Friendship and Anti-friendship or How to be Loveable
A message for people of insight, and a reminder to the seeker of God ever willing to turn towards Him
I sing the praises of my Lord, and I seek connection to the Final Guide and Apostle, the Noble one, Muhammad.
Contemplate this Prophetic Teaching with me, and may it be that those who find themselves warned by it will be empowered to stop their evil ways, or something deep in them will be moved and as a consequence, they will turn back to Him to seek His Approval and Pardon. And such is the power of listening to a Teaching from the Teacher of all that is good, who brings us guidance we’d never be able to find on our own, whose words light the way in this time of darkness. May God continue to nourish his light and increase our connection to him.
The scholar Al-Tabarani tells us that our Spiritual Ancestor Abu Huraira once said:
The Apostle of God, may the light of God continue to nourish his soul and our connection to him, said to us:
“Know, without a doubt, that the person I love most is the who is the best-mannered and most pleasant to interact with, who makes an effort to be easygoing and easy to get along with, who strives to be considerate of the other, and who reaches out to become friends with others, and when offered friendship, responds and reciprocates beautifully. And the most offensive and disliked to me is the one who goes around repeating to people what another person apparently said about them, making an actual effort to bring negative ideas to people, to make claims that tear people apart. Such people wish to inflict pain and sadness upon those who are actually innocent of any wrongdoing, painting a bad picture of them and implying they are not worthy of people’s respect, esteem or friendship.”
Our Ancestor Abu Sa’eed Al Khudari, may God inspire us by him, relates to us that the Noble Teacher and Guide said:
“The people with the most wholesome expression of faith are those who have the best morals and express these in beautiful interactions; they are people of principle and values. They aim to be easy to get along with, and they make a deliberate effort to be considerate and kind towards others. They reach out to offer friendship, and they respond beautifully to others’ offers of friendship. Know that there is no good in a person who does not extend friendship to others and the person who does not welcome and reciprocate the offer of friendship from another.”
Abi Tha’laba Al Khushani, may God connect us to his listening ability, said that the Apostle of God, may his light reach us, taught the following:
“Have no doubt that the one I love most, the one who is dearest and nearest to me in the realm of reality, is the one who has the loveliest and sweetest manners, and the politest of ways. The one I dislike the most, who I find offensive, and who is the furthest from me in the realm of reality is the one who has bad manners and lack of politeness and respect. He says more than he should, likes to show off and get attention, and speaks with an authority he does not have.”
Asma Bint Yazid, who we seek a connection to, tells us:
The Great Teacher said “Shall I tell you who the best of you are?”
The Companions said: “Yes, O Apostle of the Lord.” He said: “Those who, when you look at them, remind you of God.”
He said “Shall I tell you who the worst of you are?
They said: “Yes, O Apostle of the Lord.”
“Those who bring to a person what they claim was said about him or her by another; those who ruin relationships and cause problems between those who love each other; and those who make it their work to bring pain on those who have nothing to do with any of this and have no fault for which they deserve such treatment.”
The Apostle of God, may the light of God continue to nourish his soul and our connection to him, is teaching us about the sacredness of friendship and friends.
He shows us where friendship begins, and where it ends. It begins with actions of love, consideration and care. And it ends in a person who offers such actions becoming near and dear to the Universal Guide, may God nourish his spirit and increase our connection to him.
Those the Apostle of God loves are those who know how to be a friend. They make the effort to be easy to get along with. They provide a shoulder to lean on, and support their friends. They make an effort to show kindness and gestures and words of care and respect to others. They are the ones you can rest assured will never hurt you – by word or action. They are the ones you can rest easy with, relaxing in their company – knowing they will never take advantage of you, never use your trust aginast you one day. They take care to know what makes you feel good and they make the effort to bring those things or experiences to you.
As people, such folks are happy when others are good to them, and overlook and forgive any harm done to them and just let it go. That is a friend. He or she offers themselves in friendship to their brothers and sisters – fully and in all vulnerability and bravery.
