When I was young, I participated in a weekend Islamic retreat which a girl that I have met in university casually told me about when we accidentally met each other again on the city bus. After that weekend retreat, I decided to wear hijab.
After graduating from college, my circle of friends let me know about an event at the city mosque which presented a popular Islamic speaker from my home country. I attended and learned so much about tawheed of Allah, that I stopped saying ‘just praying is not an effort, man’, which I used to say before I got to know that Islamic speaker.
After several years of working and I still have not yet found a spouse, I decided to set a profile in Tinder like many of the girls I know, until one female friend found out and started chastising me.
‘I know you are trying to do all efforts but is this what a practicing Muslimah does? Think! Where is your sense of honour and dignity?!’
While active in Islamic organization in my city, I used to wear leggings and tight jeans, until two guys – both kind hearted and have my full respect and admiration – eventually commented on my choice of outfits and reminded me that a Muslimah should probably wear more modest clothing more often. After that, I bought many long skirts to replace my leggings and tight jeans.
Looking back, a lot of my sense of faith and my ability to be practicing of that faith have resulted from my friendships. If faith is a person, it would be a very high maintenance person, and it would leave you in a beat with lack of attention and if it senses it has rivals for your attention. Thankfully, Allah blesses me with an amazing gift: the gift of friendships from men and women who always remind me of my faith and how I can better improve my ability to practice that faith. Men and women, who when I look at the ayat: ‘And the believers, men and women, are protecting friends of one another, they enjoin the right and forbid the wrong’ [Qur’an: Chapter 9, Verse 71), made me remember them.
The importance of creating friendships with people who can remind you about Allah and path to the Truth cannot be understated. Even Allah has said in the Qur’an that:
“And (remember) the Day when the wrong-doer will bite his hands and say: Woe to me! Would that I had taken a path with the Messenger. Woe to me! If only I had not taken so- and-so as a friend! He has led me astray from this Reminder (the Qur’an) after it had come to me. And Satan is ever a deserter to man in the hour of need.” [Qur’an: Chapter 25, Verses 27-29]
“Friends on that Day will be enemies one to another, except al-Muttaqun (i.e. those who have Taqwa/Piety).” [Qur’an: Chapter 43:67]
As the saying goes, the best way to have a friend is to be a friend. Taking a proactive approach in initiating and building this kind of friendships is an effort that will pay you tremendous rewards in this life and afterlife.
What can you do to create and strengthen the ties of friendships? In a Hadith Muslim (2162) narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “The rights of one Muslim over another are six.” It was said: What are they, O Messenger of Allaah? He said: “If you meet him, greet him with salaam; if he invites you, accept the invitation; if he asks for advice, give him sincere advice; if he sneezes and praises Allaah, say Yarhamuk Allaah (may Allaah have mercy on you); if he falls sick, visit him; and if he dies, attend his funeral.”
Greeting salaam, accepting invitations, giving sincere advice when one needs it, and visiting in the event of illness, will be a good way to create and strengthen the ties of friendship.
In order to further maintains such friendship, in a Hadith Bukhari and Muslim, The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: ‘A muslim is a brother to a Muslim: Neither he wrongs him, nor hands him over (to another). And who comes in need of his brother, Allah comes in his need; and who removes a calamity of a Muslim, Allah will remove a calamity from the calamities of the Resurrection Day, and who conceals the faults of a Muslim, Allah will conceal his sins on the Resurrection Day’.
By doing the things suggested by Rasulullah SAW, may Allah make us a good friend and ease all of us to have many good friends who can be our supporter in our path to Jannah, Aamiin.