“The likeness of a righteous friend and an evil friend, is the likeness of a perfume seller an a blacksmith. As for the perfume seller, he may either bestow something on you, or you may purchase something from him, or you may benefit from his sweet smell. And as for the blacksmith, he may either burn your clothes, or you may be exposed to his awful smell.”
Bukhari and Muslim
Bismillah al-Rahman al-Raheem
So, when I was mulling over which hadith I liked for my February Hadith of the Month, I knew I really wanted to do something about good companionship. In the spirit of honesty though, I only chose this specific hadith on friendship because I love perfume (in my own house of course!), and so for some reason I was more attracted to this one.
Besides the nice perfume though, I really do love the message behind this hadith, and it really goes to show how you are influenced by who you hang out with. And I have truly noticed this in my own life: when I hang out with certain groups of people (usually my non-Muslim friends from back in the day), I can feel how much my personality kind of reverts to how it was before Islam. I become much harsher in speech and swear more, and I even return to being super-sarcastic.
When I am talking to the sisters in one of my WhatsApp groups or other Muslimah bloggers, however, I can see a marked difference. I use the smiley and heart emojis all the time, I am much softer and far less judge-y, and have almost never said a sarcastic comment to any of them.
And you can guess which version of myself is the better one!
That’s not to say that all of my pre-Islam friends fall into the “evil friend,” category, but more of an example of how the company you keep really does affect the kind of person you are.
That is why it is so important in Islam to choose your friends wisely. Talk to people whom you look up to and admire within the community, reach out for a conversation with that sister that you wish you were more like. Over time, exposing yourself to the “beautiful scent” of righteous people, will in turn begin to give you that beauty of your own.
And on the flip side of that, try your best to be a perfume seller to those around you, and not a blacksmith. Like attracts like, as the saying goes, and when you are trying your best to be a kind, caring person, you will attract others with the same goals and values, inshaAllah.
I think praying for righteous friends, who will remind of me of Allah swt and encourage me to grow in Islam, is one of the duas I make most often, and alhamdullilah I have seen that being answered a little bit at a time through some of the beautiful sisters I have recently met.