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How Can I Overcome Loneliness and Make Friends?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: How can I overcome loneliness? Does Islam allow us to make friends and spend time with them? Is there any supplication to get new friends?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah lift your loneliness and grant you the gift of good companions.

Friendship

Good friends are an important part of being a balanced Muslim. Please refer to What Are the Qualities of a Friend? by Ustadh Tabraze Azam to help you better understand friendship in Islam. Please also read Bringing Barakah Into Your Wealth and Life by Ustadh Abdullah Anik Misra.

Solutions

Please perform the Prayer of Need in the last third of the night, and ask Allah to cure your loneliness, send you good friends, and whatever else you wish. In addition to prayer and dua, please also take proactive steps in seeking out good company. Is there a community service program you can participate in? Is there a local circle of knowledge you can attend?One can often find good people at good places.

Please refer to the following links:

Dealing With Depression Caused by Unemployment and Loneliness
What Are Some Prophetic Supplications That Can Help Me Deal With Trials in My Life?

Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Photo: Trey Ratcliff

On Unspoken Love And Friendship – Nader Khan

I’d first read Imam Ghazali‬‘s Duties of Brotherhood in Islam, translated by Muhtar Holland sometime in the summer of 1995 as reading for a do-it-yourself Islamic study circle that I was in with my brother and some dear friends in ‪‎Toronto‬. That’s when I read the following powerful story:

“It is related in the stories of the People of Israel that two godly brothers were upon a mountain. One of them come down to town to buy a pennyworth of meat. He saw a harlot at the butcher’s shop, gazed upon her, fell in love with her, and carried her off to a private place to copulate with her. After spending three nights with her, he was ashamed to return to his brother in view of his offence.

Meanwhile, his brother missed him and felt concern about him. He descended to the town and kept on asking about him till he was directed to him. Then he went in and found him sitting with the girl. He embraced him and began kissing him and hugging him, but the other denied all knowledge of him, being so ashamed. Then he said:

“Come my brother, for I know your condition and your story, yet you were never better loved nor dearer to me than at this moment. “

Now when he realized that what had happened had not lowered him in his brother’s eye he arose and went away with him. “

Unspoken Conversation

The story stayed with me over the years as a powerful demonstration of true brotherhood and genuine, sincere concern. I often found myself returning to it in my various roles of community activism, and judging myself against this standard. I often wondered what the “unspoken conversation” must have been like between the two friends.
Roughly ten years later in the summer of 2005, I was driving down Shaykh Zayed Road in ‪‎Dubai‬, a highway notorious for an insanely high occurrences of collisions per year. Out of nowhere, the lyrics and tune for what later became my debut album’s title track came at me with such an insistence that I had to pull over to the shoulder and jot it all down. The entire song, including the last stanza that turns the entire song upside down, was completely unplanned.

Unspecified Relationship

I think the best part about the lyrics on this track, is that they leave unspecified the relationship between the two people, and the cause of their estrangement. I regularly get to hear from listeners about this track, both in person and through emails or Facebook messages — each one of them seeing a different relationship from their own lives in these words.
I remember once in late 2009 I’d just finished soundcheck for an Islamic Relief Canada event with Imam Zaid Shakir. An older lady setting up decorations at the back of the hall came up to me with tears in her eyes. She told me that her daughter had recently gone through a rough divorce, and her own husband was unable to be with them to help their daughter through the process. She told me that she would sing this song to her daughter every day to give her strength. I had goosebumps as I teared up myself. Every time I experience self-doubt about my chosen career path, that’s one of the incidents that encourages me to keep moving ahead.
The producer Mohammed Dbooni pulled in Brazilian and South Asian drums for this song, and positioned the vocals really well to keep the lyrics front and centre.
You can stream it on this link (also has lyrics), and follow the instructions to buy it directly from iTunes.
Nader Khan has since released another album – WATER, which contains the track Take My Hand, part 2 — the same story, but from the other friend’s perspective.

