf 7:19-20)

Sara listened to the whispers of Shaitan and came nearer to the greatest sin with every coming day she was spending with Faraj. She knew that even coming near to adultery was strictly forbidden by Allah (swt) but Shaitan told her that it was no big deal and that she will end up with a caring and loving husband. Doesn’t she already want that?

Clock hits 9:00 p.m. and Faraj was standing outside her home. She came out telling her mom that she is going with a friend of Hannah to attend a party.

They drove over to Salman’s house, who was Faraj’s best friend. In the midst of dance and music, Salman came and informed Sara that Faraj isn’t feeling well.

“He is having a severe headache; please just go and check him.” Sara got quite alarmed. She immediately went upstairs into Salman’s room where Faraj was standing near the window. One can only imagine what might have happened next… It’s only important to know that Sara managed to run out in the nick of time.

Hannah saw her running on the road. She called her name but Sara fell on the ground unconscious. Hannah took her to the hospital where doctors examined her and concluded that she has just experienced a great shock. Hannah felt relaxed to know that she will be fine by the next morning. She dropped Sara at her home.

“And We send down from the Quran that which is a healing and a mercy to those who believe (in Islamic Monotheism and act on it) and it increases the Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers) nothing but loss. And when We bestow Our Grace on man (the disbeliever), he turns away and becomes arrogant, far away from the Right Path. And when evil touches him he is in great despair.” (Al-Isra 17:82-83)

Why has he forbidden unnecessary conversations between men and women? Simply because they hurt a lot and leave an everlasting scar on our lives. It seems something very attractive and begins with innocence, giggles and loving emotions but ends on heart breaks and severe sins.

Next day when Hannah went to see Sara, she came to know the entire story. Sara told her how she met Faraj and how slowly and gradually she started loving him. Hannah was stunned to find out that so much was happening in her friend’s life and she knew nothing. After listening to Sara, she tried to console her and said: “Do you know why Allah (swt) has asked us to not even go near these relationships? Why has he forbidden unnecessary conversations between men and women? Simply because they hurt a lot and leave an everlasting scar on our lives. It seems something very attractive and begins with innocence, giggles and loving emotions but ends on heart breaks and severe sins. Allah (swt) wants to save us from the extreme humiliation that human beings suffer as a result of shamelessness. Salat and Hijab aren’t enough to protect ourselves from Fitnah these days. We actually need to take extra precautions to avoid falling prey to the Shaitan. So now repent from the depth of your heart and believe that Allah (swt) is Ar-Rahman. He will surely forgive you”.

“They said: Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves. If You forgive us not, and bestow not upon us Your Mercy, we shall certainly be of the losers.” (Al-Araf 7:23)

Al-Wali – The Protecting Friend


Human-beings yearn to be loved and be cared for. Friendship to some might be a materialistic aspect, revolving around short term goals and benefits. Love might be an act of caressing or a hug, but when you contemplate the Name “Al Wali”- The Protecting Friend, real love and true friendship has a totally exclusive picture.

I picture a bond of friendship where relationship exists in this world and the next. The idea of being friends forever is chained to the beautiful bond that Allah (swt) shares with His loyal servants whereas the friendships of the Dunya for the sake of pleasure and worldly gains are limited to sorrows, disappointments, heartbreaks, anxiety and depression. Man still wants to try and test a human being but doesn’t extend his hand for an eternal bond with Allah (swt).

Indeed it is the deepest suffering of the mortal where he is racing and chasing Dunya and hitting a series of heartbreaks while failing to recognize the loving support of an immortal friendship. This is the sole secret towards a wonderful life where you make Allah (swt) your Wali- the first part of your day, the first priority to every decision and the first place in the heart.

How often we give our heart to those who care the least and how often the one who cares the most never gets our heart. In times of difficulty He encapsulates us in His mercy and against the enemy He guards us.

“Allah is the Wali (Protector or Guardian) of those who believe. He brings them from darkness into light. But as for those who disbelieve, their Auliya (Supporters and Helpers) are Taghut [false deities and false leaders], they bring them out from light into darkness. Those are the dwellers of the fire, and they will abide therein forever.” (Al Baqarah 2:257)

We can never avoid heartbreak, but by transforming our expectation, our response, and our focus, we can avoid much devastation. Putting our entire trust, reliance and hope in another “Person” is unrealistic and plain foolish. We have to remember that human beings are fallible and therefore our ultimate trust reliance and hope should only be put in Allah (swt) because indeed, “Allah is sufficient as a helper” (An-Nisa 4:45)

You don’t need technology, you don’t need to complain there’s no one to share with, and you don’t need to keep an eye on the time to call out to your friend. You just need to make a connection of a device – “Heart” that is detached from its charger- “Allah”.

