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Can You Have Non-Muslim Friends?

20 September, 2022
Q I just wanted an understanding of the following verse of the Quran: "O you who believe! Turn not (for friendship) to people on whom is the wrath of Allah, of the Hereafter they are already in despair, just as the unbelievers are in despair about those (buried) in graves." (Al-Mumtahinah 30:13) Does this verse mean that we are not allowed to be have non-Muslim friends because of their belief or is this referring to those who are hostile towards Islam?


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

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

In this fatwa:

Islam does not prevent a Muslim from making friends with anyone regardless of his beliefs, race, country, etc.

In his response to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and an Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:

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We read in the Quran what means:

Allah only forbids you from befriending those who have fought you for ˹your˺ faith, driven you out of your homes, or supported ˹others˺ in doing so. And whoever takes them as friends, then it is they who are the ˹true˺ wrongdoers. (Al-Mumtahinah 60:9)

Verses such as the above refer to those who were fighting the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and his cause in order to prevent the spread of Islam. They should never be taken to mean that Muslims cannot befriend non-Muslims.

In fact, the Quran and the Prophetic traditions have made it clear that we are to cooperate with everyone, regardless of differences in creed or religion, for all that is good and virtuous.

Hence the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) declared, If Quraish were to call me to cause of honoring the ties of kinship and reverencing that which is sacred, I would hasten to join them.

He also said, “I attended a pact of virtue in the house of Abd Allah ibn Judan; for restoration of justice and coming to the aid of the oppressed. If I were to be called to it in Islam, I would rush to join it!”

It is also important to recognize that Islam spread in various parts of the world mainly because of Muslims interacting with others compassionately.

Almighty Allah knows best.

Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.