What sort of terms should we have with non-Muslims in everyday life?
I am a little confused about Muslims’ relationship with the non-Muslims. What sort of terms should we have with non-Muslims in everyday life?
We should behave with the non-Muslims in an exemplary manner. They are the people who learn about Islam through our conduct. There is, therefore, no confusion, at least in my mind, that we should be extra kind to them. That means that within the limits of Islamic injunctions we can make them friends, have food with them, and socialise with them the way we do with fellow Muslims.
I know that there are many Muslims who would tell you that making non-Muslims as your friends is disallowed in Islam. The reason why they say so is that they believe that verses like the following are requiring them to do that:
“O ye who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors: they are but friends and protectors to each other. And he amongst you that turns to them (for friendship) is of them. Verily Allah guideth not a people unjust.” (5:51)
You might then ask me how I dare form an opinion contrary to the clearly mentioned principle in the Quran. My response to this legitimate question is that the above-translated verse is requiring us to stay away from the friendship of only those Christians and Jews who make fun of our religion. Those who don’t make fun of it but instead show respect towards it are not included in this category. In other words, in my opinion, only a particular category of non-Muslims have been required to be stayed away from. The proof of my claim can be seen in the following verse:
“O ye who believe! take not for friends and protectors those who take your religion for a mockery or sport whether among those who received the Scripture before you or among those who reject faith; but fear ye Allah if ye have Faith (indeed).” (5:57)
Also read surah Al-Mumtahanah (60) to see more evidence of what I am trying to suggest.
You can see for yourself that if the Quran is interpreted by considering only one verse, isolating it from the rest of the text, it can sometimes cause a lot of misunderstanding. In my opinion, the translation of the first verse that mentions “the Jews and the Christians” actually means “these Jews and these Christians”. In other words, there was a particular category of people from amongst the two groups whose friendship was outlawed. You can also imagine that, going by that criterion, many so-called Muslims of today who make fun of Islam would also belong to the category of the people with whom we cannot have friendship.