Friday, December 26, 2008

Are Muslims allowed to make friends with Christians, Jews or other non-Muslims?

Unbelievers are described by Muhammad (in the Qur'an) as "the vilest of animals" and "losers." Christians and Jews are hated by Allah to the extent that they are destined for eternal doom as a result of their beliefs. It would make no sense for Muhammad to then recommend them to be taken in as friends by Muslims.

In fact, the Qur'an plainly commands believers not to take unbelievers as friends.

The Qur'an:
Sura (5:51) - "O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people."

Sura (5:80) - "You will see many of them befriending those who disbelieve; certainly evil is that which their souls have sent before for them, that Allah became displeased with them and in chastisement shall they abide." Those Muslims who befriend unbelievers will abide in hell.

Sura (3:28) - "Let not the believers Take for friends or helpers Unbelievers rather than believers: if any do that, in nothing will there be help from Allah..."

Sura (3:118) - "O you who believe! do not take for intimate friends from among others than your own people, they do not fall short of inflicting loss upon you; they love what distresses you; vehement hatred has already appeared from out of their mouths, and what their breasts conceal is greater still; indeed, We have made the communications clear to you, if you will understand." This verse not only warns Muslims not to take non-Muslims as friends, but it establishes the deep-seated paranoia that the rest of the world is out to get them.

Sura (9:23) - "O ye who believe! Choose not your fathers nor your brethren for friends if they take pleasure in disbelief rather than faith. Whoso of you taketh them for friends, such are wrong-doers" Even family members are not to be taken as friends if they do not accept Islam. (This is the mildest interpretation of this verse from the 9th Sura, which also advocates "slaying the unbeliever wherever ye find them").

Sura (53:29) - "Therefore shun those who turn away from Our Message and desire nothing but the life of this world."

Sura (3:85) - "And whoever desires a religion other than Islam, it shall not be accepted from him, and in the hereafter he shall be one of the losers."

Sura (3:10) - "(As for) those who disbelieve, surely neither their wealth nor their children shall avail them in the least against Allah, and these it is who are the fuel of the fire." Those who do not believe in Muhammad are but fuel for the fire of Hell (also 66:6, 2:24. 21:98).

Sura (7:44) - "The Companions of the Garden will call out to the Companions of the Fire: "We have indeed found the promises of our Lord to us true: Have you also found Your Lord's promises true?" They shall say, "Yes"; but a crier shall proclaim between them: "The curse of Allah is on the wrong-doers" Muslims in heaven will amuse themselves by looking down on non-Muslims in Hell and mocking them while they are being tortured (see 22:19-22.

Sura (1:5-7) - "Show us the straight path, The path of those whom Thou hast favoured; Not the (path) of those who earn Thine anger nor of those who go astray" This is a prayer that Muslims are supposed to repeat each day. "Those who earn Thine anger" specifically refers to Jews and "those who go astray" refers to Christians (see Bukhari (12:749)).

From the Hadith:

Muslim (1:417) - Taken to mean that one's own relatives should not be taken as friends if they are not Muslim.

Abu Dawud (41:4815) - "The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: A man follows the religion of his friend; so each one should consider whom he makes his friend."

Bukhari (59:572) - "O you who believe! Take not my enemies And your enemies as friends offering them (Your) love even though they have disbelieved in that Truth (i.e. Allah, Prophet Muhammad and this Quran) which has come to you."

Ishaq 262 - "Some Muslims remained friends with the Jews, so Allah sent down a Qur'an forbidding them to take Jews as friends. From their mouths hatred has already shown itself and what they conceal is worse"

Ishaq 252 - The story of a young man who converts to Islam after hearing Muhammad. He then tells his own father that he can no longer have anything to do with him because, "I have become a Muslim and follow the religion of Muhammad." (To maintain a relationship with his son, the father "converts" as well). This is an important passage because it establishes that the principle of shunning is based merely on the status of non-Muslims as unbelievers, not on their relations toward Muslims. In this case, the father desperately loved his son and meant him no harm.

Additional Notes:
Even though they are explicitly kufr (unbelievers, Sura 5:17, Sura 4:44-59) Jews and Christians are given special status in Islam. So, if Muhammad warned believers against taking them as friends, then it surely is not permissible for Muslims to befriend atheists or those of other religions.

Some Muslims interpret this to mean that they should not even act friendly toward nonbelievers. (Most, fortunately, do not).

Some Muslims are embarrassed by verse 5:51 and have gone to elaborate lengths to modify its intent by interpreting the word 'friend' as "guardian" or "protector" - which are just two of several legitimate translations of the Arabic word. According to these apologists, the verse is referring to a Muslim's allegiance to a non-Muslim government (which is not all that comforting either). This appears to be refuted by the verse itself, which distinguishes between friends and protectors and instructs Muslims to avoid both.

