Good and Righteous Company

         .قال الله عز وجل: {يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَكُونُوا مَعَ الصَّادِقِينَ} التوبة 119

Allah -the Exalted- says: {O you who believe, fear Allah, and be with those who the truthful} (Surah 9, verse 119).

    وعن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه قال: قال رسولُ الله صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم: « الْمَرْءُ عَلَى دِينِ خَلِيلِهِ، فَلْيَنْظُرْ أَحَدُكُمْ مَنْ يُخَالِلُ» .  رواه أبو داود والترمذي والحاكم وأحمد، بإسناد حسن

   Narrated Abu Huraira -may Allah be pleased with him- that the Messenger of Allah -prayer and peace be upon him- said: “The person takes after the habits of his companion, so beware of the company you keep.”  Related by Abu Dawood, Al-Tirmidhi, Al-Hakim, and Ahmad, with good (hasan) narration.

In the verse above, Allah -the Exalted- instructs the believers to accompany the righteous and pious people so as to take after their ways and learn from their example.  Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- explains that people tend to follow the ways of their close companion; a good companion prompts his friend to be good, and a bad companion tempts his friend to be evil.

     In Islam, we focus a lot on the stories of the righteous and pious people before us.  Indeed, in Quran, we are given the stories of the Prophets in detail and their true faith is represented to us.  The story of Prophet Adam and Hawwa’ (Eve) is given in detail and their true repentance is presented to us as a lesson and an example to follow for their progeny.

The story of Prophet Noah and his patience and endurance is shown to us when he continued to invite his people to God for about a thousand years, never showing any sign of despair or annoyance.

The story of Prophet Ayoob (Job) is described with such beautiful words that we can appreciate the hardships and pain he endured, and how his great patience led to the favor of Allah when he restored his health and wealth in double to him.

The story of Prophet Dhun-Noon is described in minute details when he despaired of his people and went on the ship, but was swallowed by the whale, and his true faith and reliance is represented to us through his calling to God while he was inside the belly of whale, and how Allah accepted his call and moreover guided all of his people.

The story of Prophet Ibrahim is given in many places in Qur’an and we can appreciate the great morals and true faith of the ‘Father of Prophets’ and the ‘Close Slave of God (Al-Kheleel)’.  We see how his true faith and reliance upon God, made the fire cool and peaceful for him.  We see his endurance and righteousness in every aspect of his life.

The stories of Prophet Moses and Prophet Jesus are given and we see their strength and determination in the face of widespread evil and corruption.  Both persisted, and while Prophet Moses was granted victory over the evil Pharaoh, Prophet Jesus was raised to heavens to be sent down later.

The story of our beloved prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- is given in numerous places in Qur’an, and we see his patience, endurance and the highest level of morals that God took him as “Habeeb Allah” or his Beloved Slave.  And the list goes on.

On the other hand, Qur’an also mentions the stories of evil people and their demise is given as an admonition to turn back to Allah and repent to Him.

We recite the stories of the people of Noah and how they used to make fun of him and his ways, and then we read about the Great Flood and how it destroyed them.

We read the story of the people of ‘Aad, the giants who took houses in the mountains and spread injustice on earth, and then we read how the wind destroyed them.

We read the story of Pharaoh and his arrogance, and then we read how he and his men drowned in the Ocean by the will of Allah, the Almighty.  All of these stories are given to warn us of the other life to come, and urge us to prepare for it as well.  Allah -the Exalted- states in Qur’an:

{ Indeed in their stories, there is a lesson for those of understanding. It (the Qur’an) is not a forged statement but a confirmation of the Divine’s Books before it [the Torah, the Injeel (Gospel) and other Scriptures of Allah], a detailed explanation of everything, and a guide and a Mercy for the people who believe} (Surah 12. Verse 111).

Scholars too learned from the example of Qur’an and compiled volumes upon volumes of biographies of righteous people.  The Muslim scholars and historians gave special attention to the righteous people of this generation.  Thus many books have been written about sahabah or the Companions of the Prophet, about Tabi’een or the generation that came after sahabah, and about contemporary righteous people.

The idea behind these true story compilations  is that we should consider their high degree of righteousness and piety and try to emulate their example.  Indeed, the Companions of the Prophet or Sahabah gave us the best example in true faith, in piety, in patience and endurance, in generosity, in good morals, and in every aspect of our daily lives.  The following hadith gives us a glimpse of that:

Narrated Anas Ibn Malik -may Allah be pleased with him- that the Messenger of Allah -prayer and peace be upon him- said: “The most merciful of my nation towards my nation is Abu Bakr, the staunchest of them in the religion of Allah is Omar, the most truthful in shyness of them is Othman, the best judge among them is Ali Ibn Abi Talib, the best recite among them of the Book of Allah (Qur’an) is Ubey Ibn Ka’b, the most knowledgeable among them of the lawful and the unlawful in religion is Mu’ath Ibn Jebel, and the most knowledgeable among them of the distribution of heritage is Zaid Ibn Thabit.  Indeed, for every nation there is a trustworthy person and the trustworthy person of this nation is Abu Ubaidah Ibn Al-Jarrah.”  Related by Al-Tirmidhi, Ahmad, Ibn Majah, and Ibn Hibban.

Thus, the true stories of the righteous before us is a treasure for us; it is our heritage; it is our identity; and it is our model that we aspire to emulate.  The Muslim should read these true stories and consider these righteous people as his true companion and example.  We should both learn from and emulate the righteous people before us, and pray Allah to forgive us, accept from us and reward us like He forgave, accepted and rewarded the righteous people before us.  And Allah knows best.


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