*Do they help you become a better and productive person?
It’s a mistaken belief that a ‘good friend likes you for what you are’. A sincere friend inspires you, either with words or actions, to improve your personality and situation.
In a beautiful analogy, the Prophet likened the company of a sincere friend to visiting a perfume seller. Every time you visit the perfume seller, you benefit from his shop: You get some perfume as a present, or you buy some from him or, at the least, you obtain a beautiful fragrance from his company. [Bukhari & Muslim]
*Are they like a mirror to you?
The Prophet stated, “The believer is like a mirror to other believers (in truthfulness) .” [Abu Daud]. Like a mirror, your friend gives you an honest image. She forgives your mistakes, but does not hide or exaggerate your strengths and weaknesses.
*Do their manners and lifestyle remind you of Allah? Once the Prophet was asked, “What person can be the best friend?” “He who helps you remember Allah, and reminds you when you forget Him,” he counselled.
The Prophet was further asked, “Who is the best among people?” He replied, “He who, when you look at him, you remember Allah”. Such a friend reflects qualities of love, mercy, honesty, service, patience, optimism, professionalism, and the entire lifestyle taught by Islam.
*Do they love you solely for the sake of Allah?
The bonds we form at work, school and in the neighbourhood may whither over time if they are not built for the right reason. Friendship based on Islamic principles is sincere and everlasting, since it is strengthened by a higher purpose and fervent faith.
*Do you feel comfortable and secure in their presence?
If your friend’s company makes you feel guilty about the things you do and thoughts you share, you must question the benefit of this relationship. Consider the wise saying: “Being alone is better than having an evil companion and having a sincere companion is better than being alone.”
“And keep yourself content with those who call on their Lord morning and evening, seeking His Countenance, and let not your eyes pass beyond them to those who seek the pomp and glitter of this life.” [ 18:28 ]