By Mahmoud El-Yousseph
Muslim critics and haters never cease to amaze me! Quite often, they say the most bizarre things about Islam and Muslims on radio talk shows and hate groups websites. Here are some examples:
“Allah is not God,” “Muslims are not Americans,” “Muslims hate dogs,” “Muslims are against gays and lesbians,” and my favorite is, “Muslims are not allowed to befriend Christians and Jews.” They cite this verse below from the Qur’an to make their point.
[5:52] “O ye who believe! take not the Jews and the Christians for guardians. They are protectors of one another. And whoever among you takes them for guardians is indeed one of them. Verily, Allah guides not the unjust people.”
Since the Qur’an was revealed in Arabic, which is my native tongue, let me first explain that the term wali (Arabic ولي , plural Awliyā أولياء) means guardian or protector and not a FRIEND. The word Awliya in its different forms appears in the Qur’an over 200 times whereas the word friend (Sadiq or Sahib) is mentioned 17 times and in several chapters in the Qur’an. With his wisdom, God Almighty did not use the term friend in that verse as opposed to guardian because the two terms are NOT interchangeable. Plus, God is perfect and He makes no mistakes.
One might ask why the Qur’an mentioned not to take Christians and Jews as guardians and protectors? The answer is simple. Since Christians and Jews are different in their beliefs from Muslims, one’s allegiance should be to the Muslims. There is NO restriction on having friends who are Christian or Jews and that is not what the verse in the Qur’an implied or meant.
For example, US law states’ access to classified information may only be granted to employees who are United States citizens. Also, people who are seeking top secret level clearance can be denied clearance if the spouse or cohabitant is a foreign national. That does not mean foreign nationals are bad or not trustworthy. No! It means America is best protected by its own people. Australia, Great Britain, Switzerland, and China for example do not allow non-citizens to join their military. See, no one dares to mock or attack any of those countries. So, it’s not only the Qur’an that takes safety and security matters very seriously.
If you are still not convinced, the Qur’an further explains who else Muslims should not take as guardians. The Quranic verse [5:23], God forbids Muslims from taking their fathers, sons, wives, or any member of their tribe as “protectors” if they are not Muslims.
Finally, the Qur’an commands Muslims, ”God does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes – from being ‘RIGHTEOUS’ toward them and acting justly toward them. Indeed, God loves those who act justly [60:8].”
Muslim critics do not want you to know that Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) married a Christian woman named Maria and a Jewish woman name Saffiyya. So, if Islam would allow the Prophet (PBUH) to marry a Christian and a Jew, then does it make sense that Muslims are not to be friends with Christians, Jews, or anybody they wish to be with? Whenever you are in doubt about anything about Islam, take it from the horse’s mouth as the saying goes- pick up a book about Islam, ask your Muslim classmate, coworker, or neighbor. No question is a dumb question but to argue that Muslims are not allowed to befriend Christians and Jews is utterly insane.