Shaykh â€˜Abdullah â€˜Azzam, may Allah have mercy upon him, said:
â€œYou cannot live alone. Do not live alone, as the wolf eats up the lone sheep, and Satan is close to the one who is alone and is farther from two who are together. So, if you live somewhere, live with at least one other person, and this one person should be righteous.
Friends are like a row of connected test tubes: if liquid overflows in one tube, the excess flows into the other tubes until there is an equal amount of liquid in all the tubes. Likewise, if you live with corrupt people, they will take away many of your good deeds, and you will decrease and decrease and decrease until you are all equal in status. You will definitely end up like these interconnected test tubes. A group of friends are all like each other, and the longer the friendship lasts, the closer the character and manners of each person in the group will be to the others. Do not believe that a good person can live for long with a corrupt person, unless the corrupt person improves and follows the example of the good person.
This is why you should look for the good people, and a friend is like a chain: he will either drag you into Paradise or drag you into Hell. He will either cause you problems or he will help you solve your problemsâ€¦
After this, work on guarding your tongue, because most of the torture in Hell is because of the tongue: â€œAnd will people be dragged on their faces into Hell because of anything other than what their tongues have brought forth?â€
After this, work on making good use of your time. Do not waste your time. Always try to bring about some benefit from your social gatherings. So, if you see people talking about food, drink, telling jokes, etc., tell them: â€˜Guys, I read a story today to tell you about something that happened in Syria, or something that the Afghans did,â€™ or say: â€˜What do you think about this hadith? I read the tafsir of this verse to tell you about,â€™ etc. Benefit them in this gathering, and occupy them with something that will benefit them. Sit down together and read the Qurâ€™an, read the biographies of the Prophet and the Companions, a simple explanation of the Qurâ€™an such as â€˜Tafsir al-Jalalaynâ€™ – a simple, general explanation – and read a simple book of Fiqh, especially regarding how to pray. Read the entire section on how to pray, such as â€˜Fiqh as-Sunnah.â€™ Read in detail how to make wuduâ€™, because it doesnâ€™t make sense to sit for thirty years not knowing the proper way of making wuduâ€™, performing prayer, etc. – you pray while not knowing the fundamentals of the prayer and wuduâ€™, and you do not know the details of optional fasting, etc. So, do all of this combined with good friends and a pure, truthful intention.
And stay away from women (and likewise, women should apply the same for men), as this is the source of all tribulation for those at your age, and in fact for those at any age. Stay from women who are forbidden for you. It is an obligation for you to stay away from them. Of course, all of the women in this land are forbidden for you. It is forbidden for you to look at them, it is forbidden for you to sit with them, it is forbidden for you to chat with them, and it is forbidden for you to be alone with them. The heart cannot bear these things because the glance is one of Iblisâ€™s poisonous arrows. Whoever lowers his gaze from what Allah has forbidden will be given a sweetness by Allah that he will feel in his heart. But to look, to continue looking, and to allow this arrow to strike you in the heart – not just an arrow, but a poisonous arrow that poisons your heart – to let an arrow strike you day after day after day, this will make your heart weak and unable to face the problems of life. This is why you find a person who is drowning in desires to be weak-heartedâ€¦As for the heart of the believer, his heart is strong and he isnâ€™t affected by anything. His heart is strenghtened by worship, and therefore does not become scared or shaky. As for the heart of the sinner, you see it shaking. Why? Because the arrows have killed him just like someone who has an ulcer in his stomach and cannot eat because of it.
Work for Allah and stick together, and the more you work for Allah, the more your souls will become strong and rise, and you will ascend rapidly upon the path of those who are ascending towards Allah. I advise you to recite the Qurâ€™an everyday, because the Qurâ€™an is like water for a plant. It is the life of the heart, and the water and life for the heart is the Qurâ€™anâ€¦â€[‘at-Tarbiyah al-Jihadiyyah wal-Bina”; 5/35-36]