They say if you want to know the character of a person, look at the people they surround themselves with.
If you were to pause for a moment and evaluate your friendships, would you say that the people you surround yourself with are indicative of your character or of who you want to be?
If you had asked me this at previous points throughout my life, I would have been hesitant and unsure in my answer. But ask me now, now that I’m surrounded by so many new people, and I’ll tell you that if I am anything at all like my friends then I will be so very happy.
Moving away from home gave me an opportunity to choose who I want in my life. It allowed me to look back and see how some seemingly perfect, high school friendships weren’t what I built them up to be, and that other friendships, despite suffering bumps and bruises that distance unavoidably brings, are worth fighting for.
Old friends consisted of those I’ve shared a history with. But high school memories and Facebook albums are not always enough. There is a beauty in having old friends, that I will not deny, but history alone is not enough to bring all friendships into the present.
Comparing it to the people around me now, the difference couldn’t be more contrasting. My friends make me a better person and I am so very grateful to have found them. We are all on a journey, continuously striving to become better people, constantly changing and learning. What better and easier way to do it than in the company of those with good character?
The prophet (SAW) said ‘the similitude of a good companion is like the owner of musk, if you don’t get anything, you will get the smell of it’.
The people you surround yourself with, you become. If you subject yourself to people who are negative, it will affect you regardless of your strength as an individual. You are not immune to a constant surrounding of negative energy or bad influence.
Your friends should bring out the best in you. Good friends, who prioritise their relationship with God, will help us on the spiritual path. People who hold the same values and beliefs that we do, make the best friends. They remind you to pray, they help you to increase in knowledge and when you face difficulties they support you and help you to have Sabr. Ultimately, they will remind us of Allah during these tests and help us to rely on Him. They will love and forgive you for the sake of Allah.
Here I have made true friends; friends that will trek around Northern Quarter with you in search of a changing room to pray, friends that send you beautiful Surahs to listen to when you’re sad, friends that keep fasts with you so you don’t have to make up for them alone.
It is so important to choose your company wisely. Be relentless with surrounding yourself with those who bring out the best in you. Your direction in life depends on it.
And while you’re at it, have the courage to be a good friend to those who choose you.
‘Close friends on that day will be enemies to each other except for the righteous.’ (43:67)
– Zahra Ali