الرَّجُلُ عَلَى دِينِ خَلِيلِهِ فَلْيَنْظُرْ أَحَدُكُمْ مَنْ يُخَالِلُ
The Prophet (ﷺ) said: “A man follows the religion of his friend; so each one should consider whom he makes his friend.”
(Sunan Abi Dawood 4833)
This hadeeth shows the importance of a good friend, and means that a person picks up the good and the bad traits from his close friends. If a person’s friend is righteous he would follow him, take his good traits and good actions, but if his friend is evil then he would follow him in that which is bad and take his unacceptable traits and actions. And thus, each one of us should be careful of whom we befriend. As the Prophet ﷺ said:
مَثَلُ الْجَلِيسِ الصَّالِحِ وَالْجَلِيسِ السَّوْءِ كَمَثَلِ صَاحِبِ الْمِسْكِ، وَكِيرِ الْحَدَّادِ، لاَ يَعْدَمُكَ مِنْ صَاحِبِ الْمِسْكِ إِمَّا تَشْتَرِيهِ، أَوْ تَجِدُ رِيحَهُ، وَكِيرُ الْحَدَّادِ يُحْرِقُ بَدَنَكَ أَوْ ثَوْبَكَ أَوْ تَجِدُ مِنْهُ رِيحًا خَبِيثَةً ”.
“The example of a good companion (who sits with you) in comparison with a bad one, is like that of the musk seller and the blacksmith’s bellows (or furnace); from the first you would either buy musk or enjoy its good smell while the bellows would either burn your clothes or your house, or you get a bad nasty smell thereof.”
(Sahih Al-Bukhari 2101)
When seeking knowledge, a person needs a righteous companion who would help him throughout his journey. When he feels low or he starts having low aspirations or his imaan decreases, his friend is there to push him up and vice versa. He helps him with his analysis of the situation. Since both of them are upon the same path, they enjoy together, share their thoughts and stop each other from haram (impermissible) things, etc.
We see in the world of today that the people are inspired by whoever “looks” nice to them, whether they see them physically or on social media platforms and this is a great problem because when you are going to admire an evil person you will try to follow him in whatever he does without using your own intellect, and we see this as a huge problem in the youth of today. Similarly, the same happens when a person has an evil companion. Tthis companionship that an individual has will either make him or break him.
In life, one might have classmates, cousins or even other people around him who would call him names, make fun of him on following the right path and avoiding the haram, they would make him feel that he is quite behind, he is not “cool.” They would constantly try to mislead him from the correct path, etc. Trust me! That what is “COOL” to them is not what you want to adopt. Such people are indulged in the dunya so much so that the aakhira doesn’t concern them; they have no plans for the life to come or have very little plans.
It doesn’t mean that you should not enjoy this life; rather a Muslim gives his part to the dunya in a halal way and to the halal stuff. If a person sees in his circle evil friends whose influence on you is greater than your influence on them, cut them off. If they are Muslims, you fulfill their rights and in terms of friendship or company then you keep away.
Umar Al-Khattab (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ) said:
“Accompany the brothers of truthfulness (sidq) and live under their wing, for they are an adornment in times of ease (rakhaa’) and an asset in times of calamity (balaa’).
Think the best about your brother unless he comes to you with something that angers you. Stay away from your enemy. Be cautious with your friend except those who are trusted (ameen), and no one is trusted save those who fear Allah.
Do not accompany a sinner (faajir) and learn from his sinfulness as a result, and do not tell them your secrets. Consult those who fear Allah regarding your affairs.”
One of the ways to soften your heart is having righteous friends because sitting with the righteous will change six things for you:
- From being someone who has doubts (about religion) to being somebody who has certainty in his hearts.
- From being someone who lacks sincerity, who shows off in his acts of worship to be someone who has sincerity.
- From being someone who is heedless to being someone who is conscious of All ah (عَزَّوَجَلَّ).
- From being somebody who chases after the dunya to being someone who glorifies anything that is going to push him towards the hereafter.
