Al-Shāfiʿī on Fickle Friends


On Fickle Friends

إِذا المَرءُ لا يَرعاكَ إِلّا تَكَلُّفاً ** فَدَعهُ وَلا تُكثِر عَلَيهِ التَأَسُّفا

When a person won’t look out for you without it feeling forced, leave him and don’t go on about your feelings of remorse.

فَفي الناسِ أَبدالٌ وَفي التَركِ راحَةٌ ** وَفي القَلبِ صَبرٌ لِلحَبيبِ وَلَو جَفا

For [you’ll find] among people those to replace [him], and in leaving [him], there’s relief; and a heart can bear a loved one were he to become distant, cold, and brief.

فَما كُلُّ مَن تَهواهُ يَهواكَ قَلبُهُ ** وَلا كُلُّ مَن صافَيتَهُ لَكَ قَد صَفا

Not everyone whom you incline to, inclines to you with his heart, nor has everyone you’ve been a true friend to, been true to you [from the start].

إِذا لَم يَكُن صَفوُ الوِدادِ طَبيعَةً ** فَلا خَيرَ في وِدٍّ يَجيءُ تَكَلُّفا

When love that’s sincere is not natural, there’s no good when [it’s] put on and artificial.

وَلا خَيرَ في خِلٍّ يَخونُ خَليلَهُ ** وَيَلقاهُ مِن بَعدِ المَوَدَّةِ بِالجَفا

There’s no good in a close buddy that betrays his best friend, [that] meets him after friendship, with coldness that offends;

وَيُنكِرُ عَيشاً قَد تَقادَمَ عَهدُهُ ** وَيُظهِرُ سِرّاً كانَ بِالأَمسِ قَد خَفا

[that] denies the life he once lived, the many years gone by; [that] publicizes secrets that in past days [he would] hide.

سَلامٌ عَلى الدُنيا إِذا لَم يَكُن بِها ** صَديقٌ صَدوقٌ صادِقُ الوَعدِ مُنصِفا

It’s over for the world if no friend can be found–who’s truthful and faithful and to justice always bound.

Al-Imām Al-Shāfiʿī

Translated by Mikail ibn Mahboob Ariff