Rightly Guided Ones

By Imam Jamal Rahman

“Follow those who ask no reward of you and are themselves rightly guided.” (Qur’an 36:21)

“Join together in the mutual teaching of truth and patience.”(Qur’an 103:3)

There comes a time in one’s life when our heart yearns for spiritual companions. We seek a circle of special friends. These are members who selflessly support one another, and are eager to learn and share spiritual practices to evolve in personal growth.

Even prophets sought companions. The Prophet Muhammad over time had a large following but he also had an inner circle of confidantes. These were a very small number of distinctive friends-both men and women- “who hearken to their Lord” and with whom he conducted spiritual affairs “by mutual consultation.”  (Qur’an 42:38)

These friends are “special” because they pass three selective gateways, say Sufi sages.

The first is mutual affection. The 9th century Sufi teacher Bayazid Bistami advises us to befriend and invite into our lives those “whose hearts tremble with awe whenever God is mentioned” (Qur’an 8:2) because it is in the nature of such people to hold us in their hearts.

The second is to bring into your circle only those you trust. Without trust, there is little possibility of being vulnerable, and without vulnerability there is no authentic relationship.

The third is to allow into your unique group those who have a passion for truth, and are patient in their behavior. The Qur’an suggests that learning and practicing the divine attributes of truth and patience are essential for our spiritual development.

May our lives be blessed by spiritual companions. Choose wisely. The Prophet Muhammad said, “A person’s spiritual practice is only as good as those of his close friends, so consider well whom you befriend.”

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