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Taking the Kuffar as close friends

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Askimam.org

1) I understand that the Holy scripture teaches us not to take Non-Muslims as “close” friends.

2)Please give me some concrete criteria or examples that I can use to assess whether or not I have become too close to a Non-Muslim.

3) My current situation is, is that I pick up  from home and drop off  to work a Non-Muslim colleague of mine 4 out of 7 days of the week. Every few months we go out for breakfast or dinner. 

4) However the problem is, is that we come from two different cultures and sometimes he does things and says things which make me irritable and angry and perhaps I do the same to him. This has been going on for 3 year’s.

5) I can not remain patient with my tongue and I can not show him greater aklaaq due to the weakness of my imaan and due to my sins.

6) My thoughts are that in order to have a healthy balanced freindship, we should have periods of separation between us so that my mind and heart can get ease. So for example, 2 weeks in a month I give him a ride and 2 weeks he takes the bus.


In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

In general, there are four types of relationships.[1]

  1. Muwālāt: Hearty and Bosom relationship- This is specific to Muslims; it is impermissible to have such a deep bond with non-Muslims. The expressions of Muwālāt include:
  • Tashabbuh: Imitating non-Muslims in their distinct features and religious practices. For example, wearing the cross, celebrating Christmas, etc.
  • Helping non-Muslims against Muslims. This does not mean passing a fair judgment in favor of a non-Muslim against a Muslim.
  • Idolizing non-Muslims. This is especially important for Muslim youth, male and female, who idolize sports stars, movie stars, etc.
  1. Muwāsāt: Courtesy and Civility- It is permissible, rather necessary, to have such a conduct with non-Muslims. For example, greeting with a smile, expressing thanks when favored, etc.
  2. Mudārāt: Outward Friendship- A person may have outward friendship with a non-Muslim to either fend off any anticipated harm, or to bring him closer to Islām. For example, helping an old lady with her groceries, calling one’s neighbor for dinner, mowing the neighbor’s lawn, etc. By acting in such a polite manner, others will be attracted towards his character, opening the doors to Da’wah. This is particularly important in the West and places where Muslims are a minority. 
  3. Mu‘āmalāt: Business Dealings: It is permissible to conduct business with non-Muslims.

Your relationship with the non-Muslim colleague in which you offer him a ride few times a week is a favour on your part. This falls in the second or third category of the various relationships explained above. You should continue this favour with the intention of Da’wah. If you go out for breakfast or dinner, take the opportunity to give him Da’wah. However, tolerance and diplomacy are essential. If you feel you do not have the tolerance and both of you will argue with each other, then going out to eat will be counterproductive. Confine your relationship to favouring him with a ride back and forth from work.

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Hisham Dawood

Student, Darul Iftaa
Chicago, USA

Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.


[1] Taken from Ma’āriful Quran of Mufti Shafi Saheb and Bayānul Qurān of Molana Thanvi Saheb under the Tafseer of Āl-‘Imrān:28

This answer was collected from Askimam.org, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Ebrahim Desai from South Africa.

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