“How To Judge a Friendship as Muslims”
يَـٰوَيۡلَتَىٰ لَيۡتَنِى لَمۡ أَتَّخِذۡ فُلَانًا خَلِيلاً۬
“Ah! Woe to me! Would that I had never taken so-and-so as a Khaleel (an intimate friend)!
[Soorah Al-Furqaan, v: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.
- Laugh at others together, be it a passerby or someone you are discussing.
- Pass comments about others.
- Call each other demeaning names in fun.
- Laugh at each other’s cruel jokes about someone else.
- Start a conversation with “Hi!” and plunge into an exchange of the latest gossip.
- Hardly ever mention or discuss Allaah, the Qur’aan or Hadeeth in the time spent together.
- End up spending money on things you don’t need.
- Feel hesitant to discuss religion, unless it is a criticism of any aspect of Islam.
- Confirm each other’s doubts about the Hereafter.
- Never point out each other’s faults politely; if one does, the other quickly changes the subject or gets defensive.
- Get involved in activities that delay/do away with salaah (Prayer), the major obligation from Allaah.
- 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.
- Discuss unimportant things and events in meticulous detail, such as a film, the latest clothes you got tailored, or a wedding party you attended.
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.
If they take something that belongs to you, you know that you will not get it back unless you ask for it
About a ‘friendship’ that has most of the above characteristics, Allaah says in the Qur’aan:
ٱلۡأَخِلَّآءُ يَوۡمَٮِٕذِۭ بَعۡضُهُمۡ لِبَعۡضٍ عَدُوٌّ إِلَّا ٱلۡمُتَّقِينَ
“Friends on that day will be foes one to another – except the Righteous Ones.”
[Soorah Al-Zukhruf , v:67]
All such “friends” will, on the Day of Judgment, become each other’s enemies, each lamenting and blaming the other before Allaah, for having supported and encouraged them towards the ultimate and eternal destruction.
Allaah subhaanahu wa ta3alaa makes an exception to this situation in the Qur’aanic verse above:
“except those who are al-muttaqoon: 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 inshaAllaah.
When together, you both:
- Remind each other of Allaah when you set eyes on each other.
- Leave each other’s company with a higher level of Eemaan (faith in Allaah).
- Inevitably start the conversation with the Islamic greeting “Assalaamu 3Alaykum’, and receive the masnoon reply for it.
- Do the masnoon mu’aanaqah (hug) and musafahah (handshake) on a regular basis.
- Almost always mention Allaah, the Qur’aan, or Hadeeth in some context or the other, in your conversations.
- Strengthen each other’s belief on the Hereafter.
- Always end up exchanging useful and mature ideas and thoughts.
- Love each other above and beyond worldly benefits.
- Give each other more duaa’s (well wishes) than material gifts.
- Inquire regularly about the health of the other’s family.
- Attend religious study-circles/ halaqah’s together.
- Have prayed salaah together many times.
- Have watched each other cry, out of fear of Allaah or out of regret for committing a transgression.
- Listen attentively if the other is saying something that pleases Allaah.
- Politely point out and reform each other’s mistakes or bad habits in the best way possible.
- Return an amaanah (item placed in other’s trust/safekeeping) belonging to the other in its original state.
- Laugh a lot together, but with decent, non-malicious humor.
- 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 Allaah. 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 under His Throne, according to His promise:
Narrated by Abu Hurairah [may Allaah be pleased with him]: Allaah’s Messenger sallAllaahu 3alayhi wa sallam said:
“Verily, Allaah will say on the Day of Standing: ‘Where are those who had mutual love for the sake of My Glory? Today I shall shelter them in My shadow when there is no other shadow but the shadow of Mine.'”
[Saheeh Muslim, 6225]
by Sadaf Farooqi, a freelance writer who writes for Hiba Magazine, Islamonline.net, Helium and MuslimMatters.