The Prophet (saw) said: “Among Allah’s servants are people who are neither prophets nor martyrs, but whom the prophets and martyrs will deem fortunate because of their high status with Allah.” The companions asked, “O Messenger of Allah! Inform us of who they are.” The Prophet (saw) told them that “they are people who loved each other for Allah’s sake, even without being related to one another or being tied to one another by the exchange of wealth.”
Sometimes in life you meet people who make you rethink your boundaries. Then they dare you to cross them. And then you find yourself standing somewhere you had only vaguely imagined yourself in. You find yourself striving towards the incredible future you once feared would never come. But now you don’t doubt the coming of that future anymore. Because Allah blessed you enough to meet people like that. People who give you hope, when all you see is darkness.
This year, Allah blessed me with one of those people. One of those people I have been praying for, for as long as I can remember. One of those people I have been looking for everywhere I went. For days. For months. Maybe even years. Just like any other striving Muslim, I too craved friends-for-the-sake-of-Allah. Yes there were already people in my life who encouraged me to be more practicing, who instilled a sense of Taqwa in me, who I loved for the sake of Allah too. Alhamdulillah for them. But as is human nature, I wanted more. I wanted beyond blood relations; I wanted friendships *just* for the sake of Allah SWT. Who would want to miss out on being under the shade of the Throne of Allah on the most scorching of days?
Abu Huraira reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “There are seven persons whom Allah will shade on a Day when there is no shade but His. They are a just ruler, a young person who grew up in the worship of Allah, a person whose heart is attached to the mosques, two persons who love each other who meet and depart from each other for the sake of Allah, a man whom a beautiful woman of high status seduces but he rejects her by saying I fear Allah, a person who spends in charity and conceals it such that his right hand does not know what his left hand has given, and a person who remembered Allah in private and he wept.”
[Sahih Bukhari 629, Sahih Muslim 1031]
After what seemed like an eternity of waiting, when the much yearned-for friend(s) did not pop up in my life, I began to despair. Without realizing the simple fact that some things are too precious and aren’t given to one instantly, I despaired. And just when I was prepared to give up, Allah answered my prayer. Surely Allah is the best Listener.
And indeed, when Allah gives, He gives us the best, and He gives without limits.
Most importantly, He chooses the best time. I wouldn’t have realized this if not for this experience. Just when I thought wearing the niqab was too much for me, Allah sent someone who showed me otherwise. Just when I was about to give up on memorizing the Quran, Allah sent someone to push me forward and make me continue. Just when I lowered my priority on learning Arabic and earning more ‘ilm (Islamic knowledge), Allah sent someone who made me reprioritize. I can’t think of a more perfect example of “perfect timing” in my life!
Looking back at the year, there were hundreds of things and thousands of moments that made me happy. There were moments when I literally rolled off for laughing. There were words of appreciation from peers and grades that pleased my parents. But nothing measured to the happiness of finding a friend who takes me closer to Allah. No good results, no gifts, no gadgets. Nothing compares to the blessing of having a new competitor-in-good.
One of my favorite parts of the Quran is the following;
On adorned couches, observing.
The last of it is Musk. So for this let the competitors compete.
[Surah Mutaffifin, 83 : 22-26]
It is quite hard to bring out the best in you when you don’t have anyone to compete with. And what better competition is there than the competition for Jannah?
If you lack righteous company in life, I urge you to look for it. Hunt for friendships like this. Go as far as you need to, but make sure you have righteous company. Whatever your condition is, even if you are doing incredible amounts of good deeds and serving the Deen to your best level and what not, do remember that it is VERY difficult to make it far alone. There are just too many blessings (barakah) in good company. The Prophet (SAW) himself was not alone when he left his homeland for the sake of Allah. When the Muhajirs of Makkah reached Madinah after emigrating, one of the first things Rasulullah (SAW) did was to create a bond of brotherhood between each Muhajir and an Ansar (Muslim of Madinah). The implications of this was beyond just economic help or societal bondage. There were spiritual implications too.
Let each of us try to get such spiritual implications in our lives too, by means of good company and love for the sake of Allah. After all, Shaytan attacks a lonely person more easily. The more righteous people you have around you, the stronger your defense is. How can we afford to miss out on all the barakah righteous company can bring to our life?
If you can’t find anyone, make dua to Allah. Cry out your heart to Allah. I, for one, have experienced how incredible the implications of dua can be. It is bound to bring something good. Even when it seems impossible.