The Quran

“And the believers, men and women, are protecting friends of one another, they enjoin the right and forbid the wrong” [Qur’an; 9:71]

“The believers are naught else than brothers. Therefore make peace between your brethren and observe your duty to Allah that haply ye may obtain mercy” [Qur’an; 49:10]



Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah(peace be upon him) said: “A man is upon the religion of his friend, so let one of you look at whom he befriends.” [Tirmidhi]

“Do not harbour grudge against one another, nor jealousy, nor enmity; and do not show your backs to one another; and become as fellow brothers and slaves of Allah. It is not lawful for a Muslim to avoid speaking with his brother beyond three days.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

Abdullah bin Amr narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Merely maintaining the ties of kinship is not adequate. But connecting the ties of kinship is when his ties to the womb are severed and he connects it.” [Tirmidhi]

Abu’d-Darda reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Shall I tell you a degree better than prayer, fasting and sadaqa?” “Yes,” they replied. He went on to say, “Improving a state of friendship. Causing discord in a state of friendship is what shaves things away.” [Al-Adab Al-Mufrad]

Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “On the Day of Resurrection, Allah, the Exalted, will say, ‘Where are those who have mutual love for the sake of My Glory? Today I shall shelter them in My Shade when there will be no shade except Mine’.” [Muslim]

Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported, “I heard Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) saying, ‘People are like gold and silver; those who were best in Jahiliyyah (Pre-Islamic Period of Ignorance) are best in Islam, if they have religious understanding; and the souls are like recruited soldiers, they get mixed up with those similar with them in qualities and oppose and drift away from those who do not share their qualities’.” [Muslim]

Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is reported to have said, “The example of a good companion (who sits with you) in comparison with a bad one, is like that of the musk seller and the blacksmith’s bellows (or furnace); from the first you would either buy musk or enjoy its good smell while the bellows would either burn your clothes or your house, or you get a bad nasty smell thereof.” [Bukhari]

“It is not lawful for the Muslim to shun his brother for more than three (days); they come fare to fare and this one turns away, and that one turns away. The best of them is the one who initiates the salam.” [Tirmidhi]

Friendship is either out of love for Allah or out of love for the world. When a person wishes to establish a friendship, he looks for qualities he would like in a friend, qualities which will benefit him in worldly terms or religious terms.

Worldly benefits include wealth, name, etc. Religious benefits include acquiring knowledge and good deeds, saving oneself from name and fame, gaining wealth to maintain oneself, seeking help in necessary actions, getting the blessings of the invocations of a friend and hoping for the intercession of a friend in the next world.

A friend should have sound intellect and good character. He should not be a sinner or someone plainly consumed by worldly attractions. An intelligent person understands the reality of things, while a fool has no sense of right and wrong and does not understand even when he receives advice. Intelligence must be coupled with good character, because although a person may know right from wrong, he may succumb to anger or lower desires without control unless he has good character to restrain himself.

A friend should have a religious nature to benefit. There is no good in keeping the company of a sinner. He who fears Allah cannot be engaged in great sins. If a man does not fear Allah, one cannot be safe from his harms and cannot trust his words. He changes when the need arises.

وَلَا تُطِعۡ مَنۡ أَغۡفَلۡنَا قَلۡبَهُ ۥ عَن ذِكۡرِنَا وَٱتَّبَعَ هَوَٮٰهُ وَكَانَ أَمۡرُهُ ۥ فُرُطً۬ا

“…and do not obey one whose heart We have made heedless of Our remembrance and who follows his desire and whose affair is ever [in] neglect.” [Quran; 18:28]


وَيَوۡمَ يَعَضُّ ٱلظَّالِمُ عَلَىٰ يَدَيۡهِ يَقُولُ يَـٰلَيۡتَنِى ٱتَّخَذۡتُ مَعَ ٱلرَّسُولِ سَبِيلاً۬ (٢٧) يَـٰوَيۡلَتَىٰ لَيۡتَنِى لَمۡ أَتَّخِذۡ فُلَانًا خَلِيلاً۬ (٢٨) لَّقَدۡ أَضَلَّنِى عَنِ ٱلذِّڪۡرِ بَعۡدَ إِذۡ جَآءَنِى‌ۗ وَڪَانَ ٱلشَّيۡطَـٰنُ لِلۡإِنسَـٰنِ خَذُولاً۬

