Allah Forbids You Not (Qur'an 60:8)

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This article analyzes the apologetic claim that surah 60:8 of the Qur'an allows Muslims to befriend non-Muslims.

Qur'an 60:8

Verse

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.

Meaning and context of verse

According to the tafsir and hadith, this verse was revealed in the context of Abu Bakr's daughter, who refused to let her mother in the house because she was a disbeliever. As Muslims often scream about context (usually when faced with the more violent qur'anic verses), some would say because it was revealed in the context of disbelieving mothers, then it only applies in that context.

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Imam Ahmad recorded that `Abdullah bin Zubayr said, "Qutaylah came visiting her daughter, Asma' bint Abi Bakr, with some gifts, such as Dibab, cheese and clarified (cooking) butter, and she was an idolatress at that time. Asma' refused to accept her mother's gifts and did not let her enter her house. `A'ishah asked the Prophet about his verdict and Allah sent down the Ayah

Harshness

Qur'an

O ye who believe! Whoso of you becometh a renegade from his religion, (know that in his stead) Allah will bring a people whom He loveth and who love Him, humble toward believers, stern toward disbelievers, striving in the way of Allah, and fearing not the blame of any blamer. Such is the grace of Allah which He giveth unto whom He will. Allah is All-Embracing, All-Knowing.
O ye who believe! Fight those of the disbelievers who are near to you, and let them find harshness in you, and know that Allah is with those who keep their duty (unto Him).

Qur'an verses explained

Ibn Kathir explains the meaning of the Qur'an verse regarding "harshness"

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Allah declares that without doubt, Muhammad is truly His Messenger,

(Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.) and this quality includes every beautiful description. Allah praises the Companions of the Messenger , may Allah be pleased with them all,

(And those who are with him are severe against disbelievers, merciful among themselves.) just as He, the Exalted and Most Honored, said in another Ayah,

(Allah will bring a people whom He will love and they will love Him; humble towards the believers, stern towards the disbelievers.)(5:54) This is the description of the believers; harsh with the disbelievers, merciful and kind to the believers, angry without smiling before the disbelievers, smiling and beaming with pleasure before his believing brother. Allah the Exalted said in another Ayah,

(O you who believe! Fight those of the disbelievers who are close to you, and let them find harshness in you.) (9:123) The Prophet said,

(The parable of the believers in their kindness and mercy for each other, is that of the body: when one of its organs falls ill, the rest of the body responds with fever and sleeplessness.) The Prophet also said,

(A believer to another believer is like a building whose different parts enforce each other.)

Hadith

I went out with my father to Syria. The people passed by the cloisters in which there were Christians and began to salute them. My father said: Do not give them salutation first, for AbuHurayrah reported the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) as saying: Do not salute them (Jews and Christians) first, and when you meet them on the road, force them to go to the narrowest part of it.

Scholars

Ahmad Sirhindi (d. 1624) was an Islamic scholar and a prominent Sufi. He is regarded as having rejuvenated Islam, due to which he is commonly called "Mujadid Alf Thani", meaning "reviver of the second millennium".

Shariat can be fostered through the sword.

Kufr and Islam are opposed to each other. The progress of one is possible only at the expense of the other and co-existences between these two contradictory faiths in unthinkable.

The honor of Islam lies in insulting kufr and kafirs. One who respects kafirs, dishonors the Muslims. To respect them does not merely mean honouring them and assigning them a seat of honor in any assembly, but it also implies keeping company with them or showing considerations to them. They should be kept at an arm's length like dogs. ... If some worldly business cannot be performed without them, in that case only a minimum of contact should be established with them but without taking them into confidence. The highest Islamic sentiment asserts that it is better to forego that worldly business and that no relationship should be established with the kafirs.

The real purpose in levying jizya on them is to humiliate them to such an extent that, on account of fear of jizya, they may not be able to dress well and to live in grandeur. They should constantly remain terrified and trembling. It is intended to hold them under contempt and to uphold the honor and might of Islam.

. . .

Whenever a Jew is killed, it is for the benefit of Islam.[1]

Hadith Prohibiting Friendship

Only pious believers where Muhammad's friends

'Amr b. 'As reported: I heard it from the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) quite audibly and not secretly: Behold! the posterity of my fathers, that is, so and so, are not my friends. Verily Allah and the pious believers are my friends.

Umar kicked a Christian out of Medina

(And if any among you befriends them, then surely he is one of them.) Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that `Umar ordered Abu Musa Al-Ash`ari to send him on one sheet of balance the count of what he took in and what he spent. Abu Musa then had a Christian scribe, and he was able to comply with `Umar's demand. `Umar liked what he saw and exclaimed, "This scribe is proficient. Would you read in the Masjid a letter that came to us from Ash-Sham" Abu Musa said, `He cannot."

`Umar said, "Is he not pure Abu Musa said, "No, but he is Christian." Abu Musa said, "So `Umar admonished me and poked my thigh (with his finger), saying, `Drive him out (from Al-Madinah).' He then recited,"

(O you who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians as friends...) Then he reported that `Abdullah bin `Utbah said, "Let one of you beware that he might be a Jew or a Christian, while unaware." The narrator of this statement said, "We thought that he was referring to the Ayah,

A man follows the religion of his friend

Narrated AbuHurayrah: 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.

