RECENTLY I went to an old friend's wedding reception in Shah Alam. But don't get me wrong; it was his eldest son's wedding, not his. Since he was my former school mate, I tried hard to make it eventhough the venue of the wedding was quite far from my home in Melaka.
To go to wedding by the family's car would cost at least RM100 for the fuel and toll and with the +++ (plus, plus) items such as buying drinks and food, another RM100 would be needed. And for the 'ang pau' (gift) another RM100 or at least RM50 must be put aside. Since it was in the middle of the month with my budget running short; I opted to go alone by bus instead.
Since the wedding reception was on Sunday, I began my journey on Saturday evening. I caught the 7:30 pm express bus to Shah Alam from Melaka Sentral. The ticket was RM16.50; the journey was 'alhamdulillah' smooth. I reached the bus station in Seksyen 13 Shah Alam at about 9:30 pm. The station was a small one; the bus stopped at a roadside; then I was left alone in the dark...what to do next, I did a 'quick thinking'...why not just walk along the road, 'insya-Allah', there would be always 'light at the end of the tunnel', I tried to coax myself.
After walking for about 15 minutes; I spotted a minaret of a 'masjid'...'alhamdulillah', I headed straight to the ground of the masjid, hopeful that the 'atmosphere' there was 'a friendly one' for a weary and tired traveler like me! At first I checked the toilets...well toilets were 'a must'...suddenly 'from nowhere' a person in uniform whom later I identified as a guard of the 'masjid' was next to me.
I asked him whether it was okay for me to spend the night at the 'masjid' but he did not respond. I asked him again, he only smiled; that signaled the green light...thus 'my activity' in the 'masjid' began. I cleaned myself and after doing the 'solat tahiyatul masjid' (a recommended prayer when one enters a masjid), I tried to sleep but I could not do so until the wee hours of the night.
When I was on my back, a realized a young man in a white 'jubah' (robe) was restlessly walking up and down the section which I was lying. His hands were busy on his electronic device - perhaps an I-Pad. He then settled at a spot several feet from me and perform his 'solat' (prayers). Perhaps he was doing his 'solat tahajud' (a recommended late night prayer)...I heard him recited some 'surah' (verses) from the Qur'an beautifully...
At about 3.00 am, I went to the toilet, took ablution and perform the night prayers. That 'guy' was still at his spot...I heard him recited a very long 'du'a'. After prayers, once again I laid down on my back but the stranger was still in the same position...
Only after the 'subuh' (fajr) prayers and 'kuliah subuh' (early morning lessons) I got to know the young man. He claimed to be a 'tahfiz' student in Kelantan who was having a break and to make full use of the time, he worked as a restaurant worker in Shah Alam. When he was not on duty especially at night he spent his time at the 'masjid'.
We then went to a nearby restaurant for breakfast and before I could pulled my money to make payment, he had settled the bill. After explaining to him that I wanted to go my friend's wedding reception in Seksyen 10 Shah Alam, he offered to take me there; of course 'by bus' because he too did not have any vehicle.
On our way to the wedding, we got to know more about each other (I prefer not to write his name here) and I must admit that I liked him for his courtesy and helpfulness. At the reception I introduced him to the host as my nephew; we ate and met some of my old friends. After lunch; we went our separate ways, I walked to the nearest bus stand for the journey to Kuala Lumpur while he fetched a bus to his workplace. Before that we bade goodbye to each other, I wish him the best...when we shook hands I pushed some money into his. Well, that was the last time I saw this 'nice guy' or heard anything from him eventhough I had given him my contact number while he had mine!
This is 'my story' and when an 'ustaz' who was 'lecturing' his class (congregators at a masjid near my house) regarding qualities to look for in a friend from Imam Ghazali's 'Bidayatul Hidayah' (The Beginning of Guidance) opened questions from the floor, I quickly asked him whether it is wrong for us 'to take advantage' from a short term friend (in my case befriending someone for only half a day to take me to my destination).
The 'ustaz' answered that it was not proper to do so; we should not try 'to take advantage' from a friendship. We must sincere in all our doings; we befriended and ever ready to help anybody including strangers just because Allah SWT orders us to do so. It was only to please Him and nothing else.
He said both parties must truly love to extend support and assistance to each other and must love good for one another. The Messenger of God, Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) said, “None of you will attain (perfect) faith until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
There is also a 'hadith' that mentioned among the seven categories of people that would be under the shade of Allah SWT in the Hereafter are two men who love each other for Allah's sake, meeting for that and parting upon that'...why not maximized the friendship even if it was a brief one to attain this reward.
Regarding qualities to look for in a friend, the 'ustaz' who read from 'Bidayatul Hidayah' said they are intelligence, good character, righteousness, absence of greed and truthfulness. These qualities are very important because The Messenger of God, Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) said: “A man is considered by God to be of the religion of his intimate friend (khalil) so let each of you consider whom he has taken for an intimate friend.”
Regarding intelligence, Sayyidina Ali r.a. said:
Do not be in the company of an ignorant friend;
Beware of him and let him beware of you.
How often an ignorant man has brought estruction
To a forbearing man who has befriended him.
A man is likened with another man
When that man walks with him.
Like the similarity of one shoe to another
When it is set opposite to it.
A thing has patterns and resemblances from other things.
A soul reflects another which it encounters. - ES