Blacksmith vs. Perfume Seller

“There is nothing that corrupts a person or rectifies him more than his companion” Sufyan al-Thawri.

Friendship? This is an integral aspect of human life, especially among the youth. We often feel that it is necessary to befriend the most “popular” student in order to maintain our reputation among our peers. What about our reputation among the angels and Allah?

In a hadeeth, the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) compares friendship to the likeness of a blacksmith and a perfume seller. A man walked into a blacksmith’s shop and looked around, captivated by what the blacksmith was doing. After leaving, the man realized that although he did not physically participate in the blacksmith’s job, he still smelled of soot and smoke. The man later went to a perfume shop. He walked in to be introduced by the multiple scents wafting through the air. When the man left the shop, he realized that although he did not buy any perfume, he departed with the most pleasing fragrance.

This comparison goes to show that we do not have to be of those who sin to be influenced. Our friends have a direct impact on the way we behave and carry ourselves. When we surround ourselves with good company, we eventually begin to emulate their behaviors and attitudes. Likewise, when we surround ourselves with those who regularly, and perhaps purposely, engage in sinful behavior, we risk justifying their actions and losing pieces of ourselves.

Be careful whom you befriend because as humans we tend to imitate. What better way is there to use this tendency to our advantage than by surrounding ourselves with those who incline toward spirituality or at the very least refrain from negative influences.