At times when you feel like the world is against you, a shoulder to cry on and a pair of listening ears are probably be among the things you’d ask from Allah SWT to help ease the pain. You’ll find that only at those darkest times, that you get to know which are your true friends and which are ‘friends’ who took your presence only for their advantage.

Having a good support system is necessary as part of our needs as human beings. This is even expressed by our Prophet Muhammad SAW, as narrated by Al-Bukhari and Muslim that, “The believer to the believer is like a solid building, one part supporting the other.”

In Islam, finding good friendship and companionship are highly commended as befriending those with good habits will encourage one to follow suit. For example, having friends who pray five times a day, you will more likely to follow and pray with them as the relationship will help keep one another to be in the straight path and constantly be reminded of Allah SWT.

Allah SWT stated in the Qur’an (5:3) “Help you one another in righteousness and piety; but do not help one another in sin and transgression.”

Prophet Muhammad SAW also said, as narrated by Muslim, “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 the 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.”

Admittedly, it is challenging for some people to find good friends. In the current times when relationships can be strained due to misunderstanding on social media, this can be a recipe for disaster and lead to backbiting, division and so forth. Finding a good friend means to find people who will accept your flaws and shortcomings, while at the same time guide and nurture you to become a better individual. Good friends should also point out your mistakes and bad behaviours for you to learn its life lessons and not to repeat the same thing again. They are kind and understanding. Instead of being envious of each other, they are always happy when the blessings of Allah SWT fall upon you.

So if you have found good friends, treasure and treat them well. When they give you moral support and emotional assistance during your tough times, return the favour during their times of hardship. Inquire about their well-being, surprise them with gifts or do something nice for them. As Abu Hurairah RA reported the Prophet Muhammad SAW said, “Give gifts and you will love one another.”

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A former journalist and currently a freelance writer, volunteer/youth worker at NGOs based in Brunei. He is also an advocate for HIV/AIDS, self empowerment and human rights. To connect and share your stories with Billah, email him at billy.fbetc@gmail.com.