Sitting with Christians and addressing their problems
Fatwa No: 7885

Question

Is it permissible to sit with Christians, converse with them, listen to their problems, try to find solutions for them, and support them?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu 'alyhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

 

The Sharee‘ah ruling on dealing the People of the Book – the Christians and Jews – differs regarding its nature and purpose. If the intention is to sit with them, take them as friends and enjoy talking to them, then it is impermissible because it implies associating with them and taking them as allies. Allaah The Almighty has forbidden us from doing so; He Says (what means): {O you who have believed, do not take the Jews and the Christians as allies. They are [in fact] allies of one another. And whoever is an ally to them among you - then indeed, he is [one] of them. Indeed, Allaah guides not the wrongdoing people.} [Quran 5: 51]

Likewise, it was neither transmitted on the authority of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, nor his Companions  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  them that they sat with them with this intention. The same applies to taking part in their festivals and religious occasions and giving them gifts. All these acts are part of taking them as allies, supporting them and acknowledging their false beliefs. As we mentioned before, neither the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, nor his Companions  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  them did so.

On the other hand, it is permissible for a Muslim to deal with them in matters that are permissible under the Sharee‘ah and that do not entail any harm, in order to fulfill their needs, such as buying and selling legitimate items. In this regard, there are many Hadeeths that prove its permissibility:

  • It was narrated that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, bought a commodity from a Jew with deferred payment. [Ahmad, An-Nasaa’i and Al-Haakim]
  • It was narrated that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, bought food from a Jew with deferred payment and, in return, he pawned him his armor. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
  • It was narrated that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, shared with the Jews of Madeenah the production of their agricultural land, drank with them and ate from their food. [Al-Bukhari]

It is also permissible to visit their sick in order to call them to embrace Islam. It was narrated that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, visited a sick Jewish boy who used to serve him. He called him to Islam and the boy accepted. [Al-Bukhari] Likewise, it was narrated that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, visited his uncle, Abu Taalib, at the time of his death and called him to testify that there is no god but Allaah. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Addressing their problems is permissible if they request that. However, the solution has to be in accordance with the Islamic Sharee‘ah. If they do not agree to that, then they should be left to settle their problems among themselves.

Allaah Knows best.

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