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The Manners of Companionship

  Imām Badr al-Dīn al-Ghazzī (d. AH 984)

Learn twelve qualities of good companionship in order to further your knowledge and practice of the Religion of Allāh.

bismallah

  

  Your life at the present muʿmīnt is in between the past and the future. So what has preceded can be rectified by tawbah (repentance), nadam (regret) and istighfār (seeking Allāh’s forgiveness). This is something that will neither tire you, nor cause you to toil as you would with strenuous labour. Rather it is an action of the heart.
Imām Badr al-Dīn al-Ghazzī (d. AH 984)

 

The Shaykh – raḥimahullāh– said,

Know O pious brother – may Allāh make our affairs good – that the manners of companionship and good relationships are of various types, of which I will explain, such as will show the person of intellect the manners of the Believers and the Pious; and come to know that Allāh the Most Perfect, the Most High has made them a mercy and helpers towards each other, which is why the Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) said, ‘‘The example of the Believers, in their mutual love and mercy is like the example of a body, if one part feels pain, then all of the body suffers in sleeplessness and fever.’’ [2] And he (ʿalayhi al-Salām) said, ‘‘The Believer to the Believer is like a solid building, one part supporting the other.’’ [3] The Prophet (ʿalayhi al-Salām) also said, ‘‘The souls are arrayed armies, so those who knew each one another before, will be friendly…’’ [4] So if Allāh intends good for His servants, He grants them companionship of the people of the Sunnah, righteousness and adherence to the Religion.; and keeps him free from the companionship of the people of innovations.  The Prophet (ʿalayhi al-Salām) said, ‘‘A person is upon the religion of his friend, so let every one of you look to whom he keeps as a friend.’’ [5]

‘About a person, do not ask, but ask about his companion;

Since every companion follows his friends.’

From the manners of companionship:

GOOD MANNERS:

Good manners with the brothers, peers and companions, following the Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) as he said, when it was said to him, ‘What is the best of what a person is given?’  So he replied, ‘‘Good manners.’’ [6]

MAKING ONE’S OPINION GOOD:

From the manners of companionship is behaving well regarding the faults that he sees of his companions, since Ibn Māzin said, ‘The Believer seeks excuses for his brothers, whilst the hypocrite seeks out their faults.’  And Hamdūn al-Qassaar said, ‘If one of your brothers commits an error, then seek ninety excuses for him, and if not, then you are the blameworthy one.’

COMPANIONSHIP WITH THE BELIEVERS:

To keep companionship with one whose Religion you trust and who is trustworthy, both inwardly and outwardly.  Allāh the – Most High – says: ‘‘You will not find anyone who believes in Allāh and the Last Day, making friendship with those who oppose Allāh and His Messenger, even though they were their fathers, sons, brothers or their relatives.  For such He has written īmān (faith) in their hearts, and strengthened them with a spirit (proofs, light and guidance) from Himself.  And We will admit them into gardens underneath which rivers flow, to dwell therein forever.  Allāh is pleased with them, and they are pleased with Him.  They are the Party of Allāh, indeed it is the Party of Allāh that will be successful.’’ [Sūrah al-Mujaadilah, 58:22]

FORMS OF COMPANIONSHIP:

For the Shaykhs and elders: with respect to service and to carry out their needs.  For those of the same peer group and those of the ‘middle rank’: with sincere advice, giving what you have and being prepared to carry out their wishes.  For the students and younger ones: by guidance, teaching of manners, carrying out what knowledge demands, guidance to the manners of the Sunnah, rulings concerning the matters of the heart, and to guide them to develop good manners.

OVERLOOKING MISTAKES:

From the manners of companionship is overlooking mistakes of the brothers and not reprimanding them.  So al-Fuḍayl Ibn ’Iyāḍ (d.187H) said, ‘Chivalry is to overlook the mistakes of the brothers.’  Ibn al-A’rabi (d.231H) said, ‘Forgetting the harms caused by the brothers, causes you love of them to persist.’  So it is ibnding upon the Believer, that he avoids seekers of this world, since they will bring him down to the level of seeking it, and this will distance him from his salvation and it will distance him from remaining alert and being aware of it.  Rather, he must strive hard in attaining the companionship of the good and the seekers of the Hereafter.  Therefore, Dhun-Noon (d.245H) said to the one whom he advised, ‘Accompany the one whom you will be safe from outwardly, and whom – when you see him – it helps you in doing good and reminds you of your Lord.’

AGREEMENT WITH THE BROTHERS:

And from them is: not to differ much with the brothers, but continue agreeing with the brothers in those things allowed by knowledge and the Sharīʿah. Abū ʿUthmān said, ‘Agreeing with the brothers is better than showing compassion for them.’

