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The Manners of Friendship and Companion-ship

A prophetic hadith calls us to live with our friends and relatives with goodness and to prefer them on our own selves; we should not let them see any corruption or cheating on our part. We should be kind with them or we should not show them any sign of stinginess. We should keep their secrets in their presence and absence; we should not allow anybody to cheat them. We should give them advice and encourage them to obey to Allah; and we should help them in overcoming their wrongdoing and sins.

All these are summarized in the saying: "Be a source of mercy to them, not a source of punishment." However, companionship has some manners that must be respected, among them are:

A- We must not deceive our friends in any affairs; rather we should be frank with them in any matter. We should not cheat them; rather we should be sincere with them.

B- We must not lie to them; rather we should be truthful and sincere. There is nothing better than finding a friend who is truthful and sincere in all fields of our companionship.

C- We should not do anything to degrade them whatever the case may be; degrading a brother or a friend is degrading ones self, because the position of a friend or a brother is our own position. Instead of degrading them you should work for the purpose of completing their personality, this is the best for friendship and the most loveable in the sight of Allah and His Messenger (s.a.w.).

D- If you stay with your friend, be soft to him in choosing appropriate words and feelings that show love and affection. It is said, "Softness reduces loneliness." How beautifully the Holy Qur'an explains this: "and lower your wing (be gentle) unto the believers." Holy Qur'an (15:88) You should make yourself inferior in your relation with your brother, but it must be inferiority of love, not disgrace.

Among the desirable things are: Coping with things that are not prohibited; and you should not force your opinion on your friend that has different opinion as yourself. You should not stand up from where you are sitting unless with his permission; and you should not let him hear anything except good, because "there is evil in bad words and good is a suppression of evil"; and you should thank him for his good.

E- The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) said: "Companionship must be with faithfulness," i.e., we should not disclose the secrets of our friends unless with his permission.

F- If any friendly meeting contains more than two and are sitting in one place, it is not suitable for me to whisper to one of them something that I don't want others to hear, because such action will surely make him (them) unhappy, even whisper doesn't concern him. But, if I do so, he will surely feel that I did not regard him sincerely and honestly.

Adapted from the book: "The Art of Social Relations" by: "Al-Balagh Foundation"

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