Have you ever thought about the people you hang around i.e. your friends and those in your home? Who are they? You may well ask why should I question the people who I associate with! Well, the answer is really quite simple. Your friends play an important part in your life. They can influence you, make you do things that you'd probably never have dreamt of doing before, and they can affect your lifestyle too. There is a well-known proverb that goes "show me your friends and I will tell you what you are".
Who are your friends? Are they druggies, clubbers, drinkers and drunkards, fornicators, adulterers, gamblers, etc? What ambitions do they have in life? Where are they heading? The answer may be "So what? I don’t really care who they are as long as we have a good time."
Getting to the Point
Your friends are your friends for a reason, whether this is because of your money, who you are (your status) because they are alone or they see you as someone who knows how to enjoy himself, or perhaps they want a ‘joke and some coke’.
Rasulullah (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: "You are in your friends' religion. Therefore you should note with whom you are making friends".
As Muslims our aim in life is different from the rest, we want to get into paradise and guard ourselves against Hell. We are here to worship and obey Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta'ala). Allah Ta'ala has placed upon us an honorable duty, which is to be the leaders of the world by spreading the message of Islam.
Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta'ala) says in the Qur'an: "You are the best community evolved for mankind, you enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and you believe in Allah." - surah ali' Imran; 3:109
Our friends and company could either be an obstacle in our way by being helpers in our downfall to Hell, or they could be a source of help and support by making it easier for us to reach Paradise, which is the true life, the eternal life and a life full of enjoyment.
Allah says in the Qur'an: "On the day when the wrongdoer gnaws his hands, he will say; Ah! would that I had chosen the straight way with the messenger of Allah! Alas for me! Would that I had never taken such one for a friend! He verily led me astray from the reminder after it had reached me. Satan was ever the deserter of man." - surah Furqan; 27-29
Choosing Your Friends
If your aim was to be an athlete, a sports personality, then you would try to be with people who also want to become athletes or those who are already athletes. You would learn from them, train with them, go to the sports center and even hang around with them, in fact you would try to do all that you can to achieve your goal.
Similarly, as Muslims, our goal is Paradise and not Hell. Therefore it only seems logical that we should try to arrange our life and activities to be around those who also share the same goal and at the same time stay away from those who have chosen another way, those who are forgetful, wicked, and commit sins. A true friend shows you success in this world and the hereafter whereas a misguided friend is a trickery and cunning.
Rasulullah (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) has given us some advice when choosing friends:
Rasulullah (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) was asked: "Who is the person that can be the best friend"! He replied: "He who helps you when you remember God and reminds you when you forget him". He was then asked: "and which friend is the worst?" To which he replied: "He who does not help you when you remember God and does not remind you when you forget Him".
How many of your friends remind you to pray when you’re busy with work or just playing? How many of your friends make you forget Allah and take you away from Him by keeping you occupied with something or asking you to indulge in a sinful act: "let’s go and check out the club bro! ... let’s take some weed". These friends are not your real friends; they will desert you when you are in need.
Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta'ala) says: "Friends on that day will be enemies to each other except those who kept their duty (to Allah). O my slaves! For you there is no fear this day nor shall you grieve" - surah Zukhruf:67-68
Friends are those who love you not for who you are or what you have but purely for Allah. Those who are with you in times of happiness and also in sadness. They help you in preference to themselves.
Umar ibn Al-Khattab (radiAllahu anhu) states that Rasulullah (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: "There will be some slaves of Allah who will be neither from the prophets or martyrs but on account of their high position before Allah the prophets and martyrs will envy them. The people asked who will these be. Rasulullah (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) replied to those persons who loved each other for the pleasure of Allah Ta'ala even though there was no blood relation, they give their wealth to one another. By God, from their faces light will shine and they will be riding the light. When the people will be shuddering with fear, they will have no fear and when the people will be sad they will have no sorrow." - Abu Dawud