It has been widely accepted and recognised, that great men create great men. As company is an integral part of success, Allah Almighty counsels the believers: “O you who have believed, fear Allah and be with those who are true.” (9:119) Allah Almighty clearly stresses the importance of surrounding yourself with pious individuals. A person’s company is crucial to his or her spiritual state.
Companionship is essential to a person’s religious well-being, in fact Allah explicitly states that those who had adopted the wrong company will lament in the Hereafter: “Ah! woe is me! would that I had never taken such a one for a friend!” (25:28) Alas it will be too late! You will be unable to turn back the clock, however, there is time now. Make use of it. If your friends are those who encourage you to break the commandments of Allah and his beloved Prophet, then these people are not your true friends, rather they are your future enemies on the Day of Judgement. They are merely a means of distress and hardship for you.
The Best of creation has given us similar advice: “Mix with the noble people, you become one of them; and keep away from evil people to protect yourself from their evils.” (Bukhari) (Muslim) Beware of the friends that you have in real life and on the internet. They will definitely have an influence on you. Do not take those for friends that you would not in real life. Seek those pious, knowledgeable individuals who you can derive some benefit off.
Even if you are not necessarily friends with an individual, bad companionship will still have an effect on you, this has been stated by the Prophet: “The example of a good companion (friend) in comparison with a bad one is like that of one who sells musk and the blacksmith. From the first, you would either buy musk or enjoy its good smell, while from the blacksmith you would either get burned or smell a bad scent.” (Bukhari) (Muslim) What a remarkable example! This prophetic counsel should really make us ponder over the type people who are having an influence on us. Are they a good or evil influence? If they are the latter, then you must disassociate from such people before they corrupt your hereafter.
This does not mean you completely cut yourself off; just be wary, advise the brother or sister or the least you should do is make supplication for them. The Noble Messenger has said: “The supplication of a Muslim for his brother in his absence will certainly be answered. Everytime he makes a supplication for good for his brother, the angel appointed for this particular task says: `Ameen! May it be for you, too.’” (Muslim) This should be enough of a reason for a person to make dua for his fellow brother or sister, he will be in a win-win situation regardless, and he will get the angels; beings which have never committed sin to make dua for him.
Friendship is indeed encouraged in Islam, it is dependant upon the friends you are making. Allah is happy with those who love one another and keep the ties of Friendship for his sake. The Greatest of creation has said: “A person visited his brother in another town and God sent an angel to wait for him on his way. The angel said, “Where do you intend to go?” the man answered, “I intend to go to my brother in this town.” The angel said, “Have you done any favour to him, the repayment of which you intend to get?” He said: “No, I love him for the sake of God, the Exalted and Glorious.” Thereupon the angel said, “I am a messenger to you from God to inform you that God loves you as you love him.” (Muslim) This tradition shows that there are indeed friendships which please Allah. Now we must ask ourselves ‘How many such friendships do we have?’ If you do not have any then make some, and supplicate to Allah that he grants you God-conscious companions. Ones who will help you in this life and in the next
May Allah give us the ability to adopt good, beneficial company. May he make us those people who are not thrown into hellfire due to our company. May he make us those friends who people take benefit from. Ameen