Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Can A Muslim Befriend A Non-Muslim?

Now, this is one that you get to hear a lot from certain muslim quarters. Al-Qaeda and its likes will swear upon anything to show its true. A muslim is not supposed to befriend non-muslims especially Jews and Christians because they are out to hurt you! In this globalized world, a muslim will meet a person from another faith and the assertion that they should not be made friends sounds illogical unless you have a reason for doing so! I had a very good Christian friend in school, I used to eat from his home! God must be kidding us when stating so! But first.. the oft quoted verses ...

60:01 - O you who believe! do not take My enemy and your enemy for friends:...

5:51 - O ye who believe! take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors: They are but friends and protectors to each other. And he amongst you that turns to them (for friendship) is of them. Verily Allah guideth not a people unjust.

5:82 - Strongest among men in enmity to the believers wilt thou find the Jews and Pagans; and nearest among them in love to the believers wilt thou find those who say, "We are Christians": because amongst these are men devoted to learning and men who have renounced the world, and they are not arrogant.

We have to have a complete picture of why God is stating a particular thing regarding people and for that you need to have an understanding of Quran. The answer lies in these verses.

60:01 - O ye who believe! Take not my enemies and yours as friends (or protectors),- offering them (your) love, even though they have rejected the Truth that has come to you, and have (on the contrary) driven out the Prophet and yourselves (from your homes), (simply) because ye believe in Allah your Lord! If ye have come out to strive in My Way and to seek My Good Pleasure, (take them not as friends), holding secret converse of love (and friendship) with them: for I know full well all that ye conceal and all that ye reveal. And any of you that does this has strayed from the Straight Path.

60:08 - Allah does not forbid you respecting those who have not made war against you on account of (your) religion, and have not driven you forth from your homes, that you show them kindness and deal with them justly; surely Allah loves the doers of justice.

60:09 - Allah only forbids you respecting those who made war upon you on account of (your) religion, and drove you forth from your homes and backed up (others) in your expulsion, that you make friends with them, and whoever makes friends with them, these are the unjust.

The only case in which you are not allowed to befriend non-muslim is when they religiously persecute you. If they want to co-exist peacefully, you are not allowed to transgress.

4:90 - Except those who join a group between whom and you there is a treaty (of peace), or those who approach you with hearts restraining them from fighting you as well as fighting their own people. If Allah had pleased, He could have given them power over you, and they would have fought you: Therefore if they withdraw from you but fight you not, and (instead) send you (Guarantees of) peace, then Allah Hath opened no way for you (to war against them).

No where it states that when you meet an ordinary Jew, Christian or a Hindu - automatically start with mistrust of that person! thats ridiculous. That person of another faith, might be a better person than your 'believer' friend. We are all humans. We should respect each others faiths.

2:256 - Let there be no compulsion in religion...

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BaigSaab said...


Every verse has a context and that context can be understood by the Hadith.

Being in Dawah means calling the non-muslims to Islam, if you hate them, or not talk to them nicely, that'll be counterproductive, so that's out of question.

By not befriending Non-Muslims, to my understanding, what is meant is not to entrust them with your secrets that'll jeoperdize the cause of Muslim mission (That is, to thwart injustice and bring in Islam across the world)...

The jews in Madina were an influential lot, especially over the weaker Muslims... so the Muslims with weaker Iman, or cut-throat Munafiqeen used to work as double agents for Jews... Weaker Muslims did that in "good faith", Munafiqeen did that by choice...

Being friends with non-muslims may make us being apologetic for many things that are actually correct... and were done with a purpose... i know cuz i been thru this phase, but now as i read the Quran and hear the tafasir, and then read the Seerah of RasooluLLAH (s.a.w.), i understand that whatever was done at that time, was right, to non-muslims, it cannot look right... it's a natural phenomenon...

PostMan said...

Thank you BaigSaab.

What you are saying is a 'detailed' explanation of acts that can be committed for 'supporting' those who commit religious oppression - in times of Prophet and for future.

BaigSaab said...

All I'm saying is talking to non-muslims nicely for Dawah is one thing and befreiending and confiding to them is quite another...

The objective in the first one is to attract them to Islam and consequently bolster our numbers... Where as with the second one, even if we don't support them, there's a fair chance that we may remain neutral - hence depleting Muslim forces...

PostMan said...

Correct me where I am wrong...

