By: Jamaal Diwan
Ibn ʿAṭā said:
“Do not keep company with anyone whose state does not inspire you and whose speech does not lead you to God.”
The Prophet, peace be upon him, said:
“The person is on the dīn of their close friend, so look at who your friends are.”
This is a reminder that we hear a lot but is sometimes very hard to implement. Often times we keep people around us who we know are bad influences not because we agree with what they are doing or how they live but because it gives us an excuse for our own weaknesses and lack of ambition. We sometimes keep people around just so that we can think better of ourselves. This is unacceptable. It reminds of a quote of Marianne Williamson that is read in the movie “Coach Carter.” She said:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us…Your playing small does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
It is time for us to stop fearing our own potential. God will not test us with more than we can bear. Part of that is to make sure that we deliberately and purposefully surround ourselves with people who strive to worship God in the best way possible and serve humanity. It does not mean that we have to ignore people who are struggling or weak, of course not. But it does mean that if we want to be great then we should surround ourselves with great people, and we should love them. There is a reason why the Prophet (pbuh) told us that the person will be with those whom they loved in the Hereafter. Even if we feel that we are short of greatness we should be around those who embody the Prophetic example in their lives with the hope that God, through His infinite generosity, will join us with them in the hereafter.
 Translation taken from jannah.org
 Narrated in many different sources. An acceptable hadith.