The Value of Friendship

By Fatema Zaidi

As we seat ourselves down on the first day of class, our eyes wander about looking for seats that let us accommodate our friends with us. After an argument with parents, a friend’s shoulder is a comforting place to be. When accepting a proposal, our fingers jam away trying to text our ‘BFF’, where as her screams of excitement can probably be heard down the street. Let it be a classmate, a sibling or a spouse, a friend can be a significant aspect of our life. And with no surprise, Islam has given much importance to the value of companionship.

Our Holy Prophet (Pbuh) has narrated that “Whosoever Allah wishes wellbeing on – He gifts them a good friend. Such a friend who helps reminds him of things he’s forgotten, and one who aids him after the reminder”. In this narration we learn that friends are a form of blessings that Allah (swt) showers us with. A friend who not only helps shape our thoughts, but assists us with our actions as well. Someone who not only reminds us to study, but stays up all night with us. A good friend that not only reminds us to pray, but enjoys praying with us. By gifting us with a friend, Allah (swt) is providing us with that spiritual, social and psychological support.

On the contrary, the lack of this companionship is quite distressing as well. Usually, making the transmission into high school or university is quite worrisome, because our close friends may not be able to come with us. The thought of being alone scares us. This is a time where our eyes wander the lecture hall, looking for the next person ‘to borrow a pencil from’. But it is definitely hard to choose from the hundreds of people seated. Our first Imam (as) has helped us in this process of elimination. When speaking to his son, Imam Hasan (as), he stated that:

My son, learn four things from me: 1) Do not make friendship with a fool because when he will try to do you good he will do you harm; 2) do not make a miser your friend because he will run away from you at the time of your dire need; 3) do not be friendly with a vicious and wicked person because he will sell you and your friendship at the cheapest price and 4) do not make friend of a liar because like a mirage he will make you visualize very near the things which lie at a great distance and will make you see at the great distance the things which are near to you.”

This narration teaches us the importance of being careful when building a friendship. I may or may not be interpreting the narration properly, but I want to share a few person experiences. The first part of the narration states not to befriend a fool, because he or she may unintentionally harm you. I recall, two years ago, I had met a new girl at school. As our friendship progressed, I noticed that during lectures she did not pay much attention and did not make many notes. During exam period, we decided to compile our notes and study together. After multiple study dates, I noticed that majority of the notes were mine, and that I was doing most of the work. She had not paid any attention all year, and in return that ended up hurting me. The second part of the narration suggests not befriending a miser, because he or she will not help you in your time of need. It could be that night that you’re cramming to finish an assignment, or the wedding you may miss because you don’t have an outfit, or that exam you can’t write because you forgot your pen – a good friend is defined by the number of times he helps you in dire times. The third lesson of the narration tells us not to befriend a vicious and wicked person. Growing up anywhere around the world, we have all become victim to the vicious disease of gossip. You trust your friend with your deepest darkest secrets. However, when they betray your trust and leak your secrets – life can become extremely difficult. However, why befriend such a cold hearted person in the first place? Why befriend someone who does not understand the value of trust or reputation. Paraphrasing a statement made by one of the Imams (as), it is mentioned that, someone who shares others secrets with you, will leak your secrets to others. The last part of the narration asks us to find an honest friend. This last part is apparently obviously, but nevertheless is also the most important which many overlook. How many times have we lied to our parents, teachers and siblings? Sometimes people mess up, and lay out a web of lies to cover their trails. However, who said that someone who is able to lie to his mother will not lie to you? Sooner or later, your friend may lie to you, which can cause you much harm.

This narration taught me another valuable lesson as well, and that is in regards to how to be a good friend myself. I need to be smart and wise, to be giving and charitable, to be warm hearted, and most importantly to be truthful. I need to work on myself in order to attain these attributes, before judging others. Only then will I be able to find that one valuable friend that follows the teachings of the first Imam’s (as) saying as well. Another way to be a good friend is follow the teaching that ‘cheerfulness is the key to friendship’. Regardless of what hardships or obstacles come, with the love of Allah in our hearts and cheerfulness on our faces, the friendship will remain strong.

