Editor’s Note: Who are your friends?- The Awliya
Our friends define who we are. We know from the Islamic tradition that we are on the iman of our friends. So being in bad company will negatively affect us, and being in good company will only benefit us.
In fact, Sayyidinah Rasulullah (ﷺ) was reported to have said, “A good friend and a bad friend are like a perfume-seller and a blacksmith: The perfume-seller might give you some perfume as a gift, or you might buy some from him, or at least you might smell its fragrance. As for the blacksmith, he might singe your clothes, and at the very least you will breathe in the fumes of the furnace.” [Bukhari, Muslim]
So we should be asking ourselves- who are our friends? In Arabic, the word for friends is Awliya which is plural for Wali. Wali (friend) comes from wilayah which means qurb. And qurb means closeness. So someone who is close to you is your wali. But not only that, wali is also the one who is loyal or faithful to you, and the one who loves you.
Allah tells us in the Qur’an that people can take many types of people as their wali. There are those who take oppressors, evil people, or even shaytan (devil) (16:63) as their wali and supporter. However, there are also a select group of pious believers who take other righteous people, those with good character, Angels (41:30), Rasulullah (ﷺ), and even God as their wali. Such people are called– AwliyaAllah (The friends of Allah).
Although we may not be at that station where we can call God our Wali yet, we can always find, serve, and love those who already are AwliyaAllah. Just by loving them, respecting them, and being in their presence we are granted a sweet mercy and elevated in rank as reported in hadith!
Luqman Alayhis Salaam advised his son, “(Sit in the) Gatherings of the pious servants of Allah (Awliya). You will find goodness in their company. At the end of their gatherings, (Allah Ta’ala’s) mercy descends upon them and (there is great hope that) it will envelop you also.
Never sit in the company of the evil because you will not acquire any goodness with them. (Retribution descends upon them and (there is a possibility) that it will inflict you also. ” (Zuhd)
May we be forgiven for the sake of the ones Allah loves– the Awliya. Ameen!