Resources for seekers

Keep The Company of These Three Types of People, by Shaykh Ahmed Abdo

Ahmed-AbdoThe Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have said,  “Keep the company of the elderly, ask of the scholarly and spend time with the people of wisdom.”

This advice is as relevant as ever, as Shaykh Ahmed Abdo explains.

Shaykh Ahmed Abdo was born in Sydney, Australia. His pursuit to seek traditional Islamic scholarship has taken him around the world with some of the most esteemed scholars of our time. In 2000, he embarked on a traditional journey in the Sacred Islamic Sciences through the Rihla program in Andalucia, Spain.

In 2005, Shaykh Ahmed travelled to Tarim to study with Dar al-Mustafa, a centre for traditional Islamic scholarship. It is in this environment that he would develop a richer understanding of the Islamic faith, learning from renowned Islamic scholars such as Habib Umar, Habib Ali al- Jifri, Habib Kadhim, and Shaykh Umar bin Hussain al- Khatib.

Shaykh Ahmed studied the core Islamic sciences, with a particular interest in the area of Islamic Jurisprudence.

He has travelled extensively to as an interpreter accompanying Habib Kadhim and Habib Umar for their lecture tours in South Africa, Canada and Australia.

For the past few years Shaykh Ahmed has been studying under the instruction of Shaykh Umar with a particular focus on Shafi’i Fiqh.

Most recently, (and some may have seen it in the media) Shaykh Ahmed was sworn in as a Police Muslim Chaplain. Where he hopes to meet the spiritual needs of police officers, particularly our Muslim police officers, as and when they may need it.

How Can I Help Non-Practising Family and Friends?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Assalamu alaykum,

I have friends who I’ve known for almost a decade, who don’t practice unfortunately. I try my best to drag them to Islamic events, talk to them about Islam. This is the same case with my siblings.I try my hardest, but there’s only so much I can do.

What should I do in this situation? Especially when I feel like I’m losing my own imaan by being around people who don’t care about their deen as much.

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well.

Priorities

“Or think you that you will enter Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They were afflicted with severe poverty and ailments and were so shaken that even the Messenger and those who believed along with him said, “When (will come) the Help of Allah?” Yes! Certainly, the Help of Allah is near!” [Qur’an, 2:214]

The nature of this dunya is one of trials, and we are often tested by those whom we are nearest to. InshaAllah, successfully navigating this difficulty will help you attain closeness to Allah.

Your priority is learning your fardhul ‘ain (personally obligatory knowledge), in order to ensure that your acts of worship are sound and valid. Lectures and so on move the heart, and do serve a purpose, but it is safest for you to learn your fiqh and aqidah from teachers who are connected to the Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace). Seekers Guidance offers courses in Hanafi and Shafi’i Fiqh as well as Aqidah. I strongly recommend that you pick a fiqh class which is closely aligned to what you are already practicing. If your family is from the subcontinent, then Hanafi fiqh would be best. Study Aqidah as well, to solidify your belief.

Prayer

Please strive to pray all of your five daily prayers. Guarding our prayers is of the utmost importance. Do not let them go because all the prayers that we miss must be paid back before we meet Allah. There is something deeply transformative about guarding our prayers no matter how unmotivated we may feel – there is a medicine in salaat which we cannot find in any lecture.

Convincing others

It sounds like you are very tired of trying to persuade others in your family and circle of friends. My advice is for you to stop trying. Focus on improving your own worship. Be the example you want others to follow. Your adult friends and siblings are accountable for their own actions, as you are accountable for yours. If they wish to spend their time pursuing other things, then that is up to them. We cannot change people unless they want to change.

Take comfort in knowing that guidance is ultimately from Allah. The most non-practising sibling/friend you have could be inspired by Allah one night to make his/her taubah, and return wholeheartedly to Him. No amount of haranguing from you could have the same effect. On the contrary, you could drive him/her futher away from the deen, no matter how praiseworthy your intentions.

