Friendship and Anti-friendship or How to be Loveable to the Beloved

I sing the praises of my Lord, and I seek connection to the Final Guide and Apostle, the Noble one, Muhammad.

Contemplate this Prophetic Teaching with me.

The Apostle of God, may the light of God continue to nourish his soul and our connection to him, said these words:

“Know, without a doubt, that the person I love most is the who is the best-mannered and most pleasant to interact with, who makes an effort to be easygoing — easy to get along with. The kind of person who strives to be considerate of others, who reaches out to become friends with others, and who — when offered friendship — welcomes that friendship and reciprocates beautifully.

And know that the most offensive person, the one I like least, is the one who goes around telling people negative things that others apparently said of them, making an effort to bring harm to people, making claims that tear people apart. Such a person wishes to inflict pain and sadness upon the ones who are actually innocent, by painting a bad picture of them and implying they are not worthy of respect, esteem or friendship.”

The Noble Teacher and Guide said:

“The people with the most wholesome expression of faith are those who have the best morals and express them in beautiful interactions; they are people of principle and values.
They try to be easy to get along with, and they make a deliberate effort to be considerate and kind towards others.
They reach out to offer friendship, and they respond beautifully to others’ offers of friendship.
Know that there is no good in a person who does not extend friendship to others and the person who does not welcome and reciprocate the offer of friendship from another.”

And the Apostle of God, may his light reach us, taught the following:

“Have no doubt that the one I love most, the one who is dearest and nearest to me in the realm of reality, is the one who has the loveliest and sweetest manners, and the politest of ways.
The one I dislike the most, who I find offensive, and who is the furthest from me in the realm of reality, is the one who has bad manners and lacks politeness and respect towards others. He says more than he should, likes to show off and get attention, and speaks with an authority he does not have.”

Listen as well to this conversation between the Great Teacher and his students:

“Shall I tell you who the best of you are?”

The disciples and students said: “Yes, O Apostle of the Lord.”

The Guide Muhammad answered: “Those who, when you look at them, remind you of God.”

He said “Shall I tell you who the worst of you are?

They said: “Yes, O Apostle of the Lord.”

He said: “Those who come to a person and say that others have been speaking ill of him; those who ruin relationships, who cause problems between those who love each other; and those who make it their work to bring pain to people who have nothing to do with any of this and have no fault for which they deserve such treatment.”

COMMENTARY

In these powerful statements, the Apostle of God, may the light of God continue to nourish his soul and our connection to him, is giving us a chance to learn about what friendship is, and he is showing us that it is one of the most important ways to be with him in the realm of reality.

The Guide shows us where friendship starts and where it can take us. It starts with actions of love, consideration and care. And it can take us all the way to becoming near and dear to the Beloved Friend of God, Muhammad — the one who everyone who has a heart wishes to be close to.

Have you ever heard these Teachings before? Have you ever been told that the way to be loved by the Apostle of God is by being a good friend to others? By being the kind of person who initiates friendship, and reciprocates it…

Listen to how the Apostle of God describes a friend: they make the effort to be easy to get along with, they provide a shoulder to lean on, they make an effort to show kindness and gestures and words of care and respect to others. They are the ones you can rest assured will never hurt you — by word or by action. They are the ones you can rest easy with, relaxing in their company — knowing they will never take advantage of you, never use your trust against you one day.

They take care to find out what makes you feel good and they make the effort to bring those things or experiences to you.

A friend offers themselves in friendship — fully and in all vulnerability and bravery.

The Apostle tells us how not to be: that he dislikes people who merely show off in social settings, not understanding that being with others is not about making a name for yourself, but about being a friend. The Prophet warns against being a person full of jargon and concepts, who talks from their mouth, but not their heart.

And the Beloved Guide also warns us from becoming enemies of friendship by using our tongues to wreak havoc in others’ relationships. A relationship of friendship, any relationship where there is care and kindness is something sacred. It is dangerous to take a swipe at the sacred with an unharnessed tongue.

Friendship is based on trust, and it takes bravery and beauty to create that trust. Yet sometimes, with one word, a person on the outside of that friendship can create a feeling of mistrust between friends. Know that if you ever report to a person that another person spoke ill of them, you have entered that realm of destroying relationships. And the outcome is that you will be disliked by the Messenger of God and taken far from him.

God Most Beautiful describes friendship in His Holy Letter to humanity:

God is the One Who brought together the hearts of those who reach for Him. Were you to have spent all the wealth and resources on earth you could not have brought their hearts together! But God was Able to bring their hearts together because God is the One Above all means and He is the All-Powerful. Truly, God is the One Who is in control of every thing.

(Chapter 8: Verse 63)

God the Creator is the One Who creates love and a feeling of care and concern between friends. This means that the one who seeks to break or erode friendship — or even the quality of a relationship that is growing towards friendship — is a person who has decided to stand against the work of God. Such a person has chosen actions are anti-God.

God tells us the means He uses to bring people together:

So hold fast all together to the rope of God and never be divided. Remember God’s blessing upon you:
that you were enemies and He united your hearts
so that through His Grace you became brothers.
You had been standing on the brink of the pit of hell,
and He saved you and brought you back to safety.
Thus God makes His signs of truth clear to you
so that by them, you will be guided.

Aal Imran (Chapter 3: Verse 103)

In the above Verse, “Grace” refers to the Apostle of God — may the light of God continue to unite our hearts by him. It was by him that hearts of people from all backgrounds were united in friendship. And the truth is that it is still by him that hearts are united. If you want to truly understand friendship, take his example and his words as your guide for how to be a friend. And take his love as the basis for your relationships.

Above all, take his warnings and steer clear of ever breaking bonds of friendship, for you do not want to offend him in this short sojourn of yours here on earth. Respect the sacredness of that thing called friendship, and honour it with all your love and care.

Those who carelessly destroy friendships are anti-God and anti-Prophet. Indeed, the ultimate fighter of friendship is satan himself. He does not like to see people in harmony, he does not like to see people lending their strength to one another. He likes to see people isolated, each struggling alone and suspicious of others.

CHOOSE WHERE YOU STAND

The Beloved Prophet contrasts two types of people, two types of ultimate realities, and two ways of behaving in this life: friends, or anti-friends. He promises us his love if we choose the first set. And he warns us that if we choose to be anti-friends — refusing to cultivate friendships, receive friendship of others, or we decide to harm friendships between other people — then we will be setting ourselves up as enemies to him.

Take a good look at yourself and ask where you stand and what ground you have been cultivating — that of friendship, or the barren ground of anti-friendship. The standards are high, and the expectation rests on you to become that person who is easygoing, loving, openhearted, and welcoming of others’ offers of friendship. If you choose to refuse, then know that you are walking away from the Messenger of God himself.

Dear reader, be on the ready to defend your friendships and your appreciation for your friends, against the devil and those who follow his ways. Stand strong and take beautiful steps to cultivate true friendships, knowing that in so doing, you are drawing nearer to the Apostle of God himself.

Dear Lord, Closer to me than myself, I ask that You would empower us
to be filled with the sincerest desire to remember You in the most beautiful expressions of remembrance
To express our gratitude towards You in the loveliest of ways
and to manifest our devotion to You in the ways that bring us closer to You.
Grant us, Lord, the sweetest of manners and beautiful ways of interacting with Your creation. Make us friends of Your Friends, and bless us with true friendliness and friendships.
Lord, make us see how friendship is a holy act of devotion.
Almighty Lord, You Who is Aware of all things,
You are the One Who will protect me against anyone who strives to ruin the relationships I have with those who love me, and whom I love.