Having the Right Friend
by Abu Shama
Choosing Good Friends
‘Advice is like snow; the softer it falls, the longer it dwells upon, and the deeper it sinks into the mind.’ (Samuel T Coleridge)
Good friends are most capable of delivering good advice in the most effective way to have the right impact.
The choice of a friend can make one’s life bitter or sweet; a good friend who is loving, caring, true, faithful and loyal is a gift from Allah. Whoever Allah wishes good for, He will grant him a righteous friend, who will remind him if he forgets and aid him when he remembers. The Messenger of Allah (peace be on him) said:
‘The best friend is the one who makes you remember Allah when you see him.’
Strive to choose righteous friends who are preoccupied with seeking knowledge, who are of a good character, trustworthy, who are sincere towards Allah, who will influence and help you in achieving your aims, add to the benefits you have already gained, encourage you to seek more knowledge, improve your character and understanding and stop you from falling into error.
Believing friends are like mirrors to each other, they can look to each other for correction in their behaviour, just like one looks into the mirror for fixing one’s appearance. The Messenger of Allah (peace be on him) said
‘A believer is a mirror to his brother. A believer is a brother to a believer: he protects him against any danger and guards him from behind.’ [Al-Adab al-Mufrad]
Beware of the bad companion, for he may influence you towards committing sins or doing something that has no benefit thus taking you away from doing something good. The Messenger of Allah (peace be on him) said:
‘The example of a good pious companion and an evil one is that of a person carrying musk and another blowing a pair of bellows. The one who is carrying musk will either give you some perfume as a present, or you will buy some from him, or you will get a good smell from him, but the one who is blowing a pair of bellows will either burn your clothes or you will get a bad smell from him.’ [Bukhari]
The Messenger of Allah (peace be on him) said:
‘A man follows the religion of his friend; so each one should look to whom he makes his friend.’ [Abu Dawood]
In a hadith, the Messenger of Allah (peace be on him) said:
’You will be with those whom you love.’ So choose your friends carefully; you will be raised on the day of judgement with your friends.
Ali Ibn Abu Talib said:
‘Pay attention to your brothers, for they are your provisions in this life and the Hereafter.’
Take special care to remain close to the people of knowledge. As a student of knowledge, you should look to the kinds of gatherings that increase you in faith. Being in the company of righteous surely keeps you away from fitnah. It secures you from going astray and protects you from falling into error. No one ever went astray while continually consulting the people of knowledge. How could they go astray obeying Allah’s Order and His Guidance?
Therefore, stay away from gatherings that decrease his faith or cause his faith to diminish. Pick and choose your friends carefully; good friends can change your life. Loyal friends will increase your knowledge, cover your mistakes, and help you to be good. Hence, chose quality friends.
This is a series compiled following lectures on ‘The Manners and Etiquette of the Teacher and the Students’. The course was based on a book written by Shaykh al-Islam, Badr al-Din Ibn Jama’ah and conveyed to us by our Shaykh Haytham Tamim.
Qadi al-Qudat, Shaykh al-Islam, Badr al-Din Ibn Jama’ah was born in 639 AH (1241 AD). Originally from Syria and later moved to Egypt. He was educated at Hama, achieved excellence in religious studies and jurisprudence, and became a leading promoter of the Shafi’i Fiqh. Eventually, he attained the high status of Shaykh al-Islam and held the high position of Chief Justice. Imam al-Dhahabi has observed that Qadi Ibn Jama’ah was well versed both in prose and poetry, and had left abundant notes on Fiqh, Hadith, Usul al-Fiqh, and Tarikh(History). He commanded respect and influence, and had a large number of students and followers. He died at Cairo in the year 733 A.H. (1332 A.D.), aged 94, and was buried by the side of the great Imam Shafi’i.
His book on the subject of Adab al-Alim wal-Mutaalim
It was in the year 672 AH (1273 AD) that Ibn Jama’ah completed this book as a guide for both students and teachers to help improve quality of their academic life and work.
Ibn Jama’ah – Etitquettes of Seeking Knowledge
Abd Al Barr – Jami’ Bayan Al Ilm
Al Khateeb Al Baghdadi – Al Jami’ li Akhlaq Al Rawi
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