Gently ask your mother to make dua for her wayward children, instead of relying entirely on you to guide them back. Their state with Allah is not your burden. Your state with Allah is your responsibility. It is natural to be concerned about our family members, but not to the point where you tire yourself out and miss your own prayers.

Good company

“The example of a good companion and a bad companion is like that of the seller of musk, and the one who blows the blacksmith’s bellows. So as for the seller of musk then either he will grant you some, or you buy some from him, or at least you enjoy a pleasant smell from him. As for the one who blows the blacksmith’s bellows then either he will burn your clothes or you will get an offensive smell from him.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

It is the nature of humans to seek companionship, so choose your companions wisely. Make new friends who inspire you and remind you of Allah and His Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).

Tahajjud

Seek comfort in the last hour of the night, before the entry of Fajr. Make dua, and stand up for tahajjud prayer. Pour out your concerns to Him, the All Powerful and Most Merciful. You were created for Allah alone, and only He can truly soothe your pain. No matter what your mind may tell you, your heartache and exhaustion will not be relieved when your friends and family start practising the deen. That is a situation you cannot fix by your own hands.

Reconnecting to Allah and submitting to the wisdom of His Decree, however, will soothe your heart, inshaAllah. Part of His Wisdom is the current state your family and friends are in. The wheel is always turning, as Shaykh Nuh Keller has said. None of us know the states we will be in when we meet Allah, but we can prepare by doing our best and by making plentiful dua for a good ending.

I pray that Allah eases your heartache, makes you steadfast on prayer, and guides your loved ones back to Him, when the time is right.

Please refer to the following links:

A reader on missed prayers
Is it disbelief to miss prayers and pray them late?
How Can I Give Islamic Advice to My Family When They Know About My Sinful Past?

