Brotherhood & Sisterhood Qur'an With the Divine

O God, Grant me a Friend published in June 2012.

Let’s take a trip to a time long ago and extract wisdom from a wise man we all look up to and admire. Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) told us his story, not as a bed-time comfort, but as a means for us to extract life-long lessons. Let’s not overlook his story; let’s dive in and live the parts of his story that we can, admire and learn from the parts that we can’t.

At that blessed time long ago, Allah subhanahu wa ta’la (exalted is He) spoke to this amazing creation, Musa `alayhi sallatu wa sallam (may God send His peace and blessings on him). Imagine. Allah (swt) spoke to Musa (as) Himself. Allah!

In this blessed conversation, Allah (swt) shows Musa what can happen when one has Allah (swt) on his side. He teaches him a valuable lesson about the power of Allah (swt) above creation. He takes a simple stick and produces an unimaginable miracle, then takes a simple hand and again produces an unimaginable miracle (see Surah Taha, Qur’an 20). He shows Musa that with Allah (swt) on his side, even when one thinks they have nothing, He can make them have everything.

After Allah (swt) shows him a glimpse of his Lord’s unimaginable power, Allah (swt) then gives him a heavy task. A task that many would shy away from, especially if they thought they would be in it alone. Musa on the other hand knew that he had Allah (swt) by His side, and that the results and effects would be from Allah (swt) alone.

Allah (swt) says:

“Go to Pharaoh. Indeed, he has transgressed.”


[Moses] said, “My Lord, expand for me my breast [with assurance]


And ease for me my task


And untie the knot from my tongue


That they may understand my speech.”



Musa doesn’t abandon the task that his Lord has given him, rather he asks for His assistance, first and foremost. Then Musa does something profound, that we often times overlook:

Allah (swt) tells us that Musa says:


“And appoint for me a minister from my family—


Aaron, my brother.


Increase through him my strength


And let him share my task


That we may exalt You much


And remember You much.


Indeed, You are of us ever Seeing.”


[Allah] said, “You have been granted your request, O Moses.” (Qur’an, 20:24-36)


What does Musa do? He asks for a companion and then he tells us exactly what a true friend is. Often times we try to ride the waves of life alone, or we depend too much on our friends. But just like everything else in this religion, the middle ground is the smoothest for sailing. While asking His Lord for a companion, Musa laid out a rubric for us to live by when choosing our close companions.

Let’s take a look at the qualities that Musa (as) has recommended for a close companion:

“Increase, through him, my strength”

The first thing that we should look for in a friend is that they should make us stronger human beings. They should be someone that we trust will help us when we are at our low points and that we won’t feel self-conscious with when seeking help. But the key here to notice is that when we are strengthened by our friends, we should keep in mind that it is not really our friend that has made us strong, rather Allah (swt) has strengthened us through our friend.

“And let him share my task”

Next, Musa (as) asks that he be granted a companion so that he can “share in his task.” Often times we try to go through life alone and we try to do everything on our own. In another extreme, we may try to get our friends to take our own life decisions and lay our tasks fully on their shoulders. Through this description, we get the true essence of what we should do. Our friends should be people that are capable and willing to share in our tasks. They should be people we can trust to bounce ideas off of and to help us along the way. We shouldn’t try to wander through life and carry the entire burden ourselves, nor should we lay our tasks fully on other’s shoulders—the moderate path is the key.

“That we may exalt You much and remember you much. Indeed, You are of us ever Seeing.”

Musa (as) ends this rubric with the most important point—the purpose of companionship and friendship. He asks Allah (swt) to grant Him his brother as his companion so that they would exalt Him and remember Him. In essence, he is asking that his companion bring Him closer to God, encourages him to remember God, and that in this companionship they never forget that Allah (swt) is watching them. This is the most essential part of any friendship. The friendship should bring us closer to God, never farther. The companionship should encourage us to do more good for the sake of Allah (swt), never distract us from it. And throughout these friendships, in good and bad moments, we should never forget that Allah (swt) is always watching us and can see our every move.

May Allah bless us all with friends who surround us, who strengthen us (by the will of God), who share in our burden, and who remind us of God. Ameen.

