Leave What Does Not Concern You
When you look at the sunnah of Rasulullah SAW, he detached himself from dunia and did not try to accumulate any of its material possessions. Accumulation of the material makes the heart hard and takes away the ability to be humble. Rasulullah SAW remembered Allah at every given moment and thanked Allah for the bounty given to him.
To gain closeness to Allah, you have to leave what does not concern you. This represents a large portion of your activities in dunia. One of the things to be aware of is how you spend your time with others. People who are immersed in materialistic pursuits will make your heart hard, for they have no remembrance of Allah and the hereafter, and are chasing the moment. Their time is wasted on trivial activities which have no benefit to personal growth nor of the journey to the hereafter.
Unless a gathering or unity is to remember Allah SWT, the time that you spend with others will be held against you. Being in the company of those who are deeply embroiled in dunia makes you vulnerable to its diseases, as does wasting your time on pointless activities. Once the safeguard is weakened, it is very easy for dunia to corrupt your heart, making you forget Allah and taking you away from His remembrance.
Therefore, when interacting with others, have an internal thermometer. Be aware of who you are talking to and what you are talking about. It is extremely easy to get waylaid into nonsensical and meaningless conversations, losing the entire day and night without achieving anything beneficial. We love to talk about everything – scandals, politics, football, hobbies, children and jobs, but our talk is empty of Allah and our purpose of existence.
Even the Companions shunned unnecessary socialisation. They disassociated from dunia and notably, did not waste time talking about others or about things that did not concern them. They saved themselves and guarded their iman this way.
Umar ibn Khattab RA used to say that in order to have taqwa to Allah, one must have taqwa to the people. This means, one has to get away from what can hurt him. Ibn Abbas RA echoed this sentiment and asked if a person ever saw anyone destroy another the way that people destroy each other?
We were put down on this earth as trials and enemies of each other, unless our time here is in remembrance of Allah and our relationships are solely forged for Allah. In the vast majority of our interactions, every time we get associated with people, the more enemies we make, the more corrupted we become, the more zulm and destruction we witness and the more sickness of the heart we experience. We become lost in a diseased jungle of humanity, and it is difficult to escape and get back towards Allah.
Mankind is a social creature, and is in constant need of human company and conversation. This cannot be denied. However, if you need company, seek the people who help you and guide you to the right iman. Be aware of the company that you keep if you are serious about taking steps towards Allah.
In gist, always bear in mind the principle of getting away from what does not concern you or is of no benefit to you. The majority of us do the opposite. If you take count of how you spend your time, you will be surprised at how much of it is wasted on things detrimental, or at the very least, thwart the growth of your soul. We as human beings are very contagious to each other, not only the physical disease, but the diseases of the heart and all that come with it.
Who are the people we should get close to, then? If we are serious about our journey, we should only seek the people who belong to Allah, and who live by values extolled by Allah. This kind of companionship requires intention and sincerity.
If you cannot find such company, then it is better to be in seclusion rather than to be poisoned by others. Stay in a quiet and calm environment: this can even be generated in your own home and from within your own heart. Enjoy the peace, try to avoid influences of others and dunia, and instead spend time busying your heart and tongue with the remembrance of Allah. Some of the early people suggested get a useful book as a companion and a friend, it will never lie to you and will always benefit you, and will always keep you company.