The Best of Amaliah Straight to Your Inbox

Agony Aunt: How to Maintain a Friendship When Our Values Don’t Align?

by in Palestine on 19th November, 2023

We know that Amaliah is like a Big Sis and sometimes our DMs have been filled with requests for advice on a range of life issues including relationships, friendships or work troubles.

We have started a new segment where we field dilemmas from the community and answer them as frankly as we can with love, truth and honesty.

Need some advice on a dilemma? Send them all here!

Dear Aunt Maya,

My childhood best friend lived next door to me, we grew up together and have never lost that connection. She is one of the closest people to me but recently we have engaged in some heated debates and I can feel the distance between us growing. She does not believe in the importance of speaking out on what’s happening in Palestine right now. I tried to discuss how we can show solidarity, but she does not believe in raising our voices on any platform, showing up at protests or boycotting. She insists this is A) not a proven way to tackle these issues and B) not from the Sunnah. She believes that while what is happening is sad, Muslims have always suffered and will continue to suffer and there is nothing we can do beyond dua, that it is not safe for us to speak out and we need to look at our best interests too. Looking back, we may not have had many conversations around politics or humanity but this detached vibe was… unexpected and I am not able to be around it for too long. It makes me uncomfortable to think how powerless she feels we are. Her silence and the knowledge that she will continue to support brands that openly fund genocide makes me uneasy. This friendship is in no way over, but how do we move on from this? 

Maya Areem Responds:

Salaam alaykum,

Thank you for reaching out and sharing your concerns with us. I want to assure you that the thoughts and feelings you’re experiencing are both common and valid. 

The complexities of navigating discussions on sensitive topics, especially when they involve longstanding friendships, can be emotionally challenging. It’s always disheartening when such differences emerge, especially on matters as significant as the situation in Palestine.

Firstly, it’s important to acknowledge the sensitivity of the issue and the various perspectives that exist within the Muslim community. Your friend’s stance, while challenging for you, reflects a perspective held by some. However, it’s equally important to stand by your own beliefs and convictions regarding the urgency of speaking out on such critical matters.

Consider initiating a conversation with your friend, expressing your concern not just about the difference in opinions but also about the emotional toll it is taking on your connection. 

You can explain that your concern is not just for the Palestinian people but for the broader principle of justice that Islam promotes. Share your belief in the power of collective voices to effect change and in the importance of showcasing solidarity in times of crisis.

You can also invoke the wisdom of a hadith that encourages action in the face of injustice. The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said, “Whosoever of you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then [let him change it] with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart — and that is the weakest of faith.” (Muslim)

This hadith beautifully emphasises the various levels of responding to injustice, acknowledging that even disapproving in one’s heart is a form of resistance. Given the gravity of the situation in Palestine, it becomes a collective responsibility to take a stand against injustice and amplify the voices of those who are suffering.

Consider having an open and empathetic conversation with your friend to explore the roots of her resistance. Invite her to share her thoughts and feelings, as there may be deeper concerns influencing her perspective. Suggest various ways to express solidarity that align with her comfort level, and provide examples that resonate with her reality. This might include engaging in peaceful advocacy, supporting humanitarian causes, or participating in educational initiatives that shed light on the realities faced by the Palestinians.

It’s also vital to remember the Qur’anic guidance: “O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allah, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both.” (Surah An-Nisa 4:135). 

This verse reminds us of the duty to stand firm in establishing justice, even if it means respectfully disagreeing with our loved ones. Standing up for what is right, even when it is hard, aligns with our Islamic values and principles. While it may be a challenging decision, prioritising justice and maintaining one’s moral integrity remains a duty upon us all.

Remember, friendships can withstand differences, but communication and understanding are key. In navigating this conversation, bear in mind that the Prophet’s ﷺ guidance encourages a nuanced approach that respects individual capacities. You can always revisit the conversation with your friend when emotions have settled.

May Allah grant you wisdom and ease in navigating these complex emotions and relationships.

Love + Duas,

Aunt Maya

If you would like some wisdom from Aunt Maya, send in your problems here! Please note Aunt Maya may consult the opinion of others from time to time and ask the Amaliah community for their advice too. Aunt Maya is not a licensed therapist or mental health professional.

Maya Areem

Maya Areem

Maya is a teacher by day and student by night. She hopes to pass on what she learns.