“The greatest sign that alludes to what a person is like in his daily affair is expressed through whom he befriends and whom he is at enmity with, because a person is on the path of his friend and birds of a feather only flock together. I have never seen something more indicative of another, moreso even than smoke indicating fire, as much as I’ve seen a companion allude to the reality of his companion.
The smart one avoids accompanying the doubtful one and he keeps away from the one whose Deen is questionable because whoever keeps in the company of a people is known by them and whoever lives with a person ends up being attributed to him. A man does not befriend except one who is like him or of his nature (i.e. in character). If a person does not find one to befriend from amongst the people, he seeks out one whose companionship will only beautify him and it will not disgrace him to be known by him. If he sees goodness from him, he counts it (and remembers it), and if he sees a bad thing he conceals it for him, and if he remains silent over it he’s the first to speak about it to him, and were he to ask of anything he would give it.”
[Rawdhat al-‘Uqalaa’ wa Nuzhat al-Fudhalaa’ of Ibn Hibban]
*Abu Hatim (rahimahullaah) is Muhammad ibn Hibban ibn Ahmad al-Tamimi al-Busti was a 3rd Century scholar originally fromfrom Bust in Khorasan. He was student of the likes of Imam al-Darimi, Ibn Khuzaymah and al-Nasa’i and his own students include al-Hakim, al-Harawi and al-Asbahani.
Ibn Hibban was from the great muhadditheen (scholars of hadeeth) of this Ummah. His books include his Sahih Ibn Hibban, and others like al-Thiqat, al-Majruhin and this book Rawdhat al-’Uqalaa’ (Gardens of the Intelligent and Journeys of the Virtuous).