Not everyone can be your friend…

As-salamu `alaykum wa rahmatullah

A chapter I took from one of my books… very insightful.

“… Know that not everyone is suited to be your friend. The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said, “A person is upon the Deen of his friend, so let each of you look to whom you befriend.” [Abu Dawud, 4833]

One must consider a number of characteristics (when choosing a friend):

He must be intelligent and sound of mind (astute) and generous among the people and he should not be an immoral person or an innovator or someone who desires and covets this world.

As for astuteness, then that is the capital. As ‘Ali (radhi’Allahu `anhu) said:

“Do not accompany the ignorant,
Beware of him, beware of him!
For how many of an ignorant one has destroyed,
A forbearing one when he goes to him.
A person is only weighed against another,
When he sides and walks with him.
And for everything there are indeed,
Similarities and a comparison.
Just like there is between two hearts,
A sign and an indication, when they do meet.”

So how will the matter be (for you) when the foolish ends up harming you although he intends to benefit you! For this reason, the poet said:

“I feel safe from an enemy who’s endowed with sound intellect ,
But I fear a friend who has been seized with mental illness.
For soundness of mind is of one type; I know its ways
But insanity manifests itself in so many numerous ways.”

For this reason, it is said: ‘Severing ties with the foolish means to draw closer to Allah, the Most High.’ Likewise, there is no good in the companionship of an immoral person because the one who fears Allah will never persist in a major sin, but as for him who does not fear Allah, then nobody is safe from the havoc he causes.

Allah Ta’ala said,

“… And do not obey one whose heart We have made heedless of Our remembrance and who follows his desire and whose affair is ever [in] neglect.” [al-Kahf: 28]

As for good character, then ‘Alqamah ibn Qays (rahimahullah) summed it up in his final advice to his son as he was on his deathbed:

“O my son, if you ever feel the need to befriend and accompany men, then accompany the one who protects you when you help him, adorns you if you walk with him, and supplies you when your provisions run out. Accompany the one who when you stretch forth your hands in goodness, he stretches his hand too, if he sees merit from you, he remembers it, and if he sees bad from you, he remedies it. Accompany the one who gives you when you ask, who steps up when you are silent, and who consoles you when calamity overtakes you. Accompany the one who believes you when you speak, entrusts you when you engage in work, and if you fall out, he prefers you to the fallout.”

In such cases, it is said:

‘Your real brother is he who stays with you
Who harms himself in order to help you
When hard times break you and scatter you
He becomes dispersed just so he can fix you’

But before all that, he must be knowledgeable after having attained wara’ (piety), so that you can benefit from his knowledge too. Luqman said to his son, “O my son, sit with the scholars, crowd them with your knees! For indeed, hearts come to life with words of wisdom just like the dead earth comes back to life with the downpour of rain.””

- Mukhtasar Ihya ‘Ulum al-Din, by Imam al-Ghazali.

11 thoughts on “Not everyone can be your friend…

  1. Assalaamu alaykum wa rahmatu Allaahi wa barakaatuh,

    Nice to see you’re still active ma sha Allaah. May Allaah increase you in goodness. Ameen.

    I’ve been looking for a set of criteria to measure good friends by and this standard you’ve posted is pretty high.

    In these times it’s very hard to find someone like this.

    Jazaki Allaahu khayr for your continued efforts for the Ummah.

    Ma’a Salama.

  2. Assalaamu alaykum wa rahmatu Allaahi wa barakaatuh,
    Really Appreciate this article about choosing the right type of friends. Keeping good company is important and Mash a Allah as always you have given the best advice. may Allah bless and reward you for all your efforts.
    Jazak Allah khaire.

  3. Just thought of adding to the above…..

    Yahya ibn Mu’adh said: “The majority of friends today are merely acquaintances & only a few among them are true friends.”

    Abdullaah ibn al-Waleed said: “Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn Ali asked us, ‘Does any of you insert his hand in his brother’s pocket & take whatever he wishes?’ We said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘Then you are not brothers as you claim!’”

    & finally Muhammdad ibn Yusuf al Asfahani said:
    “Who is like the righteous friend? Your family would be dividing the inheritance you left behind & enjoying your money, while your friend would be sad, concerned about the legacy of deeds you performed & the final destiny you will end up in, invoking Allaah for you in the darkness of the night, while you are buried under the sand.”

    (n.b: by the way, your selection of a picture for each of your post is really nice…honestly, most of the time, thats when i really change my desktop backgroud ;-) this one is serene & pristine…..soothing to the eyes….)

    • Yeah I too have taken some of these awesome pics for my desktop background. The picture of the quran in the last post was really beautiful.

  4. I think only my mother qualifies to be my true friend by the standard / yardstick for identifying a true friend….and may be a few others. JazakAllah Khair for the beautiful post.

  5. Wa iyyakum.

    Lovehopefear, barak’Allahu fik. Good to see you still visit the blog. Yes, this can seem like a high standard but I guess it all comes down to piety and selflessness. Nowadays it’s hard to find good/solid companions just as I guess we sometimes don’t live up to standard ourselves. Sadly, we live in a society today that drives us to become individualistic or very selfish such that sincere friends or humble characteristics are hard to come across. May Allah rectify us, our cirumstances and grant us righteous friends, ameen.

    Read, the pdf you posted doesn’t seem to be downloading for me. If you have the mukhtasar of Ihya, go to the 15th Chapter (آداب الصحبة), page 122.

    Renfeer, jazak’Allahu khayran for the input.

    RZ, I always say that a girl’s best friend is her mother :) My Allah bless our mothers, ameen. They are truly the best.

  6. & one final anecdote……Abu Darda’ radhiyAllaahu anhu used to often visit the graveyard & when asked about the cause, he simply replied:
    “I sit with a people who remind me of the Hereafter & do not backbite me when im absent.”

    2 attributes quite rare to find these days…. & if you are lucky enough to have even one such friend: LEAVE HIM NOT FOR THE WORLDS…

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