Assalamu Alaykum Dear Sister,
Thank you for asking this very important question and for reaching out to Ask About Islam.
This question is indeed very important as this issue constitutes a dilemma to many brothers and sisters. Many ask whether they should hang out with their non-practicing friends or leave them?
The answer to this question could be found in a beautiful hadith by the Noble Prophet (peace and blessings upon him). He said:
‘The example of a good pious companion and an evil one is that of a person carrying musk and another blowing a pair of bellows. The one who is carrying musk will either give you some perfume as a present, or you will buy some from him, or you will get a good smell from him, but the one who is blowing a pair of bellows will either burn your clothes or you will get a bad smell from him.” [Sahih Al Bukhari]
And this is exactly what you described to us and what you felt you are going through. When you hang out with non-pious companions, they influence you badly and you start losing the light in your heart and the excitement of doing more good deeds.
On the one hand, being with non-pious companions will force you to accept the bad deeds that they’re doing on the long run and by time those bad deeds will grow on you and you’ll start doing them yourself.
On the other hand, given the lack of encouragement and motivation to practice your deen from this type of friends, you will start losing interest and passion to do good deeds and you will settle for the very basics and think it’s good enough because you are comparing yourself to those who have no interest in growing in their deen.
So this entire situation is not helpful to you, your iman or your akhira and relationship with Allah.
This is why Allah Almighty commanded us in Surat Al Kahf saying:
“And 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.” (Quran 18: 28)
Being with righteous companions helps one always remember Allah, ward off bad thoughts, abandon bad deeds and compete in doing righteous ones.
So it is very essential for you to find righteous companions.
Right now when you are alone, you will not be able to influence your friends or guide them. The opposite is happening, they’re weakening your iman.
If this situation wasn’t resolved, then it could lead to what Allah described for us in these verses:
“And the Day the wrongdoer will bite on his hands [in regret] he will say, “Oh, I wish I had taken with the Messenger a way.
Oh, woe to me! I wish I had not taken that one as a friend.
He led me away from the remembrance after it had come to me. And ever is Satan, to man, a deserter.” (Quran 25: 27- 29)
So instead of being in a company that misleads you, be in a company that strengthens you and aids you in your deen and supports you.
When you have righteous companions and you feel strong in your iman and empowered, you can then start to gradually advice and guide your childhood friends if they have a desire to receive this advice.
And always remember those verses as well re friends on The Day of Judgement:
“Close friends, that Day, will be enemies to each other, except for the righteous
[To whom Allah will say], “O My servants, no fear will there be concerning you this Day, nor will you grieve,
[You] who believed in Our verses and were Muslims.
Enter Paradise, you and your kinds, delighted.”
Circulated among them will be plates and vessels of gold. And therein is whatever the souls desire and [what] delights the eyes, and you will abide therein eternally.
And that is Paradise which you are made to inherit for what you used to do.” (Quran 43:67- 73)
May Allah make us among them and grant us righteous friends who can aid us in this life and be our neighbors in Jannah. Ameen.
Hope this helps answer your question.
Salam and please keep in touch.