Having non-Muslim friends
Fatwa No: 87176

Question

I have had problems understanding if we are allowed to be friends with a non-Muslim. 30% of my friends are non-Muslims I laugh and joke with them. We talk but we are not as close as my Muslims friend. I just want to ask if I can ask help from them, like homework, or even work with them. I can see if I let them go it will not be the same. I am trying my best to build my Iman. I really hope you will reply to me, from a 13-year-old girl.

Answer

Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds; and may His blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all his Family and Companions.

Friendship has a great influence on the minds of people.  This influence can be in a positive way as it can be negative.  The adage says: “Tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are”.

It is reported in a sound Hadith that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) said: “The good companion is like the person who carries perfumes (for sale) while the bad companion is like the one who inflates bellows (to inflame a fire)”. [Reported by MuslimAhmad also reported in a Mursal Hadith that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) said: “The person follows the religion of whoever he/she befriends intimately.  So each one of you (Muslims) should be cautious when choosing his/her companion”.  Al Tirmizi also reported that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam): “Do not befriend except a good believer and do not share your food except with a pious person”.  The interpreter of this last Hadith said: ‘What is meant is that one should not befriend the non-Muslims or the hypocrites as befriending them affects the religion badly'.

On the other hand, the Muslim should have noble objectives in anything he/she does.  So, he should befriend people with the objective that they will help him be more dutiful to Allah, The Almighty.  Allah Says (interpretation of meaning): {Help you one another in Al­Birr and At­Taqwa (virtue, righteousness and piety);….}[5:2].  So, friends in Islam should be faithful to one another.  Each one of them should advice the other to do righteous deeds, remind him/her to remember Allah and tell him/her their shortcomings and help them overcome deficiencies.  The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) said: “The Mu’min (believing person) is the mirror of his/her Mu’min brother”. [Abu Dawood]

The criteria of a good companion are not found in disbelieving people.  In fact, the Kuffar (non-Muslims) will not urge the Muslim to obey Allah, or  to avoid committing a given sin.

On the contrary, they will show great willingness to help the Muslim deviate from the right path by doing that which angers Allah, The Great, The Almighty.

What is meant above is being intimate with non-Muslim friends.  However, being good to non-Muslim female acquaintances and dealing with them kindly is recommended. As Allah Says (interpretation of meaning): {Allâh does not forbid you to deal justly and kindly with those who fought not against you on account of religion and did not drive you out of your homes. Verily, Allâh loves those who deal with equity.}[60:8].

Finally, all of above applies to befriending females since you are a female.  But, if you mean having male friends this is forbidden regardless of whether those friends are Muslims or non-Muslims.

Indeed, the Muslim female is prohibited from being in seclusion with non-Mahram (alien) males, touching them, laughing with them or having intimate relations with them as Allah expressed condemnation and disapproval of that behaviour.  

Allah knows best.

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