May Allah (swt) make us such, that even if we’re alone amidst billions, we have with us a greater power, Al Wali. No darkness can reign the heart if the power of Allah (swt) illuminates the soul.

A True Friend (Part 2)

(You can read the first part of the story here.)


At home I told my mum about Mawada and she agreed to take me to the hospital. When I went to the hospital, I saw Mawada’s father sitting outside the room with his eyes red and puffy; I could see that he had been crying. I asked him if I could go in and he nodded. I opened the door and there was Mawada on the bed, she still had a sweet smile on her face. I sat beside her. She told me that she was really happy to see me. I couldn’t say a word. Then she said that it was her dream, her wish that she’d bring all her friends towards Islam, and she told me how she used to go to Quranic classes and Islamic workshops to gain information and to follow the Prophet’s (sa) mission. She said that sometimes people listen and sometimes they don’t, but we should never lose hope and keep moving on. My eyes were filled with tears. She told me that I was the only friend she had at school, and that she enjoyed spending time with me. I couldn’t stand what she was saying. I told her that she was not going anywhere and was going to get better very soon. She looked at me, smiled and then said: “May Allah (swt) make us neighbours in Jannah’ (Ameen).” At this, hot tears rolled down my cheeks. I couldn’t handle it, I hugged her so tight – I didn’t want to leave her. I told her that it was she who changed me, even if it was a little change. Mawada smiled, my mum came in and said that it was time to go home. I hugged Mawada again and wiped my tears. I smiled and said: “Get well soon.”

At school, I couldn’t concentrate. I kept looking at Mawada’s empty chair. As I walked home, I remembered the times we spent together. Today is 26th April, Ms. Fatima came into our class, looking really weird, as if there was something missing. I realized that she had no make-up on and looked pale. At first, she didn’t say anything, then she cleared her throat and told us that Mawada had passed away, and that she had been suffering from leukemia. Tears began to trickle down my cheeks, and I started to cry.

After school I went home and told my mum about Mawada. She also was sad. I ran upstairs and closed my bedroom door. I started tearing down the posters I had on my walls, I pushed the CD rack and it broke, all the CD’s were on the floor. I threw them in the rubbish bin one by one and dived on the bed and started crying. I looked up and saw that I had a Quran on the upper bookshelf. I took it from the shelf and started reading. There was a verse which said: “Verily, in the remembrance of Allah (swt) do hearts find rest.” I prayed to Allah (swt) and asked Him to forgive me. It was time for Asr prayer – I got up and went to pray immediately. I asked for forgiveness and prayed for Mawada.

After Mawada passed away, I always had an empty feeling inside of me – something always felt wrong. I started doing what Mawada told me to do: wear the Hijab, listen to my parents, read the Quran and so much more. It was hard to believe at first but reading the Quran was actually very soothing and relaxing. I felt really connected to Allah (swt) and began to fear nothing but Him. Wearing the Hijab was very risky, considering the fact that I would become Hijabi girl part 2. I did it anyway. People did make fun of me, and my so-called friends like Farasha stopped talking to me. I realized, who my true friends were. I also realized that people are not that willing to change, if it doesn’t suit them. They are bluntly ignorant of the truth – I found out through my own experience.

Slowly, encouraged by my example, my family also changed. My mum and sister started wearing Hijab, my dad started going to the Masjid at least thrice a day – it was a start. Some of my close friends also changed a little. Not enough to wear a Hijab but enough to stop listening to music.

Mawada was like a light (Noor) in my life, guiding me back onto Allah’s (swt) path. I now learned that we all need to be lights in the lives of other peoples; touching the heart of even one person is the ultimate reward. Insha’Allah, by helping others, there will be ‘Noor’ in our lives, too.

