choosing for your friend a person

by Aqeela Naqvi

do not choose for your friend a person unless they wake you in the early hours of morning for prayer. unless their company moves you to the book of God as they share with you a verse that moves them. unless they silence your tongue if they catch it in vain speech, reminding you of more lofty conversation.

do not choose for your friend a person unless they weep in your presence and you weep in theirs when matters of the beloveds are remembered. unless in your moments of weakness they remind you of your strength urging you to reach your potential. unless when your feet begin to give way, they steady you with their step – two souls, one goal, a path to eternity.

do not choose for your friend a person unless you can spend hours together in silence, lost in the comfort of wordless conversations. unless they add sweetness to your solitude as you sit side by side, a stillness of remembering who you are. unless in the glow of pink sunsets you catch their gaze set on the horizon, and it draws your spirit to the yearning of flight.

do not choose for your soul a friend – do not choose for your friend a person – unless you would choose their shoulder to stand next to yours in prayer . . . for my dear soul, if a friend does not love the conversation of God, how will you ever find God’s love in their conversation?

to the friends of my soul – the ones who need not be named,  because they already know exactly who they are. the ones i say i have chosen but did not, in reality, choose,
for they have been part of me all along.

the friends of my spirit. who i knew in an existence long before this one – separated upon coming to this world, but for whose company my heart had been restless. spending years, traveling the world, searching with bleeding hands, grasping thorny wires, navigating mazes razored by the winding strings of fate – not knowing who it was i was looking for, a stranger to the trace of your faces, lost to the mountains or valleys which held you.

until, one day –
a second’s glance. a chance meeting. an encounter in the street.
a hesitance at an unfamiliar face . . . a meeting of eyes.
a recognition. an exhale.

in words, a ‘nice to meet you,’
in souls, ‘we meet again, at last…’

to the spirits i have found, and the ones i have yet to find – the friends who are my most honest teachers and critics. the ones who are always pushing me to be better, always better. the ones who remind me of what i must be, even when – especially when – i am unable to remind myself. the ones whose voices come like moments of calm in the center of teeming storms.

i do not deserve to stand by your side.
and so, i pray that God makes me worthy of your company.
worthy of being with you on that day it matters most,
when we finally journey into forever.

thank you.

i am eternally grateful to Allah, the most Gracious, the most Kind,
for allowing me the honor of your friendship.
i appreciate each of you more than you will ever know.