Relationships with non-Muslims in Islamic Law

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The Qur'an strictly prohibits friendship with non-Muslims, including the "People of the Book".


The Qur'an and other Islamic texts are very clear in teaching that there is no equality between Muslims and non-Muslims, and hence no basis for a relationship of peers. Allah through Prophet Muhammad describes unbelievers as "perverted transgressors",[1] the "worst of creatures",[2] "unloved by Allah",[3] and destined for eternal torture in Hell.[4] Thus, by the Qur'an's most literal interpretation, there is little sense in befriending these "creatures" of such inferiority.

Let not the believers take the unbelievers for friends rather than believers; and whoever does this, he shall have nothing of (the guardianship of) Allah, but you should guard yourselves against them, guarding carefully; and Allah makes you cautious of (retribution from) Himself; and to Allah is the eventual coming.
O you who believe! do not take the unbelievers for friends rather than the believers; do you desire that you should give to Allah a manifest proof against yourselves?
Believers, do not seek the friendship of the infidels and those who were given the Book before you, who have made of your religion a jest and a pastime.

Jews and Christians

The Qur'an specifically prohibits the friendship of the People of the Book (Jews and Christians).

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.

Muslim apologists, who are often embarrassed by this verse, provide an interpretation that deviates substantially from the literal meaning. The Arabic word Awliyā' (أولياء "friend") is legitimately also translated as "protector" or "guardian". Therefore, apologists claim that this verse refers to a Muslim's allegiance to an unbelieving government.

Yet modern day Islamic governments are often dependent on the alliances of predominantly non-Muslim nations, ensuring that this interpretation provides little more convenience. Furthermore, the verse itself appears to distinguish between "friend" and "protector", commanding Muslims to exclude disbelievers as both. Muslim apologists will therefore continue to rationalize the verse with interpretations drifting further from intuitive understanding.

Furthermore, the Islamic phrase walīyu 'llāh (ولي الله), means 'friend of God'.[5] To say walīyu 'llāh means “protector of God”, would constitute blasphemy in Islam. The word Al-Waliyu is also one of the 99 names of Allah.


The exclusion of disbelievers is not limited to disbelieving peers, but extends to non-Muslim family members.

O you who believe! do not take your fathers and your brothers for guardians if they love unbelief more than belief; and whoever of you takes them for a guardian, these it is that are the unjust.

Even praying for their forgiveness in the afterlife is forbidden.

It is not fitting, for the Prophet and those who believe, that they should pray for forgiveness for Pagans, even though they be of kin, after it is clear to them that they are companions of the Fire. And Abraham prayed for his father's forgiveness only because of a promise he had made to him. But when it became clear to him that he was an enemy to God, he dissociated himself from him: for Abraham was most tender-hearted, forbearing.

See Also


  1. "Ye are the best of peoples, evolved for mankind, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong, and believing in Allah. If only the People of the Book had faith, it were best for them: among them are some who have faith, but most of them are perverted transgressors." - Quran 3:110
  2. "Those who reject (Truth), among the People of the Book and among the Polytheists, will be in Hell-Fire, to dwell therein (for aye). They are the worst of creatures." - Quran 98:6
  3. "That He may reward those who believe and work righteous deeds, out of his Bounty. For He loves not those who reject Faith." - Quran 30:45
  4. "Those who reject Faith,- neither their possessions nor their (numerous) progeny will avail them aught against Allah: They are themselves but fuel for the Fire." - Quran 3:10
  5. "Walī (a., pl. awliyā;)", Encyclopaedia of Islam