Friendship with non-Muslims


There are many blessings in friendship. In his essay “Of Friendship”, philosopher Francis Bacon states that a good, honest friend is a source of constructive feedback. This idea was also stated by the Prophet (sa), as he was reported to have said: “A believer is the mirror of his brother. When he sees a fault in it, he should correct it.” (Bukhari)

The benefits above are universal and apply to all human societies. Let’s see what our Creator has advised Muslims about such a beneficial institution as human friendship.

“Verily, your Wali (Protector or Helper) is Allah, His Messenger, and the believers…” (Al-Maidah 5:55)

On the face of it, one may think that Allah (swt) wants Muslims to befriend only the people of their own community and have no friendly relations with the non-Muslims. If one studies the Sunnah, it soon becomes apparent that this is not the case.

The most general human relation possible is Muwasat. This entails wishing well for all creation, including all of humanity out of compassion.  After Badr, Muslims took the disbelievers as prisoners of war. They were kept in the Prophet’s Masjid and were treated in the best manner. They were given the best food, while Muslims had to do with little. During the reign of Umar (rtam), non-Muslims used to receive monthly stipends from the state treasury. Muslims were averse only to disbelief, not to the disbelievers.

The next type of relationship is Mudarat, where one deals with people of the other communities on a one-to-one basis. These interactions may take place if, for example, one has a non-Muslim guest or a neighbour or someone sitting next to them in a flight. Again, Muslims are supposed to show their best behaviour in such interactions. A Jew visited the Prophet (sa) once and was invited to eat there and sleep in his bed during the night. The next day, when he left, he forgot his sword. The Prophet (sa) kept it safe, until he came back to collect it later.

The third type of relationship is Muamalat, where Muslims associate with non-Muslims on the basis of some work – for instance, as an employer, employee, colleague, teacher, doctor, librarian, etc. The Prophet (sa) once borrowed money from a Jewish money lender by pawning his belongings to him.

The last category of friendship is Muwalat, in which people become close intimate friends with each other. They tend to support each other at all cost, even at the cost of their beliefs. It is this friendship that is prohibited for Muslims. Such friendships can influence one’s entire way of life. If a Muslim befriends non-Muslims intimately, there is a danger that the former will forget his responsibilities as a member of the Ummah. If a Muslim condones all actions of a non-Muslim friend, how can he invite him to the Deen?

Islam encourages Muslims to take full benefit of the institution of friendship. They must have compassion for all humanity, deal well with any non-Muslim they come in contact and work with them constructively for common objectives in society in an exemplary manner. However, they must reserve the intimate nature of friendship only for fellow Muslims.

On the Faith of my Friend (Part 2)

faith of friend

The Third Story: Back to the Noor of Iman

How many of you know that Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan is an ex-atheist? Here is his story:

I went through an internal struggle, when I was in junior high school. Basically, it was a loss of religion. When I came to the USA in the ninth grade, it was a cultural shock. A lot of the values that I was raised with were all being questioned at the same time. There was nobody that I could talk to or verify my own beliefs with. Eventually, what happens is that you make friends based on proximity and common interest, so most of my friends were polytheists and a good number of smart people were actually atheists. Falling into that crowd and not being around any Muslims, I ended up with a good bunch of very messed up friends.

I hid my confusions from my family, because I knew how taboo they could be – you can’t really share these kinds of confusions at home, so I learnt to live with them. I began to have almost a hatred for the concept of God. Religion became something that I associated more with my friends, rather than my family. No matter how in touch you are with your religion, it’s just a matter of having messed up friends.

However, Subhanallah, with the Mercy of Allah, Allah (swt) opened many doors for me, one after another, that I couldn’t have opened myself – those doors led me back to Iman. Allah (swt) opened a door for me that led me to make friends with a person, who I would probably not have imagined associating with. I ran into him by chance. As I was sitting in the hallway, I saw this guy come up and post a flyer on the college billboard, which read “Muslim Student Association”. I thought: “Wow, these people will probably invite all the Muslims to jam together.” So I went over to him and started talking to him about it, and he said: “Yeah, it’s a lot of fun! You have to come!”

I skipped out on all the other clubs that I was part of and I went to this supposedly great party club. When I reached there, there was no one in the room, except the guy who had put up the flyers with a box of pizza, waiting for the others to show up. When I walked in, I felt sort of awkward, so I tried to leave. He, however, reeled me in – we started talking and became friends.  He’d give me a ride home every day. And we’d hang out every other day. No Islam, no religion – he was just a friend.