We are warned against being people who make it look like they know a lot, in order to impress others and cause people to see them as authorities. The Apostle tells us that he dislikes people who shows off in how they use terminology and hold court with their speech – saying more than they should, full of thoughts and opinions all with no wisdom. The Apostle of Light tells us to be careful about relying on scholarly jargon and concepts. He warns us most of all against becoming people who talk from their mouths, but not their hearts.
The Beloved Guide of humanity tells us that what makes some people become disliked by him is their use of their tongues to wreak havoc in others’ relationships by ruining the wholeness of the love that is in them. A relationship of friendship, any relationship where there is care and kindness – to come and cause problems in it is an action that will make us far from the Guide. To create a feeling of mistrust where there was once trust is a major sin. If ever you report to a person that another person spoke ill of them, with a mind to cause bad feelings, then know that you are doing something disliked by the Messenger, that will take you far from him!
God Most Beautiful describes friendship in His Holy Letter to humanity:
God is the One Who brought together the hearts of those who strive to place their trust in Him. Had you expended all that is in the earth, you could not have brought their hearts together; but God brought their hearts together; surely He is the One beyond reach and beyond compare, He is the One Who is in control of all things.
(Chapter 8: Verse 63)
We can understand from this profound statement that God the Creator is the One Who creates love and a feeling of care and concern between friends. This means that the one who seeks to break or erode friendship – or even the quality of a relationship that is growing towards friendship – is a person who has decided to come against God, and whose actions are anti-God.
God tells us the means He uses to bring people together:
And hold fast all together to the rope of God and never be divided. Remember God’s blessing upon you – that you were enemies and He united your hearts so that through His Grace you became brothers. You were standing on the brink of the pit of hell, and He saved you and brought you back to safety. Thus God makes His signs of truth clear to you that you may be guided.
Aal Imran (Chapter 3: Verse 103)
In the above Verse, “Grace” refers to the Apostle of God – may the light of God continue to unite our hearts by him. It was by him and his presence and continues to be by him, that God unites hearts in friendship. It is he, may his light shine in our actions, who taught us friendship and is our true Friend. To try to break bonds of friendship is to come against him and his presence in people’s lives…and thus those who fight friendship are anti-God and anti-Prophet. Know that the ultimate fighter of friendship, then, is necessarily satan himself. And be on the ready to defend your friendships and your appreciation for your friends, against the devil and those who follow his ways.
This profound Teaching of the Guide to humanity illustrates what friendship is, and establishes it as something holy and sacred. And in it, the Apostle of Light shows us what anti-friendship looks like and we understand that we must avoid it.
This Guidance Teaching compares and contrasts two types of people, two types of ultimate realities, and two types of ways of behaving in this life. And the Apostle of God promises us his love if we choose the first set. And the Apostle of God tells us the truth: that if we choose the second set, if we choose to be anti-friends – refusing to cultivate friendships, receive friendship of others, and on top of that – we go and harm friendships between other people – then we will be disliked by him whose love we need the most.
Take a good look at yourself and ask where you stand in each set of options, and where your ego stands.
Dear Lord, Closer to me than myself, I ask that You would empower me,
and anyone in whose heart there is even an atom’s weight of consciousness and fear of falling into the sin of anti-friendship and the destruction it brings
to be filled with the sincerest desire to remember You in the most beautiful expressions of remembrance
To express our gratitude towards You in the loveliest of ways
and to manifest our devotion to You in the ways that bring us ever closer to You
Grant us, Lord, the sweetest of manners and beautiful ways of interacting with Your creation.
Almighty Lord, Aware of all things, You are the One Who will stand against anyone who strives to ruin the relationship I have with those who love me, and who I love.
God tells us in His Holy Letter to humanity:
‘God loves those who fight the good fight, striving in the Name of God, in solid united rows.’
The Apostle of God tell us:
‘The one who fills a gap in a row in order to make it a single united row will be united with God, and the one who causes a break in a row will be broken away from God.’
May the one who is on the path of anti-friendship be brought to heel, like a well-trained stallion who hears the voice of his Master, and stops abruptly in his tracks to graciously and beautifully obey his Master’s commands. May we be like this, with our Beloved Trainer Muhammad, and our Lord, God Most High.