Good companionship

One day, while walking, I was deep in thought over a new kid I had met at school earlier that day. He came into my English class and following a brief introduction by our teacher to everyone, we commenced with the lesson. During the course of the hour, I came to find he was extraordinarily silent.

From experience, I knew what it felt like to be the new kid at school, and, thinking he must be feeling alone – none of the other kids had made an effort to speak with him – I asked if he would like to be my friend. To my surprise, my extending a hand of friendship met with indignation and swearing; the teacher overheard and ended up giving him a detention.

Walking home that day, I was thinking just how intrigued I was by his silent mannerism as I was by his rudeness, and thought that this said a lot about him, but then, who was I to judge?

Living only a few blocks away, it did not take me too long to walk home. Its’ a lot of fun to walk during the summer but in wintertime the Chicago weather can prove quite difficult. It is a windy city but you get used to it. Before I go any further, let me introduce you to myself. My name is Salman. I am 16 years old and currently in tenth grade. You shall find out more about me during the course of this story.

Reaching home, I gave my salams to my dear dad and mom. Dad works long hours but always comes home on time to spend the evenings with mom and the family. After changing into my home clothes, I had grabbed a fruit yogurt from the fridge and sat down to relax.

Dad and Mom called me to the lounge and asked how my day at school had gone and so I told them what had happened with Khalid, the new boy at school. Upon hearing how he had used swear words at me, mom became upset. No one in my house used bad language; my parents had taught me from a young age that the best of speeches is good speech.

Recalling my day reminded me of a memory from childhood. I was about 9 years old and at the playground with mom. I had managed to get a swing and a boy, who had also wanted to have a go at one, came and tried to start a fight with me by pushing me to the floor. He had also cursed my mother. I got very angry but controlled myself. Later when I told Dad about the incident, he said he was proud that I had not let my anger get the better of me.

Dad is a very wise man, and often times, he reminds me of Prophet Luqman (Alayhis Salam). He had asked me what I wanted to do next about Hamid, the boy from the playground. In truth, I hesitated not knowing the answer. Dad then said there are two paths that I could choose to do. One choice was to take the path of the righteous where one forgives, saves his tongue from foul language, and gets his status raised in the sight of Allah Subhana Wa Ta’ala. The other choice was to take the path of a revengeful person who seeks retaliation and gets nothing in the end. I chose to forgive.

Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said, “Allah will not increase His servant when he forgives except in honor. No-one humbles himself for the sake of Allah but Allah will raise his status.” (Muslim 16/141)

“…[those] who restrain anger and pardon [all] men – for Allah loves those who do good.” (Qur’an 3:134)

Later that day, Hamid had actually come to my house to apologize for what he did and we became friends would you know! Since that day, whenever I have needed any help, Hamid has always
been there for me and I for him.

“The believer is the mirror of his brother. The believer is the brother of a believer: he protects him from ruin and guards his back.” (Ibid)

When I told Dad about Khalid, he took a different reaction to Mom and suggested I invite him to our house. Mom agreed as well.

My dad reminded me of a beautiful verse in the Qur’an:

“Nor can Goodness and Evil be equal. Repel [Evil] with what is better: then will he between whom and you was hatred become as it were your friend and intimate! And no one will be granted such goodness except those who exercise patience and self-restraint — none but persons of the greatest good fortune.” (41:34-35)

The next day, I went to school and met Khalid. I said, “Assalam Alaykum” but he ignored me. Phased but still determined I handed him an envelope later that day which contained a note inviting him to our house, and walked away.

Later that afternoon when I was at home doing my school assignment, the doorbell rang. I opened the door to find Khalid standing in front of me. Dad invited him in and asked if he would like to join us for dinner. I told Khalid, “Mom’s cooking is amazing, you have to try it!” It was clear he was feeling a bit nervous but Dad talked to him about his favorite soccer team to ease the nerves. That evening we all had an amazing time together, and mamas’ cooking truly tasted amazing.

Dad suggested Khalid invite his parents with him next time so that we could all have dinner together but at the mention of his parents, a wave of sadness came to his face. He said his parents had gotten divorced when he was young and that he lived alone with his father. This is when I started to get to know Khalid and understand what he had gone through in life.

