‘i am really confused what to do’

Q:
Salama Aalaykuom Shiek,
I have a friend that is the same gender as me. She is in my classes and she is one of the only muslim female in my classes that i know. Iam trying my best to  practice the religion and therefore, i want to be friends with muslims. So, Alhamdullah, I try to practice my religion even in school, but this friend of mine she is not very practicing. I usually pray in front of her but then at the same time i dont ask her because I dont want to put her on the spot about practicing the religion. I want to help her but at the same time i am afraid to put her on the spot. At the same time, i want to be around people that is going to help me become a better muslim. I know friends really influence you and i really dont want to be weak in my religion.I am really confused what to do? Should I stop being friends with her? But then that means I dont have any friend that are in my classes to study with . Or is it my responsibility to talk to her about the religion? Plus, She is a shai and i am sunni,
so i dont even know where to start.
Jazakallahu kahir for your time and Advice and sorry for making the question long.

A: وعليكم السلام ورحمة الله وبركاته

‘A person would be with those they love on the day of Judgment.’ (paraphrased-hadith)

I congratulate you on your efforts in wanting to be a role model for the betterment of humanity. In Islam we learn early on, whilst we do good we must be an inspiration to those around us. I am glad you are concerned about your faith as you interact with others. This is VERY important to your spiritual growth. You are very lucky to be inspired by the Creator to think as such. Its a gift of rarity.

Realities we all should be acquainted with as it relates to friends:

As humans we are social butterflies. Humans need validation. Humans tend to have a need for networks/socializing. When we do not get validation, we seek it in different places. Some of us seek it in friends, sports, online, MySpace, twitter, facebook, etc. Thus, it is fair to say, we all need friends. Likewise, we all have a human need to socialize. The type of people we socialize with would certainly affect our faith. It would be fair to say, friends are good to have. Our friends can be become a means of attaining our jannah (paradise.) These friends must be good. They must talk only about the necessary. If they talk about things that function as a deviation to that which is necessary, then in such a situation, these are not true friends.

What you must not do:

I have noticed that 90% of friends waste time. I have also noticed, 90% of people like to waste time in general. This time wastage is done through texting, emails, weekend parties, girl’s night out, guys hanging out at the movies, 5 hour basketball games, and late night trips to the gym followed by a wasted day, etc. You are too young and too valuable to allow yourself to denigrate at such an early age. Make your choices wisely with a great future in mind. Good actions come with a plan that can be followed. As I always ask our students: What is your true plan sister/brother?

As for you, I recommend the following for starters:

Continue doing your prayers. Do not preach a lot to her, you are not in school for that. Lead by example. When she inquires, then assist her. Talk about points of agreement and not differences that you know little to nothing about. No need to bring up shia/sunni issue. Just be positive, talk about Allah the Greatest in a positive manner, likewise talk about all prophets in a good respectable manner, praise the Sahaba as the Quran does without imposing yourself or your views when called to do so. Do not be negative and do not talk negative things. Only talk what you have facts about. Be the best example she ever had.  By contrast, if you feel your faith is going to be adversely affected, talk about it to your parents, religious leader, or send us a follow up email and we would try and assist you, InshaAllah.

What to do with all friends:

Respect yourself and limit your friendship interactions to that which remain necessary. Value yourself and treat yourself with respect at all times.

Allah Certainly Knows Best.

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