One time, when we got stuck in traffic, he said: “It’s getting late. Would you mind, if I stopped here and offered my Maghrib prayer?” I readily agreed. At that time, it must have been six years since I had last prayed. Inexplicably, I felt the urge to pray with him. So I went, performed my Wudhu and prayed with him. And I felt something that I had not felt in a very long time. A sort of peace. I tried to bury it inside me. Thanks to the Mercy of Allah (swt), he gave me that consistent company and through him I got to meet a lot of wonderful people – young Muslims, who were really active in their community, doing things that mattered, trying to make the world a better place.

It made me think, wow, these people have such a sense of purpose – where are they getting it from? Because till then I had no sense of purpose. One of the other things he did for me was that he connected me to this programme, which was going on in the Muslim centre in Flushing. It was in Ramadan, and the programme included a Taraweeh prayer coupled with the explanation of the Quran. Then, for the first time in my life I realized that the Quran was actually a dialogue – Allah (swt) was talking to me. The Lord of the Worlds was directly engaged in conversation with me. I was mystified. I listened for the entire month. In the end, I went up to the presenter and told him: “I want to do what you do.”

Masha’Allah, Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan went on to establish the “Bayyinah Institute”, an institute of Islamic learning that has transformed many lives since. All due to the Mercy of Allah (swt), Who connected him to that one friend, who led Nouman Ali Khan to the Nur of Iman once again.

The Fourth Story: The Miracle of Kabah

The following story is one of the most riveting tales I have ever heard in my life:

During his school days, a boy by the name of Aslam had a close friend, who eventually grew up to be one of the greatest scholars of this generation. They graduated from school and went ahead in their lives. Aslam was blessed with a wonderful education and career, a highly paid job and very meritorious position, lavish lifestyle and belongings. Life for him was, in a nutshell, perfect. And this perfection is what planted the seed of arrogance in his heart. “I have everything I want in this world,” he thought. “I’m dependent on nobody. There is no Allah (swt). I am the master of my own life.”

One day, he mentioned this to his friends at a gathering, in which his old school friend, now a Sheikh, was also present. When his friends heard directly from Aslam’s mouth that he had adopted atheism, there was no end to the mockery and remonstrance he was subjected to. Only the Sheikh maintained absolute silence. None of what his friends said, however, had any effect on him. He was resolute – there is no God. Allah (swt) continued to shower His infinite blessings upon Aslam, who, as time went on, became more and more complacent. On reaching the pinnacle of his power and wealth, he boldly stood up in a gathering and proclaimed: “There is no Allah! I am an atheist!”

It was at this assertion that Allah’s (swt) anger descended upon the smug man. Aslam contracted a strange disease that confounded doctors. He intermittently suffered from severe fits and profuse sweating. No doctor had ever come across this disease, nor had they ever heard of it – naturally, they had no idea of how to treat it. As a result, Aslam’s health steadily deteriorated. He lost weight and became weaker by the day. The fits rendered him unable to work and he was fired from his job. His wife and friends, assuming the disease was contagious, deserted him. He was left all alone. And that’s when he remembered his childhood friend, who had not mocked him, when he had announced his atheism. “He must be my true friend,” Aslam thought and rang up the Sheikh.

The Sheikh was a wise man. On hearing the plight of his friend, he replied: “I may be able to help you. I know of two other people, who were afflicted with the same disease. A doctor in the USA was able to cure them.”

Oh, were any other words sweeter than these? “Please help me contact that doctor!” Aslam pleaded.

“Of course, I will, my friend,” replied the Sheikh, “but only on one condition.”

“Anything,” Aslam breathed.

“You must promise me that on your way back from USA to Pakistan, you must stop at Makkah to perform Umrah.”

Aslam was caught unawares. “But I’m an atheist! Why would I go to Makkah?”

“This is my condition. If you want to get yourself treated by the right person, you have to promise.”

Defeated, Aslam agreed. The Sheikh gave him the doctor’s contact number and wished him a safe journey. Aslam arrived in the USA and visited the recommended physician. The physician examined his situation and remarked: “The disease you are suffering from is one of the rarest diseases in the world. Only three people have contracted it so far, but I have been able to cure them.” Aslam’s treatment began. But Allah’s (swt) will was such that instead of alleviating Aslam’s situation, the treatment made it worse. No medicine worked.

