Islam and the concept of friendship
Humans are social creatures by nature; they"re always in need of friends and companions. Most of our lives depend on interaction with others. Strong individuals are the core of a strong community, something that Muslims should always strive for.
We all know that Allah the Most High has brought us to life in order to test us. Thus we are here for a relatively short period of time and that we shall meet Allah one Day, so we need to use our present life for what is best for us in the hereafter. Once we know our purpose and our goal in life, we should seek ways to achieve them so as to benefit our own selves.
In an authentic Hadith, Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said:
"A person is likely to follow the faith of his friend, so look whom you befriend."
Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) who has the most noble character and dealings with fellow humans gave us a very clear and simple message and advice in regard to friendship.
How should we choose our friends?
We should choose the friend that believes and abide by our religion (Islam) and gives great respect to what Allah and Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) has ordered us. And we should stay away from the one who is not well mannered and gives no attention to what Islam is about or what pleases or displeases Allah, for he"ll surely affect us negatively. There is no good in the companion drowns us in sins and displeasing Allah.
The bases for the actions of those who follow the evil ways are corrupt; their actions are built upon misguidance and deviation. Their deeds are worthless to them as Allah said:
"And We will proceed to what they have done of deeds, so We shall render them to scattered floating dust." Qur’an (25:23)
Their actions, even if we see them as righteous and noble are of no value to them, so how can they be useful to us?
Good friends are those who share their companions both happiness and sadness. If we share our feelings with the wrong-doers whose actions are worthless and based on corruption, then we are following the same ways and standards as they are, and we"ll end up being as corrupted as they are, and then we"re in a big trouble, how can we face Allah"s dissatisfaction and displeasure?!
Instead of making friends with the misguided ones we should befriend the righteous, yet treat the rest in a gracious and just manner. Staying at sufficient distance is necessary; yet treating everybody in a noble and kind manner is required.
In another Hadith, Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said:
"The example of a good companion and a bad companion is like that of the seller of musk, and the one who blows the blacksmith’s bellows. So as for the seller of musk then either he will grant you some, or you buy some from him, or at least you enjoy a pleasant smell from him. As for the one who blows the blacksmith’s bellows then either he will burn your clothes or you will get an offensive smell from him."
When choosing our friends we should ask ourselves first: 1)
Are they going to help us achieve the purpose for which we were brought to life? Or will they take us away from it? 2)
Will they desire for us Allah"s pleasure or is that completely irrelevant to them and not their concern at all? 3)
Are they leading us to Paradise or to the Hell?
Allah says in the Qur"an:
"O you who believe! Take care of your own selves. If you follow the right guidance and enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong no hurt can come to you from those who are in error. The return of you all is to Allah, then He will inform you about (all) that which you used to do." Qur"an (5:105)