Quranic Reflection No 593. Āyāt 43:67 – The Importance of Friendship

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اَلْأَخِلَّآءُ يَوْمَئِذٍ بَعْضُهُمْ لِبَعْضٍ عَدُوٌّ إِلَّا الْمُتَّقِينَ

Al-akhillā’u yawmaidhin ba‘duhum liba‘din ‘aduwwun illal-muttaqīn

On that day, friends will be one another’s enemies, except for the Godwary.

(Sūrat Al-Zukhruf, No. 43, Āyat 67)

One of the natural needs that human beings is to have a friend. Having friends fulfils an emotional need. In addition to this, friends have a profound impact on one another. The Noble Messenger sallal-lāhu ‘alayhi wa-ālihi wasallam says: A man is on the religion of his friend and his companion. (Al-Kulaynī, Al-Kāfī, v 2, p 375). Interestingly, Almighty Allah who is Needless, but everyone needs Him, also had taken a friend. He says: And Allah took Ibrāhīm as in intimate friend (Q 4:125). Some scholars believe that this was to emphasize that a human being needs a friend in his/her life.

A good friend can be the source of material, intellectual, and spiritual benefit. On the other hand, a bad friend can pull man towards perdition. The above blessed verse indicates the importance of friendship and states that not all bonds of friendship will remain intact on the Day of Judgement. Rather, it is only the friendship of those who are Godwary that shall remain.

The Ahlul-Bayt ‘alayhimus-salām also gave a lot of importance to this matter. It is narrated that Imam al-Sādiq (a) had a friend who would not leave him wherever he went. One day he was with the Imam in the market of the shoemakers and along with him was his slave from Sind. Suddenly, he turned around looking for his slave but did not find him. Three times he turned back, and he still did not see him. The fourth time when he did see the slave, he was enraged and called him an unworthy name that insinuated illegitimacy and demanded to know where he had been.  Imam al-Sādiq (a) raised his hand and hit his forehead with it and said: Glory be to Allah! Are you accusing his mother of zinā? I used to think that you have piety but now I see that you do not have any piety. He said, “May I be sacrificed for you! His mother is from Sind and is a polytheist.” The Imam said: Aren’t you aware that every nation has a marriage for themselves? Get away from me. The narrator of this tradition says that after that occasion, he did not see him walking with the Imam until the time when death parted them from each other. (Al-Kulaynī, Al-Kāfī, v 2, p 324)

We pray to Allah the Almighty to give us the friendship of Godwary individuals. Even in a society wherein we must interact with many, we ask Him to give us a close circle of pious and pure friends who can assist us along the path of servitude. Lastly, we beseech Him by the right of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) to allow us to benefit from the lofty teachings of Islam and the company of such pious individuals to rectify our affairs and return to Him with a sound heart, pleased and pleasing.

Sources: Āyatullāh Muhmmad Bāqir Tahrīrī, Insān va gustaray-i huqūq-i bandegī (A Commentary on the Risālat al-huqūq).