Realising that there was nothing to be gained in the USA, a distraught Aslam boarded the aircraft bound for home, barely well enough to travel. He was mere skin and bones, and the seizures overtook him more frequently than ever. As promised, he had arranged for a transit in Makkah. The thin, emaciated form disembarked in Makkah and the sunken eyes beheld the Kabah for the first time. The black box is indeed a miracle in itself. Allah’s (swt) glory manifested itself in the self-proclaimed atheist’s eyes, who cried out in pain and agony, clutching at the last straw, “Ya Allah, agar tu hai, tou mujhe theek karday!” (O Allah, if you are present, cure me!) The moment he uttered these words, his body relaxed. He felt calmer. And when the seizures came, they weren’t as intense as before. As days passed, they became less frequent, came with greater gaps and the intensity steadily decreased till the fits vanished altogether. Overwhelmed, Aslam saw the divine light. He returned home and took Shahada at the hands of his true friend, the Sheikh. The darkness of atheism would never hit him again.

Editorial – The Prophet’s Concept of Companionship

10The thought of friends instantly warms up the soul. As Mark Twain sketched it, “it brings cheer in the face, song in the heart and sunshine in every step.”

No wonder childhood and youth are always brimming with life: we have surprises set upon us, with fun and laughter as a constant companion among the buddies. As life progresses, numerous responsibilities descend and slacken our ability to stay connected with friends. Those of us, who manage to keep in touch, would agree that it is no longer in the same carefree manner, and the frolic does eventually dilute.

However, what we all remember are the things we did for our friends and the sacrifices they made for us. Whether they were right or wrong is not the point, as friends seldom judge each other. They would let us copy their assignments at the eleventh hour; they would not tell on us when we puffed cigarettes; they would keep our secrets about our clandestine love affairs; they would lie for us to our parents or teachers when cornered, etc. And years later, they would laugh off the pranks and the deceptions.

However, companionship is dangerous, too. It has the power to change the course of our life, especially if we are not very certain of our own values and the direction we wish to take. Sincere friends, who tell us when we have been wrong and help us do right, are a blessing of Allah (swt). Consider the case of former pop star, Junaid Jamshaid, who was led to Allah (swt) by a friend. However, if we find camaraderie with someone who is misguided or a hypocrite, we can end up ruining our own lives as well as our precious relationships with others.

For the believers, Allah (swt) is One Friend, Who never forsakes them, whether in times of prosperity or adversity. Through Islam, Allah (swt) has set cordial and humane relations between nations: “There is not a moving (living) creature on earth, nor a bird that flies with its two wings, but are communities like you.” (Al-Anam 6:38)

Similarly, in the early days of prophethood, we see the unparalleled example of a friendship between Muhammad (sa) and Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (rtam) that lasted until the Prophet (sa) passed away. They rest in peace today besides each other in Masjid-e-Nabwi, too. The beloved Prophet (sa) inspired the Ansar of Madinah and the Muhajiroon of Makkah to set up similar relationships among themselves. He instilled the belief of loving people for the sake of Allah (swt). This idea gave birth to an unthinkable force within. It germinated the strength to break away from all negative and satanic emotions and notions. Thus, it became possible to exhibit patience, think selflessly, act proactively, and become an endeared comrade, because this would earn Allah’s (swt) love and pleasure.

Today, we have a very narrow vision of friendship. Plus, it is generally assumed that it is only for kids and young adults. It is also perceived that friendship can only be formed with the same age group. Often, it is only to fulfil our own insecurities or to exploit others for short-term gains. However, Islam talks about all sorts of friendships: a companionship between spouses to nurture principles and peace in the family, a supporting network between Mumin men and women in the way of Allah (swt) for the rise of Islam, a relationship of admiration and awe between teachers and students, and a bond of unconditional love and guidance between parents and offspring. These are all diverse pictures of relations based on friendships between the weak and the strong. Our Deen does not appreciate unjust relations between the oppressed and the oppressor or between the controlled and the controller.

The Sunnah teaches us how everyone – old and small – revered the Prophet (sa) because of his just nature. He was mild with those who deserved Allah’s (swt) mercy, hence, casting lasting impressions and befriending people. However, he punished those who were Allah’s (swt) enemies and did not consider them to be worthy of his friendship, no matter how lucrative a gain was in sight. This is something we, as believers, should be mindful of.

