Friendship and Islam
(Continued from the last issue …..)
Rasulullah Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam has said, “A man is on the lifestyle of his friend so one should be wary of whom he befriends.” (Abu-Dawood)
To make the friend a partner in one’s assets. Our beloved Nabi Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam has likened two brothers to the example of two hands. One hand washes the other. Rasulullah Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam gave the example of two hands and not of a hand and a foot. This is due to the fact that both hands, in the fulfillment of one objective, assist each other. In a similar manner the friendship of two brothers will only be complete when both, for the fulfillment of an objective, help one another. The two separate individuals thus become like one. The demand of being one is that in benefit and loss each should be partners and in both material and emotional conditions there should be no distinction and superiority of one over the other.
THE THREE STAGES WHEN INTERACTING WITH FRIENDS
THE FIRST STAGE – The lowest stage is to treat one’s friend as one’s servant. From one’s leftover wealth one assists the servant so that the servant will not need to beg thereafter. As soon as one sees the friend in need he immediately assists him. However, if the occasion arises for the friend to ask, then know that one has neglected in fulfilling the right of friendship.
THE SECOND STAGE – To regard one’s friend as one’s equal making the friend a partner in half of one’s wealth. Hadrat Hasan Basri Alaihir rahmah has stated that it was a rule of the pious predecessors that they would split into half, sheets of material. One part they themselves would retain and the other half they shared with a friend.
THE THIRD STAGE – This is the highest stage. This stage requires that one gives priority and preference to one’s friend even over oneself. Such friends give priority to fulfilling the needs of their friends to their own. This is the rank of the Siddiqoon – the truthful. It is reported that somebody spoke ill of a few pious Sufis to the khaleefah of the time. The order of execution was passed. Among those who were to be executed was Hadrat Abdul Hasan An-Noori Alaihir Rahmah who presented himself first for execution. When asked why? His response was that, by his action he could sacrifice his life for his friends and thereby they could enjoy a little longer life (albeit very little). Due to this attitude of Hadrat Abdul Hasan An-Noori’s Alaihir Rahmah, all their lives were spared.
It should be borne in mind that spending upon one’s friends should be from one’s personal wealth and not from that of others. When one gives permission to one’s friend for using from one’s wealth, the friend should be extra cautious in the spending.
The following incident narrated in Fadaailus-Sadaqaat by Hadrat Moulana Mohammad Zakariyyah Kandhalvi Saahib Rahimahullaah very vividly depicts this highest stage!
Waqidi Rahmatullah alaihi has related the following story: I had two bosom friends, a Hashimite and a non-Hashimite. It was the day of Eid and I was in financial constraints. My wife said to me, “We can be patient in all circumstances, but I cannot bear to see my children in rags especially on the day of Eid. If you can get some money so that I can sew new clothes for them, I would be pleased.” I wrote a note to my Hashimite friend requesting him to lend me some money to which he immediately responded by sending me a 1000 Dirhams. It was not long after I received this gift that I got a note from my non-Hashimite friend telling me of his financial need. I instantly sent the bag of Dirhams that I received earlier, to him.
Feeling ashamed of going home empty-handed, I stayed in the musjid for two days. On the third day I returned home and informed my wife of what happened. She did not complain at all, but instead appreciated my generosity. As my wife and I sat talking, to our astonishment, my Hashimite friend came to me with the very bag of Dirhams that he had sent to me, requesting an explanation as to how it reached him again. I explained to him how I had sent it to our non-Hashimite friend after receiving it. He then explained to me that when he received my request for help, all that he had was this one bag of Dirhams. Notwithstanding his own need he sent it to me and turned to our non-Hashimite friend for help. To his utter amazement, he received his own bag from his non-Hashimite friend.
After this amazing incident we distributed the 1000 Dirhams. A 100 Dirhams were given to my wife and the remaining 900 Dirhams were equally distributed among us.
Somehow, Khaleefah Ma’moon Rashid learnt of this incident. He sent for me and handed me 7000 Dirhams of which a 1000 Dirhams was for my wife and 2000 Dirhams each, was for the three of us. (Ithaaf).