Does Islam really order Muslims to not take Jews, Christians and other non-Muslims as friends?
Mohamad Mostafa Nassar
Introduction: Allah Almighty commanded the Muslims to be kind and just with non-Muslims: “Allah forbids you not, With regard to those who Fight you not for (your) Faith Nor drive you out Of your homes, From dealing kindly and justly With them: For Allah loveth Those who are just. (The Noble Quran, 60:8)”
Just because a person might be a non-Muslim it doesn’t automatically make him an enemy to the Muslims. Peace-loving and innocent non-Muslims are to be treated with justice and kindness, otherwise the Muslims would be committing a sin and violating Allah Almighty’s Holy Commands, “For Allah loveth Those who are just”.
“This day are (all) things good and pure made lawful unto you. The food of the People of the Book is lawful unto you and yours is lawful unto them. (Lawful unto you in marriage) are (not only) chaste women who are believers, but chaste women among the People of the Book, revealed before your time,- when ye give them their due dowers, and desire chastity, not lewdness, nor secret intrigues if any one rejects faith, fruitless is his work, and in the Hereafter he will be in the ranks of those who have lost (all spiritual good). (The Noble Quran, 5:5)”
Allah Almighty made lawful for Muslim men to marry Jewish and Christian women. How is this supposed to agree with the theory that Islam prohibits Muslims from making Jewish and Christian personal friends?
The sections of this article are:
– Does Islam really order Muslims to not take Jews and Christians
– Muslim men are allowed to marry Jewish and Christian women.
– Allah Almighty loves some of the Jews and Christians and will
grant them Paradise.
– Why did Allah Almighty prohibit making alliance with the Jews and
Let us look at the Noble Verses that address this issue:
“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. (The Noble Quran, 5:51)”
“O ye who believe! Take not for friends and protectors those who take your religion for a mockery or sport – whether among those who received the Scripture (i.e., the Bible) before you, or among those who reject Faith; but fear ye Allah, if ye have Faith (indeed). (The Noble Quran, 5:57)”
“Yea, to those who take for friends unbelievers rather than believers: is it honour they seek among them? Nay,- all honour is with God. (The Noble Quran, 4:139)”
“O ye who believe! Turn not (for friendship) To people on whom Is the Wrath of Allah. Of the Hereafter they are Already in despair, just as The Unbelievers are In despair about those (Buried) in graves. (The Noble Quran, 60:13)”
In the above Noble Verses, the Arabic word for “friends” is “Awliyaa”, which has four literal meanings: (1) Allies; (2) Friends; and (3) Guardians. In Noble Verse 60:13, the Arabic word used was “tatawallu”, which is derived from the root word “Awliyaa”.
“Waliy” which is the singular of “Awliyaa” means “Guardian” as your parents were your guardians when you were a kid. So as you can see, the Arabic word “Awliyaa” has different literal meanings.
In Noble Verse 60:13 above, Allah Almighty said “la tatawallu qawman”, which literally means “take not as allies a tribe (or a community)”, which further proves my point that “Awliyaa” in the Noble Verses above is meant for “alliance” and not personal “friendship”.
*** There is nothing wrong with developing a personal friendship with a non-Muslim to help him/her understand and appreciate Islam and to ultimately embrace it if they chose to. As clearly shown in the introduction above, Allah Almighty commanded all Muslims to treat with kindness and justice all of the good non-Muslims.
The English translation of the Noble Verses above is not accurate, because the use of the word “friends” is really out of context. The word “Allies” is the correct one, because in all of the Noble Verses above Allah Almighty was talking to the Muslims as a group taking A GROUP OF PEOPLE OR COMMUNITY as “Awliyaa”, which fits perfectly with “alliance” than with just personal “friendship” on an individual level.
Another example of inaccurate English translation is the following Noble Verse:
“As to those who turn (For friendship) to Allah, His Messenger, and the (Fellowship of) Believers – it is the Fellowship of Allah that must certainly triumph. (The Noble Quran, 5:56)”
The Arabic word for “Fellowship” of Allah is “hizb”, which literally mean “Alliance”, as in “Hizbullah” in Lebanon, which means “The Alliance of Allah”. Hizbullah are the guerrillas and the warriors that fought the Israelis long battles in southern Lebanon and finally were able to drive them out. Also, the “Northern Alliance” in Afghanistan against the Taliban are called “Hizb Al-shamal”.
Hizb is mistranslated as “Fellowship” instead of “Alliance”. Noble Verse 5:56 clearly states that Muslims must form their alliances only with Allah Almighty, Prophet Muhammad and the Believers. Any alliance other than Allah Almighty is a losing one. That is exactly what the Alliance with the Jews, Christians and Pagans against fellow Muslims will result in: Eventual loss at this life, and Severe Punishment at the Day of Judgement.