This then is the formula we need to follow in judging whom to befriend and to what extent we should support and love our friends. The question to ask is not what we think of our friends but what Allah (swt) might think of them. If the Prophet (sa) was alive today, would we be able to introduce them to him without any shame or hesitation? Do our friends help us improve our family relations or are they a reason we are drifting further away? Do they help us reach our potential and cherish our triumphs or do they constantly condemn us and compete with us instead?

We can assess our own role as a friend with others in the same light. While the Sahabahs were alive, their undying loyalty and love for the Prophet (sa) were exemplary. What greater lesson can we learn about friendship? And our dear Prophet (sa) never let an opportunity pass to guide them, compliment them, enjoy with them, console them, care for them, worry about them, and at times, even discipline them for their benefit.

When they passed away, he would pray the Salat al-Janazah for the sincere Najashi; he would carry Julaybib (rta) in his arms for burial; he would remember young and handsome Musab for his valour, etc. Such was the friendship of the Prophet (sa), who prayed for all to meet be in his company not only in this world but in the eternal bliss of Jannah, too. He loved all for the sake of Allah (swt). Friendships endure trials only if they have been formed for the sake of Allah (swt).

Rana Rais Khan


Really, Another Friendship Article?

children2By Zainab Husain

When I was asked to write a piece about friendship, I thought really, another friendship article? Haven’t we had enough of those? Reluctantly pulling out my laptop I gazed blankly at the screen until the distant beep of my phone interrupted my inner monologue. Eager for a distraction I pounced on my phone and began sifting through the never ending mountain of text messages, bbms and emails. In between learning about my xyz’s brilliant SAT result and looking at abc’s birthday pictures, realization dawned upon me. I understood why an article on friendship was so important.

Humans are social beings by nature. We crave the company of not only those who think and act like us but also of those who are in all aspects our opposites. This could be in order to spice up our lives so we may live vicariously through our friends or to simply add some diversity to our way of thinking.

In today’s day and age, with everyone constantly attached to the electronic leash of their phones and computers, one is constantly aware of their friend’s activities, whether it’s through Facebook, text messaging or bbm. You read status updates, view pictures and videos of your friends and acquaintances on a regular basis. Due to the almost ridiculous amount of exposure to our friends, their influence over us increases proportionately. Therefore they are subconsciously put in a position of great power.

Abu Hurayrah (ra) narrated: “The Prophet (sa) said: A man is on the Deen (religion) of his friend; so each one should consider whom he makes his friend.” (Abu Dawood)

Choosing friends seems like a simple enough procedure. We simply befriend people we study or work with, those who we cross paths with regularly and whose company we enjoy. One does not realize how drastically your friends influence your way of thinking, your perception of the world as well as your spirituality and moral make-up. The piety of your friends can have a great effect on your well-being. This is because the wrong types of people not only affect one’s life in this world, but would also be a staggering disadvantage on the Day of Judgement.

“Believers are to one another like a building whose parts support one another.” (Bukhari)

Our friends are crucial ingredients in our lives; they can either make us or break us. They are a valuable commodity who may inspire confidence in us, support us and make us braver and kinder. Or they could do the opposite and make us nastier and more aggressive than we would normally be. It is up to us to distinguish between those who bring us down and those who build us up.

“O you who believe! Do not take intimate friends from outside yourselves, who will spare no pains to ruin you, and who love what harms you.” (Al-Imran 3:118)

The risk of befriending people whose moral values and ethics differ from yours is great, especially if one’s faith is already a little shaky. As I reflected on this article I remembered a line from a book my mother read to me as a child,

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” – Dr. Seuss

I didn’t appreciate at the time, the underlying wisdom in his words. I didn’t realize he was stressing upon the importance of choosing your friends wisely. As Dr. Seuss states, a friend is someone you can be yourself around. For a practicing Muslim that means someone you feel comfortable praying with, talking about Allah with and someone with the same morals as you.

If you feel ashamed praying in front of your friends, or mentioning Allah then you are not being a practicing Muslim and therefore, not being yourself. The more I thought about it, the more sense it made.