About the author

Reehab (Ramadan) Aref

Reehab (Ramadan) Aref

Reehab (Ramadan) Aref grew up in a small Texas city and was unexpectedly uprooted to Cairo, Egypt. The shift of countries precipitated a shift in her outlook on life; this, with her enriching experience in community activism—specifically social service, youth work, and Qur’anic Studies—provides for a rather enlightened perspective. She is currently pursuing an M.A. in Counseling Psychology. Thankfully, her main outlet and therapeutic tool is to write, write, write! She keeps her own blog, contributes regularly to various publications, and – most importantly – you’ll find her entries on this site.


  • Especially in companionship, we tend to forget that everything is from His Merciful. and that we are drifted away.. Jazakallah khair, this is a very wonderful and a deep reminder.

  • Subhanallah! There never is an end for the lessons that we can learn from the Qur’an.

    Insh’Allah, all true believers will find their match, within friendship and within their spouses, that act as a dhikr of Allah.

  • Jazakallah khair for this very important post! I love how you related these verses to the topic of how to find a goood friend!

  • Subhaan Allah! I never looked at these verses like that. Thank you so much for sharing this amazing perspective!

  • Jazakallah Khair for such a beautiful reflection!

    These verses of Surah TaHa are quite amazing – just beginning to learn them myself, so reading this was perfect timing.

    This may be a little unrelated, but I was also quite struck by some verses a few lines back, when God (swt) asks Moses (as), “What’s that in your right hand?” I found it odd that God, Knower of everything in the universe, would ask such a question. But then I found Musa’s response also very baffling and a bit amusing as well – “This is my stick, which I lean upon and move branches for my sheep with, and I have other purposes for it as well.” Initially, the conversation just seemed a bit trivial to me.

    I don’t know the tafsir, but I wonder if that’s the point why such a conversation was enshrined and mentioned in God’s Book. Rather than God just telling Musa (as) to throw down his stick, it’s as though God is first trying to “start a conversation.” And in response, Musa (as) doesn’t hold back, even if his statements may seem a little trivial and mundane. Could this be an example of how we should not be embarrassed to speak to God – even if our words seem trivial and “stupid”? God obviously saw Musa’s response as quite worthy so as to mention it in the surah.

    I also found it amazing that God tells Musa (as) to speak to Pharaoh softly. That’s as much of the Surah as I’ve learned so far – so many lessons in just a few pages!

    Salam Alaikum!

    • I’m not sure. I wondered that too but maybe it was to get Musa 3alayhi asalam to be less nervous?

    • It’s showing Hazrat Musa (as) did not want to stop talking to Allah tala so he was trying to extend the conversation (Bayyinah’s tafseer on it said something like this). He had wanted to meet Allah tala so much, when he finally met Him, he was trying to extend his conversation time with Allah tala so was talking of trivial things in relation to the stick. Almost like when you meet someone you really like and are impressed with and don’t want to stop conversing with them

  • Great message. No one wants to be all alone in a vast sea. It is like not having a mosque. So many aspects in life to share.

  • What if you have friends who are higher than you in eman? They benefit you but you don’t benefit them. At least not as much. Are you being selfish?

    • Rayan, I hope you are well. TRUE friends…when the friendship is MUTUAl and benefit from one another in some way, shape or form; even IF one of the friends is at a more mature level in the department of “eman” than the other(s).

  • Mashallah, great article.

    Is it possible to uses the verses as duaa? To As Allah(swt) for a friend the best possible way.

  • […] Oh God, Grant me a Friend by Reehab Ramadan Often times we try to ride the waves of life alone, or we depend too much on our friends. But just like everything else in this religion, the middle ground is the smoothest for sailing. A look at the qualities that Prophet Musa recommended for a close companion. […]

  • I really love these articles, where you guys take a Qur’anic story and distil the important bits of the story and suddenly it is relevant to *me*. Masya Allah, so many things troubling me and about which I struggle on my own trying to make sense of in absence of anyone being able to help me, the guidance is right there all along, if i would just see it. this Book really is the ultimate Guide.

    why it never occurred to me to think of Prophet Musa’s task and the brilliant way he responded to being given the job, and draw lessons on what to ask for when given a difficult “mission”, i don’t know. i could kick myself for never having the presence of mind to ask for a friend.

  • All Mommies of the world ROCK I wish I were a mom at times without all the pain and agony thoguh my mom always tells me tum kabhi maa nahi bun saktay . and it means so much more than just that .

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