Ameera’s father had recently been offered a better post with a higher wage, in another town. When he accepted the job Ameera was so devastated, as this meant she had to leave behind friends she had known for years. It also meant that she would have to start making new friends. This was difficult as Ameera was very shy.

Ameera was soon enrolled in a nearby Islamic School for girls, in that town. She felt nervous just thinking of having to attend a new school. Would she be able to make new friends? Would these children like her? Would they accept her? As she worried about the future, she remembered her mother’s sister, Aunt Maheera. She would be able to help her as she had stacks of friends. She was also really popular. She decided to ask her for some advice.

Aunt Maheera was surprised but pleased to receive a call from Ameera. After exchanging salaams and a few pleasantries, she enquired about the call. Ameera simply blurted out, “I’m really scared to go to my new school tomorrow as I find it so difficult to make friends. I needed to know from you, how you manage to make friends so easily! Couldn’t you give me a few tips?” Her aunt laughed and said, “It’s simple. Try smiling! If you give someone a warm smile its sure to come back to you. It also helps break the ice between strangers.”

“But Aunt Maheera, I get nervous when meeting strangers. I find it hard to look them in the face, let alone smile.” “Well,” returned her aunt, “people like to receive welcoming smiles. They don’t like to see others scowling, looking nervously at their shoes or looking terrified. They actually tend to avoid people like that. If you flash them a warm, friendly smile they’re bound to think you’re really nice. They will then come forward and make salaam to you or perhaps speak to you, helping to break the ice

“Is it really that simple?” asked Ameera. “Yes, certainly,” replied her aunt. “You simply start with a genuine smile. Besides, according to the hadith, smiling on seeing a Muslim is sadaqah (charity). By smiling at someone, you make him or her feel nice and please them. By pleasing a Muslim, you receive a handsome reward from Almighty Allah. Always remember that a smile and a friendly approach are vital for making friends.”

“Thanks a million, Aunt Maheera,” said Ameera. “I’m certainly going to try tomorrow. I already feel like a heavy load is off my shoulder, now that I know how to tackle my problem. “Do you think Ameera made many friends the following day?”


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