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On Befriending Non-Muslims

Answered as per Maliki Fiqh by BinBayyah.net

The topic of this responsum is the delicate matter of wala’ and bara’ – usually glossed as “loving and hating for

Allah’s sake”. The questioner states that she has a female Christian friend, and would like to know whether

such friendship contravenes the Islamic teachings or norms.

The Response

All praise be to Allah. To proceed:

There is no problem in this, Allah willing. For Allah, Transcendent and Exalted is He, says: Allah does

not forbid you to be benevolent and equitable to those who have neither made war on your religion

nor driven you from your homes. Allah loves the equitable.2

This verse, as the majority of scholars hold, is one whose legal provision still holds; it has not been

abrogated.3 Consequently birr, or benevolence here, embodies the notion of kindness, justice and

fairness. This goes to prove the permissibility of such friendship, providing this friendship is not based

upon creed (‘aqidah) – meaning, that they not be loved for their [false] beliefs. As for relationships

with them in the worldly sense, Allah, Exalted is He, says concerning non-Muslims parents: Bear them

company in this worldly life in kindness.4 An authentic hadith records that the Prophet, peace be

upon him, instructed Asma’ – when her disbelieving mother was about to visit her: “Treat your mother

kindly.” Recorded by al-Bukhari, no.2620 and Muslim, no.1003.

Thus, friendly relationships from a non-creedal angle is not that type of mawalat, or loyalty and

friendship, that Allah prohibits. There is no issue at all with such an affair, or with intending to steer

her towards guidance through good conduct and character. If Allah wills, this is part of inviting others

to Islam. And Allah knows best

This answer was collected from BinBayyah.net, which contains of feature articles and fatawa by world renowned ‘Alim, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Bayyah, from Mauritania.

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