“And (remember) the day when the unjust one shall bite his hands saying: O! Would that I had taken a way with the Messenger! O woe is me! Would that I had not taken such a one for a friend! Certainly he led me astray from the reminder after it had come to me;” (Al-Furqan 25:27-29)

We rely greatly on our friends to help us in this life so why shouldn’t we rely on them to help us for the hereafter? It would be extremely unfortunate if someone was struggling to be a practicing Muslim but was denied Paradise after being led astray by their friends. Prophet Muhammad (sa) surrounded himself with companions who supported him tirelessly. They would were a source of strength for one another and encouraged each other to be better Muslims.

Do I really want to log onto Facebook and see pictures of the latest party my friends went to? Or check my phone to learn the latest gossip? Or would I rather have friends who remind me of Allah (swt)?

After pondering over this, I came to the conclusion that a few hours of sinful and fleeting fun with your so called friends isn’t worth an eternity of payment.

Friends Forever

Noorjehan Arif observes: “Making good friends is also a craft, partly learnable and partly a gift of Allah.”

While life takes us through the ups and downs, friends and family provide us with some sanity and stability to move forward. Relationship with friends is very unique. Peer influences can either direct us in the positive direction or damage lives brutally. The Prophet (sa) said: “A person is likely to follow the faith of his friend, so look whom you befriend.” (Abu Dawood)

Choosing good friends is an arduous task but by no means an impossible one. One thing to bear in mind is that the person should be virtuous. Sometimes, we prefer hanging out with people, who are fun and cool! In due course, even if this means displeasing Allah, we simply do it. Allah warns clearly that these same friends will lead us to the Hellfire. Quran states: “Friends on that Day will be foes one to another except the Righteous.” (Az-Zukhruf 43:67)

The Day that the wrongdoer will bite at his hands, he will say: “Oh! Would that I had taken a (straight) path with the Apostle! Ah! Woe to me! Would that I had never taken such a one for a friend! He did lead me astray from the Message (of Allah), after it had come to me! Ah! The Evil One is but a traitor to man.” (Al-Furqan 25: 27-29)

But, in order to find a good Muslim friend, it is imperative to be a good Muslim yourself. The Prophet (sa) said: “The best friend in the sight of Allah is he who is the well-wisher of his companions…” (At-Tirmidhi)

Conversely, Hassan Haidi states: “Some argue that our society has become too transient, and it is hard to invest our time in people who are only in our lives for short a while. Others will tell you that they got burnt once, and they are not going to let someone get close again. Many will say they just do not know, how to make friends, and some say they are just too busy.”

In reality, friendship is soul-based, as is proved by the Hadeeth: “Souls are like conscripted soldiers: if they recognize one another, they will become friends, and if they dislike one another, they will go their separate ways.” (Muslim)

TV, the Internet, or magazines can never replace a loving and believing friend. An accessible friend serves as a protection, especially for late adolescents and young adults against various risk factors, such as substance abuse and criminality (Fraser 1997).

Obviously, success will be the order for such people, as Allah states: “As to those who turn (for friendship) to Allah, His Apostle, and the (fellowship of) believers, it is the fellowship of Allah that must certainly triumph.” (Al-Maidah 5:56)

May Allah guide us to right companions, who can steer us towards success now and in the Hereafter.

How Do My Friends Treat Me?

Vol 1-Issue 2   How do my friends treat meSomeone once quoted: “Show me your friends and I will tell you who you are.” So we know that a man is known by the company he keeps.

Friendships are formed on the pretext of common interests and similar values. But at times we desperately try to grow a friendship simply to fit into a crowd we consider cool. This may even mean giving up our own identity, changing appearances, anything short of selling our soul just to be accepted. Guess what? If that is the case, we are definitely hanging out with the wrong people and probably at the wrong places too!

A simple quiz can help you assess what your friendship is truly worth. Visualize your close friends and answer the questions below honestly.

  1. Do I have to put up pretences in the presence of my friends?
  2. Can I trust my friends with secrets?
  3. Do my friends agree with everything I do without ever correcting me?
  4. Do I suspect my friends make fun of me in my absence, especially if they are habitual backbiters?
  5. In the hour of need, do they make sacrifices for me?
  6. Are they sincere enough not to misuse my money and belongings?
  7. When I have trouble with my relations, do they instigate me further?
  8. Can I reveal my weaknesses before them without becoming a laughing stock?
  9. Am I hesitant to call my friends over to my house and meet my family?
  10. Can I call my friends good practicing Muslims who fear and love Allah?

