Lina was heartbroken. “I thought she was my friend!” she moaned. “I did everything for her! No sacrifice was too small! And she just threw me away like an old dishrag!”
A Truly Valuable Kind of Love
Friendship can be one of the greatest rewards in life, a source of fun, emotional safety and gratification, peace, and intellectual stimulation. The conflicts in our friendships can help us to become wiser, and the experiences we share with friends can become precious memories that bind us closer to humanity itself, improving our capacity for compassion and forgiveness.
Friendship has a high value in the Quran, so much so that the threat of its absence is one of the great catastrophes for unbelievers on the Day of Judgment.
[O Muhammad], tell My servants who have believed to establish prayer and spend from what We have provided them, secretly and publicly, before a Day comes in which there will be no exchange, nor any friendships. [Quran, 14:31]
Friendship can also be dangerous territory, as our Lina, above, has clearly discovered.
Oh, woe to me! I wish I had not taken that one as a friend. [Quran, 25:28]
The Quran warns us again and again about people who pretend to be our friends in order to profit from us in some way. In fact, in the Quran those who claim undying love are, more often than not, highly suspect.
Have you not considered those who practice hypocrisy, saying to their brothers who have disbelieved among the People of the Scripture, ‘If you are expelled, we will surely leave with you, and we will not obey, in regard to you, anyone – ever; and if you are fought, we will surely aid you.’ But Allah testifies that they are liars. [Quran, 59:11]
Allah is a friend!
The happy news is that true friendship is a form of love attributed to Allah (swt) Himself! Yes, Allah (swt) takes human beings— those who love Him, serve, Him, and recognise His oneness— as close friends.
And who is better in religion than one who submits himself to Allah while being a doer of good and follows the religion of Abraham, inclining toward truth? And Allah took Abraham as an intimate friend. [Quran, 4:125]
For them will be the Home of Peace with their Lord. And He will be their protecting friend because of what they used to do. [Quran, 6:127]
Turning enmity upside-down
Another marvelous aspect of friendship is that it has the power to turn enmity on its head. Such power can only come from God Himself— a clear proof that true friendship contains within it a spark of the divine.
And not equal are the good deed and the bad. Repel [evil] by that [deed] which is better; and thereupon the one whom between you and him is enmity [will become] as though he was a devoted friend. [Quran, 41:34]
What kind of a friend are you?
Take some time today to reflect on your friendships. Are they sincere? Are they spiritually healthy? Are you a true friend or one who seeks to profit? If you are friends with an unbeliever, is this person earnestly seeking the truth, and can you help?
If you’re friends with a Muslim who’s going down the wrong road, have you tried to advise them? If they didn’t listen, what are you doing to remove yourself from the temptation of going down the wrong road with them?
Are you telling your true friends how valuable they are to you as a Muslim?
Last but not least, take a look at your enemies, if you have any. Is there one among them who, by means of your good deed, might become your dear friend?
May your mind be instructed and your heart enriched,
The Understand Quran Academy Team