لَا يَكُونُ الصَّدِيقُ صَدِيقاً حَتَّى يَحْفَظَ أَخَاهُ فِى ثَلَاثٍ فِى نَكْبَتِهِ وَ غَيْبَتِهِ وَ وَفَاتِهِ۔
A friend is not a friend unless he affords protection to his comrade on three occasions: in his adversity, in his absence and at his death.
— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #134)
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. Praise be to Allah, the Lord of all the worlds. May peace and blessings be upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), his pure progeny, and his noble companions.
The Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) states,
A friend is not a friend unless he affords protection to his comrade on three occasions: in his adversity, in his absence, and at his death.
This enlightening saying highlights the true essence of friendship and the responsibilities that come with it.
Let us delve into the meanings of the important words in this Hadith. The word (sadiq) "صَدِيق" refers to a friend or companion, someone who is close and trustworthy. (hatta) "حَتَّى" means "until" or "unless," indicating that the true nature of friendship is only realized when certain conditions are met. (yahfath) "يَحْفَظَ" means to protect or safeguard, emphasizing the duty of a friend to provide support and assistance.
To understand the depth of this Hadith, we turn to the Quran for guidance. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says in Surah Al-Hujurat (49:10),
The believers are but brothers, so make settlement between your brothers. And fear Allah that you may receive mercy.
This verse emphasizes the importance of unity and support among believers, highlighting the responsibility of a friend to aid their comrade in times of need.
Furthermore, in Surah Al-Baqarah (2:233), Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) instructs parents to provide for their children, even after their death. This verse showcases the significance of fulfilling one's duties towards loved ones, even in their absence or after their passing. Similarly, a true friend should extend their support to their comrade during their absence and after their death.
Imam Ali's (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) statement highlights three specific occasions where a friend's protection is crucial. Firstly, during adversity or hardship, a true friend stands by their companion, offering solace, guidance, and assistance. This aligns with the Quranic principle of brotherhood and support among believers.
Secondly, in the absence of a friend, it is essential to maintain a sense of connection and care. This can be achieved through regular communication, checking up on one another, and ensuring their well-being. The Quran reminds us in Surah Al-Imran (3:159) to consult and cooperate with one another, emphasizing the importance of maintaining strong bonds even when physically apart.
Lastly, a true friend extends their protection and support even after the death of their comrade. This involves fulfilling their final wishes, supporting their family, and preserving their legacy. The Quran encourages believers to honor the rights of the deceased and fulfill their obligations towards them, as mentioned in Surah Al-Baqarah (2:177).
Imam Ali's (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) profound statement serves as a reminder to Muslims of the responsibilities that come with friendship. It teaches us to be loyal, compassionate, and supportive towards our friends, especially during times of difficulty, absence, and after their passing. By fulfilling these duties, we not only strengthen our bonds of friendship but also uphold the teachings of the Quran and the noble example set by the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) and his Ahl al-Bayt (عَلَيْهِمُ ٱلسَّلَامُ).
May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) grant us the ability to be true friends and companions to one another, following the teachings of the Quran and the Ahl al-Bayt (عَلَيْهِمُ ٱلسَّلَامُ). May He bless us with the strength to protect, support, and care for our friends in their times of need, and may He unite us all in the eternal bond of brotherhood.
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