You will be with those whom you Love
Today I visited a special tree. It’s a tree that my friends planted on behalf of my deceased husband in a park that he and I used to love going to together. Seeing this tree made me think about the kinds of friends I have that would go out of their way to do such a beautiful deed.
In these moments, I was incredibly grateful for the group of friends I have who remind me of Allah and who go out of their way to bring happiness into the lives of others.
I sat next to the tree for a while and read Surat al-Kahf in its small shade. In Surat al-Kahf, Allah (swt) mentions the story of a group of young men who escaped their town and secluded themselves in a cave because they were the only ones who believed in One God. Allah (swt) caused them to sleep for 309 years.
As part of the story, Allah (swt) describes the group, saying:
“They will say there were three, the fourth of them being their dog; and they will say there were five, the sixth of them being their dog – guessing at the unseen; and they will say there were seven, and the eighth of them was their dog. Say, [O Muhammad], ‘My Lord is most knowing of their number. None knows them except a few. So do not argue about them except with an obvious argument and do not inquire about them among [the speculators] from anyone.’” (18:22)
It may seem like the dog is mostly irrelevant in the story, but the fact that Allah (swt) mentions him several times is no coincidence.
Scholars of tafseer have explained that the reason the dog is mentioned so often is that it was in the company of righteous people. Being in the company of these believers was enough for the dog to be honoured to the level of being mentioned three separate times.
This is the blessing of righteous companionship.
In a beautiful hadith Qudsi, Allah (swt) explains that the angels search for groups of people who remember Allah, and they surround them with their wings. At the end of the Hadith, Allah (swt) says: “Bear witness that I have forgiven them.”
Then one of the angels would ask, “Among those assembled, there is one who is not of them (a sinner); he only came for some other need.”
Allah would reply: “Even so, they are each other’s companions and their companions shall not suffer.”
Just our presence with the people who remember Allah can be a means for us to be forgiven!
Having righteous companionship can affect our status with Allah (swt). Good people remind us of our blessings and remind us to be grateful for them. Good people can lift us up in times of distress so that we don’t get lost in our pain. Good people help our hearts stay open and receptive to Allah’s message and guidance.
Cultivating those friendships is important for our spiritual well-being, and for our children’s spiritual well-being, too. Children first need to be surrounded by caring, thoughtful, righteous adults who raise them and advise them and teach them about respect and mercy. They need to understand what righteous companionship looks like even before they start making their own friends.
We can talk all day about how to make sure our kids have good friends, but the reality is – it starts with us. We can’t have friends who are constantly backbiting, scheming, taking us to inappropriate places, encouraging us to commit sins, and then expect our children to miraculously have awesome friends. Our mediocre friends’ kids will become our kids’ friends.
We underestimate how much our kids learn from us. They will grow to love the kinds of things and people that we love.
A bedouin came to the Messenger of Allah (saw) and said to him, “When will be the Hour?” The Prophet replied, “What preparation have you made for it?” The man said: “I have made no significant preparation with regard to prayer, fasting, and charity, but I love Allah and His Messenger.”
Then the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, “You will be with those whom you love.”
Whoever we love, we commit to them. We follow them into difficulty and rejoice with them in times of ease. And in the end, we will be with them in the hereafter – for better, or worse.
You will be with those whom you love. So who do you love, really?
May Allah (swt) bless us and our children with righteous companionship.