1. Doing Dawah - You can talk nicely to non-muslims.

2. Conspiring (befriending) Against Muslims - Not allowed.

3. Befriending Non-Muslims in general: Totally Ok.


BaigSaab said...

In general?
You mean hanging out with them? sharing the same interests? watching the same movies? Reading the same novels?

Let me ask you... Why? is it for Dawah or is it for just bcuz they're better persons?

In any case, it's beyond my knowledge what's the verdict here, i wouldn't give any sweeping statements , but according to the lives of RasooluLLAH (SAW) and Sahaabah and those who followed them, I'm not aware that they kept any non-Muslim as friends.
The way they practiced Islam, it looks unjust to assume that they'd befreind someone who denies the very same thing that they're willing to give their lives for!

PostMan said...

"Let me ask you... Why? is it for Dawah or is it for just bcuz they're better persons? "

No one is talking about being a better person there nor it is about Dawah. You are a graduate in a foreign university and you meet other people who are not muslims. You are a trader and get to meet people of different faith. You are a soccer player and play in a European league, you get to meet other team mates who are not muslims. You live in a globalized world and you get to meet a person of different faith! Any situation can happen!

"i wouldn't give any sweeping statements , but according to the lives of RasooluLLAH (SAW) and Sahaabah and those who followed them, I'm not aware that they kept any non-Muslim as friends."

That is indeed a very sweeping statement baigsaab :) Prophet Muhammad was a trader I suppose? He did not meet people of other faith? Were not there Jews and Christians in Mecca? No interaction whatsoever? Not even being a nice neighbor? No?

BaigSaab said...

this post is about befriending non-muslims... not about the issue of talking or not talking to them... if we don't talk to them (nicely).. how would we do dawah to them?

Friendship is an intimate relation... there's no stopping in having a professional relationship with non-muslims: employee-employer;colleagues;fellow-students;teammates etc

And your still confusing the gentle-soft-smiling-da'ee thing with let's-be-friends-and-i-tell-you-what-we're-upto one... Can you give me an account where any of the Sahaabah used to hang out with non-muslims... go on an evening walk with them perhaps?

PostMan said...

This post was regarding the aspect that there is a certain opinion in muslims that we should not befriend non-muslims, that they are un-trust worthy and only thing they'll do is hurt us. I tried to counter that.

I know nothing about sahaba.. all I know is that I had a christian friend in school.. I ate from his home! watched movies with him..! No dawah! best friends! Mine and his faith are still intact!

I hope I cleared something.. I hope I got what you are stating!


BaigSaab said...

Ate from his home?
You mean like meat or something?
What if that meat was pork. Ok not pork, what if it was from a dead animal(looking for a more appropriate word, in urdu it's called Murdaar)... Either way, Quran describes them both as Haram... unless you were dying of hunger and that i suppose you were not!

I guess I'm exaggerating but saving one's faith is a constant exercise... there's no siren or alarm that goes off if one's faith becomes void, it's just like a door eaten by termite, which has a veneer on the front, but the door is rotten on the inside...

Now, there actually are SOPs for interacting with non-Muslims(http://qa.sunnipath.com/issue_view.asp?HD=1&ID=2752&CATE=107)... to the best of my information (not knowledge), it's not advisable to eat or sleep in non-muslims house.
but if you must, eat at a jew's house cause kosher is quite close to (but not exactly) Halal, eating at a christian's place is not advisable bcuz they've declared Halal what was haram - i.e. pork and wine...

On the other hand, sleeping at a jew's place is not advisable bcuz they have a history of ambush attacks... sleeping at a christian's place is preferred over jews... that's as much as i know abt ahl-e-kitaab... (I repeat, it's only what i've heard, i'm not sure about the authenticity of this trend)

Similarly there are limitations of marrying Ahl-e-Kitaab (http://www.irf.net/irf/dtp/dawah_tech/ques43.htm)

The same goes for non-muslim events (http://binoria.org/qasbj/fatwadbview.asp?key=79)

Hope I was of some help, Assalamoallaikum

PostMan said...

Yes 'ate' from his home. And 'meat' :)

BaigSaab.. the christians in pakistan buy from the same meat shop as you do. They eat the same food as you do. They don't eat 'murdaar' :)

And I can bet on the fact that more muslims drink than their christian counterparts here in pakistan :)

I guess I need to make SOPs for interaction with sunnis! because (I too being a sunni) feel that we are very biased people :)

Anyways.. nice bit of interaction with you BaigSaab :) appreciate it.. We agree to disagree...