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New Muslim Friendships; Islamic Style

One of the most challenging aspects of life for new Muslims is often over the changes they need to make in their social life and how it affects their friendships.

They fear losing treasured friendships with people they are close to when they start to pull away from non-Islamic activities and they aren’t sure what to expect from Muslim friendships.

It would be wonderful if we could give a reassurance that once you become a Muslim that you will be surrounded by a wonderful, caring group of friends who will always be there for you. People who will have time for you and give you their full attention when you are together, but we can’t do that. Muslims are humans too and have their failings.

The only one who will always be there for you will be Allah; He will never let you down if you turn to Him. He will offer you the help, support and advice that you need to live your life in the best way. And in the end, He will also reward you with Paradise, if you do your best to live according to His guidance.

Allah has given lots of information and advice on friendships. On the Day of Judgment, when you will all be standing in front of Him, you won’t be asked to give a critique on the people you knew; on how good or bad a Muslim they were. You will be asked how you lived your life. So focus on yourself and strive to be the best that you can be. If you strive to be the best friend that you can be for others, good people will be attracted to you and Allah will surround you with supportive friends.

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There are many people that are described as friends nowadays; those you have known for a long time, those you spend all your free time with, those you meet occasionally to do certain activities with and more recently, those you know virtually through Facebook or Twitter.

Which, if any, of these are genuine friends?

And, since coming to Islam, what type of friend should you now be aiming to be?

Let’s take a look at these ten types of friendships that Allah describes in the Quran to see if you can find some answers there.

1- Wali (Protective friend)

As a Wali you take care of others; you guard them when they are in trouble, no matter what your personal relationship is with them. You are a strong friend, and even if there is animosity between you, you develop a thick skin and let them say what they have to say. In turn you respond positively to them, because you care about them as a human being. This, in some cases, can even soften negative feelings and turn the person into a devoted friend

{Repel [evil] by that which is better; and thereupon the one whom between you and him is enmity [will become] as though he was a devoted friend.} (41:34)

On coming to Islam, you may find many people you thought of as friends, and even family members, saying hurtful things. This shouldn’t turn you away from them, you should still support them and take care of them when they need your help.

2- Sadiq (Truthful and genuine friend)


As a Sadiq you have no agenda behind your friendship with someone; you just truly love them for the sake of Allah. You are always there for them, whether they are having a good or a bad day. You don’t give up on them, even if they do something bad. If they stray or slip, you encourage them to do good and speak the truth kindly and honestly, without being judgmental.

You may sometimes lose friends, because they don’t want to hear the truth and would rather you support them in their errors. But as a Sadiq, you don’t lose touch with them, as you don’t want them to complain on the Day of Judgment that you didn’t try to guide them:

{And no one misguided us except the criminals. So now we have no intercessors and not a devoted friend.} (26:99-100)

3- Sahib (Companion)

As a Sahib, you can be a companion for someone on a journey or you can be someone’s companion for life. You mean well for your companion and care about them. The better you know them, the more you can do for them. As a true Sahib, your companion feels comfortable relaxing and just being themselves when they are with you; they don’t have to hold back or keep up appearances.

4- Walijah (Insider who shares secrets)

As a Walijah, your friend trusts you enough to share their deepest secrets with you. This is the rarest type of friendship. You know everything about their life and they know about yours and you are closely involved in all aspects of their life. They would also trust you with their bank account and taking care of their home.

However, Allah has made it a condition that you should only have this type of relationship with a believer, i.e. a believing and trustworthy Muslim.

{Do not take other than Allah, His Messenger and the believers as intimates? And Allah is Acquainted with what you do.} (9:16)

The first one you should trust and turn to with your secrets is Allah, you should consult His Messenger to see his example and what he advised, and then finally you should turn to the believers for practical help and support.

5- Bitana (Close adviser)

As a Bitana, people come to you for advice and counsel, trusting you to keep their secrets. They trust you to give them honest and trustworthy advice on their personal or religious matters. If you fear that you might not be able to keep their secrets, that you won’t be able to help or that you may be listening with the wrong intention, you don’t listen to those who come to you with their secrets, as intimate secrets; especially marital secrets, should be private and not shared with anyone, unless to seek advice.

Once again, Allah orders that this level of trust should only be among the believers, as they will fear Allah in what has been confided in them.

{O you who have believed, do not take as intimates those other than yourselves, for they will not spare you [any] ruin.} (3:118)

This doesn’t mean that trust cannot be given to those who aren’t believers, but the highest level of trust should only be given to the trustworthy believers.

Read Part 2


Acknowledgements to Nouman Ali Khan whose talk this article is based on:

About Amal Stapley
Amal Stapley After accepting Islam in 1992, Amal graduated from the International Islamic University of Malaysia with a degree in Psychology and Islamic studies. She then went on to work with several Islamic organizations in the USA, Egypt and more recently in her home country, the UK.