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Islamic Society ( 24 Feb 2022, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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The Quran's Stand on Friendship

By S. Arshad, New Age Islam

25 February 2022

The Quran Does Not Prohibit Friendship with Non-Muslims

Main Points:

1.    Quran advises Muslims not be friends with the members of warring community.

2.    Quran does not forbid friendship with non-warring community.

3.    This injunction is only for emergency situation.


In the holy Quran there are some verses dealing with friendship with non-Muslims. The verses prohibit Muslims from having friendship with non-Muslims. This appears in contrast with the Quran's general stand on relations with non-Muslim neighbours or treatment of non-Muslims in their day to day interaction.

Here we should keep it mind that the holy Quran was revealed to the prophet pbuh in a period of 23 years and during these 23 years, Muslims so many ups and downs. They saw many wars with the polytheists, Jews and Christians after they consolidated their position in Madina. During Makkan life Muslims went through hardships, trials and tribulations and mental and physical torture.

During their life in Madina, Muslims faced conspiracies from their enemies and had to fight many battles. War is an emergency situation when the opponents keep secrecy about their movements and their strategy. So during armed conflicts, citizens are advised not to divulge their plans and secrets to the members of the enemy community. Friendship is used as a means of acquiring secret information about the enemy.

Since the Muslims were in armed conflict with the polytheists and Jews of Makkah and adjoining areas, the Quran asks Muslims not to have friendly relations with the opponents because they were those who had fought with Muslims and had helped their enemies to drive them out of their homes. It is natural that nobody would like to have friendship with a community which is bent on causing every kind of harm. In Makkah and Madina, there were illiterate and ignorant Muslims who did not have much political maturity and had friendship with the members of the community at war with Muslims. The holy prophet pbuh was regularly informed of the conspiracies of the opponents of Islam and also of the hypocrites. Therefore as a war strategy, the Quran warns Muslims not to have friendship with those non-Muslims who at war with them and had driven them away from their homes.

However, the Quran makes it very clear that Muslims were free to have friendship with those non-Muslims who did not fight them and did not drive them out of their homes.

"God does not forbid you to treat with justice those who did not fight with you on religious grounds and did not drive you out from your homes. Indeed God knows those who are just. God forbids you to have friendship with those who fought you over Deen and drove you out of your home. "(Al Mumtahinan: 7-8)

Just in the previous verse, the Quran says that Muslims should follow good behaviour towards the enemies so that their good behaviour may someday turn their foes into their friends.

"Albeit you should have good behaviour of those who expect God's blessing and believes in the Day of Judgment, and if any one who turns away then God is Ghani and Handed. It is hoped that He may cause friendship between you and your enemies."(Al Mumtahinan: 6)

This verse even hopes that Muslims will someday be in friendly relations with their enemies because of good behaviour of Muslims.

These verses forbidding Muslims from having friendship with the polytheists and Jews only during the period of hostilities and these are not applied to the peace time. Because in other verses Muslims are enjoined to treat neighbours, travellers, guests and non-Muslim parents. In these verses the Quran does not distinguish between Muslim neighbour/traveller etc. and non-Muslim ones.

"So give the relatives, and the needy traveller his due."(Ar Rum: 38)

During the life of the prophet pbuh a Jew named Makhreeq had fought on the side of the Muslims in the battle of Uhud and got martyrdom. The holy prophet pbuh said that he was the best of the Jews. In the initial stages of Islam a Jew served as the personal secretary of the holy prophet pbuh. He would write correspondence in Hebrew and Suryani.

These examples show that Quran asked Muslims not to have friendship with the enemies only in the time of emergency as a strategy during war. In modern times also, the governments do surveillance of communication between citizens with people of the enemy country because of security reasons. In times of peace people are free to talk to their friends or relatives in other countries.

The Quran also allows Muslim men to marry the women of the People of the Book. They are also not prohibited from doing business or partner in social and cultural initiatives. In India non-Muslims and Muslims of India have co-operated and helped each other. During Covid-19 crisis, people of all the communities shed their religious inhibitions and went overboard to help each other. During the lockdown a Muslim youth Yaqub I'd not leave his Hindu friend who had contracted Covid-19 and people on the truck they were travelling had forced him out of the truck. Yaqub did not leave Amit alone and came down from the truck along with him. Later Amit died in Yaqub's lap on the road.

Therefore, the holy Quran's advice to Muslims not to have friendship with the members of warring community is only for security reasons and not on communal basis. The Quran in fact wants Muslims to be affectionate towards non-Muslims so that they can create good rapport with them and form a healthy society.


S. Arshad is a columnist with


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