- From being someone who has arrogance to being someone who is humble.
- From being somebody who has bad intentions to being sincere.
By Allah, a person will regret on the Day of Judgement the evil friends he/she took. Allah (عَزَّوَجَلَّ) says in the Qur’an:
وَيَوْمَ يَعَضُّ الظَّالِمُ عَلَىٰ يَدَيْهِ يَقُولُ يَا لَيْتَنِي اتَّخَذْتُ مَعَ الرَّسُولِ سَبِيلًا
يَا وَيْلَتَىٰ لَيْتَنِي لَمْ أَتَّخِذْ فُلَانًا خَلِيلًا
لَّقَدْ أَضَلَّنِي عَنِ الذِّكْرِ بَعْدَ إِذْ جَاءَنِي ۗ وَكَانَ الشَّيْطَانُ لِلْإِنسَانِ خَذُولًا
“And the Day the wrongdoer will bite on his hands [in regret] he will say, “Oh, I wish I had taken with the Messenger a way. Oh, woe to me! I wish I had not taken that one as a friend. He led me away from the remembrance after it had come to me. And ever is Satan, to man, a deserter.”
[Surah Furqan: 27-29]
The company we keep says a lot about who we are. Friends have a tremendous influence over how we behave, think and even feel. This verse comes to us as a warning to be careful of the type of people we choose to be our friends because they can be a cause for you to enter the HellFire (and we seek refuge in Allah (عَزَّوَجَلَّ) from that).
Take a moment and think about the company you have. Ask yourself these questions:
- Do my friends remind me of Allah (عَزَّوَجَلَّ) and help me to follow the path of the Prophet ﷺ?
- Do they want well for me in this world and the next or are always jealous of my achievements?
- Do they have a good character or lack in manners?
Types of Companionship
Shaykh Bakr Abu Zayd رحمه الله said:
“Choose the best for companionship and friendship; someone who will help you in your quest, in drawing nearer to your Lord, and agrees with you in your noble objective and intention. Take [from me] the most precise gauge in categorising friends:
- A friend who befriends you [solely] for his welfare.
- A friend who befriends you [solely] for fun.
- A friend who befriends you for virtue.
As regards the first two, then their relationship with you is cut off when the necessitating reason is fulfilled: the attainment of welfare in the first and fun in the second.
As for the third category, then this is the one we will concentrate on. He is the one who is driven into a friendship due to mutual belief in the first establishment of virtue in both people.”
Sufyān At Thawrī rahimahullāh said:
“There is nothing more destructive upon a person or more beneficial to a person, than his friend.”
So look who’s around you.The company you keep, defines you and your level of imaan, choose your friends wisely.
Allah (عَزَّوَجَلَّ) says:
الْأَخِلَّاءُ يَوْمَئِذٍ بَعْضُهُمْ لِبَعْضٍ عَدُوٌّ إِلَّا الْمُتَّقِينَ
“Close friends, that Day, will be enemies to each other, except for the righteous”
Our “friends” with whom we “enjoy” disobeying Allah (عَزَّوَجَلَّ) with today will be our enemies on the Day of Judgement. We will want nothing to do with them at that time and vice versa.
However, if we spend time with the friends who fear Allah (عَزَّوَجَلَّ), we will be of the happiest people on the Day of Judgement. Rather than sinning together here, we encourage one another to righteousness and pleasing Allah. As a result, we will be companions in Paradise, In shaa Allaah.
And if you don’t find a good friend then it is better for you to have no one as your friend than to have evil friends that would misguide you.
Choose your friends carefully and watch whom you keep company with!
We ask Allah (عَزَّوَجَلَّ) to grant us good companionship. (Aameen)
 Book: The Refinement of Character by Imam Ibn Qudaamah Al-Maqdisi page 67)
 Book: The Etiquette of Seeking Knowledge by Shaykh Bakr Abu Zayd رحمه الله pg. 58