Volume 3, Book 34, Number 314:
Narrated Abu Musa (radiallaahu `anhu):
Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “The example of a good companion (who sits with you) in comparison with a bad one, is I like that of the musk seller and the blacksmith’s bellows (or furnace); from the first you would either buy musk or enjoy its good smell while the bellows would either burn your clothes or your house, or you get a bad nasty smell thereof.”
Be very careful while choosing your friends because they play an important role in making the future you. You will be influenced by them, willingly or unwillingly. So favor the perfume-seller over the blacksmith.
Having bad friends can not only have adverse effects on your life in this world, it can sabotage your eternal bliss in the Hereafter as well. Why would you want to risk that?
وَيَوْمَ يَعَضُّ الظَّالِمُ عَلَىٰ يَدَيْهِ يَقُولُ يَا لَيْتَنِي اتَّخَذْتُ مَعَ الرَّسُولِ سَبِيلًا
يَا وَيْلَتَىٰ لَيْتَنِي لَمْ أَتَّخِذْ فُلَانًا خَلِيلًا
لَّقَدْ أَضَلَّنِي عَنِ الذِّكْرِ بَعْدَ إِذْ جَاءَنِي ۗ وَكَانَ الشَّيْطَانُ لِلْإِنسَانِ خَذُولًا
“And the Day 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.
He led me away from the remembrance after it had come to me. And ever is Satan, to man, a deserter.”
Narrated Anas bin Malik:
Two of the companions of the Prophet departed from him on a dark night and were led by two lights like lamps (going in front of them from Allah as a miracle) lighting the way in front of them, and when they parted, each of them was accompanied by one of these lights till he reached their (respective) houses.
This Hadith talks about a miracle. After sitting in Prophet (SAW)’s company, these two companions left with a physical light. I want to talk about another kind of light that one gets as a result of good company. Spiritual, you may say.
You must have felt it at some point in your life. That feeling after meeting a righteous person/religious scholar. Prophet (SAW) once gave a very interesting parable regarding this:
On the authority of Abu Musa al-Ash’ari (رضي الله عنه ), the Prophet (صلي الله عليه و سلم ) said:
A good friend and a bad friend are like a perfume-seller and a blacksmith: The perfume-seller might give you some perfume as a gift, or you might buy some from him, or at least you might smell its fragrance. As for the blacksmith, he might singe your clothes, and at the very least you will breathe in the fumes of the furnace.
[Sahih al-Bukhari, vol 3, #314 and Muslim]
So after visiting a ‘good’ friend, you’re left with a good smell, a nice feeling – a spiritual light. It is your choice to let that light shine, or just let it die out with time.
Tip: to fuel your spiritual light, you need to keep visiting your good friends, find righteous company, spend time with the knowledgable and get as much positive energy from Qur’an, Hadith and Islamic literature as you can.
Smell good! (For the clueless: it is not just a literal statement.) :)