Other apologists point to (Sura 60:8-9) which says that Allah doesn't necessarily forbid showing kindness to unbelievers, but to shun the ones "who warred against you on account of religion and have driven you out from your homes and helped to drive you out." This is a definite reference to the Meccans, whose leaders expelled Muhammad and his handful of followers from Mecca (following his declaration of war against them). The verse was narrated shortly after their arrival in Medina, when is was necessary for the Muslims to build alliances with non-Muslims in order to survive. The verses quoted above from Suras 9 and 5 are given much later, when Muslims had power, and they expand the scope of unfriendliness to include those who are not Muslim.

Modern apologists such as Jamal Badawi try to cloud the straightforward interpretation of verse 5:51 by pointing out that Muslims are allowed to take non-Muslims as marriage partners, thus implying friendship. In fact, verse 2:221 explicitly forbids Muslims from marrying unbelievers, even though verse 5:5 allows it (Allah's change of mind corresponded somewhat curiously with Muhammad's own desire to marry a non-Muslim woman). Yusuf Ali reconciles the contradiction by saying that non-Muslims wives are "expected" to become Muslim.

In any event, only Muslim men are allowed to marry outside the faith. The women they marry relinquish control over their own lives, even to the extent that they cannot raise their own children in their own faith. All children must be raised Muslim. The non-Muslim woman also agrees to a lifetime of sexual servitude, and may be beaten if she does not submit.

This certainly doesn't sound like friendship to the rest of us. If your local Muslim cheerleader tries to pretend otherwise, then simply ask if a non-Muslim man may enter into this sort of "friendship" with a Muslim woman... then sit back and watch the backpedaling.

On the whole, Islam is very clear in teaching that there is no equality between believers and unbelievers, and hence no basis for a relationship of peers. Those who do not profess Muhammad are intended to exist in subjugation to those who do, then spend eternity in Hell. This does not preclude Muslims from acting friendly toward others, of course, but this does not constitute friendship as it is generally understood in the modern world.



  1. Dhivehi Christian5:40 AM

    The following are instructions issued by the Saudi Ministry for the Prevention of Vice and the Promotion of Virtue to Saudi students studying abroad. The Ministry of Islamic Affairs is currently preparing a similar pamphlet for issue to all Maldivian students travelling abroad.

    > "Everyone who does not embrace Islam is an unbeliever and must be called an unbeliever. One who does not call the Jews and the Christians unbelievers is himself an unbeliever."

    > "Whoever believes that churches are houses of God, or that what Jews and Christians do constitutes the worship of God, is an infidel."

    > To offer greetings to a Christian at Christmas- even to wish "Happy holidays"- is "a practice more loathsome to God than imbibing liquor, or murder, or fornication."

    > "Jews are worse than donkeys. They are the corrupting force behind materialism, bestiality, the destruction of the family, and the dissolution of society."

    > "Muslims who convert to another religion should be killed because they have denied the Koran."

    > "Democracy is responsible for all the horrible wars of the 20th century, and for spreading ignorance, moral decadence, and drugs."

  2. Dhivehi Christian5:42 AM

    The Maldivians mullahs in the ministry have learnt hatred similar to the above from Saudi Arabia. Like Mohamed they hate non-Muslims who are regarded as only good to be raped and murdered.

  3. Anonymous5:46 AM

    idiot mullahs are teaching hate to Maldivians

  4. Maldivian Mullah8:08 AM

    Don't be ridiculous. I think you are the ones mongering hate. Not Mullahs.

  5. Anonymous8:15 AM

    Maldivian Mullah,
    Have you read the above suras and hadiths before you commented?
    Can you tell us what those mean?
    Don't be idiotic. Read the post and respond to what the Suras and Hadiths say! Don't you get the hatred there?

  6. Dhivehi Christian1:03 PM

    You are the one who is being ridiculous, Maldivian Mullah. You fail to notice the hate in the Koranic passages here even when they become huge stakes in your eyes. Instead you are shooting the messenger, rather than reflecting on the message. Let me tell you this- you are shooting the wrong messenger- if you know what I mean!

  7. First of all, no one is "doomed to hell" as you've stated. You're speaking like the way Nazis spoke about Jews. Jews believe that they're the "Chosen Ones", but that's because today, Judaism is more of a racial identity than a religious belief. Anyone can be a Muslim, and what's more, it is the basic human right for everyone that they have the opportunity to be a Muslim.

