Moderation in Friendship
The policy of the wise and the foresighted is to observe certain criteria and exercise caution in friendly relations. Immoderation in this regard may lead to deplorable consequences and bring regret and pain. That is because the bond of friendship and intimacy might not endure under all conditions and circumstances.
Perhaps some event or a rivalry might lead to disagreement and tension in relations and vitiate cordial and sympathetic terms of friendship. Warm and intimate terms of friendship have often turned into violent enmity and fiery hostility due to such matters, and there are not few who have faced merciless attacks of an old friend familiar with one's secrets and weak points, whereas earlier none of them ever expected such a painful reversal in mutual relations.
However, a friendship founded upon wisdom and moderation would not only be free of such dangers, it would be stable and enduring. It is with such a subtle consideration in view that Imam Sadiq, may Peace be upon him, strictly warned his disciples against immoderation in friendly relations and the disclosure of one's secret matters:
Don't inform your friends of your secret matters except those whose disclosure to your enemy would be harmless. That is because in the vicissitudes of life today's friend might be tomorrow's enemy. 23
A Western Scholar writes in this regard.
It has been said that it is wise always to treat a friend, remembering that he may become an enemy, and an enemy, remembering that he may become a friend; and whatever may be thought of the first part of the adage, there is certainly much wisdom in the latter. 24
An advice of Imam 'Ali, may Peace be upon him, which is full of wisdom is to be observed in this regard also:
Be moderate in your friendly relations, for today's friend might be tomorrow's enemy. And be moderate in your hostility towards your enemy, for today's enemy be tomorrow's friend. 25
23. Al-Hurr al-'Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi'ah, "al-ahkam al-mu'asharah," bab 101.
24. Avebury, On Peace and Happiness, Persian trans., Dar aghosh-e khushbakhti, p. 66
25. Al-Hurr al-'Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi'ah, "al-ahkam al-mu'asharah," bab 101.
Adapted from: "Ethics and Spiritual Growth" by: "Sayyid Mujtaba Musawi Lari"
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