Monday, April 11, 2022

According To Quran 5:51, Can Muslims Not Accept Non-Muslims As Friends?

Muslims Can Make Peaceful Non-Muslims Their Friends According To Islam Highlights 1. Muslims were in a perilous position in Medina at the time this verse 5:51 was revealed. 2. The word Awliya needs to be understood as guardians or patrons in the strict military sense. 3. It is a popular misconception that Islam prevents Muslims from establishing friends and forming social interactions with others. ----- By Kaniz Fatma, New Age Islam 11 April 2022 Allah Azzawajal says, “O you who have believed, do not take the Jews and the Christians as Awliya. They are [in fact] Awliya of one another. And whoever is an ally to them among you - then indeed, he is [one] of them. Indeed, Allah guides not the wrongdoing people.” (5:51) Many Islamophobes and radical Muslims constantly claim that Islam forbids Muslims from making friends with non-Muslims. To establish this point, they use the above-mentioned verse. So it's essential to examine the meaning of Awliya in this verse, as well as whether or not Muslims can accept non-Muslims as friends. The following is a summary of Haris Aziz's treatise: The word Awliya has various meanings such as friends, protectors and guardians, and if the meaning is taken to be friends then it seems to contradict the Islamic message of peace and cooperation. The context and the historical background of this verse have been well explained by David Dakake. In this verse, awliya needs to be understood as guardians or patrons in the strict military sense. The word Awliya means ‘Friends, protectors, and guardians, and if this means ‘friends’ in verse 5:51, it will appear to contradict the Islamic message of peace and cooperation. David Dakake has provided a thorough explanation of the context and historical history of this verse. In this verse, Awliya must be taken as guardians or patrons in the strict military sense. This is because Muslims were in a perilous position in Medina at the time this verse was revealed, with the Makkans plotting an attack on them and some Christian and Jewish tribes scheming against them. As a result, Muslims were told to strengthen themselves and not rely on others unnecessarily. Al-Tabari, one of the oldest commentators on the Quran, explains the entire context. Furthermore, if we read the verses immediately after 5:51, verse 5:57 confirms the meaning even further: “O you who have believed, take not those who have taken your religion in ridicule and amusement among the ones who were given the Scripture before you nor the disbelievers as awliya. And fear Allah, if you should [truly] be believers.” (5:57) This demonstrates that, while Muslims should cooperate with non-Muslims in general and form friendships with well-intentioned non-Muslims, they should be wary of appointing as a guardian someone who despises Islam or does not want Muslims well. It's distressing to note that, despite the fact that a simple technique leads to the correct interpretation, this verse is not only misused by anti-Islamic organisations, but also by some hate-mongering Muslim groups. Similarly, a warning (Quran 5:82) regarding the animosity of the Jews of Medina toward Muslims must be viewed in its historical context and should not be taken to mean that Muslims should be hostile to them. (Islamic Political Radicalism – A European Perspective, Edited by Tahir Abbas, Anti-Semitism Amongst Muslims – Haris Aziz, Edinburgh University Press, p79-80, cited in When we examine the exegesis (Tafsir) of this verse critically, we can determine that this verse is specifically referring to prohibiting an alliance with non-Muslims who wished to damage the Muslim community. Furthermore, these words were revealed in the midst of political strife, not during a period of peace. It is a popular misconception that Islam prevents Muslims from establishing friends and forming social interactions with others. It contradicts both current reality and Islamic history. It's also a hazardous viewpoint, as some have claimed that befriending non-believers can lead to Kufr. This line of thinking is extremely flawed. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has a long history of peaceful coexistence with people of many religious communities. In both Makkah and Madinah, he lived with Christians and Jews. Even when there were apparent disagreements with certain of the Jewish tribes in Madinah, the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not cut off links with the entire Jewish community. In Madinah, the Prophet acknowledged the Jews as one community with the Muslims. Throughout Islamic history, the Prophet (peace be upon him) cooperated with different non-Muslims. For example, when he and his companion Abu Bakar left Makkah for Madinah during the Hijrah, he relied on Abdullah bin Urayqat, a non-Muslim, to guide and direct them. According to a hadith preserved in Sahih Bukhari, the Prophet paid a visit to a Jewish lad who used to serve him till he became unwell. The Prophet's kind demeanour illustrates the beauty of his teachings, inspiring the youngster to accept the message of the Prophet. These are just a few examples of the Holy Prophet’s remarkable interpersonal relationships with members of various faiths. (peace be upon him) In addition to his social contacts with people of different faiths, the Holy Prophet emphasised the need of maintaining kinship ties despite religious differences. He advised his companion, Saad bin Abi Waqas, to maintain a good connection with his mother, despite the fact that she did not share the same faith. The Holy Prophet emphasised that one's faith and belief should not interfere with one's family ties. He was Abu Talib's confidant and had an excellent relationship with him. Abu Talib was crucial to the Prophetic message's success. He shielded the Prophet from those who tried to stop him from carrying out his mission. The Prophet (peace be upon him) also lavished love and respect on his uncle. As a result, it is perfectly acceptable for us to befriend individuals who do not share our beliefs. We can always extend friendships to whomever we want to be friends with and embrace friends regardless of their religious beliefs. A friend in need is a true friend. Indeed, some of our friends share our ideals, but we all share our humanity and, more importantly, our strong links to real friendship. A serious assessment of the overall message of the Quran, as well as the Holy Prophet's diverse deeds, would be ample grounds to reject any restricted or exclusivist readings of these verses. Several verses in the Quran exhort us to do good to people of other faiths and to create positive relationships with them. Allah Azzawajal says in the Quran, “And He does not forbid you to deal kindly and justly with anyone who has not fought you for your faith or driven you out of your homes; God loves the Just.” (60:8) As Muslims, we have a religious obligation to challenge interpretations that seek to sow division and hatred. It is our responsibility to portray a favourable image of our faith and to explicitly reject exclusivist interpretations of the Bible. As taught by the Holy Prophet, we spread Rahma (mercy) to all. We must have trust that our faith does not need us to be isolated from other communities and that it does not create hostility in our interpersonal relationships. It is critical that we make attempts to learn about and interact with others in order to develop social cohesion. So, absolutely, we can make friends with our non-Muslim acquaintances. And, certainly, we must, because the beauty of human connections comes in their uniqueness. (Excerpts summarized from Can Muslims Befriend Non-Muslims?) In conclusion, Muslims have no problem maintaining casual friendships and cordial acquaintances with people of other faiths as long as those people do not oppose or dislike Islam or Muslims, do not engage in or incorrectly influence Muslims toward immoral behaviour, and are not unjust and oppressive to anyone. The words of Allah Most High Himself demonstrate this when He says: “Allah does not forbid you from showing kindness and dealing justly with those who have not fought you due to your faith or driven you out of your homes. Allah loves those who deal justly. Allah only forbids you from those people that fought you because of your faith, drove you out of your homes and helped in your expulsion, that you take them as intimate associates. And whosoever takes them as intimate associates, then it is they who are the wrongdoers.” (60:8-9) ------ Kaniz Fatma is a classic Islamic scholar and a regular columnist for New Age Islam. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

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