Nobody can live without having friends. However, the kinds of friends you befriend can make or break you. Here are the types of friends you may find in life, based on the explanation of Sheikh Muhammad bin Soleh Al-’Uthaimin (rahimahullah) from the book Sharh Hilyatit Tolibil ‘Ilmi.

A Friend of Benefit | صديق منفعة

He is the one who befriends you as long as he benefits from you, whether monetarily, acquiring status or other benefits. Whenever these benefits are cut off, he becomes your enemy as if he does not know you and you do not know him. And how many of these kinds of friends turn on you in matters of sadaqah: If he is given from it, he is pleased; but if he is not given from it, he is discontent!

He can be a very close friend of yours. You see him as an honourable person, and you are also most honourable to him. One day he asks you, ”Give to me your book.” And you say, “I need the book today. I shall give it to you tomorrow.” Then because of that he shows enmity towards you. This kind of friend is a Friend of Benefit.

A Friend of Enjoyment | صديق لذّة

This type of friend befriends you solely because he enjoys your presence, talking to you and socialising. However, he does not benefit you and you do not benefit from him. Surely it is merely a waste of time, and this kind of individual is also to be cautious of.

A Friend of Virtue | صديق فضيلة

This friend is described as follows: he takes you to what beautifies you, and stops you from what disgraces you. He opens for you the doors of goodness and he guides you upon it. Whenever you are slipping away, he warns you in a manner that does not degrade your honour.

From the above, a Friend of Benefit is the most common friend. So when you see this type of individual who does not befriend you except to take advantage of you, know that he is an enemy, not a friend.

A Friend of Enjoyment will make you busy, distract you with enjoyment and entertainment, and waste your time in recreation and other things. And this has no goodness in it, either. The one that is required to be held on tightly is the Friend of Virtue; the one who takes you to every excellence, and prevents you from every vice.

— Extracted from “Etiquettes of Friendship”, pg. 159, Sharh Hilyatut Tolibul ‘Ilmi by Sheikh Muhammad Ibn Al-’Uthaymeen (Silsilah Muallafaat Fadhilatis Sheikh)