"To love for the sake of Allah" means loving someone above worldly motives or gains; it is the love that exists between two people because of their mutual yearning for higher levels of piety and a common desire to lead a devout Muslim life. This kind of love might exist between two school-going youngsters, a couple of stay-at-home mothers in the same neighborhood, or two men frequenting the same mosque on a regular basis. It might even exist between close family members and/or relatives. Its chief characteristics are sincerity, selfless empathy and compassion.
Those who love for the sake of Allah help and support each other in becoming better Muslims. They usually meet on a collective level for the promotion or betterment of Islam, or that of Muslims in general, by organizing welfare, educational and entertainment programs for the community.
Narrated by Mu`adh Bin Jabal [may Allah be pleased with him]: Allah's Messenger [Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him] said, "Allah, the Exalted, has said:
“For those who love one another for the sake of My Glory, there will be seats of light (on the Day of Standing), and they will be envied by the Prophets and Martyrs".
It is these people who are earning a reward from Allah even when they are just enjoying themselves in each other’s company without doing any apparent act of worship.
Narrated by Abu Dharr Ghifaari [may Allah be pleased with him]: Allah's Messenger [Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him] said: "The best of deeds is to love for the sake of Allah and to hate for the sake of Allah".
[Sunan Abu Dawood: 4582]
It is no secret that most people move around in those social circles that provide them some worldly benefit. They might attend corporate events in order to rub shoulders with the top management, hoping for a promotion; they might be seen at social gala’s to be classified with the city’s upper-rung “elite”; they may invite only those families for dinner who can provide their children with better play-dates, improving their future career or marriage prospects. Most of the bases of these social friendships are motives for personal gain. It is no wonder, then, that rich and glamorous people always have a high-flying social life, whereas poor and untalented people often lead lonely, isolated lives by comparison. These biased distinctions in forming human relationships begin as early as high school: the pretty, smart girls hang around together, get chosen for extra-curricular activities and sororities, and ignore the pudgy, nerdy ones who don't possess a talented personality or glamorous image.
What are those people to do, then, who realize that they do not love their “best friends” for Allah’s sake, but for worldly reasons, and that these friends are in fact taking them further away from Allah? Here is a list of suggestions:
Face the facts. Admit to yourself that your friend’s company is becoming detrimental to you and your final reckoning. Until and unless you do this, you cannot make a turnaround for the better. Feel remorse that you both have not been making more of an effort for finding the company of pious people. As a result, both of you have been helping each other move away from Allah.
Cutting off the friendship is not the solution. If the thought enters your head that maybe you should end the friendship, dismiss it. You and your friend both have to turn over a new leaf to make your relationship a means of pleasing Allah.
Join a study group. Find places you both can frequent regularly, where people of your own age and background get together to study the Quran and Sunnah.
Aim for gradual improvement. An abrupt, drastic change never lasts. Try to slowly and gradually change the wrong things that you do. Establish serious and mature communication between yourselves. Help and advise each other in a polite manner, about what actions you both need to give up.
Look out for new friends. In the long run, if either one of you feels that their “best friend” does not want to travel on the path towards reformation, pray for their guidance and keep trying to invite them towards the path of Allah. If they still persist in pulling you in the other direction, ask Allah to give you the company of another friend -- one who will be your support, not an obstacle, in leading a pious life. Remember that Allah is Capable of Everything. He is the only One who can provide you with a better friend.
Remember that one’s company is one’s final destination.
Anas Bin Malik [may Allah be pleased with him] narrated that a desert Arab said to Allah's Messenger [Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him]: “When will be the Last Hour?” Allah's Messenger said: “What preparation have you made for it?” Thereupon he said: “I love Allah and His Messenger”. Thereupon he (Allah's Messenger) said: “You will be with the one you love”.
[Sahih Muslim: Book 32, Number 6378]
Abu Musa [may Allah be pleased with him] reported Allah's Messenger [Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him] as saying: “The similitude of good company and that of bad company is that of the owner of musk (perfume) and that of the one (iron-smith) blowing bellows, (respectively); ……….and the owner of musk would either offer you some free of charge, or you would buy it from him, or (at least) you would smell its pleasant fragrance; ……….and as for the one who blows the bellows, he would either burn your clothes or you shall have to smell its repugnant smell.”
[Sahih Muslim: Book 32, Number 6361]
The Prophet Muhammad [Allah's peace and blessings be upon him] said: "A person is on the Deen [way of life] of his 'khaleel' [closest friend]. So be careful whom you befriend."
[Sunan Abu Dawood, Al-Tirmidhi]
What better than to heed the advice of our role-model Prophet Muhammad [Allah's peace and blessings be upon him] in all aspects of social relationships?