Editor's note: Our long-time writer, Layla Abdullah-Poulos, is taking on different activities in a year-long journey of self awareness, self empowerment and healing, which she is documenting throughout 2023 in a four-part series at The Haute Take. This, part four, is the autumn cycle of Layla’s journey, her last entry, and focuses on the healing power of friendships. Click here to read part one from the winter cycle. Click here to read part two from the spring cycle. Click here to read part three from the summer cycle. We hope it inspires you to embark on your own healing journey.
In life, we all face trials and tribulations that can shake us to our core. It's during these times that we often seek solace, support and healing. I've personally navigated through such challenging moments the past few years, and this past year I’ve made a concerted effort to focus on my healing.
I can't emphasize enough the significance of having friends by your side on this healing journey.
The Power of Friendship in Healing
When life throws its darkest moments our way, it's easy to feel isolated and overwhelmed. However, our friends, like shining beacons of light, can help guide us out of the depths of despair. Islamic teachings underscore the importance of genuine friendship and how it can be a source of immense comfort during difficult times.
In the Quran, we find verses that extol the virtues of companionship:
And the Day when the wrongdoer will bite on his hands [in regret], he will say, 'Oh, I wish I had taken with the Messenger a way. Oh, woe to me! I wish I had not taken that one as a friend.”
These verses remind us of the consequences of choosing the wrong company and the regret it can bring in times of need.
Layla with some of her friends at a Zumba class.
The Role of Friends in the Healing Journey
When enduring major life tragedies, seeking emotional, spiritual and mental repair becomes essential. Friends play a pivotal role in this process. They offer a safe space to share our pain and vulnerabilities. In Islamic tradition, the Prophet Muhammad (saw) said, "A believer is a mirror to another believer." (Hadith) True friends reflect our struggles and joys, offering empathy, understanding and support.
Friends are the unsung heroes who stand by your side, offering unwavering support even when words fail. Their presence alone can provide a sense of comfort and reassurance, reminding you that you're not alone in your struggle. This support was instrumental in my ability to keep moving forward.
I've experienced the healing power of friendship firsthand. My friends provided a shoulder to cry on, offered prayers and kind words, and simply listened when I needed to express my pain. Their presence reminded me of Allah's (S) mercy and love, helping me find solace amid chaos. They shook me when I needed to be shaken, held me when I needed to be held and laughed with me when I needed laughter in my life.
As an author, I'm accustomed to delving into the depths of human experiences through my writing. However, it was my friends who offered fresh perspectives and insights into my own journey. Their unique viewpoints challenged me to see my healing process from different angles, helping me gain a deeper understanding of myself.
Image source: Pexels
Islamic Teachings on True Friendship
In Islam, true friendship is built on faith, trust and sincerity. The Quran emphasizes the importance of choosing friends wisely:
O you who have believed, do not take as intimates those other than yourselves, for they will not spare you [any] ruin. They wish you would have hardship. Hatred has already appeared from their mouths, and what their breasts conceal is greater.”
This verse encourages us to surround ourselves with friends who uplift us spiritually and emotionally rather than those who may lead us astray. True friends support us in our pursuit of healing and personal growth.
My friends made sure to acknowledge and celebrate every step of progress on my healing journey. These moments of celebration served as beacons of hope during the darkest times.
In times of profound distress and sorrow, the support of friends is a precious gift. Islamic teachings remind us of the value of choosing companions wisely and nurturing genuine friendships. We can’t go through life alone; community and solid friendships are so important, so the time you invest in nurturing good friendships is time well invested. These bonds can be a source of strength, comfort and healing on our journey to emotional, spiritual and mental repair.
Remember, reader, that you don't have to walk this path alone. Reach out to your friends, lean on their support, and let the healing power of true friendship illuminate your darkest days. In the words of the Prophet Muhammad (saw), "A friend is the one who knows all about you and still loves you." May your healing journey be blessed with such loving friends by your side.
Thank you for being with me this year as I documented my healing journey. Surely it is not over, but Alhamdulillah for the progress I’ve made (despite setbacks along the way) and the support I’ve received. So grateful to Allah (S).
Are you on a healing journey? If so, what has been helping you? Share with us in the comments below.