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Can Muslims Befriend People From Other Religions?

For some reason there is a rumour going around the world that says Muslims cannot associate with or befriend anyone who is not a Muslim. This is absolutely not true. What the Quran tells Muslims is that we should not befriend anyone who abuses us or fights with us because we do not follow the same religion as they do.

Chapter 60, verses 8-9
God does not enjoin you from befriending those who do not fight you because of religion, and do not evict you from your homes. You may befriend them and be equitable towards them. God loves the equitable. God enjoins you only from befriending those who fight you because of religion, evict you from your homes, and band together with others to banish you. You shall not befriend them. Those who befriend them are the transgressors.

If people choose to fight over the practice of religion, we should walk away if conversation is impossible. We are told not to argue with those who do not believe in God and to accept that not everyone follows the same path. We are never told to be aggressive or attack anyone who chooses not to believe in God or to follow Islam. Our choice of religion is between our souls and the Creator.

As an English woman practising Islam in Britain, if the rumour was true then I could not befriend anyone other than Muslims. I was raised as a Protestant and my family are Church of England. If the man-made rule of religious segregation applied it would mean I could never associate with my parents, siblings or relatives, all of whom accept me and my choice of religion without question. They never fight with me over the path I have chosen to take.

Many people who convert to Islam, especially women, live on the fringes of the ‘Islamic community’. It can be difficult to find a community or a Mosque where every Muslim is accepted, especially if they have a different outlook on Islam to most main stream Muslims who are Sunni or Shia. Cultural and language barriers divide the Islamic community today.

People who spread this rumour and claim that God says ‘Muslims should not mix with non-Muslims’ are bigots. As human beings are supposed to live together on Earth regardless of which path we chose to follow or which race or culture we belong to or where we live in the world. Sadly a minority of the human race still believes that segregation is acceptable and that excluding certain people from a particular community will make them better people.

Chapter 22, verse 11
Among the people there is the one who worships God conditionally. If things go his way, he is content. But if some adversity befalls him, he makes an about-face. Thus, he loses both this life and the Hereafter. Such is the real loss.

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