By: Sumayyah bint Joan
Source: IslaamInfo (South Africa)
‘Who we keep company with is reflective of who we are’
For as far back as I can remember, my parents would always admonish me and my siblings to keep good company. My Dad specially had a favorite saying, “Show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are.”
Needless to say, I was always very conscious, and careful about choosing the right people to surround myself with. In Islam it is doubly true and essential to surround yourself with righteous companions, because they will help to keep your feet planted on the straight path, while doing otherwise may lead you astray.
It was Ahmad ibn Harb (Allah have mercy on him) who said, “There is nothing more beneficial to a Muslim’s heart than to mix with the righteous and to watch their actions, while nothing is more harmful to the heart of the Muslim than mixing with sinners and watching their actions.” No matter who you are, or how strong or independent you may feel, no man, or woman, is an island, and you can’t make it through this life alone. This is why Islam so stresses the Jama’ah, or the congregation. The sayings that there is strength in numbers and that it is the lone sheep that gets devoured by the wolf are true.
Therefore, we need to adopt correct manners, in that we try ardently never to do an action or to befriend anyone without knowing whether the pleasure of Allah Most High is in it or not, and never loving and hating for worldly reasons. For the Prophet of Allah Most High, sallallahu alayhi wassalaam said, “Whoever loves for Allah, and hates for Allah, gives for Allah and withholds for Allah, has completed his faith.” (Abu Dawud) So who should be our companions?
First of all, they should be good Muslims, who believe in Allah and His Messenger. For Allah Most High says in the Qur’an, “Whoso obeyeth Allah and the messenger [Muhammad ﷺ], they are with those unto whom Allah hath shown favour, of the prophets and the saints and the martyrs and the righteous. The best of company are they!” [4:69]
Secondly, being around them should make you want to increase in good deeds. Allah Most High says, ” And unto thee [Muhammad ﷺ] have We revealed the Scripture with the truth, confirming whatever Scripture was before it, and a watcher over it. So judge between them by that which Allah hath revealed, and follow not their desires away from the truth which hath come unto thee. For each We have appointed a divine law and a traced-out way. Had Allah willed He could have made you one community. But that He may try you by that which He hath given you (He hath made you as ye are). So vie one with another in good works. Unto Allah ye will all return, and He will then inform you of that wherein ye differ.” [5:48]. By aligning ourselves with people who do good deeds, we are then prompted to compete with them in this regard, and thus improving the character and the religion of everyone involved.
Lastly, but by no means the least, our companions should help us to remember Allah Most High. For Allah Most High says, “O you who believe! Let not your properties or your children divert you from the remembrance of Allah. And whosoever does this, then they are the losers.” [63:9]. In this time of hustle and bustle, it is very easy for us to get caught up in the pursuit of worldly gains. This is why it is increasingly important to surround ourselves with people, who will encourage us to think of Allah Most High, in every instance of our lives.
The superiority of the remembrance of Allah was explained by the Prophet Muhammad, ﷺ, who said, “The example of the one who remembers his Lord, in comparison to the one who does not remember his Lord, is that of a living creature compared to a dead one. (Bukhari)
So, let us take stock of the people we spend our time with. Do they fall into the above categories? If our friends aren’t doing these things, then what does being with them say about us? We should strive to love those who love Allah Most High, and to hate those who hate Allah Most High, and what He has sent down of guidance for humanity. For the Prophet, ﷺ said, “Whoever possesses three things will find the sweetness of faith. For Allah and His Messenger to be more beloved to him than anything else; to love a person for Allah’s sake alone; and to hate to return to disbelief the way he hates to be thrown into the fire.” (Bukhari)