“And the Day the wrongdoer will bite on his hands [in regret] he will say, ‘Oh, I wish I had taken with the Messenger a way. Oh, woe to me! I wish I had not taken that one as a friend. He led me away from the remembrance after it had come to me. And ever is Satan, to man, a deserter’.” [Quran; 25:27-29]


ٱلۡأَخِلَّآءُ يَوۡمَٮِٕذِۭ بَعۡضُهُمۡ لِبَعۡضٍ عَدُوٌّ إِلَّا ٱلۡمُتَّقِينَ

“Close friends, that Day, will be enemies to each other, except for the righteous” [Quran; 43:67]

As mentioned in the first hadith above, a person’s religion can be influenced by the company he keeps. Contemporary wisdom also declares that, “You are the average of the five people you associate with the most.” Therefore choosing friends is a matter of choosing between success and failure in this life and in the next.

The duties of being a good friend include being a source of assistance in times of need, be it through spiritual, emotional, physical or financial support. The Arabic language has different terms for different types of friends.



قَالَ قَآٮِٕلٌ۬ مِّنۡہُمۡ إِنِّى كَانَ لِى قَرِينٌ۬

“A speaker among them will say, “Indeed, I had a companion [on earth]” [Quran; 37:51]

A qareen is a companion who is so close that they are always with you. They have a great influence over you because of the closeness of the relationship. So perhaps one might want to make spiritual improvements, but finds his qareen in the way–reminding him and influencing him towards a previous questionable lifestyle. A person’s qareen may even be from the demonic world (shayateen) as a result of walking away from the remembrance of Allah.



A khazhool portrays the nature of a loyal friend until the situation arises when their loyalty is put to the test and then their lack of sincerity in the friendship becomes known. The Quran uses this term for Satan. He draws people to evil by pretending to offer good and being a loyal friend. He offers immediate gratification which can be more appealing than waiting for good and pure things. A khazhool draws his friend to succumb to lower temptations.



This word comes from the Arabic word sidq which means truthfulness. A sadeeq, therefore, is a genuine friend who has no agenda or intention of making use of you to further his own worldly interests. The friendship is based on who one really is, rather than what one has or how well one is doing well in life. A sadeeq is present through ups and downs and is willing to endure difficult times to look out for his friend’s well-being. In keeping with the nature of truthfulness, a sadeeq speaks up when his friend is veering off the path and needs a reminder or a wake up call, even if it may be difficult to do so. This is in contrast to a fake friend who may not show concern to provide reminders or correction when needed.



This comes from the Arabic word mirfaq which is something to recline on, such as a pillow. Thus a rafeeq is the kind of friend one can count on and turn to in times of need. A rafeeq‘s advice is a source of genuine comfort (as opposed to deceiving comfort). A rafeeq might even be someone much older than one’s self, so that one can lean on them for wisdom and sound advice during times of need.



A wali is a protective friend who watches out for harm. A believer’s first protective friend is Allah, and then His messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). Pious believers who abide by Divine law by praying consistently, paying their zakah, and are in a state of bowing (i.e. humble) can also be wali.

One way to measure the quality of a friend is to observe the impact they have on one’s life. A friend worth having will often influence one to be better rather than to engage in questionable activities. So in choosing a friend, it is recommended that one looks for those who are better and can be a source of positive influence.



This is an intimate friend who is perhaps as close as a sibling, so much so that a person’s joy and sorrow are equally felt by his khalil. Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) mentions in the Qur’an that He took Ibrahim (may Allah be pleased with him) as a khalil. Ibrahim (may Allah be pleased with him) was by himself in many situations of his life and his only Friend was Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He). Thus he found intimate friendship with Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He).



This is the type of friend who acts close regardless of whether or not he actually is close. He demonstrates his closeness through actions such as generosity, kindness, and support in times of need. While a khalil is based in the heart, a hameem is based on action.



This is a friend who gets involved and assists one in business or personal matters. A waleejah should only be a Muslim in order to be allowed into one’s private matters and secrets to that extent.


Further Information

Lecture: The Importance of Company; Nouman Ali Khan