Only stay with believers

"The Messenger of Allah [said] "Do not keep company with anyone but a believer and do not let anyone eat your food but one who is pious."

Whoever joins a polytheist is like him

“Whoever joins a mushrik and lives with him is like him"

Do not take enemies as friends

"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."

Muhammad was sent to stop friendship

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
Ibn Ishaq p.262

Ibn Ishaq's work is lost, but most of it is referenced in Ibn Hisham and Tabari as well as many other historians work. Imam Abu Hanifa only considered Ibn Ishaq's historical accuracy reliable, not his narrations of Prophet Muhammad, since he gave no chain of narrators. Nevertheless, this is a reference to a Qur'an verse.

Views of Muslim Scholars

Ibn Kathir

Allah forbids His believing servants from having Jews and Christians as friends, because they are the enemies of Islam and its people, may Allah curse them. Allah then states that they are friends of each other and He gives a warning threat to those who do this"

Al-Munajid

Sheikh Munajid has issued the fatwa (religious ruling) that it is wrong to take Kuffar as friends. However, he says it is okay to treat them with kindness.

With regard to non-Muslims, the Muslim should disavow himself of them, and he should not feel any love in his heart towards them: [Quotes Qur'an 60:1 & Qur'an 60:4]

But this does not mean that a Muslim cannot interact with them in a nice manner that will encourage them to enter Islam, so long as that is within the guidelines of sharee’ah, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): [Quotes Qur'an 60:8]

[The fatwa goes on to quote the following Islamic scriptures:...Muslim narrated in his Saheeh (2674); Qur'an 4:97-98; Abu Dawood narrated in his Sunan (2645); al-Tirmidhi narrated in his Jaami’ (1640); Ibn al-Qayyim said in Tahdheeb al-Sunan (‘Awn, 7/304); Abu Dawood (2787); al-Haakim (2/141); Imam Ahmad (4/365); and al-Nasaa’i (4177)]

These texts indicate that the basic principle is that the Muslim should not settle among the kuffaar in their countries, and that he is obliged to move from those lands to the Muslim lands. An exception is made from that if his staying there is necessary, but necessity should not be blown out of proportion. If the Muslim has to be with them (the non-Muslims) physically, he should not be with them in his heart, and he must avoid mixing with them unnecessarily...

...Something else that will help you to stop mixing with non-Muslims is to remember that these kaafirs – even though they may have good manners and some good qualities – also do a number of seriously wrong things, any one of which is sufficient to nullify any good deeds that they may do. Among these evil things is the belief of the Christians – for example – that God is one of three (trinity), as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): [Quotes Qur'an 5:73]
The other kaafir nations all attribute partners to Allaah, or else they do not believe in God at all.

The kuffaar in general do not believe in the Qur’aan or in the message of our Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), rather they reject the Qur’aan and they reject our Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him); so how can a Muslim be inclined towards them with their kufr and misguidance?

Even if they give you some of your rights by treating you nicely, they do not give Allaah His rights and they do not give the Qur’aan its rights and they do not give our Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) his rights. The rights of Allaah and His Book and His Prophet are more important than our personal rights. Remember this, for this is one of the things that will help you to hate them and regard them as enemies until they believe in Allaah alone, as mentioned in the aayah quoted above (interpretation of the meaning): [Quotes Qur'an 60:4]
Being friends with non-Muslims
Islam Q&A, Fatwa No. 11793

Ibn Taymiyah

“Imitation generates friendship and love, and regarding them as allies in the inside, just as loving them on the inside generates imitating them on the outside.” Allaah tells us that there is no (true) believer who takes a kaafir as a friend, for whoever takes a kaafir as friend is not a believer. Imitation on the outside implies that a person loves (the one whom he imitates), and so it is forbidden.”
“The Qur’aan, Sunnah and ijmaa’ (scholarly consensus) all indicate that we must differ from the kuffaar in all aspects and not imitate them, because imitating them on the outside will make us imitate them in their bad deeds and habits, and even in beliefs, which will result in befriending them in our hearts, just as loving them in our hearts will lead to imitating them on the outside[2]
Ibn Taymiyyah

Shaykh Saed Abdul-Rahman

Shaykh Saed Abdul Rahman who is the Author of many fatwa books has ruled that Muslims should not take non-Muslims as friends. A Muslim should not even live near the "Kuffar" unless he promotes Islam.

These text indicate that muslims should not settle amongst the Kuffar in their country and that he is obliged to move from those lands to muslim lands. An exception is made....

They have also ruled that it is haram to show condolences towards the Kuffar if one of them dies. However there are exceptions.

Offering condolences to a kaafir if one of his loved ones – a friend or relative – dies. There is a difference of opinion among the scholars concerning this issue. Some of the scholars say that it is haraam to offer condolences to them, and some say that it is permissible. Some of them added further details and said that if that serves an interest, such as the hope that they may become Muslim and it may ward off their evil which could not be done except by offering condolences, then it is permissible, otherwise it is haraam. The more correct view is if that offering condolences to them is regarded as a kind of honouring them, then it is haraam, otherwise we should look at what is in the best interests.

