The Prophet peace be upon him said: “A person is on the path of his intimate friend, so let each of you look carefully at whom he takes as an intimate friend.”
What is the real meaning of a friend? I’m sure if we ask ourselves this question, not many of us will be able to answer it the correct way. Most people view friends as people who keep your secrets, someone to talk to on the phone, someone you trust, someone whom you can have fun and hang out with. But this kind of friendship is not even close to the kind of friendship mentioned in the Quran.
Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala says: “And the believing men and the believing women are protecting friends to one another. THEY COMMAND WHAT IS RIGHT AND FORBID WHAT IS WRONG AND THEY ESTABLISH THE SALAH AND PRODUCE THE ZAKAH AND THEY OBEY ALLAH AND HIS MESSENGER.” (9:71)
Now what more of a friend do you want than that? Subhan'Allah. The kind of friendship we had in mind is nothing like the friendship Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala wants. “...They command what is right and forbid what is wrong..” Who from our friends do we find doing this? Any? If not few… The kind of friendship I see people having is actually quite the opposite. I see people laugh at the wrong, and ignore what is right.
Rarely if not never, have I seen a friend tell another friend. “Sister/Brother fear Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala for what you are doing is haram.” Just how much do our friends affect us? Here is a hadith to find out…
The Prophet peace be upon him said: “The example of a good friend and a bad friend is like the seller of Musk (perfume) and the blacksmith. If you go to the seller of perfume, you will either leave (happy) buying perfume, or you will leave will the smell of the musk. And If you stand by the blacksmith you will burn your clothes, or you will leave with the *smell of* the stink of his work.”
So when you are with the good friend you will learn from him, or some of his goodness will rub off on you. *leaving you relaxed* While when you are with the bad friend, you will be like him, or you will leave with some of his bad habits. Sadly, we are missing out on the true friendship. But that’s not even the worst part; the worse thing is that most Muslims would rather have the company of non Muslims instead of their brother/sister in Islam. Nevertheless Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala’s advice that we should prefer people of like mind to ourselves over non believers is crystal clear:
“Let not the believers take the unbelievers as Auliya (supporters, friends, helpers) instead of the believers, and whoever does that will never be helped by Allah in any way, except if you indeed fear a danger from them.” (3:28)
May Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala guide us all.
So as for the believing men and woman who command each other with good, and forbid the bad, they will have a great reward in the hereafter, and they will be thanking each other in Jannah, insha'Allah. But as for the men and woman, whose friendship is only based on worldly matters, those so-called friends who laugh and encourage each other when they do wrong, and take faith as a joke, for them is a painful torment.
Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala warns the Muslims against such friendships… "On the day when the wrongdoer will bite upon his hands (from regret), he will say, ‘O would that I had taken a path with the Messenger, O Woe to me! Would that I had never taken so-and-so as an intimate friend; he certainly lead me astray from the remembrance after it had come to me and Shaytan (Satan) is to man ever a deserter in the hour of need" (25:27-30)
Subhan Allah, they will be the best of friends in this world, but in the hereafter they will be the worst of enemies to each other. In the hellfire, one will call to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala and say "Oh Allah, this person (the friend from the world) took me by my hand to the haram, Ya Allah… Ya Allah… Double his punishment! And curse him with a mighty curse! Subhan Allah!! How painful the hellfire, and yet that person is still wishing it to be worse for his friend (from the world). But then Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala will double BOTH their punishments…
Subhan Allah, see these ‘friends’ they weren’t really friends in the world, and as you can see they won’t be friends in the hereafter. Now it is your turn to decide, you can either command your friends with the good, and forbid the evil, which may not be very easy, but your friend will thank you for it in Jannah, or would you rather be from those who bite their hands from regret….Be careful when choosing your friends…