So the Noble Verses above don’t suggest that Muslims can not have personal friends with non-Muslims. It suggests that Muslim countries are prohibited from forming alliance with the non-Muslims against other Muslims.
Noble 5:57, however, clearly states that Muslims should avoid having personal friendship with anyone (Muslim or non-Muslim) who disrespects Islam and take it for a “mockery”. So the translation of “friends” for “Awliyaa” seem to be a correct and accurate one.
The use of the word “friends” for Noble Verses 5:51 and 4:139 as a translation is ambiguous. It is not clear from the Noble Verses that Allah Almighty meant for “Awliyaa” to be only personal “friends”. Certainly Noble Verse 5:56 above clearly shows that Allah Almighty is concerned about the Alliance that Muslims commit themselves to, and not personal friendships.
Muslim men are allowed to marry Jewish and Christian women:
Another proof that the above English translation of the word “friends” is wrong, and the correct word is “Alliance” is, how can Allah Almighty prohibit for any Muslim to form personal friendship with any Jew or Christian, when He the Almighty allowed for Muslim men to have friendly relationships with Jewish and Christian women like they do with Muslim women (without sex before marriage of course) that could lead to marriage?
“This day are (all) things good and pure made lawful unto you. The food of the People of the Book [Jews and Christians] is lawful unto you and yours is lawful unto them. (Lawful unto you in marriage) are (not only) chaste women who are believers, but chaste women among the People of the Book, revealed before your time,- when ye give them their due dowers, and desire chastity, not lewdness, nor secret intrigues if any one rejects faith, fruitless is his work, and in the Hereafter he will be in the ranks of those who have lost (all spiritual good). (The Noble Quran, 5:5)”
One has to ask himself a very simple question here: How can a Jewish or Christian woman marry a Muslim man without loving him? And how is it possible for this love to happen without prior friendship or even just warm feelings between the Muslim man and the woman?
Allah Almighty loves some of the Jews and Christians and will grant them Paradise:
Another proof that the above English translation of the word “friends” is wrong, and the correct word is “Alliance” is, how can Allah Almighty order Muslims not to have personal friendships with Jews and Christians when He Himself Loves some of them and will Grant them Paradise? This means that some Jews and Christians are actually better in the Sight of Allah Almighty than some Muslims:
“And there are, certainly, among the People of the Book [Jews and Christians], those who believe in God, in the revelation to you, and in the revelation to them, bowing in humility to God: They will not sell the Signs of God for a miserable gain! For them is a reward with their Lord, and God is swift in account. (The Noble Quran, 3:199)”
“Not all of them are alike: Of the People of the Book [Jews and Christians] are a portion that stand (For the right): They rehearse the Signs of God all night long, and they prostrate themselves in adoration. They believe in God and the Last Day; they enjoin what is right, and forbid what is wrong; and they hasten (in emulation) in (all) good works: They are in the ranks of the righteous. (The Noble Quran, 3:113-114)”
The above Noble Verses clearly speak about the righteous Jews and Christians who believe in Allah Almighty and do righteousness and will have their Great Reward and enter Paradise. Why would a Muslim be prohibited to form a personal friendship with these people from the Jews and Christians whom Allah Almighty loves dearly.
Why did Allah Almighty prohibit making alliance with the Jews and Christians?
When Islam was still fresh and partial, and Muslims were just beginning to understand Islam; Allah Almighty’s True Divine Religion, a group of hypocrites from the Jews and Christians tried to deceive the Muslims by pretending to accept Islam and then deserting it later, thus creating the impression that Islam was not a religion worth adopting.
Let us look at Noble Verse 3:72 “A section of the People of the Book (Jews and Christians) say: Believe in the morning what is revealed to the believers (Muslims), but reject it at the end of the day; perchance they may (themselves) turn back (from Islam).”
Since then, the Muslims became very wary of the Jews and Christians, because they proved themselves to be hypocrites.
It is clear that Islam doesn’t prohibit personal friendships with Jews and Christians or any other people. Islam however clearly prohibits forming alliance with the Jews, Christians and other non-Muslims. The only alliance a Muslim is allowed to form is with Allah Almighty, our Prophet peace be upon him (when he lived 1400 years ago), and the Muslim Believers.
Commentary on the verse “And insult not those whom they (disbelievers) worship besides Allah, lest they insult Allah wrongfully without knowledge” Quran (6:108)
It is essential to respond to those who defame the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)
Almighty Allah is the highest and most knowledgeable, and the attribution of knowledge to him is the safest.
Right from Almighty Allah and wrong from me and Satan
Prepared by Mohamad Mostafa Nassar
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