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The Essentials of Friendship

"When a person cares not about three things, then separate from him even if the return is but a fistful of ashes. These are loyalty, willingness to spend, and guarding your secrets. Know the enemy of my friend is my enemy. And the friend of my enemy is my friend."

COMMENTARY - Hypocrisy: Hazrat Ali very clearly directs us that we should not cultivate any type of relationship with a person who does not reciprocate with warmth. Such a person should be left and no ill-feelings should come in one's heart on being separated from such a hypocrite. Note that this principle applies to developing social ties with others. However, one should be full of tolerance and patience with one's relatives.

COMMENTARY: This is the very basic principle on which friendship between two persons can be maintained; contrary to this, if a person has a friend, and that friend of his is also friendly with his enemy, then it will be very foolish on the part of the friend of that person to take him as a friend. This is not all that simple in its larger context. The principle also applies in the international friendship between two countries or communities. For instance, as we find that there is a country which maintains friendship with some Muslim countries and at the same maintains very firm, friendly ties with the enemy of the Muslims. Then it means that that country is fooling or exploiting its Muslim friend. Though this is a very simple and basic principle, yet the so-called wise politicians always suffer humiliation from the hands of their so-called friends. And yet the Muslims do not wish to learn from their rich cultural heritage of Al-Islam.