Who we surround ourselves with is undoubtedly important. We often adopt our friends’ beliefs, attitudes and mannerisms. As we grow up, we tend to spend increasingly more time with our friends, thus, it becomes crucial we surround ourselves with company who will encourage us to grow and ultimately, strengthen our faith. Personally, it took me many years, phases and places to find the women I have the pleasure to call my friends today. I find sometimes we get signs that our friends are truly the ones we should be around. For instance, recently, on a walk with one of my closest friends, she stopped to move aside branches obstructing our path. In this moment, with her small gesture, I knew that I am with a caring and genuine person.
I recall an instance of distress in which one of my friends cited a quote from the Qur’an to remind me to stay calm. This Qur’anic quote is derived from the account of an interaction the Prophet (SAW) and Abu Bakr (RA) had during their migration, or Hijrah, from Makkah to Madinah (known as Yathrib at the time). I think this story is a great example of true friendship.
The Prophet (SAW) and Abu Bakr (RA) left Makkah in the middle of the night, leaving Ali (RA) in the Prophet’s bed as a distraction to those in Makkah who wanted to stop the Prophet’s journey. Accompanied by Asma Bint Abu Bakr (RA) for the beginning of their trip, the group of three set off on an indirect route to Yathrib. They journeyed towards Mount Thawr. Upon arrival at the cave Thawr, Abu Bakr (RA), cleaned and cleared the area with a cloth to ensure the Prophet’s safety and well-being.
After the Prophet (SAW) fell asleep on Abu Bakr’s lap, Abu Bakr (RA) noticed a hole in the cave, which could cause a potential danger to the two of them. Consequently, he placed his toe over it. Thus, a poisonous creature bit him through the opening. Although he was in excruciating pain, he tried not to wake the Prophet (SAW) by expressing his pain too overtly. However, a bead of sweat rolled off his forehead and hit the Prophet (SAW), waking him up. The care to not wake the Prophet (SAW) is evidence of extreme compassion and care for another person on the part of Abu Bakr. As a matter of fact, we can draw many valuable lessons from the manner the two treated one another. First of all, the Prophet (SAW) embarked on a journey with his closest friends. He took a person known for his trustworthiness and honesty with him. This shows us the importance of friends in travel. Physical and emotional closeness is often increased through travel because we accompany each other through boredom and tiredness. Moreover, it shows the importance of friends in the journey of life. The ones we surround ourselves will help us stay positive, they will help us grow, and provide support when we need it most – similarly to the Abu Bakr’s continuous support for the Prophet (SAW).
As mentioned, we see Abu Bakr taking care of the Prophet (SAW) by making sure he was as comfortable as possible and as well as attempting to stop harm towards him. Afterwards, we see the Prophet (SAW) comforting Abu Bakr when he expresses his concern for being attacked by the Makkans. This shows the emotional honesty between friends. The Prophet tended to Abu Bakr’s fear by reminding him of Allah (SWT). He told him: “Do not fear, indeed, Allah is with us.” (At-Tawbah:40). Indeed, a good friend is one who reminds you of Allah (SWT), which is what my friend did when she quoted this verse.
Lastly, and most importantly, the majority of people in Makkah were against the Prophet (SAW). He did not have many on his side at the time. However, all of them worked together to keep him safe. It was the common belief in the truth which bred unity and compassion between them. For example, Asma (RA) brought the travellers food and water, while Amir bin Fuhariah, a shepherd, herded his sheep to cover the tracks of the Prophet (SAW) and Abu Bakr (RA).
I think the most notable characteristic in their friendship was their evident reciprocal compassion, which we can aspire to have with our dearest friends. Friends are people who inspire and protect us – they are those who provide companionship and support. And most importantly, the best friendships are those which allow us to be the most sincere form of ourselves, all while bringing us closer to Allah (SWT).
As a toddler, Barâa created and told stories to her parents and Barbie dolls. Since, she has become a spoken word artist and emcee, performing at local slams and fundraisers for charitable organisations. When Barâa isn’t writing or performing, she can typically be found wandering the coffee dens of her city or raiding the fridge.