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Monday, February 1, 2010

Surah Al-Ma'idah 51

In a recent blog comment, a Quranic verse has been brought up that always bothered me. I thought that rather than discuss in the comments, I would open the conversation here.
I will provide links to fatwas that interpret the verse and leave it for readers to discuss, as well as provide my own opinion on the matter.

All I ask is that we refrain from personal attacks in the comments and try to treat others in a kind manner, even when we disagree.

This is the verse in question:
Surah Al-Mai'dah, 51 Yusuf Ali translation:

O' You who believe, take not the Jews and Christians for your friends and protectors: they are but friends and protectors to each other. And he amongst you that turns to them (for friendship) is one of them. Verily Allah guides not a people unjust. 

يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لَا تَتَّخِذُواْ ٱلۡيَہُودَ وَٱلنَّصَـٰرَىٰٓ أَوۡلِيَآءَ‌ۘ بَعۡضُہُمۡ أَوۡلِيَآءُ بَعۡضٍ۬‌ۚ وَمَن يَتَوَلَّهُم مِّنكُمۡ فَإِنَّهُ ۥ مِنۡہُمۡ‌ۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يَهۡدِى ٱلۡقَوۡمَ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ 

Here are a fatwa on the subject from supposedly reliable Islamic sources.
I think that their response is absolutely hideous.

Excerpt from an Islam QA.com fatwa on the subject:
"I have questions about Islam; can you explain them to me? Is it permissible for a Muslim to be a sincere friend to a person who is not Muslim?.

Praise be to Allaah.  
It is not permissible for a Muslim to make friends with a mushrik or to take him as a close friend, because Islam calls on us to forsake the kaafirs and to disavow them, because they worship someone other than Allaah. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 
“O you who believe! Take not as friends the people who incurred the Wrath of Allaah (i.e. the Jews). Surely, they have despaired of (receiving any good in) the Hereafter, just as the disbelievers have despaired of those (buried) in graves (that they will not be resurrected on the Day of Resurrection)”
[al-Mumtahanah 60:13] 
This was also the teaching of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). 
1 – It was narrated from Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (may Allaah be pleased with him) that he heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say, “Do not keep company with anyone but a believer and do not let anyone eat your food but one who is pious.” (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 2395; Abu Dawood, 4832. Abu ‘Eesa al-Tirmidhi said: this hadeeth is hasan. It was also classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi, 2519)". 

What? So why then does the Quran in other places state,

There is no compulsion in religion...2:256
To you be your way, and to me mine 109:6

Those who believe (in the Quran). Those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Sabians and the Christians, -any who believe in Allah and the last day, and work righteousness, on them shall be no fear, neither shall they grieve. 5:69.

I read this other verse on the topic and can only think of the words from the Gospel that teach the exact opposite:

O' you who believe! Take not my enemies and yours as friends (or protectors),- offering them (your) love, even though they have rejected the truth that has come to you.. . Al MumtaHinah 60:1a

But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be the sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust. Matthew 5:44-45

So where does this leave us?

For me personally,  I believe that loving one's enemies is a much higher calling of philosophical jihad (if one wants to use that term), because it is more difficult to forgive rather than retaliate.

I will continue to love all regardless of faith or lack thereof, because I believe we are all created in the image of God.

I will be looking forward to everyone's opinions on this subject.


Ciyaalka Xaafadda said...

Love your enemy? Who do you think Mohamed was? Jesus or something!? How dare you equate him with compassion!

Sorry, I couldn't resist that one. :-)

Nidal Hassan, the Islamist who had massacred people in Texas was initially confused about serving in the US army. Being protect by the laws and in law enforcement in the US is actually a sintul act in Islam. He had contacted more knowledgeable sources who had confirmed to him that he HAD to kill those people in the army baracks.

"O you who have believed, do not take My enemies and your enemies as allies, extending to them affection while they have disbelieved in what came to you of the truth, having driven out the Prophet and yourselves [only] because you believe in Allah , your Lord. If you have come out for jihad in My cause and seeking means to My approval, [take them not as friends]. You confide to them affection, but I am most knowing of what you have CONCEALED and what you have declared. And whoever does it among you has certainly strayed from the soundness of the way." 60:1

So having CONCEALED love for non Muslims is a sin. No real/true Muslim person could live in a non Muslim country. It's anathema to Allah's will. So the Muslims living in the West aren't Muslims, according to their religion.

أبو سنان said...

Good question. If read in the way that the fatawa go, then that verse really does contradict the other portions of The Qur'an. Not only that.....were all Mohammad's wives Muslim when he married them? Unless I am wrong, some of his wives were not Muslim when he married them.

If this is true, then if you look at that verse of The Qur'an and being an eternal commandment, then Mohammad broke the commandment of God. As a Muslim, I cannot believe this.

Hence, there must be another way to understand this verse that does not cause The Qur'an to contradict itself or the Prophet to disobey God.

I think this is one of many times in The Qur'an where advise is given to the early Muslim community out of nothing more than trying to keep them safe. The early Muslim community was very fragile and small and faced extermination at any point. Traitors and those who might deceive the community were everywhere.

