Friday, October 2, 2009
True Friendship *
Compiled By Living Shari`ah Staff(IslamOnline)
Do hearts have connections to one another? Sometimes, a person happens to meet someone whom he or she immediately loves and spontaneously develops some sort of affinity with. The reverse can apply when the same person meets up with another person. The point is one does not know the reason why one feels good toward some people and feels bad toward others. Is there some sort of connection between their souls?
`A'ishah, the Prophet's wife, narrated a hadith, that she heard from the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), which gives us a glimpse of the nature of the soul and clears some of the vague feelings that we might find:
"Souls are like conscripted soldiers; those whom they recognize, they get along with, and those whom they do not recognize, they will not get along with" (Al-Bukhari).
Also Abu Hurairah reported Allah's Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) as saying,
"Souls are troops collected together and those who familiarized with each other (in the heaven from where these come) would have affinity, with one another (in the world) and those amongst them who opposed each other (in the Heaven) would also be divergent (in the world)." (Muslim)
Sometimes the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) gives us a glimpse of insight into the realm of the soul, which we know very little about. The important thing to remember in this connection is that Allah has chosen not to give us a detailed knowledge of the soul. We should also remember that whatever He has chosen to withhold from us would not affect our role on earth and the fulfillment of the task assigned to us in this life. Therefore, we limit ourselves to what is outlined in the Qur'an and what the Prophet has given us in authentic hadith.
Almighty Allah says,
(And they ask you about the soul. Say: The soul is one of the commands of my Lord, and you are not given aught of knowledge but a little.)(Al-Israa' 17: 85)
However, people continue to try to explore the realm of the soul and come up with all sorts of ideas to show that they have special knowledge that is denied to others. All such claims are false, because they do not rely on any confirmed knowledge imparted to us by Allah through His messenger.
This hadith has several versions with different chains of transmission, all of which are authentic. This makes it highly authentic. One version that throws some light on its meaning mentions that a woman —known to have a sense of humor and to play tricks — from Makkah traveled to Madinah where she was a guest of a woman of similar qualities. When `A'ishah heard of that, she said, "My beloved husband always told the truth (and she quoted the hadith)."
What this hadith means is that Allah created souls and gave them their qualities. Those of similar qualities will easily be friends when they meet in this life, while those who have different natures are likely to be in conflict. This in fact accounts for endless cases of people getting along together when their apparent circumstances should have kept them well apart. Moreover, it tells us something about what brings good people together and what allows evil ones to flock together and even trust one another, when they know that they are evil at heart.
Ibn Hajar (may Allah have mercy on him) said in his commentary on the hadith "Concerning the phrase 'Souls are like conscripted soldiers…',
This may refer to their similarity as regards good or evil, righteousness or corruption. Good people are inclined towards other good people, and evil people are similarly inclined towards other evil people. Souls feel affinity with others according to the nature in which they were created, good or evil. If souls' natures are similar, they will get along, otherwise they will not be on good terms with one another. It could have happened in the beginning of creation in the realm of the unseen when souls were created before bodies, and used to meet one another. When souls have entered bodies (come to the physical realm) they may recognize one another from the past, and may be on friendly terms or otherwise based on that past experience
Al-Khattaabi also commented this hadith,
This getting along with one another has to do with what Allah decreed from the outset about the ultimate destiny of souls, whether they will be among the blessed (in Paradise) or the doomed (in Hell). Souls are of two opposing kinds, and when they meet in this physical world, they will either love or hate one another depending on the way they were created. Good souls will be inclined towards other good souls, and evil souls will be inclined towards other evil souls.
Thus, the souls of righteous people have connection as if they are recruited due to the purification in their hearts; on the contrary, the souls of devils — both humans and Jinn — have connection since they have the same evil thoughts.
That is why Allah says about the believers, (And (moreover) He hath put affection between their hearts.) (Al-Anfal 8:63)
But when talking about the devils of Jinn and human beings, Almighty Allah says,
(Shall I inform you (of him) upon whom the Shaitans(devils) descend? They descend upon every lying, sinful one.) (Ash-Shu`araa' 26: 221-222)
The Almighty also says,
(And thus do We make some of the iniquitous to befriend others on account of what they earned.) (Al-An`am6:129)
That is why when a believer meets wrongdoers or corrupt people, he or she does not feel at ease and finds it difficult to get along with them because of their sinful deeds; their souls act like oil and water that never mix.
Know that the state of one's religious and worldly affairs depend upon soundness of one's reflection. Anyone who has a share of it has an abundant share of everything good. It has been said : 'An hour's reflection is better than a year's worship.' 'Ali, may God ennoble his face, has said: 'There is no worship like reflection.' And one of the gnostics; may God have mercy on them all, said: 'Reflection is the lamp of the heart; if it departs the heart will have no light.' Reflections by Imam Al-Haddad (ra)