Friends or foes?

By Bayynat editor

Humans are basically social beings: we all need companions in our lives. A companion, or a friend, is someone with whom we share our joys and pains and who welcomes us with an outstretched hand and a kind smile. In the Quranic context, a true friend is described as someone who is righteous and who adheres to the path of Allah: “Friends on that day will be foes to one another except the righteous, those who keep their duty to Allah.” (43:67)

We do not need psychoanalysts or sociologists to tell us how dramatically friends change our lives. A friend can altar a course of a whole destiny. They play a critical role in many areas of our lives, especially in formative teen years. A poet once said “Tell me what company thou keepst, and I will tell thee what thou art.” The quote shows the extent to which friends affect us. For just as a wind that blows over a fruitful field carries a scented odor, while that blowing over a swamp would carry a filthy odor, a friend can either make your life scented or filthy.

 A corrupt friend can contribute to one’s inclination to take the wrong path because friends have a lot of impact on one another, due to the emotional bonds existing among them. And that is what we notice when a person befriends others in schools, clubs, on the street, in commerce, and even in so many political parties. In so many cases, man's morals, creed and political positions would be corrupted by his friends.

This is why when man spends most of his time with corrupt and bad companies; he attains their same corrupt and perverted attitudes, life style, and emotions. But on Judgment Day, he will regret and say: I wish I have not befriended this person for he had misled me after I was guided, he had misguided me into committing sins and perpetrating evil deeds.

Such a friend is a devil, since the Devil is the one who leads people astray. But when his followers confront him with the fact that it is because of him that they are being punished, he declares himself innocent; and claims that he has nothing to do with the evil crimes committed by his own followers.

Some friends are just like the Devil: they trick people into misdoings, but then they claim themselves blameless; there happens to be a lot of criminals who go on corrupting people's life on political and moral positions, but then, abandon their friends.

The best advise that we could provide is that of Imam Ali (a.s.): “Do not make friendship with a fool because when he will try to do you good he will do you harm; do not make a miser your friend because he will run away from you at the time of your dire need; do not be friendly with a vicious and wicked person because he will sell you and your friendship at the cheapest price and do not make friend of a liar because like a mirage he will make you visualize very near the things which lie at a great distance and will make you see at the great distance the things which are near to you.