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Opinions of Friday, 9 January 2015

Columnist: Ayub, Hamza Hajj

Beyond The Horizon Of Friendship Lies Brotherhood

Monday, 8th December, 2014 was a very special day to me. It was an august day because it coincided with the anniversary of birth of a very great friend of mine. And he has this to say about friendship which I will let out when I talk about the power of friendship. I crave your indulgence to begin like this;

In the Holy Quran, friendship was chronicled in a chapter that is 110 verses long. The Chronicle basically highlights how seven friends, the eighth of which was a dog left town to distance themselves from the iniquities of their people. They therefore sought refuge in a cave in order not incur the wrath of their wicked king and his subjects whose indescribable debauchery and ignoble deeds have reached a fever pitch high. This bond led them to their miraculous martyrdom in the cave. A company formed for service to Allah. That is the power of friendship.
My short stint with Christianity in the early nineties has imbued in me a strong sense of this weak and fragile in skin yet strong and formidable in spirit thing called friendship. My Sunday schools at Bishop Charles Agyin Asare’s Word Miracle Church now known as Perez Chapel led me to the story of David and Jonathan. Their story captured in the Book of Samuel of the Hebrew Bible is a story in which some medieval and Renaissance theorists described as Romantic love and a true representation of homosociality; same-sex relationships that are far from sexual activities. A story filled with heightening sense of suspense.
Friendship over the centuries has proven to be a very vibrant and viable force, a defier of all odds, a harbinger of hope and a purveyor of a gale of love that is more powerful that all hurricanes that have caused massive destructions to the world lumped together.
To see how powerful this thing called friendship is, let’s consider some statements made about it.
Imam Ali (as) stated: "Two true friends are a single soul in different bodies." The same Imam Ali also stated “Friendship transfers a stranger in to a relative."
In his book “Out of Solitude: Three Meditations on the Christian life”, Henri J.M. Nouwen said this “When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.”
Of all the statements made about this great abstract noun, I love the one made by a friend the most. Before I unleash this poignant statement made by him, I’ll love to first make him known to the world.
This friend was born in the early nineties. We met last two decades and the bond kept increasing as the days unfolded. He is named Hamza Ayub. Presently there is a third name added to it to make it Hamza Hajj Ayub. In the school in which we met, I was then in class two when he was in class one. We had a special interest in him due to the fact he rode a bicycle and as young as we were, fascination was an understatement of how we felt when he rode past us. Another reason was that he is the son of one of the foremost scholars we have in Nima. As fate will have it, we found ourselves in the same class because I had to repeat the class due to the severity of my truancy by then. And that’s where the spirit of comradeship started till today as I make the letters on my keyboard dance on the monitor.
Now to the beef of all this needless description, this friend has the cardinal aspect of what friendship entails; brotherhood. He is kind. He is generous to the point of negligence. He never loses touch of a friend in need or a friend in despondence.
All friends will attest to the fact that he has what it takes to also offer his thoughts on the subject matter of discussion. And he has offered it aptly and rightly.
After considering the bond that led the seven friends to the cave and the same bond that kept David and Jonathan together and other references in the dim recesses of history, he came to a very powerful conclusion. And this is it:
“Beyond the horizon of friendship lies brotherhood.”

Happy belated earthday Hamza Hajj Ayub. I wish you more birthdays because “Statistics show that those who have more birthdays live longer.”
NB: The writer is a National Service Person at the Graphic Communications Group Limited.