What You Need In A True Friend
Through your career, travels, studies, business, community living and personal preferences, you could find yourself seeking a true friend to spend time with and share interests etc.
Man was created as a social being and strives to reach an optimal state of mind from daily activities & through social interactions; in a much similar way negative company could be counteractive and isolation may lead to psychological damage.
It is important to look carefully & think wisely while choosing new friends in order to identify certain qualities. With such beyond-the-average qualities you have everything to gain & nothing to loose.
Are You A True Friend?
So, are you a true friend or not?
And in much the same way, do you seek true friends in your life?
Rather than worry too much about who among your friends are the ‘true ones’, why not ask yourself first if you are really a true friend? Then you can be like the true friend you need.
Remember that you are a mirror for those closest to you. You should therefore be a reflection of your true friend, just as s/he should be for you. It is not an impossible task but worth having in mind that ‘true friends are hard to find’ – as a common saying goes.
The Qur’an emphasizes the concept of true friendship in much the same way the Sunnah reinforces it. And Islam generally emphasizes this through the encouragement of keeping only good friends. Those who will aid you beyond the worldly gains of this dunya to that of the next. They keep you on the path of remembrance, not try to distract or lead you astray as the Qur’an warns.
…O woe is me! Would that I had not taken such a one for a friend! Certainly he led me astray from the reminder after it had come to me. [Q25; 27-29]
Double success is what a true friend can help you achieve. And that is the essence of friendship as Muslims. Correct friendship in Islam is exemplified, encouraged & rewarded through many stories and narration. The companions of Prophet Muhammad (saw) symbolized it throughout their lives by showcasing who a true friend is. They – the companions – were true friends to each another.
They talked it, walked it & lived it generously.
Close friends, that Day, will be enemies to each other, except for the righteous [Q43;67]
Below are some of the qualities they exhibited in their unique relationships. Seek these qualities and equally work on developing them in yourself.
Firm Faith in Heart, Words & Deeds
> Belief in Allah & submission to His Oneness. Just as birds of same feather are known to flock together, so will your belief be strengthened by flocking with companions who strongly belief & submit to Allah (swt) completely. When you spend time with such people, you get charged spiritually and remember Allah with ease. You feel confident and firm in your belief and strive to get to the same level as your friend or even higher. Healthy competition for good deeds never hurts anyone and in fact, it will push you to achieve bigger things.
> Follows the Qur’an & Sunnah. And not just following it due to peer pressure or low self esteem. When your friend follows the teachings of the Quran & Sunnah in every aspect of life, you benefit equally.
> Enjoying the Right & Forbidding the Wrong. A true friend tells you when you are getting it right and also lets you know when you are not . It will all be done out of true love & concern. Obedience to Allah should lead to encouragement while disobedience should lead to appropriate chastisement. Since a true friend wants what is best for you, and wants to meet you in Jannah, s/he remains steadfast on guiding, pushing and supporting you towards Jannah & its bliss and guarding you away from Jahannam & it’s terrors.
> Friendship for the sake of Allah; where you get together (meet & part) for the sake of Allah (swt) alone. Beyond the material gains, you will taste the sweetness of Iman and consequently experience great happiness.
Whoever would like to taste the sweetness of Iman (belief) then let him love a person only for Allah’s sake.
> Altruism. This entails doing things for others without expecting anything back in return. Psychologists remain fascinated by this quality, as it is only natural to only help others when there’s a reward or motivation involved. It is often questioned how anyone can do something for another without expecting anything back in return. True believers should be true friends based on the brotherhood they share.
The Prophet (saw) said, ”None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.” [Bukhari]
Altruism can be seen clearly in the example of the helpers (Ansar) in Madinah who gave preference to the emigrants (Muhajirun) and supported them in every way they could. A Qur’anic verse (Q 59:9) was revealed making reference to this great act.
So is it possible to prefer or put others before yourself?
> Empathy. Your true friend remembers you & your situation whether near or far. S/he visits, advises, shares gifts and often makes dua for you. S/he can even relate to your emotional experience from your simple interactions.
You should supplicate for your brother during his life and after his death for everything you want for yourself.
Abu ad-Darda’ (may Allah be Pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “The supplication of a Muslim man for his brother in his absence is accepted, and there is an Angel appointed for each supplication of a man for his brother with good who says: ‘Allah, accept it, and give him the same that he asks for his friend,’” and Abu ad-Darda’ used to supplicate for many of his brothers, mentioning them by name in his supplications. Likewise, Ahmad bin Hanbal used to supplicate at dawn for six specific individuals. [The Manners of the Knowledge Seeker, Abu Abdillah Muhammed Said Rislan]
> Kindness. Seek one who is helpful, has genuine concern & possesses good listening skills. A nice, friendly, generous and considerate person will brighten your life in many ways.
> Honesty/ Integrity. Always says what s/he means, and does what s/he says. Someone who will always tell the truth no matter what.
Beneficial Companionship (Sharing time/ goals / interests).
Seek someone you can spend time together with doing worthy deeds – discussing goals and motivating each other, sharing reminders and beneficial knowledge.
Whether it is launching a cause, attending the halaqah or going to the masjid/library together. You can also keep healthy playing sports, cooking or playing games; or taking a walk together
Martin Seligman (pioneer of the psychology of happiness and human flourishin), and other top psychologists/ researchers suggest that connecting with others in a meaningful way helps us enjoy better mental and physical health and speeds up recovery from disease.
Finding Your True Friend
When next you are faced with a change in location or circumstances – and need a new friend, don’t make it your mission to simply search for a new pal, rather seek a true friend.
The quality of a true friend matters more than the quantity. Therefore, it should not be only about this world, but the next as well.
It should never be about the bling but a heart filled with faith; so look inwards beyond the glitter.
Seek faith and good character. And shun fame and ill character.
You will be raised among those who you love, so take heed.
Be the best you can, as a true friend. And likewise invest in the gift of a true friend.
And keep yourself patient [by being] with those who call upon their Lord in the morning
and the evening, seeking His countenance. And let not your eyes pass beyond them,
desiring adornments of the worldly life, and do not obey one whose heart We have
made heedless of Our remembrance and who follows his desire and whose affair is ever
With a true friend, you will enjoy an amazing relationship while journeying through great changes and challenges.
All you need to do is to look out for firm faith along with great character and company.
Now, take a minute to think – Who is your true friend? And do you have what it takes to be a true friend?