Al-Shanqeeti

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In this verse [5:51] Allaah tells us that whoever takes the Jews and Christians as friends is one of them because of his taking them as friends. Elsewhere Allaah states that taking them as friends incurs the wrath of Allaah and His eternal punishment, and that if the one who takes them as friends was a true believer he would not have taken them as friends. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning)

Responses to Apologetics

Awliya means 'protector'

Some say the word Awliyā' (أولياء) only means 'protector', not 'friend'. But this is not true,[3] as the Islamic phrase walīyu 'llāh (ولي الله), means 'friend of God'.[4] To say walīyu 'llāh means “protector of God”, is slanderous in Islam. The word Al-Waliyu is also one of the 99 names of Allah.

We can marry non-Muslims

Some people say that Muslims can marry non-Muslims, therefore they can befriend them. This is false. It is forbidden for a Muslim women to marry a non-Muslim.

A fatwa issued in August 2007 by the secretary-general of the Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America (AMJA), Dr. Sheikh Salah Al-Sawy, states that marriage between a Muslim woman and a non-Muslim man is forbidden and invalid, and a child born like this is illegitmate:


"Marriage between a Muslim woman and a non-Muslim [man] is forbidden and invalid - that is a consensus among Muslims. A [Muslim] woman who has taken the liberty [of marrying a non-Muslim man] has removed herself from the fold of the Muslim community - and one who has done so knowing that it is wrong, has done something strictly forbidden, and has committed an open [act of] abomination that may hurl her into the abyss of heresy and apostasy.

“The wisdom of the religious ban [against the marriage of a Muslim woman to a non-Muslim man lies in] its preventing [the woman] from being tempted away from her faith. The Koran justifies this ban by saying that these marriages ‘beckon [the believer] to the Fire of Hell; Koran 2:221.’

"[The Koran says]: 'Do not marry unbelieving women, until they believe: A slave woman who believes is better than an unbelieving woman, even though she allures you. Nor marry (your girls) to unbelievers until they believe: A man slave who believes is better than an unbeliever, even though he allures you. Unbelievers do [but] beckon you to the Fire. But Allah beckons by His Grace to the Garden [of bliss] and forgiveness [Koran 2:221].'

"The excuse that one is unable to find a [Muslim] partner for marriage is completely invalid, both from a religious and from a practical point of view... for one who is unable to find a spouse must remain chaste until Allah delivers him [from his plight], for Allah has said: 'Let those who cannot find a match keep themselves chaste, until Allah gives them means out of His grace [Koran 24:33].'

"[Marriage between a Muslim woman and a non-Muslim man] is invalid and despicable, for we know, and anyone who has contact with the Muslim communities in the West knows, that the number of [Muslim] men seeking marriage is growing. When Muslim women behave in a righteous manner and frequent the mosque, they will receive plenty of marriage proposals and have plenty of [suitable partners] from whom to choose...

"The excuse that [the man and woman] share an emotional bond, which comes to justify that which is forbidden, is one of the most despicable excuses..."

Furthermore, the marriage of Muslim men to non-Muslim women was not encouraged by Umar.

"`Umar disliked this practice so that the Muslims do not refrain from marrying Muslim women, or for similar reasons." An authentic chain of narrators stated that Shaqiq said: Once Hudhayfah married a Jewish woman and `Umar wrote to him, "Divorce her." He wrote back, "Do you claim that she is not allowed for me so that I divorce her He said, "No. But, I fear that you might marry the whores from among them." Ibn Jarir related that Zayd bin Wahb said that `Umar bin Khattab said, "The Muslim man marries the Christian woman, but the Christian man does not marry the Muslim woman."

Conclusion

This is what the Qur'an says about people who want to befriend non-Muslims.

Those in whose hearts is a disease - thou seest how eagerly they run about amongst them, saying: "We do fear lest a change of fortune bring us disaster." Ah! perhaps Allah will give (thee) victory, or a decision according to His will. Then will they repent of the thoughts which they secretly harboured in their hearts.
"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."

See Also

  • Misinterpreted Verses - A hub page that leads to other articles related to Misinterpreted Verses
  • Non-Muslims - A hub page that leads to other articles related to Non-Muslims

References

  1. Excerpted from Saiyid Athar Abbas Rizvi, Muslim Revivalist Movements in Northern India in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (Agra, Lucknow: Agra University, Balkrishna Book Co., 1965), pp.247-50; and Yohanan Friedmann, Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi: An Outline of His Thought and a Study of His Image in the Eyes of Posterity (Montreal, Quebec: McGill University, Institute of Islamic Studies, 1971), pp. 73-74.
  2. Ruling on shaving the beard - Islam Q&A, Fatwa No. 1189
  3. Glossary of Islam. Glossary of the Middle East. Accessed May 30, 2010.
  4. "Walī (a., pl. awliyā;)", Encyclopaedia of Islam