After dinner, I took Khalid to my room and we talked. He told me about his life and parents, and the emptiness he felt in his heart. Every night, he said, he prayed for his mother and missed her so much. Whenever he met with her, his father and mother ended up getting into arguments and using foul language. Just by how he recounted the memories’ it was clear to see he was in pain. Things became even more difficult, he said, when his mother had migrated to a different country and left him seeing less of her. Growing up without a mother had left a dull ache in his heart which sometimes’ turned into anger and frustration.

It was getting late at night. Dad called both of us downstairs. While Khalid was about to leave, Dad asked Mom to get the tray. In the tray were different kinds of ‘Itr. It is my family custom to put some ‘Itr on our guests before they leave.

“Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him honor his guest.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

The next day, Khalid’s attitude changed towards me. He came and sat next to me in class. We had a great time together. After school, I asked Khalid to come along with me to the Masjid. We both prayed Salat Al Asr together and came home with sweets. I then gave Khalid a special gift. Khalid felt very happy when he opened it. The special gift was the Glorious Qur’an. I told him that I loved him for the sake of Allah Subhana Wa Ta’ala.

“Whoever meets his Muslim brother and makes him happy with something that Allah likes, Allah will make him happy on the Day of Resurrection.” (Tabaraani)

“Allah says: ‘My love is granted to those who love one another for My sake, who visit one another for My sake, and who spend on one another for My sake.’” (Maalik:Al Mutawwa, 2/953)

Every day we went to the Masjid and learned so much from the Imam. The Imam also advised us both about not using foul language and the virtues of good speech. He said that the Prophet Muhammad (Sall Allahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said:

“Allah does not love anyone who is foul-mouthed and obscene.” (Bukhari) “Allah will hate the disgusting, foul-mouthed person.” (Ahmad)

Anas ibn Maalik (Radi Allahu Anhu), who accompanied the Prophet (Sall Allahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) closely for many years, said:

“The Prophet (Sall Allahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) never used foul language, or cursed, or swore. When he wanted to rebuke someone, he would say, ‘What is wrong with him? May his forehead be covered with dust!’” (Fath al-Baari, 10/452)

The Imam was very kind and merciful to us. Khalid and I tried to practice Qur’an at the Masjid as well. We both took Qur’an classes. Both of us loved Qur’an and started to learn its tafseer as well. Through understanding Islam together, this is how Khalid and I became best friends.

“Whoever guides others to do good will have a reward like that of the person who does the good deed.” (Muslim 13/38)

A week later Hamid, who had now become a hafiz, came back from his visit in Saudi Arabia and joined us. We all learned so much from each other. We loved to pray and completed with one another in fasting and Qur’an memorization. Alhamdulillah for everything.

“Allah is noble (Kareem) and loves noble people. He loves noble things and hates foolishness.” (Tabaraani)

This is the story of Salman and Khalid. We can learn so much from this story. Nowadays many children and adults are using foul language. In my own experience, a little child once said a bad word to me. The kid was very small and so I asked if he knew what the word he had used meant. It was clear from his confused expression that he did not. Many parents today fight in front of their children and use foul language. Some children learn bad words from other kids at school, whilst some learn it from their parents. I would say if the parents teach their children at home not to use bad language and explain that this is harmful then they can stop this bad characteristic developing in their children.

In the story of Salman and Khalid, we can see how Salman’s parents communicate well with their child. They helped Salman when he had a bad day at school and taught him good lessons to become a better Muslim. The story also demonstrates how good companionship shines through and can help others who live in darkness. We all can change no matter where we are coming from but importantly we have to also be forgiving and merciful to one another just as the Prophet (Sall Allahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) had been. We should help one another towards Jannah Insha Allah and aim to become better Muslims.

Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said:

“The good companion and the bad companion are like the bearer of musk and the one who pumps the bellows. With the bearer of musk, either he will give you a share, or you will buy from him, or you will smell a pleasant scent from him; but with the one who pumps the bellows, either he will burn your clothes or you will smell a foul stench from him.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

May Allah Subhana Wa Ta’ala grant us all good company, Ameen.

[Note: This is not a true story]

Story submitted by Ishrat Ali