For a while, I was a Muslim by name but sadly I was super astray. I did not pray. I engaged in haram acts and associated myself with people who valued the wrong things. I had a lot of guy friends and limits while talking where often trespassed.
Alhamdulillah, by the Grace of the Most Merciful, He made me realize how wrong and deluded I was last Ramadan. I have been trying to change my ways since then.
While I do recognize that majority of the problem was my fault alone and that I should not have let all these things happen, I also have realized that part of the problem is that I underestimated the influence of close company around me. I chose to identify myself with a wrong crowd that harbored wrong values and those values automatically started harboring in myself.
I now do not message or contact them without a proper reason and have trained myself to disassociate from them mentally as well. However, from time to time some of those friends have messaged me. I just delete it straight away and I have blocked some persistent ones.
There is a back thought that I get every time I do this wondering if I am being harsh. Am I being extremist or is this the right thing to do?
In this counseling answer:
When your interests vastly differ from those of your friends, you will automatically be distanced.
Tell them how you feel about your religion and your faith; be honest, but not insulting or demeaning.
Keep strengthening your relationship with Allah and seek useful knowledge.
Try to befriend with other sisters in the mosque as well.
As-Salaamu Alaikum dear sister,
Thank you for placing your trust in our ability to propose a solution to your current situation.
You are right in the sense that a company will have a profound effect on you as a person, and will influence you greatly. This is exactly why we should be very careful before befriending people.
I will like to start off by asking you to completely disconnect with all your friends who are boys. It is forbidden in Islam to befriend a boy. The only interaction between males and females can have is in a professional setting, related to studies, work, and projects.
There is no space for any other kind of interaction between the two. Even if two people are interested in pursuing marriage, then parents and guardians need to be made aware of the situation and then “dates” should be chaperoned even in a public setting.
However, with regards to your other friendswho are girls, then you can consider your next steps based on the type of friend they are to you. I think that you should take it one step at a time.
Firstly, if you are worried about their feelings, I suggest that you personally approach the matter with your friends concerning your feelings, and tell them how you feel about your religion and your faith. Tell them how it is an important part of who you are and your purpose in life.
A true friend will be willing to listen and understand. A friend who simply wants to spend unoccupied time with you will not be willing to be understanding and sensitive towards what is important to you.
Be honest, but not insulting or demeaning. During my second and third years of undergraduate studies, my friends of four years were always interested in going to the mall, eating out, going to movies, etc. I am a very introverted person and I don’t enjoy such activities. So, I kindly declined every time they offered me to go out with them and told them that I am not going to have fun. They were understanding and did not force me. I did not mind either and we spent time on campus during lunch hours or after school unwinding.
Note that not all of my friends are Muslims. However, they were truly understanding when I made it clear to them that I don’t enjoy the activities they do. Also, the fact that my friends wanted to do something that I was not interested in doing did not pressure me into liking what made me feel uncomfortable or went beyond my religious commitment.
I strongly believe that if they are good friends who will value you and understand you, they will not force you to be part of something that you are not comfortable being a part of.
Secondly, when your interests vastly differ from those of your friends, you will automatically be distanced. Your friends are attracted to you by your personality.
There are many research studies published in the field of Psychology that conclude that friends are made when we share common grounds with them. Whether it be common interests, hobbies, academic pursuits, etc. when your friends will see that you are no longer like them, they will no longer be interested in inviting to be a part of their gathering and will not be insulted when you decide not to be a part of their gathering on your own.
I believe that if you are sincerely trying to forget the past and start a new life with a renewed faith and a desire to improve and do what is better for you in this life and the afterlife, I suggest you start by occupying your time with useful and productive knowledge. When this will happen, it will become easy for you to prioritize what is important.
Check out this counseling video:
Please, sister, keep strengthening your relationship with Allah. Take one step at a time starting with prayers as prayers are that distinguish believers from non-believers. (Sunnah ibn Majah) Make du’aa’ to Allah that He gives you good accompany and keep you on the straight path.
Try to be friend with other sisters in the mosque as well. Attend any halaqas in your local mosque or sister gathering. Inshallah, you will meet sisters who will make you happy, inspire you while reminding you of Allah.
However, if you strengthen your faith in Allah and understand the meaning of life, and realize that the boundaries and the rules which Allah set in place are for our own good, you will realize that nothing misleading and wrong can truly impact you.
Sometimes we have friends who maintain boyfriends, who like to spend time engaging in haram activities. However, it is not necessary to completely sever ties with them. It is possible to spend time in a clean setting and discuss other matters of importance. For example, education, common interests, fashion, etc., etc.
I personally do not think what you are thinking and wanting to do is extreme. I think you should decide what the best is for you and not regret it. Do not base your decisions given what others might consider of you.
I would like to add that you should not be an insulting or a demeaning person. You should remain polite to the friend when you see them. It costs you nothing to be respectful to someone else, even if you don’t especially like them.
In conclusion, I think that you are right to decide to distance yourself from your friends. However, I do not think that you should completely ignore and cut ties with them. You would not want to start an enmity between each other rather than peacefully letting go. You should let this happen slowly and gradually.
Simultaneously, you should spend time acquiring useful knowledge of Islam and secular knowledge so that you will be attracted towards a group of people who will help you achieve what is meaningful and beneficial in this life and the afterlife.
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.