Adopt moderation in friendship

Etiquette Eleven


Whatever promise was made to one’s friend should be fulfilled since non-fulfilment of promises is a type of falsehood. Nabi Kareem Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam has advised in a Hadith that one should not argue and fight with one’s friend nor mock and neither should one act contrary to one’s promise. Our Nabi Kareem Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam has laid great stress upon the fulfilment of promises. Hazrat Abu Hurairah Radhiyallaahu Anhu narrates that Rasoolullah Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam has said that the signs of a hypocrite are three:

1. When he speaks, he lies

2. He acts against his promise

3. He engages in breach of trust (Bukhari)

Some versions of this Hadith have the addition, “even if he fasts, reads Salaah and thinks that he is a Muslim.”

It is mentioned that Hazrat Huzaifah Radhiyallaahu Anhu and his father were enroute to Madinah when they met Abu Jahl and his army who where heading for Badr to attack Nabi Kareem Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam and the Muslims. When Abu Jahl learnt that they were going to Madinah he stopped them saying that they would join the army of Nabi Kareem Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam and fight against them. Abu Jahl only released them upon their promise that they would not join the Muslim forces. When they met Nabi Kareem Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam they informed him of their promise which was extracted from them at the point of a sword. Therefore, they desired to participate in the Battle of Badr alongside the Master Nabi Kareem Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam.

It has to be appreciated that Badr was fought not to acquire land and territory but it was a battle between truth and falsehood. It also has to be borne in mind that the Muslim army was ill-equipped and much fewer than the enemies. Despite these heavy odds against the Muslims, our Nabi Kareem Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam respected and honoured the promise that Hazrat Huzaifah Radhiyallaahu Anhu had made to Abu Jahl and refused him permission to participate in the battle. Therefore, in all situations as far as possible, one should endeavour to fulfil the promises that one makes. If due to unforeseen circumstances one is unable to fulfil the promise then one should inform those with whom the promise was made of one’s inability and as soon as possible, thereafter, one should try to accomplish what had been promised.

Therefore, from the Hadith and the incident of Hazrat Huzaifah Radhiyallaahu Anhu we understand the importance of honouring one’s promise and that it is of greater importance to honour the promises made to one’s friend.


1. To defend one’s friend if others speak ill or criticize him

2. To educate and instruct one’s friend. However, this instruction should be in privacy and not in the presence of others,

3. To accept the friend’s sincere advices to help in one’s spiritual reformation,

4. To ensure that neither in oneself nor in one’s friend the spiritual malady of ‘khoosh pasandee’ (self-gratification) develops.

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