Why are we discouraged from taking the kuffaar as friends?

Q: Why are we discouraged from taking the kuffaar as friends?

A: Muslims are strongly discouraged in the Quraan from befriending the disbelievers. Allah Ta'ala states in the Quraan:

یٰۤاَیُّهَا الَّذِیْنَ اٰمَنُوْا لَاتَتَّخِذُوا الْکٰفِرِیْنَ اَوْلِیَاۤءَ مِنْ دُوْنِ الْمُؤْمِنِیْنَ اَتُرِیْدُوْنَ اَنْ تَجْعَلُوْا لِلّٰهِ عَلَیْکُمْ سُلْطٰنًا مُّبِیْنًا

O you who believe! Do not take the disbelievers as friends instead of the believers! (Surah Nisaa v. 144)

Through befriending the kuffaar, a believer will invariably begin to emulate them in their ways, dressing, outlook, culture and values. This will ultimately result in him neglecting or compromising his obligations which he owes to Allah Ta'ala and the believers. Once he is inclined towards them and their culture, he will begin to live like them and idealise their values, and ultimately, he will abandon his own Islamic culture and values. It is for this reason that we are strongly discouraged from associating with the kuffaar and taking them as friends. In the Qur'aan Majeed, Allah Ta'ala explains the harms and long-term consequences of befriending the kuffaar saying:

وَ لَنْ تَرْضٰی عَنْكَ الْیَهُوْدُ وَلَا النَّصٰرٰی حَتّٰی تَتَّبِعَ مِلَّتَهُمْ

The Jews and Christians will never be satisfied with you until you follow their creed (and become like them). (Surah Baqarah v. 120)

We should understand that though we are discouraged from befriending the kuffaar, we have been commanded to be kind and considerate towards them. Similarly, we are allowed to deal with them in business, etc, on condition that we do not become close to them and our dealings with them remain within the parameters of Shariah. We will not infringe upon their rights, but at the same time, we will not be influenced by their ways and culture. Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) was commanded by Allah Ta'ala to say to the kuffaar, at the time when they wanted him to follow their way:

لَكُم دينُكُم وَلِىَ دينِ

For you is your religion (and way), and for me is my religion (and way). (Surah Kaafiroon v. 6)

And Allah Ta'ala (الله تعالى) knows best.

وَلَا تَرْکَنُوْۤا اِلَی الَّذِیْنَ ظَلَمُوْا فَتَمَسَّکُمُ النَّارُ ۙ وَمَا لَکُمْ مِّنْ دُوْنِ اللّٰهِ مِنْ اَوْلِیَاۤءَ ثُمَّ لَاتُنْصَرُوْنَ (سورة هود: 113)

لَکُمْ دِیْنُکُمْ وَلِیَ دِیْنِ (سورة الكافرون: 6)

عن ابن عباس قال قيل يا رسول الله  أي جلسائنا خير قالمن ذكركم الله رؤيته وزاد في علمكم منطقه وذكركم بالآخرة عمله (مسند أبي يعلى، الرقم: 2437)

Answered by:

Mufti Zakaria Makada

Checked & Approved:

Mufti Ebrahim Salejee (Isipingo Beach)