What Are the Qualities of a Friend?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: According to Islam what is the purpose of a friend? How does one show gratitude to Allah for a friend?

Friends

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.

One’s friends should be people who are helping one draw closer to one’s Lord.

Imam Ghazali (rah) in his Beginning of Guidance (Bidayat al-Hidaya) lists a number of qualities to look for in a friend noting the words of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), “A person’s religious life is only as good as that of his friend, so let one of you consider well whom he befriends.” [Tirmidhi]

[1] Intellect

– As there is no good friendship with a foolish person;

– Specifically seek someone with practical intelligence who has the capacity to seek benefit, even if worldly;

[2] Good Character

– Ghazali states that someone of bad character is one who cannot restrain their [i] anger or [ii] desire;

– Somebody who truly cares for others. “The religion is sincere counsel.”

[3] Righteousness

“Do not obey someone whose heart We have made heedless of Our remembrance, who follows his inclinations, whose case has gone beyond all bounds.” [Qur’an, 18:28]

– As witnessing the transgression of a wrongdoer on a regular basis will remove from your heart all sense of the enormity of the crimes and make them seem insignificant.

[4] Lack of Greed

– Someone concerned with amassing “things” of this world

– Human nature is designed to imitate and follow (by example), so one person’s nature may take from another without even realizing it.

[5] Honesty

– As one will always face deception from the liar.

Imam Ghazali (rah) continues that after finding a decent friend, one should uphold, respect and fulfill the duties of being a friend.

Gratitude and Growing

Allah Most High says in the Qur’an, ‘If you are thankful, I will surely increase you’ [Qur’an, 14:7] The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, ‘Whoever does not thank people has not thanked Allah’. [Tirmidhi]

Be grateful for them, appreciate them, and grow in love for one another — the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, narrating from His Lord, “My love is incumbent for those who love one another for my sake; those who sit with one another for My sake; those who visit each other for My sake; and those who spend on each other for My sake.” [Musnad Ahmad]

And Allah knows best.

Wassalam,

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

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Oppressed and killed in the land of pious….

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Sayyidi al-Habib `Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah preserve him and benefit us by him) was asked:

“How can killing and oppression take place in lands where there are numerous pious people? Do the pious not protect such areas from these tribulations?”

He replied: “Does not the existence of these pious people not make it incumbent on the habitants of those lands to realise their sanctity and follow their example? How can we live in lands where these people exist and then forget them and be heedless of them and go against their teachings and methodology? Some of us even insult them. We have neglected the Sacred Law; we have neglected their legacy; we do not read their biographies or attempt to emulate them; we do not love them or have veneration for them.

What has happened recently is a result of these things that have happened previously. We have replaced the stories of the pious with the stories of the heedless and those that call us to evil. We have left the pious and their places and headed for the places of heedlessness and disobedience. Then we ask: “How can these things happen in our lands?”

We have to ask: “How did what came before happen?” The punishment we are now receiving is nothing compared to what we deserve. Had it not been for Allah’s kindness things would be much worse.

So let us return to the way of the pious and look at how they constantly returned to Allah. Let us pledge our love for them and allegiance to them for the sake of Allah. By them Allah will then remove these tribulations and calamities.”

-Shaykh Amin Buxton.