Can you have non-muslim friends? Non-Muslim friends in Islam [ghair muslim se dosti].
Yes! There is nothing wrong in a Muslim befriending a non-muslim or having a non-muslim friend.
There is some verses in the Qur’an like 5:51 which says:
“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, Allah guides not the wrongdoing people.”
but the point to note here is in this verse Allah is talking about those people who plan against Muslims or try to bring harm to Muslims. This does not mean that we should not be friends with them. In this surah Allah tell identify enemies of Islam. If you study the previous ayah of this surah you will know what this surah is about.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) explained by example how Muslims should treat non-Muslims.
In Mecca, when Islam was a few people in number, he lived and interacted with non-Muslims (idol worshippers, specifically) peacefully. He would buy and sell from them, visit their sick, and they would even entrust him with their belongings. This is why they called him “Al-Amin,” the trustworthy.
So in terms of ethical and moral conduct, he did not distinguish between people of any race, religion, social or economic background.
In Medina, when he lived in a Muslim state, along with some Jews, he conducted himself the same way as in Mecca. All of the above applied.
However, one should remember you are who your friends are. Would you make friends with someone who constantly attacks your way of life? Probably not. If you don’t lie, don’t cheat, don’t steal, don’t scam, don’t fornicate, don’t drink, would you really be compatible at a deep level of friendship with someone who does some or all of those things? Probably not.
So Islam encourages Muslims to seek friendship with those who are the best of people: the ones who will call you to good, forbid you from evil, and help you succeed in the eternal hereafter.
And Allah knows best!
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