Dare Not To Call A Person A Friend.
Imam Ali Ibn Abu Talib (AS) once said: “Call no one your friend until you know the end of his days.” The human race
has forever suffered and continues to suffer from the fickleness of friends. Lucky is the person who has a friend and the more
fortunate is the one who is able to recognize and retain a friend.
I cannot forget the following few lines of verses I learned in my local school when I was young:
I fell into grief and began to complain,
I looked for a friend but I sought him in vain.
Companions were shy and acquaintances were bold
They gave me good council but dreaded their gold.
It is also worth quoting from Thomas Moore’s poem: “The Light Of Other Days”
When I remember all
The friends, so link’d together,
I’ve seen around me fall
Like leaves in wintry weather,
I recall an old 1951 Indian Movie “AFSANA” which I saw a long time back. It has a lovely song with a very touching scene,
where a person reduced from riches to rags is seen walking in one direction while his shadow stays behind.
Jub boorra zamana aata hey
Saaya bi juda hota hey.
It is a well known fact that a person will have crowds of friends as long as his purse is full and open. But when his fortune
takes a wrong turn, then he is dropped by everyone
إن قل مالي فلا خل يساعدني و إن زاد مالي فكل الناس خلاني
فكم عدوٍ لأجل المال صاحبني و كم صديق بعد فقد المال عاداني
When I was young, and hale and rich,
People moved closer to me; foot and inch.
They envied my wealth to the very cent
Their jealous minds ever on evil bent
Unaware I enjoyed their company day and night
Heard their flattering praises and took delight
They danced when I sang and I did the same
Nobody warned me about this sarcastic game.
They drank from my wine and ate my food
They gulped and gobbled of all that was good
The ladies of the night, scantily attired
Would dance and swing without getting tired
Crowds of them swarmed my huge dining table
Stuffing on delicacies until they were unable
To help themselves up and retire to bed
Falling off from chairs drunk and overfed
It was hilarious and funny but also sad
Like so many fat flies swatted dead
My butler warned me but I paid no heed
Why worry when I have so many friends indeed.
One day I happened to visit the treasure room
Ignorant of what awaited me in that gloom
Transfixed, horrified I looked with a fixed stare
At the huge iron coffers almost empty and bare
As my wealth started to dwindle and shrink
I contemplated my misfortunes and began to think
I slowly put a stop to all the extravagant waste
Learning a lesson from my folly of the past
The crowds of my friends quickly reduced to few,
Until finally; even they took wing and flew.
To find another fat purse; to sup and to dine
And eat away his riches and drink off his wine.
Desperate for aid I visited them one by one,
They would hide when they saw me or quickly run
Who once used to greet me with outstretched arms
Now saw me as a carcass infested with worms.
I learned to my sorrow that the human race
Is teaming with scoundrels, each with a double face
Therefore, until they perish and meet their end
Only then one dare to call a person friend.
By Mustafa Mohamed Said (Ex PDO) 13th July 2007