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JUMAT SERMON: The Foundations Of Choosing A Friend In Islam

  By Imam Muhammad Abdulalimi ALL praise is due to Allah, and may His peace and blessings be upon the final Messenger, His pure family, noble companions, and all those who follow them with righteousness until the day of Judgment.  It is said in the olden days that ‘chose a friend before the road’, this refers…”
February 10, 2023 9:39 am


By Imam Muhammad Abdulalimi

ALL praise is due to Allah, and may His peace and blessings be upon the final Messenger, His pure family, noble companions, and all those who follow them with righteousness until the day of Judgment. 

It is said in the olden days that ‘chose a friend before the road’, this refers to the importance of choosing the right friend, a loyal person, who does not betray, and does not harm his partner, and in Islam  there are foundations for choosing a friend, in accordance with Allah’s law. 

The first basis is to be a righteous person: One of the criteria for choosing a friend, which may differ from one person to another, is that he should be a righteous person. The foundations of choosing a friend in Islam require righteousness in the Islamic concept.

Therefore, choosing a good friend in Islam is a very important matter. The one described in Islam as a righteous person, is the person who establishes the obligations of his Lord, preserves them, refrains from corruption, misguidance, and deviation, and forbids indecency and evil, and avoids sins as much as possible. A corrupted person affects others without them realizing it.

The second basis is to be honest: The second foundation of the foundations of the friend’s choice in Islam is mentioned by Allah in the following two verses below: “Surah Al-Anfal, Verse 27-28: “O you who believe! Betray not Allah and His Messenger, nor betray knowingly your Amanat (things entrusted to you, and all the duties which Allah has ordained for you), And know that your possessions and your children are but a trial and that surely with Allah is a mighty reward.”

Trust has many forms, entrusting someone with money, secret, honour, word, and others. Somebody who is entrusted with a work must be investigated and punished for not performing his duties; likewise somebody who took he is not entitled to.

Keeping people’s secrets is also an act of honesty. If someone else keeps secrets with you, he will keep yours, just as the way you have kept his secret. Honesty is also in returning what people entrusted to you, whether money or a moral matter, such as the one of husband and wife. Whoever does not take care of being honest towards his son, or his partner in the family will not take care of the honesty of a friend.

The Third Basis Is To Be An Advisor: It is not enough for a friend who is morally upright individually not to care about his friend’s uprightness. Here is a missing important condition which is advice. A friend is to call his friend to order when he commits a sin or a mistake, or any matter in which he deserves advice and guidance.

The Messenger of Allah (SAW), narrated on the authority of Tameem al-Darii, said: “Religion is sincerity.” We said to whom?  He said: (To Allah, His Book, His Messenger, the leaders of the Muslims and their common folk). 

The Fourth Foundation Is Loyalty: Loyalty between friends is important, no matter how far the distances are, and the days between them, they must maintain covenant and loyalty. Even if one of them dies, the other remains loyal, remembering the covenant of his/her partner, and in him he lives and dies, for his memory, children and parents. If any, reminds him in his life of the good invitation, and in his death he does not forget to pray.

The Messenger of Allah (SAW) , said, “Guarantee for me six from yourselves, and I will guarantee you Paradise: be true when you speak, fulfill when you promise, fulfill when you are entrusted, guard your private parts, lower your gaze, and restrain your hands.”  [Narrated by Ahmad and Al-Haakim.

The hadith of the Prophet about choosing a good friend

The Prophet (SAW) has several hadiths about friendship and friends and other narrators narrated them from him. Among those hadiths are the following:

He said: “Allah Almighty said: Those who love each other for my glory will have pulpits of light that the prophets and martyrs will envy.  Narrated by Al-Tirmidhi, and he said Hassan Sahih.

On the authority of Anas bin Malik, may Allaah be pleased with him, a man was with the Prophet (SAW) and another man passed by him and said, “Oh, Messenger of Allah: I love this.” The Prophet, said to him: Did you know him?  He said: No. He said: I know.  He said: So he followed him and said: I love you for the sake of Allah. He said: I love you by Allah, for whom you loved me.  Narrated by Abu Dawood and authenticated by Shaykh Al-Albani.

Attributes Of A Good Friend

As it was previously shown, the foundations of choosing a friend in Islam include goodness of a friend. So, how can a friend be good, how is it known, and what are the characteristics of righteousness.

One of the characteristics of a righteous friend is that he does not commit major sins and disobedience, does not steal, does not commit adultery, does not brag about it, and covers himself if he falls into it, and he does not take precedence over indecency, lowers his gaze, guards his tongue, takes care of the rights of his parents, and does not hinder them.

Among the characteristics of a good friend are honesty, speaking the truth, fear of Alaah, avoiding temptation, enjoining good and forbidding evil, accepting advice, giving advice, supplicating for his friend, supporting him in his worries, sharing in his joys, and overlooking the mistakes of a friend as long as they are not in the right.  Accepting cheerfully, keeping secrets and fulfilling covenants and promises.

Among the characteristics of a righteous friend is the one who does not keep pace with his friend in wrongdoing, injustice, and corruption, and does not fear the blame of the blamer in truth, and restores his friend to the right path, grants him support, and does not abandon him as much as he can, and terrifies for his fear.

May Allah make this sermon a beneficial one for me, the writer, the readers, and the entire Muslims. And our last prayer, is praise be to Allah Almighty, Lord of the worlds.

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