Refutation: Taking Jews and Christians for friends?

Is it true that the Quran says to not take the Jews and Christians for friends?

The verse of the Holy Quran is also used to malign Islam and its teachings. I think the biggest misconception among people is that this verse refers to Christians and Jews of all times. The truth is that in addition to commandments meant for all time, the Quran also contains specific orders to Prophet Muhammad and his followers regarding the situations they were dealing with at the time that the verses were revealed. So keeping history and context in mind is extremely important when reading the Quran. [5:52] O ye who believe! take not the Jews and the Christians for friends. They are friends one to another. And whoso among you takes them for friends is indeed one of them. Verily, Allah guides not the unjust people.

There is a fallacy that the Quran commands Muslims to not befriend Jews and Christians based on Chapter 5 verse 52. If we look at the context of the verse, we see that it refers to the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammadsa when Jews and Christians were at war with Muslims. If you consider enemies at war with each other, it makes perfect sense to discourage friendships between them because of that situation. Even so, the subsequent verses 58 and 59 clarify the reasons for discouraging friendships with Jews and Christians of that time, who used to make fun of Muslims for adhering to their faith. (5:58O ye who believe! take not those for friends who make a jest and sport of your religion from among those who were given the Book before you, and the disbelievers. And fear Allah if you are believers

Interestingly, many topics in the Quran are continued in other places for the purpose of clarification. Consider Chapter 60 verses 8-10, with the suggestion that God may bring about love between the Muslims and their enemies. [60:8] It may be that Allah will bring about love between you and those of them with whom you are now at enmity; and Allah is All-Powerful; and Allah is Most Forgiving, Merciful.

These verses enjoin Muslims to be kind and generous towards others regardless of their religion, and that war is only permissible against hostile tribes who persecute Muslims on account of religious differences. In any case, remember that rather than creating differences, Islam teaches respect and acceptance of all prophets including Jesus and Moses, thus uniting us under one God.

I hope it is clear now that the verse in question does not apply to the Jews and Christians of today.

Some other verses of the Holy Quran to consider in this connection

[5:58] O ye who believe! take not those for friends who make a jest and sport of your religion from among those who were given the Book before you, and the disbelievers. And fear Allah if you are believers;

[5:59] And who, when you call people to Prayer, take it as jest and sport. That is because they are a people who do not understand.

[60:8] It may be that Allah will bring about love between you and those of them with whom you are now at enmity; and Allah is All-Powerful; and Allah is Most Forgiving, Merciful.

[60:9] Allah forbids you not, respecting those who have not fought against you on account of your religion, and who have not driven you forth from your homes, that you be kind to them and act equitably towards them; surely Allah loves those who are equitable.

[60:10] Allah only forbids you, respecting those who have fought against you on account of your religion, and have driven you out of your homes, and have helped others in driving you out, that you make friends of them, and whosoever makes friends of them — it is these that are the transgressors.

Listen to the answer in Audio MP3 – Question/Answer 1 –Question/Answer 2 

Source: Al Islam
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7 thoughts on “Refutation: Taking Jews and Christians for friends?

  1. Pingback: Refutation: Taking Jews and Christians for friends?

  2. Pingback: Is This Hatred or Love? | Demystifying the Cult

  3. AA,

    I also do not claim to be an expert on the Qur’an or Arabic. But one thing I must say is that Islam is a tolerant and just religion. The Qur’an is the word of God. Not man, but God – the Knower of all things.
    We as his humble servants are at His Mercy, and through this Mercy He will always guide us on the right path, insha’Allah.
    We need to look at this objectively; In the history of the world, has God ever told His people to live in diharmony? Then why dould He advise the people of the most perfect religion to do so? This subject area is obviously intended to be advice given to The Holy Prophet (Peace and blessing be upon him) during the time when the people in question just couldn’t be trusted to behave as good neighbourly citizens where everyone could live in peace.
    If this wasnt the case and we were ordered not to be friends with such people then why did our Blessed Prophet (pbuh) implement the Treaty of Hudaibiyya?
    (see http://www.alislam.org/library/history/chap13.htm)

  4. about this matter is quite clear, that we can’t take them as friends. Prior to explain further more, we have to understand what is the objective considering them as friends? I agree with the article above that “auliya” got some meanings. We can’t take them as friends if we will consider them as our protectors,role model and fully relying on them in every aspect of life. Hence the impact of our friendship will make our faith so weak and fragile. As the Holy Prophet has predicted in a hadits that muslims would follow jews extremely by saying “You will follow the practices of those who were before you, step by step, foot by foot, so much so that if one of them goes into the hole of a lizard you will follow.”
    But ofcourse I assume that is not forbidden for us to be friend with them on behalf of establishing harmony in the society and promoting peace in the world. Everything depends on the intention. We should work hand in hand with them to create peace and harmony within society.

  5. Jazakallah for another great post. I have a question. According to my very limited understanding, Islam is a timeless religion i.e. for all peoples, for all times. Therefore, everything in the Holy Quran is there for a reason: it informs us of the past, grants us teachings to help us attain sublime spiritual and moral qualities, and contains great prophecies pertaining to the future. To call it a history book would be a grave injustice.

    Based on that, the following statement I have difficulty digesting:

    “The truth is that in addition to commandments meant for all time, the Quran also contains specific orders to Prophet Muhammad and his followers regarding the situations they were dealing with at the time that the verses were revealed.”

    Does this mean that some verses in the Quran are only revealed specifically for certain situations, and therefore only have one meaning?

    For example, I’ve heard people erroneously argue that the commandment pertaining to the veil in Surah Al-Ahzab (33:60) is addressing the wives of the Prophet (saw) only – therefore hijab was only compulsory for them, not for Muslim women in general. I would argue this is not the case as it is an insult to suggest that the blessed words of Allah (swt) should be taken at face value alone (and also the fact that there are several other verses instructing women to wear hijab…but that’s another story) Conversely, 33:51 gives the Holy Prophet (saw) and him alone permission to marry more than 4 wives at a time – a commandment clearly solely for our beloved Master (saw). So according to this verse, there ARE verses in the Quran with only one meaning….

    I know some verses are supposed to be ‘muhkam’ and others are ‘mutashabih’ – do we take the verse instructing Muslims to not take Christians and Jews for friends (and the 33:51 while we’re at it) as a ‘muhkam’ verse and leave it at that?

    I’m confused…

  6. Assalamu Alaikkum,

    This is an allegation which will probably never go away. On the other hand, the verse and its translation may be one which highlights the superiority of the Arabic language over other languages. Of course I say this not as a linguist or an expert in Arabic language by any means, but having done some basic search.

    In the 5 volume commentry the following explanation is given for the word أولياء :-

    “:Moreover, the word أولياء (fl’iends) signifies not only friends but helpers and protectors also, and thus may thus be rendered as “protecting friends”; and surely Muslims cannot take Jews and Christians as their protecting friends.Their only protecting friends are God and His Prophet as well as their own brethren in faith.”

    The background and verses following the verse in question is explained above in the article. Having looked at them and having gone through different interpretations of word, I can only come to the conclusion that the explanation is that “Dont take them friends in matters of faith and dont count on them as your guardians and protectors”. Those who have witnessed the recent events in middle east and other muslim countries can not help but fully agree with the above verse.

    The word Wali/Auliyah is explained in the Quranic dictionary, on page 837( page 869 of pdf) and the use of the word in different contexts.
    http://www.alislam.org/quran/dictionary/dictionary_quran.pdf

    May Allah Bless you for your efforts
    Wassalam

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