If most of your answers are in the affirmative, way to go! You are one of the lucky ones whom Allah has blessed with good companions. But if your answers are in negative, you need to seriously consider your friendships. It is not necessary that people who are the life of a party can be meaningful friends too.

Example of a True Friend 

Abu Bakr (rta) is an unrivalled example of friendship and love for Allah (swt). Our Prophet Muhammad (sa) once said: “If I was to take a Khaleel (intimate friend) in this life, it would have been Abu Bakr. But our brotherhood in faith is enough.”

Abu Bakr (rta) was blessed for being the first and foremost, in his belief, his support and his love for the Messenger (sa). For this quality he was honoured with the title of As-Siddiq (Verifier of faith).

  1. He trusted Prophet Muhammad (sa) in the most turbulent times, like the incident of Ascension (Mairaj) when the majority disbelieved.
  2. At the battle of Tabuk, Abu Baker (rta) gave away all of his wealth and possessions for Allah (swt).
  3. In the cave of Thaur, when hiding from the chasing enemies, Abu Bakr (rta) covered the holes of snakes with his feet, so they would not bite the Prophet (sa).
  4. Once, he was almost beaten to death by the polytheists of Quraish, while protecting the Messenger (sa). Upon regaining consciousness he asked, “Where is the Messenger of Allah?” and refused to eat or rest until he saw the Prophet (sa).

Potently, friendships formed with good believers are really the ones that survive trials. Mainly because of a unified goal, that is to please Allah. Allah also loves such people dearly and states: “Where are those who loved each other for my sake? I will shade them on a day when there is no shade except mine.” (Muslim)

Finding the Best Friend

Image best friendA wide ocean, stretching for miles lay before me. Far away there was a wooden ship, floating away on the dark-coloured sea. The sun had set taking almost all the light of the world away as if a lantern had just blown out. My friends had deserted me for superficial and shallow whims and fancies of life.

I stood up, my hands in my pockets and looked towards the sky with sadness as if I were looking for guidance. It was dark all around and I could barely make out the shapes of the objects around me.

Suddenly, I saw an old woman sitting on a white bench. Her face was calm and the silver in her hair reflected wisdom. Just as I was about to turn back, she caught my sight and smiled gently. Unsure of myself I smiled back faintly. With a gesture of her hand she called me over. Hesitating to approach a complete stranger, I slowly moved towards her and took a seat at a careful distance. She smiled with a twinkle in her eyes, “Isn’t it a beautiful evening?” Trying to match her enthusiasm, I nodded gently, “Yes.” Eyeing me cautiously she inquired, “My child … why do you look so sad?” I tried to force a smile, “Oh no, no, I was just strolling about on my own.”

She looked into my face with her large brown eyes, closed the book in her lap and carried on gently, “Dear child, I do not know you or for that matter whatever it is that is bothering you, but I also have a grandchild just your age. She lives far away and we usually talk to each other through letters on the computer!” I smiled, “Oh you mean over the e-mail?” She chirped, “Yeah, that’s our postman! And you know whenever she is unhappy or lonely she always writes to me. And I always give her the same advice, ‘Talk to your best friend and He will not only understand but also guide you!’“

I looked at her quizzically, “Who is her best friend?” She boomed with delight, “Why Allah, of course!” Following my confused look she went on, ”You see, many times in life there is hardly anything anyone can do for you but there is always something Allah (swt) can do for you if you call out to Him. Then He sends you help and guidance through other people and sources. Let’s say … just now you may have bumped into me so that I can guide you. But in reality Allah (swt) worked it out for you, you see?”

It all started to sink in suddenly. She continued, “Never give up. Allah is Great and Most Merciful. Never hope to find perfect friends in your life either. Allah is the only ‘best friend’, as you call it. He says so in the Quran: ‘And you cannot escape from Allah in the earth, and besides Allah you have neither any Wali (guardian or a protector) nor any helper.’ (Shura 42:31)

Then she stood up, bade me goodbye and left. After a little while, I, too, came out of my thoughts and moved on towards the edge of the ocean. I could still see the wooden ship moving away. But now I felt much better. There was light everywhere, even though the sun was not present.

All of a sudden I realized that Allah (swt) has chosen me over so many to find my way, and win now and forever. Allah (swt) will certainly choose my friends for me so that I can stay guided and help others stumbling on the way. I would want no other replacement for this priceless relation with my Creator. Dear Allah (swt), thank you for being my Best Friend!