As we grow older, we will witness many friendships fade. Only those who are important in our growth towards becoming a better person, will stay. We will come to a point in our lives where we are clear about who we truly are, where we are going, what we want to achieve, & who are the people we want to keep. We will learn that it’s never about sustaining the longest friendships, it’s really never about who has been with you the longest. It’s about keeping those who are genuine, who never left you when you hurt, who constantly remind you of Allah.
I took a moment to think about the friends who have been there for me; the rare few who patiently stood by me and comforted me at my lowest. It dawned on me that He has always been giving me help in ways I don’t quite expect; most of my close friends have lost a parent too. Three closest people to me lost their dads when they were young. One of my good friends lost her mom when she was still a toddler. And quite recently, Allah had me cross paths with this beautiful soul who, too, lost a mother, a year before I lost mine. The people close to me have experienced what I am experiencing. He has always been showing me real life examples, other than our beloved Prophet S.A.W, people I can look up to and confide in. I think to myself, “If they can go through it, I can too.” I am eternally grateful to have crossed paths with these strong ladies whom I hold close, for they remind me that no calamity is too difficult for me as long as I have Allah. That this life is temporary. That we have our loved ones, waiting for us on the other side. That I’m not alone in feeling this unexplainable pain. It’s just a matter of living the rest of our lives striving to please Him so we can be reunited with those we love in Jannah. Once I’ve internalized this, my heart overflowed with love and gratefulness… That is Allah, my ever merciful, ever loving God. His ways are mysteriously beautiful. The One who never neglects His creations, not even for a split second.
As Jinan Bastaki puts it beautifully:
“As social beings, we need people. We need strong relationships. Whether an introvert who is more comfortable with intimate one-on-one conversations or an extrovert who loves to be around a lot of people, that connection with other people is something that we crave. And so we are instructed in Surat al-Kahf, which we are encouraged to recite once a week for its reminders, to:
Keep yourself patient [by being] with those who call upon their Lord in the morning and the evening, seeking His countenance. And let not your eyes pass beyond them, desiring adornments of the worldly life, 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. [Qur’an, 18:28]
We are human and we need reminders. True friendship is one that brings light in both the dunya (this life) and the akhira (the Hereafter). If you have just one person be to you like Harun (as) was to Musa (as), or better yet a group of people like the youth of the cave, you will constantly be moving forward in your relationship with Allah (swt) because your relationship with His creation is based on goodness. And Allah is Good and only accepts the Good. And if you feel sad for yourself because you don’t have anyone, put your trust in Allah (swt). He brings people into our lives—gems—and we can facilitate that by working on our relationship with Him. Good always recognizes good and indeed attracts it, as the Prophet (peace be upon him) tells us:
Souls are like conscripted soldiers; those whom they recognize, they get along with, and those whom they do not recognize, they will not get along with. (Bukhari)
So cultivate light within yourself, and light in your relationships. And hold on to those gems that you do have, because truly, anyone who reminds us of Him can only be a gift from Him—and what does a gift represent except love from the Gift-Giver?”
Alhamdulillah for the true friends who remind us of our true purpose, who remind us to never lose focus. If you know of such gems, let them know. Keep them close. They are the ones who will be there with us in this life, who will pray for us when we leave this earth, and who will be reunited with us in His paradise, insyaAllah.