Raidah Shah Idil

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Should I Maintain the Ties of a Difficult Friendship?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
Question: Assalamualikum,
I need some advice. There is this sister that I used to be close with, however, for some time I distanced myself as I was unable to deal with her problems and mine at the same time. Now, I am trying to mend ties but she seems to be holding a grudge against me, saying hurtful things, regularly. Yet she claims she wants to maintain ties. Also, when we were close, she liked my brother but he has since moved on in his life.
Am I being too sensitive or am I respecting myself if I just walk away? This relationship is affecting me adversely and I am concerned about how best to keep my duties towards her without falling into the haram.
Answer: Assalamualayakum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray that you are well. Thank you for your question.
May Allah grant you ease in this difficult matter.
Despite how your friend is treating you, it is still important for you to take the higher path and show good character. You are not responsible for what she does, but you are responsible for how you respond to her.
Is it possible for you to have an honest conversation with her about how she is hurting your feelings? It may be possible that she is unaware of how hurtful her comments are. Allah has made some of us more sensitive, and others far less sensitive. Perhaps after clarifying how you would like to be treated, she may adjust her behaviour and be easier for you to deal with.
If you feel that she is affecting you adversely, then you need to look after yourself by keeping her in your life at a respectful distance. It is unwise to cut off ties with her unless you feel there is no other way, because of the emphasis of keeping ties in Islam.
Abdullah ibn Amr reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Those who are merciful will be shown mercy by the Merciful. Be merciful to those on the earth and the One above the heavens will have mercy upon you. The womb is derived from the Merciful, so whoever keeps relations with his family then Allah will keep relations with him, and whoever abandons his family then Allah will abandon him.” [At-Tirmidhi]
Imam Al-Ghazzali has written a beautiful treatise titled “The Duties of Brotherhood in Islam”. Please consider reading it as a way for you to study the higher aspirations of true brotherhood and sisterhood in Islam. Amongst the eight duties of brotherhood described by Imam Al-Ghazzali, the one which may be relevant to you in this situation is the fifth duty – forgiveness. Please refer to some quotes from the chapter:
The poet said: “You cannot run with a brother and fail to catch him in some disarray. What man is immaculate?”
“Perhaps God will create affection between you and those you have had as enemies.” (Qur’an 60:7)
The Prophet (God bless him and give him peace) said, “Go steady in loving your friend, for he may one day become your foe. Go steady in hating your foe, for he may become your friend one day.”
Please do look after yourself in this time. Reach out to loving friends who warm your heart. Consider seeing a counsellor to help teach you assertiveness and boundary training. Make a lot of salawat every day and ask Allah to ease this trial for you.
Our Beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was sent as Mercy to mankind, and we hope to emulate that mercy in our interactions with those around us, especially those who test us.
‘A’isha reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Allah is kind and loves kindness and gives for gentleness what he does not give for harshness nor for anything else.” [Muslim]
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Why Do Fellow Muslims Mock My Name and Ignore Me?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: In English my name is linked with a swear word. The entire school hears my name and starts mocking me. Later they make fun of my personality. I study in a Islamic school filled with Muslims. So answer me: why do my own Muslim brothers make fun of me and ignore my friendship?
Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.
Troubles and difficulties in life can be a means of expiation of sins and a raising of one’s rank to the highest of degrees. There are hidden blessings in tests.
As such, and when in troubled times, return back to Allah. Renew your repentance, resolve to follow His Commands and abstain from His Prohibitions, be firm in seeking out truth, keep the company of the righteous, attend gatherings of remembrance and learning, work on your taqwa and character, and live Islam.
Allah Most High says, “And whoever is mindful of Allah, He will grant them a way out, and will provide for them in ways unimagined. And whoever places their trust in Allah, then Allah is their sufficiency. Allah’s affair will surely come to pass–and Allah has made a clear decree for everything.” [Qur’an, 65. 2-3]
Consider making some of the supplications mentioned here: What Are Some Prophetic Supplications That Can Help Me Deal With Trials in My Life?
May Allah make you of the greatest of His awliya.
Please also see: How Do You Distinguish Between a Test From Allah and Punishment? and: A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah and: The Believer’s Clarity When Tested: The Power of Patience and Prayer in Responding to Tests and Trials and: Qur’anic Reflections: Divine Tests and the Great Virtue of Steadfast Patience
And Allah alone gives success.
wassalam,
Tabraze Azam
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Dealing With Peer Pressure as a Teenage New Muslim

Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari

Question: I’m 16 and I converted to Islam a couple months ago. When high school started it became harder for me to be a “good” Muslim. I’m having difficulty lowering my gaze because girls wear revealing outfits at my school, all my friends who are guys curse, look at girls, listen to haram music, and I know a couple who use drugs.

They also party a lot and it looks really fun and sometimes I think I’m missing out. I find myself slipping up, looking at things I’m not suppose to, saying things I’m not suppose to say. It’s getting difficult for me to be a Muslim in a environment that is not Muslim. Is there any advice you can give me?

Answer: In the Name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful

Assalamu alaikum,

Thank you for your question.

Staying strong in the high school environment is going to be a challenge. If you don’t have the option of finishing your program at home, say through a virtual academy (some states in the U.S. offer this option leading to a fully accredited high school diploma), then resolve to get through school while keeping your faith intact. First, you need to avoid people who swear, disrespect women, and use drugs. If you can’t influence them for the better, then stay away. Second, you need better friends. Are there no Muslims at the school?

If not, then please have a connection with your local mosque’s youth group. If there is none, petition to start one. Third, understand that being Muslim is a process. We are all susceptible to negative influences, no matter how long we’ve practiced this faith. That’s why it’s important to shore up your faith with good company, constant recitation of the Qur’an, and remembrance of Allah. Don’t lose sight of your ultimate purpose which is to find Allah.

Stay strong!

Zaynab Ansari

Related Answers:

How Can I Increase My Iman and My Sincerity By Doing Things For the Sake of Allah?

What Are the Qualities of a Friend?