    Anyway, about your post. It is the belief of us Muslims that Islam is the one and only way to Paradise. That does not, of course, give us permission to dance around non-Muslims and rub it in their faces (even though some ignorant Muslims do engage in such acts). It is a duty, however, for every Muslim to enlighten non-Muslims about the way of life that is Islam. By not choosing Christians and Jews as friends does not mean that we're not allowed to communicate or interact with them in any shape or form. It means that we don't overdo the friendship thing. We don't, for an example, participate in their holy festivals (Christmas, Hanukkah etc) since the reasons of their celebrations are due to causes that we Muslims do not approve of.

    And to say that Muslims who choose non-Muslim counterparts as friends are doomed to hell? Come on! Your path to paradise does not come down to who your friends are!

  8. Dhivehi Christian5:49 PM

    Control Freak, whose path to paradise are you referring to? The post quotes from Sura al-Maidah verse 80. It is Allah's (Mohamed's) path to paradise. It pays to read before you comment.

  9. Dhivehi Christian: I did read that actually. It makes perfect sense to take like-minded people as your friends, the same way as you're doing. The "enemies" of Islam stated explicitly in many of the verses of the Qur'an and the hadith of Prophet Muhammadh (peace be upon him) refer to the Harubiya Kaafirs, i.e. those hate mongering non-Muslims who're of course a threat to the Muslim population. Common sense witnesses to this.
    And another thing; I must admit that I'm not a scholar, nor can my knowledge of my religion be compared to the leading scholars of Islam. But, I, unlike you and your little group of friends here, bother to listen and learn from the experts themselves, instead of making up conclusions by myself. For one thing, I know that the following interpretation is incorrect.

    Muslim (1:417) - Taken to mean that one's own relatives should not be taken as friends if they are not Muslim.

    This can't be further from the truth. In fact, this is a problem that many Westerners who've converted to Islam have faced. Though many of them have to confront various inconveniences, such as abuse from their dearest loved ones, Islam encourages us to stand tall and keep in touch with our relatives, and by keeping in touch I don't mean a phone call twice a year to 'say hello'. No, our relatives share a unique bond, they're our flesh and blood, and it is compulsory for new converts to keep close contact with their relatives, especially their parents and siblings. I can help you to a few links, they're all very inspirational:

    May Allah guide you to the straight path.

  10. Dhivehi Christian1:18 AM

    It is a pity that Muslims here in Maldives will never make such a charitable interpretation, unless it serves your propaganda.

    Imagine what will happen to me if you found out who I am. I will be dragged to the police and will become the first victim of torture under the new government. I will be given a simple choice. Renounce Christianity or die. That was the choice given to the brave Maldivian Christians who were arrested in 1998. Tell me if I am wrong.

    No Muslim country has ever tolerated conversion of Muslims to any other faith. They are not about to begin now just because you say we have interpreted these ayahs and hadheeses incorrectly. So, Control Freak, keep your fairytales to yourself.

  11. Anonymous7:39 AM

    Control you control you woman's clitoris like your Prophet Mohammed ask you?

  12. abdullah1:11 AM

    All the praises and thanks be to Allâh, the Lord of the 'Alamîn (mankind, jinns and all that exists), Who warned against taking friends from unbelievers. Allah has warned about your treachery your deception. As if you want to be friends of muslims why should we be your friends when you twist the meaning of quran and write your own interpretation with your limited inteligence. This is exactly why Allah have forbidden for us to take friends amongst you because you wish only harm for us..
    And you talk of the best of Mankind Mohamed as if you are capable of talking about him what are you compared to him he pardoned the disbelieving people of Mecca after conquering mecca. Jews are such great people they are slaughtering muslims in hundreads. chistian americans bringing freedom to iraq destroying a Nation. or Christian ethopians killing raping muslim women in somalia with blessings from their christian brethen in america. Thank you for the reminder

    O you who believe! Take not as (your) Bitânah (advisors, consultants, protectors, helpers, friends, etc.) those outside your religion (pagans, Jews, Christians, and hypocrites) since they will not fail to do their best to corrupt you. They desire to harm you severely. Hatred has already appeared from their mouths, but what their breasts conceal is far worse. Indeed We have made plain to you the Ayât (proofs, evidences, verses) if you understand. (Aali Imran 3:118)

  13. Anonymous3:18 AM

    Control Freak,
    Now there is a true Muslim commenting. abdullah, Slave of Allah, Tell your misguided and ignorant muslim brother Control Freak what Islam says.

  14. Anonymous6:37 AM

    To Dhivehi Christian:

    Never give up the struggle!! You have more support than you think to get rid of these arrogant, cruel, criminal, ignorant, hateful and mentally disturbed muslims.

  15. Bukowsky6:41 AM

    Islam is a virus very similar to the AIDS virus. But little by litle we are coming back to kill this lethal virus. Because murder is the only language muslims understand.