The benefits of good friendship exist in this world and in the hereafter. By attaining a friend, who shares you love for Allah and fits all of the criteria above, you are more likely to deviate away from Satan and towards the teachings of the Ahlul Bayt (as). Furthermore, I read the narration of a Masoom (as), which stated “Whosoever formulates a relationship for the sake of Allah; it is as if he has made a house for himself in Paradise”. Just by constructing a healthy, religious friendship in this world, can build a house for us in the hereafter. I know I’d like to sign up for one of those!

On a closing note, I’d just like to finish with another saying which states “From good friendship, a good community, a good society and a good network comes into existence”. InshaAllah with the guidance of the Ahlul Bayt (as), we are able to form good friendships that will help us make a stronger community overall.

Fatema Zaidi is in her third year at York University, specializing in Biomedical Sciences.

5 thoughts on “The Value of Friendship

  • Salamalikum 🙂
    I really liked your thoughts on this topic. It is pretty much correct that a good friend or a group of good friends can make your life in this world good and also the next.. according to my knowledge if a person dies and goes to Paradise, he will ask Allah SWT for his friend because that friend used to support him and help him/her walk on the Right path. So AllaH SWT will also put his friend with him in Jannah and if it was a bad friend who made him go astray and end up in hell fire he will ask Allah SWT for the same punishment for his friend because he used to enjoin evil and forbid good deeds/acts to be done.

    may Allah SWT grant us a good company of friends in this world and hopefully in Jannah too [inshAllah] Ameen 🙂

    jazakAllah khair for sharing =)

  • wasalam safa

    thank you :).
    and definitely thanks for your insight – i hadn’t heard of that narration – but its quite helpful!
    throughout history our Masoomeen have given so much importance to the value of friendship, love and companionship, the narrations are quite interesting.

    and Ameen to your prayer :)!, may Allah SWT indeed grant us company of good friends, and that too in Jannah!

  • Asalaam alaikum wr wb, mash allah great work,,
    im a girl and im having problems with my friendship in school, well ‘my muslim friend’ left me for another muslim who isnt a good muslim at all (drinks, smokes) and because my friend has a revert muslim mum (meaning she was sikh before) her mum dsnt really know much about islam ‘my friend’ wont relise that its not good to be friends with her. so baisically im mostly on my own because i dint get on with them and dislike their ways and the hardest part is i have no one else as it is our last 2 years and friend groups have formed
    and no one else is really what id get along with so most of the time im a loner (alone) and it hurts me so much inside, and i cant do well in school work Really is their a dua for a new friend or when someone is hopeless as i feel ive got no one all the time and recently i have been doing similar things as ‘my friend’ and the alcoholic muslim .. such as trying a bit of smoke astaghfurilla but thats when i left them ..help me it will be gr8 help xxxxxx

  • wasalam rayna, and thank you

    first off, i think you should be extremely proud of yourself! in today’s society, friends and groups is what every girl wants. for you to give that up in the name of Allah is amazing! so you should be very proud of yourself!
    secondly, i know what you mean. i’ve been through highschool as well – where many of my friends have changed – some went on to change boyfriends, some smoked, some drank. i know its hard to be in a highschool in canada without having friends. the thing that helped me the most is that i had to keep reminding myself that i was doing it for the sake of Allah, and if i know in my heart that im making good friends for the sake of Allah – then i know Allah himself will help me in studies, life and otherwise. Allah is seeing your struggles, and this is just one of his tests, and of course inshaAllah when you pass this test – Allah will shower you with many friends!

    as for duas for friends, im sorry – i dont know of any specific ones, but here’s a website of duas for haajat that you can check out, and other duas
    http://www.duas.org/hajaat.htm
    http://www.duas.org/misc.htm

    sorry for the long reply, but good luck and mashaAllah good job :)!

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