LEAVING OF ENVY:

That he does not envy the signs of Allāh’s bounty upon them.  Rather, he should be happy for that and praise Allāh for it, just as he would praise Allāh if it were seen upon him.  Allāh – the Most High – censures the envious one: ‘‘Or do they envy men for what Allāh has given them from His bounty.’’ [Sūrah al-Nisāʾ, 4:94]

The Prophet (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) said, ‘‘Do not envy one another.’’ [7]

TO KEEP A FEELING OF MODESTY:

That he has hayaa‘ (modesty and shame) at all times, as he – ʿalayhi al-Salām – said, ‘‘Faith (īmān) has sixty or seventy-odd branches, the most excellent of them is witnessing that none has the right to be worshipped besides Allāh, and the lowest branch is removing something harmful from the road, and hayaa‘ is from īmān.’’ [8] He – ʿalayhi al-Salām – also said, ‘‘ḥayā‘ is from īmān, and īmān is from Paradise.  Speaking obscenely is from coarseness and coarseness is from the Fire.’’ [9]

COMPANIONSHIP OF THE DIGNIFIED:

To accompany the one who he has a feeling of respect for so that this prevents from acting contrary to the Sharīʿah.  ʿAlī ( raḍī Allāhu ʿʿʿanhu) said, ‘‘Enliven your feeling of hayaa‘ (shame), by sitting before those whom you feel shame.  Aḥmad Ibn Ḥanbal (d.241H) – raḥimahullāh– said, ‘‘I have not been led into calamity except by accompanying those before whom I do not feel shame.’’

SHOWING HAPPINESS:

To have cheerfulness of the face, kindness of the tongue, largeness of the heart, outspreading the hands, withholding anger, leaving off pride, keeping people’s honour in mind and showing happiness at their companionship and brotherhood.


COMPANIONSHIP OF THE WISE SCHOLAR:

From good companionship is that he does not accompany except a Scholar, of a person who is mild, intelligent and has knowledge.  Dhun-Noon – raḥimahullāh – said, ‘Allāh has not disrobed any one of His servants or a robe better than intellect, and has not adorned him with a necklace better than knowledge, nor adorned him with anything better than mildness.  And the completeness of that is taqwá (fear of Allāh).’

GIVING SINCERE ADVICE:

Having a clean heart with regards to the brothers and advising them, as Allāh – the Most High – said: ‘‘Except he who comes to Allāh with a clean heart.’’ [Sūrah al-Shuʿarāʾ, 26:89]

Saree as-Saqatee (d.257H) – raḥimahullāh– said, ‘One of the best manners of righteousness is having a good heart as regards the brothers and to give them sincere advice.’

NOT BREAKING PROMISES:

Since this is from hypocrisy, and he – ʿalayhis-ṣalātu was-salām – said, ‘‘The signs of the hypocrite are three: When he speaks he lies, when he makes a promise he breaks it and when he is entrusted he acts deceptively.’’ [10] Sufyān al-Thawrī (d.164H) – raḥimahullāh– said, ‘‘Do not make a promise to your brother and then break it, so that love turns to hate.’

Endnotes:

[1] He is the muftī and faqīḥ, Abū al-Barakāt Badr al-Dīn al-Ghazzī.  For his biography, refer to Shadharaatudh-Dhahab (8/403-406) of Ibn al-’Imaad and al-A’lām (7/59) of al-Ziriklī.

[2] Related by al-Bukhārī (no. 6011) and Muslim (no. 2586), from al-Nuʿmān Ibn Bashīr (raḍī Allāhu ʿʿʿanhu).

[3] Related by al-Bukhārī (no. 481) and Muslim (no. 2585), from Abū Mūsá al-Ashʿarī (raḍī Allāhu ʿʿʿanhu).

[4] Ṣaḥīḥ: Related by al-Bukhārī (6/369) with ta’leeq (suspension), from ’Aa‘ishah (raḍī Allāhu ’anhaa).  It was connected by Abū Ya’lā in al-Musnad (no. 4381) with an isnād whose narrators are from al-Ṣaḥīḥ – as occurs in al-Majma’ (8/88) of al-Haythamī.

[5] Ḥasan: Related by Aḥmad (2/303), Abū Dāwūd (no. 4812) and al-Tirmidhī (no. 2484), from Abū Hurayrah (raḍī Allāhu ʿʿʿanhu).  It was authenticated by Imām al-Nawawī in Rīyaḍus-al-Ṣāliḥīn (no. 174).  

[6] Ṣaḥīḥ: Related by Wakīʿ in al-Zuhd (no. 423), Ibn Hibbān (1/427) and at-Ṭabarānī in al-Kabīr (1/147), from Usāmah Ibn Sharīk (raḍī Allāhu ʿʿʿanhu).  It was authenticated by al-Ḥāfiẓ al-’ʿIrāqee in Takhreejul-Iḥyā‘ (2/157).

[7] Related by al-Bukhārī (10/484) and Muslim (no. 2564), from Abū Hurayrah (raḍī Allāhu ʿʿʿanhu).

[8] Related by al-Bukhārī (1/44) and Muslim (1/46)

[9] Ṣaḥīḥ: Related by Aḥmad (2/501) and al-Tirmidhī (no. 2077) with a ṣaḥīḥ isnād, from Abū Hurayrah (raḍī Allāhu ʿʿʿanhu).

[10] Related by al-Bukhārī (5/289) and Muslim (1/76)

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