It was hard to tell what actually woke me up. It couldn’t have been my alarm as my thumb reflexively hits the “dismiss” button within seconds, that’s the only job it has throughout the night; my sleep was induced when it started raining so it wasn’t the weather; it couldn’t have been mosquitoes, I’m so generous that I let them have their fill while I sleep peacefully, and their nasty karaoke is rather a lullaby for me (that’s how much of a terrible “sleeper” I am). It was somewhat of a mystery. What wasn’t mysterious though, was why I couldn’t return immediately to my lovely sleep. It was those voices.
I laid drearily in bed, eyes barely seeing through their half-shut lids, muscles obviously ignoring the calls from my brain to wake up. I peered lazily to my right and I saw them, all three of them. Each standing upright, head down, hands to chest, tens of centimeters apart but they all faced the same direction; they all had the same goal. For a moment I just laid there and watched my new roommates on Qiyaamul Layl, marvelling at how three different voices from three people reading different Surah had such a symphonic effect on me, it had wiped sleep off my face.
I reminisced on how different it was a few months back, in my previous room with 2 other muslims, it wasn’t like what I had with my new roommates. I’d say we competed in doing good deeds, that is if good deeds were video games (it was always about PES17 and I wasn’t even that good at it). They were good guys no doubt, but they never added value to my existence as a muslim, it was always fruitless arguments, books, jokes, games, and more games.
With new company came new routine. My relationship with my new roommates was positively synergistic. We talked about more beneficial things; Qur’aan, Ahaadith, Aqeedah, we went for halqah, and had video games once a while. We had fun whilst not losing track of the things that really matter in the dunyah. It was the best love story.
As I looked on that night, the whispers became louder, and rather than stretch my eyelids I opened my mind. What I saw were not just men, they were soldiers waging a war against their whims and caprices, resisting the soothing grasp of sleep just to stand tranquil in obedience to the One, to please Him. It was that feeling again, the one I got every time I saw them do acts of ibaadah. It wasn’t compulsion, it was stronger but not as violent. The whispers of the Night Soldiers encouraged me to shut out sleep, jump off my bed and pick my kettle. The whispers gave me natural potentiation.
“وَٱصْبِرْ نَفْسَكَ مَعَ ٱلَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ رَبَّهُم بِٱلْغَدَوٰةِ وَٱلْعَشِىِّ يُرِيدُونَ وَجْهَهُۥ ۖ وَلَا تَعْدُ عَيْنَاكَ عَنْهُمْ تُرِيدُ زِينَةَ ٱلْحَيَوٰةِ ٱلدُّنْيَا ۖ وَلَا تُطِعْ مَنْ أَغْفَلْنَا قَلْبَهُۥ عَن ذِكْرِنَا وَٱتَّبَعَ هَوَىٰهُ وَكَانَ أَمْرُهُۥ فُرُطًا”
“And keep yourself (O Muhammad ﷺ) patiently with those who call on their Lord (i.e. your companions who remember their Lord with glorification, praising in prayers, etc., and other righteous deeds, etc.) morning and afternoon, seeking His Face, and let not your eyes overlook them, desiring the pomp and glitter of the life of the world; and obey not him whose heart We have made heedless of Our Remembrance, one who follows his own lusts and whose affair (deeds) has been lost.”
A person is the company they, it’s as simple as that. Friends go a long way in determining how we live our lives. No matter how upright one may strive to be, constant exposure to those who are nonchalant towards the Deen, makes it mostly difficult to maintain one’s level of piety, talk less of improving on one’s spiritual life. This is because human beings are created weak, and although the degree varies for different individual, we are all in an ongoing strife against our desires. A very important one of the few factors that can better the effect of these desires is constantly being in the midst of people that are upright and serious about the Deen. These are people who will not hesitate to call you to order when you seem to be getting lax, they enjoin good and keep you within the boundaries of Allaah.
Try to ascertain what your friends bring to the table, if it’s all gist, fun outings, video games, girls/boys and the likes you need to give them space.
We must remember that the sole aim of our existence is to please Allaah and we must do all that will make this easier.
Allaah has given us a golden advice in the Aayah above. May He grant us the good sense to take it.
Lessons from the “Diary of a Curious Stranger” (Based on true events),
By Abu Zayd,
27th of Dhul Hijjah, 1438 AH.