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Can I Have Friends from Different Religions?

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

Oct 23, 2017

Question

Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatu. I would like to ask you a question. I have been learning Islam since I was born. I want to continue my studies at the university abroad outside of my home country where I can meet with other Muslim friends easily. Last month, I had a research program in Singapore, my friends are non-Muslims. When I went there suspiciously I went to the mosque every day. It feels good, but when I went out and somehow my friends who are non Muslims knew that I am a Muslim, they started asking me a lot of question about my beliefs, and sometimes they asked to do haram things. It is so intimidating. I felt so depressed. I just wonder right now, will I be ok if I study abroad, far from my home country and meet with non muslim people? What should I do to keep my belief in the right way? How can I find such Muslim teenagers in Europe who can help each other through religion? I hope you answer my question Insha Allah.

Counselor

Answer



In this counseling answer:

“There are many individuals out there of many religions and beliefs who are good people or are not good people. Being a good person does not depend on religion. Therefore, it is not the religion of the individual, but rather their character, their values and priorities and their personalities that matter.”


As-Salamu ‘Alaikum dear brother,

Thank you for asking such a great question. First, I would like to congratulate you on the research position which you received in Singapore at such a young age! This proves that you are a hardworking, dedicated, and sincere student!

However, as a Muslim, it is essential that alongside possessing the knowledge of the Dunya, we are equally deeply engrossed in the knowledge of the Deen.

Now that you live in Singapore without adult supervision, it is very important for you to distinguish the right from the wrong, which is only possible if you know what is right and what is wrong. The only way to know the right and the wrong is through knowledge—knowledge of the Quran and the Sunnah.

Dear brother, in life, you will come across many individuals, some who may or may not be Muslims, some who may be very conservative while others very liberal. Some may be very kind while others rude; some rich and some poor; some intelligent in one way while the others in another way, etc. In essence, you will meet a diversity of people and the effect they will have on you will depend on how you choose to be as an individual.

When the foundation is strong, it cannot be faltered. Right or wrong?

Your job now is to make your religious foundation strong. This is acquired through reading books, listening to lectures, meeting righteous people and spending time doing good deeds. When you indulge in such activities, it will be hard for your mind to be distracted. The mind is like the sponge. If you place the sponge in a puddle of water, it will absorb the water. The sponge will not distinguish between the clean water and the dirty. It will simply absorb it all. Therefore, it is essential that we choose our companions wisely.

I am sure that you have heard the proverb, “You are known by the company you keep.”

For instance, if you are regularly spending time with individuals who are always preoccupied in partying, eating, and wasting time, you are no different than them. The same applies to befriending individuals who are not interested in following what is right, and constantly take sins lightly and continue to further indulge themselves.

The point to be noted is that the character of an individual is not always dependent on their religion. You will find many Muslims, who, despite knowing that having a “boyfriend” or a “girlfriend” is haram, continue to practice such behavior. However, if you take a look at some individuals who identify themselves as either atheists or Christians, do not believe in any premarital relationships and have never had any “girlfriend” or “boyfriend”.

Likewise, it is possible to find many Muslim individuals who believe in Allah (swt) and also indulge in drinking, lying, etc., but there are also many who take time seriously and worry about achieving great heights during their lifetime and after their death. There are many individuals out there of many religions and beliefs who are good people or are not good people. Being a good person does not depend on religion. Therefore, it is not the religion of the individual, but rather their character, their values and priorities and their personalities that matter.

Therefore, if your friends distract you from your religious practice and make you feel more inclined towards what is clearly prohibited in Islam, then it is not the religion of your friends but rather who they are as people.

Sometimes, you will come across people who are not the same religion as you, are not as smart as you, are not interested in the same things as you, but have the best manners, are the most kind, generous and accepting. They are the ones who you should keep as friends. Because at the end you will absorb their generosity, their character, their kindness and their acceptance of you and your religion.

Constantly remember Allah (swt)

Allah (swt) says in the Quran,

                “Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.” (13:28)

When you are feeling depressed, down, and low, ask Allah (swt) for help.

Allah (swt( says in the Quran,

                “Indeed, Allah is hearing and seeing.” (58:1)

In addition, no matter what happens, never leave your 5 times daily prayers. No matter how depressed you feel, how lonely you feel, how much of a failure you feel, or how misguided you feel, never abandon prayer. When you are praying, you are handing away your worries to Allah (swt) and seeking his guidance and help.

 “The Companions of Muhammad (ﷺ) didn’t consider leaving anything to be disblief except for the Salat.” (At-Tirmidhi)

Therefore, it is of utmost importance to hang on to your salah, for if you lose it, you will lose everything else.

The prophet (saw) said,

“Verily, the hearts of all the sons of Adam are between the two fingers out of the fingers of the Compassionate Lord as one heart. He turns that to any (direction) He likes. Then Allahs Messenger (ﷺ) said: 0 Allah, the Turner of the hearts, turn our hearts to Thine obedience.” (Sahih Muslim)

You should say this supplication as much as possible. This supplication is asking Allah (swt) to keep us on the right path and to guide us towards what is right because Allah’s (swt) obedience is simply following the path lead by Prophet (saw).

Network!

You should also try to spend some time at the mosque. The mosque usually fills with people who are sincere and righteous during the time of prayer. If you stay after the prayer and try to communicate with those around you, I am certain that you will find individuals who are willing to offer you good company and even some resources to increase your knowledge of religion and of the city!

I hope my answer provided the message you were looking. I hope you will soon find good friends who will help you get closer to Allah (swt).

Salam,

***

Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

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About Madiha Sadaf

Madiha Sadaf in an undergraduate student at the University of Ottawa, enrolled in BSc. with Major in Biology and Psychology with Minor in Health Social Sciences.

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