The law of averages
Social scientists widely believe that as individuals, various features and situations of our lives are the average of the five people we are closest with. From daily habits to earnings and from exercise routines to food tastes, we are generally revolving around the choices, routines, and averages of our closest friends.
Why does companionship matter?
Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “A man is on the religion of his friend ..”
There are various reasons that companionship affects our mind and soul. Firstly, as humans, watching another person similar to us do something interesting or something that appears to be difficult at first makes us also think that we too can achieve that feat or meet that target. It removes the ‘fog of impossibility’ of those tasks and helps us attempt the same and more often than not, we also achieve the same, surprising our own selves during the process.
Secondly, as social beings, we find companionship a great tool in sharing the issues, problems, and difficulties that appear in the way of doing some good but difficult task. As the circle of like-minded people gathered around some difficult task or a unique idea increases, the mutual help increases. This results in the aggregate confidence and positivity of the people in the circle getting increased which helps the individuals find success and strength along the path.
How to tell companionship from casual space-sharing?
Companionship that is effective has certain characteristics. Any incident of two or more people spending time together in a given space cannot just be called ‘companions’. A real, solid companionship has a few ingredients that gives it the magical powers we have talked about – getting great things done with small individual efforts done in a coordinated way.
A strong companionship starts from common and shared resolutions and deeply seated, well defined and articulated intentions. This can be anything from losing a certain amount of body fat to eradicating world hunger. When intentions meet, the entire relationship within the group changes into harmonious routines, shared sacrifices and shared joys of achievement.
After shared goals and shared resolution, come the mutual strengthening of the beliefs within the companionship circle. This aspect of shared beliefs is a slow process but when done with sincerity by the companions in the leadership role, can help increase the knowledge – and thus the belief – of other members of the circle. Effective and strong companionship leaders rely less on verbal lecturing or storytelling and focus more on how they can demonstrate the beliefs to their other companions by actions and self-demonstrated examples in their daily conduct.
Next, a meaningful companionship is all about helping and extending support to the other people in the group. Help can be extended not just in the topic of interest but in related, or even unrelated domains of the lives of the friends in the circle. The bondage thus achieved goes a long way in making the companionship into the miraculous magic wand we have mentioned above.
Modern Rat Race
Recent social literature has been extensive in documenting the rat race the modern man and woman is caught into. It is another topic worth more scholarship that despite this wealth of literature around the modern social rat race that is so boringly similar almost all around the globe, there is no collective pushback on fixing it and freeing up billions of people from its misery. Coming back to our topic, one of the key reasons why most of us are so badly trapped in the rat race is the fact that our existing companionship circles are also trapped in the same misery. Without having a better set of companions around us, it would be impossible to even think about breaking it. We need to meticulously analyze our current set of friends and circle and then effortfully try to augment or replace them with those who have found their way out of the rat race that is slowly and surely eating us alive, keeping us unhappy and desirous of peace and tranquility in our lives.
‘Live with the Pious’
One of the directives of the Quran – the true word, the holy book from the Creator Allah Almighty instructs us humans to ‘Be with the pious’ [Holy Quran 9:119]. This Quranic injunction is clear that we need to explicitly plan to remain – whenever possible – in the close vicinity and companionship of those who are pious and are striving in the way of a pious life. One of the wisdoms behind this strong suggestion for us appears to be the fact that it becomes easy to call out the fraudulent and man-made constructs of modern life for what they are and stop being a blind subject to the misery of those mental constructs. Living in the companionship of pious people also helps in following their footsteps in the path of worship, and the constant mindfulness of the Creator. Finally, this companionship automatically lends us to a great path of constant learning of the faith and true knowledge which is effortlessly transferred as part of the daily interaction with such people.
Bad Companionship & Its Effects
Just as we have theorized and empirically seen in our lives, companionship matters and it works both ways. Good friends have positive effects on our soul, mind and body while the bad ones will ruin these for us. If we do not have ready access to good friends to make our circle with yet, our first priority should be to avoid the circle of people whom we know for a fact of being on the wrong, illegal, and unethical path.
In the same line, our modern digital companions – the communication tools such as smartphones, tablets, and computers also need a careful assessment to ensure that they fall in the category of good friends instead of being an evil companion. Tons of information is available on this topic of fixing this aspect of our modern personal life.
Companionship in a Global World
Every invention and every tool has its own good or bad usage. From the kitchen knife to the electric powered trucks, tools can be used or misused. Modern life has given us unprecedented ease when it comes to getting connected with anyone on the planet. This communication is getting cheaper, faster, and effective by the day.
For those living in far off countries with little population or diverse cultures, connecting to good companions that share their vision of a noble life, love for true knowledge and worship, and the spirit of helping others on the planet, is getting easier and practical each day.
We can find great companions to share our experiences of striving for a peaceful and meaningful spiritual life in our area’s masjid, community centers and online. The resources available in these circles will help us increase our knowledge about our religion. The interaction and living examples of others will also help us in living light and trouble-free in today’s stressful environment by focusing on what matters and what is totally inconsequential.
Looking for a pious environment?
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