5 Qualities to look for in a Friend:
From Imam Ghazali’s رحمه الله Bidayatul Hidayah (The Beginning of Guidance):
You should first consider the stipulations of companionship and friendship so that you will establish the relationship of brotherhood only with those who are fit for brotherhood & friendship.
The Messenger of God ﺻﻠﯽ الله ﺗﻌﺎﻟﯽٰ ﻋﻠﯿﮧ ﻭﺍٓﻟﮧ ﻭﺳﻠﻢ said:
Sayyidina Ali رضي الله ﺗﻌﺎﻟﯽٰ عنه said:
Do not be in the company of an ignorant friend; Beware of him & let him beware of you.
How often an ignorant man has brought destruction to a forbearing man who has befriended him.
2) Good Character
Do not be the companion of a man whose character is bad. He is one who is unable to control himself when he is angry and is excited when he desires something.
Do not be the companion of a wicked man (Fasiq) who persists in major sin. This is because he who fears God does not persist in major sin, and he who does not fear God may cause you mischief.
Allah SWT commanded His Prophet (pbuh):
“Do not follow him whose mind We have caused to be neglectful of remembrance of Us and who follows his passions, and whose case exceeds all bounds.” (18:28)
Beware, then of association with a wicked man, because the constant sight of wickedness and sin will remove the dislike of sin from your mind & will create the feeling that sin is something light. The sinfulness of backbiting has become light to man’s mind for this reason and not for the reason that mind cannot understand it. If people see that a Muslim jurist is wearing a gold ring or a silkcloth, they strongly oppose it because they rarely see this, whereas they do not oppose backbiting even though it is a more serious sin, because they always see this.
4) Absence of greed
Companionship of a man greedy for the world is deadly poison, for human nature is such that the nature of one man tends to resemble that of another and to imitate it; indeed, a man’s nature steals the qualities of another man’s nature in such a way that he is not aware of it. Therefore, association with a greedy man will increase your greed, and association with the ascetics will increase your asceticism.
Do not be the companion of a liar, for he is like a mirage: he will show that which is far as near to you and that which is near as far from you.”