What Islam teaches to the relationship with friends
According to Islamic Education, the teachings of the Quran and instructions of the Sunnah constitute a comprehensive package of guidance for the Muslims in their individual as well as communal lives. Teachings about social interaction are a very important part of Islam’s guiding principles. The ultimate goal of Islam is to create, and then nourish a healthy society, all members of which are caring, loving and supportive towards each other.
The Companions of the Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad ﷺ in this regard set examples that are just enough to provide guidance to the Muslim community. The Quran acknowledges their mutual love by saying:
“Muhammad is the Messenger of God, and those with him (his Companions) are firm and unyielding towards all deniers of Faith, but full of mercy towards one another.” (al-Fath 48:29)
These Companions then demonstrated their deep love and compassion not only towards each other but also towards the Messenger of God on innumerable were occasions. The first caliph of Islam Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddique RaḍyAllāhu ‘anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him), for example, proved his friendship with the Holy Prophet several times. He always believed in Prophet Hazrat Muhammad ﷺ without questioning. He spent generously, and without even least hesitation when commanded by the Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad ﷺ. The greatest occasion, is perhaps, his generous spending at the time of the Tabuk expeditions. He had placed all his wealth at the disposal of the Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad ﷺ. Earlier, he had purchased several slaves, and set them free, especially at Makka, and later at Medina, too. The Quran admires this quality of Abu Bakr RaḍyAllāhu ‘anhu by saying:
“He that spends his possessions (on others) so that he might grow in purity, not as payment of favours received, but only out of a longing for the countenance of his Sustainer.” (al-Lail 92:18–20)
A great number of other events can also be quoted while mentioning Abu Bakr’s RaḍyAllāhu ‘anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) services to the Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad ﷺ. His support during the whole journey of Hijra is another glaring example. He not only himself suffered hardships for this noble mission but had appointed his children ‘Asma and Abdullah for the same during the three days stay in the cave of Thaur.
‘Uthman bin Affan RaḍyAllāhu ‘anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him), ‘Umar bin Khattab RaḍyAllāhu ‘anhu, al-Arqam RaḍyAllāhu ‘anhu and hazrat Abdullah bin Masood RaḍyAllāhu ‘anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) serve as other great examples of support for their greatest Companion to Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad ﷺ. Hazrat Uthman bin Affan RaḍyAllāhu ‘anhu too, spent generously on the call of Holy Hazrat Muhammad ﷺ. He emigrated twice, first to Abyssinia and later to Medina. Hazrat Umar bin Khattab RaḍyAllāhu ‘anhu provided moral strength and his courage to the early Muslim community at Makka. Al-Arqam home to the Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad ﷺ for the preaching and propagation of Islam in Makka.
Abdullah bin Masood RaḍyAllāhu ‘anhu, accordingly, offered various services to the Holy Prophet ﷺ. ‘He remained closely attached to the Prophet Hazrat Muhammad ﷺ. He would tend to his needs, both inside and outside the house. He would accompany him on journeys and expeditions. He would wake him when he slept. He would shield him when he washed. He would carry his staff and his miswak (toothbrush), and attend to his other personal needs. It can be seen from all these examples, that the objective of Islamic teachings is to elevate the status of friendship to that of brotherhood. The Prophet ﷺ is, therefore, used the same expression in his Ahadith. For example, he highlighted the essential attributes of a Muslim towards his friends by saying:
“None of you truly believes unless he loves for his brother that which he likes for himself”
Friends, this means, are required to be decent and considerate towards each other. The Quran also commands in this regard in Surah al-Hujrat 49:11.