I dont think this verse was meant to be a commandment from God for all times because to do so would contradict The Qur'an and the have the Prophet go against God.

As to the scholars, if you listen to 99% of them you'll have no idea about the real nature of Islam.

Ciyaalka Xaafadda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ciyaalka Xaafadda said...

The Quran contains verses in which Allah changes other verses to adjust to Mohamed's wishes and actions. I think the verse you're refering to is one of them.

After the prophet married a non Muslim woman, Allah changed his rules capricously (again) and said that only men might marry non Muslim women and that Muslim women cannot.

The above verse is out of the jurisdiction of "taqiyya" which would excuse a Muslim to lie for Allah, as Allah dictates. It deals with befriending non Muslims and, as such, if a Muslim becomes friends with Jews and Christians, then the Muslim had broken connection with Allah and is therefore not Muslim anymore.

Muslim scholars speak to you condescendingly and if you ask them serious and revelant questions, you get the impression that they will physically attack, and they do where they can, in Islamic nations. "It's Allah's will."

Sarah Elizabeth said...

My entire family is either Christian or Atheist, and I love them dearly and would never turn my back on them.. I think people who surround themselves with only Muslims, and possibly have never been close to anyone other than Muslims, take this verse to heart and use it to spread ignorance..

I personally think that verse has to be looked at as something God was saying to the prophet during a certain time and place...

Banana Anne said...

In Arabic, the word used for "friends" is "awliya". It doesn't mean friends in the way we think of it; instead, it's more like a "friend that acts as a protector", with "protector" being the stronger definition. During the time of the Prophet, taking non-Muslims as protectors wasn't a good idea because there was so much backstabbing going on; a non-Muslim might turn their back on the Muslims and use the information they got about them to work against them. Today, this may still be a concern in some cases; generally, though, I think it is saying that Muslims should trust and rely on each other for help over non-Muslims. Here's a link for an interpretation of this verse: http://seekersguidance.org/ans-blog/2009/09/07/friendship-with-non-muslims-explaining-verse-551/

and another one: http://www.islamicity.com/articles/Articles.asp?ref=IC0608-3072

I didn't read the entire articles, but they look pretty comprehensive.

Islam-qa.com is a Salafi website based in Saudi Arabia. Their views tend to be extremely conservative and not at all tolerant towards anyone who is not Muslim. They also have answers that are very misogynistic (e.g. they say that women are generally weaker and not as smart as men). Some of their answers are fine, and they can answer very specific questions with evidence from the Qur'an and Sunnah, but their answers are definitely not always mainstream.

Wrestling With Religion said...

The fact the Quran contains so much situational advice for the early Muslims is a bit of a problem for me. It makes it vulnerable to being quoted "out of context" and misused.

I definitely prefer the ideal of loving your enemy and I feel that is a better universal message. Realistically we might fall short, but religion at least should be idealistic - I would expect it to be, if it's from God.

Banana Anne said...

@WWR: I know what you mean about there being a lot of situational advice in the Qur'an. The vast majority of it, if not all of it, though, can be interpreted in a way that makes it apply to today's world, for better or for worse (i.e. when people use it for violence).

Anonymous said...

we have to be careful not take the quranic verses out of context. we have to see when it was revealed, why in what context, in order to understand it. so that not think that the quran contradicts itself, because it is perfection, the word of Allah.

Anonymous said...

Assalamu `alaykum sister,
To be honest, my first suggestion would be to stay away from websites like IslamQA and stick with more traditional websites, like Sunnipath.

Here are some of their answers related to this:



In addition as some people said...

a. We need to look at verses and hadiths in context. Obviously at a time where there was a war between the Muslims and non-Muslims, it was not the best time to make non-Muslims friends!

b. Also we need to realize that we hate the action, not the person per se. So this does not mean that 100% of what a person does we hate... I'm sure there's at least a little bit of good on almost everyone!

GTFrenzy said...

This is why I stay far away from online fatwa, and wary about fatwa in general.

angie nader said...

i think in all religious books you can find contradiction.
but we all know right from wrong...and we were given free choice.
i dont think god would intend to trick us...but maybe the important is to see with what we do...with what we know.

we are all created by the same god..i dont think he will forget about any of us :)

Ciyaalka Xaafadda said...

@Angie; ideal, yes, they do all contain contradictions. But what if the "contradictions" cost people their lifes and/or sanction people to a life time of torment purely based on the notion that they're following the word of a supreme being whose rules are interpreted by largely uneducated men who brutally oppress the opposite sex?

Beware of the "fatwas." They could cost you life or limp. :-)

Jaz said...

I think we've got to look at the context - this was in a time of war and I don't think it's talking about friends friends, rather 'guardians' or 'protectors' or 'advisors'.

Anonymous said...

beware of what your tongue is saying about the quran containing contradictions for you who say all religious books contain contradictions. if you studied it clearly, you wouldnt claim such a thing. May God guide us all

Ciyaalka Xaafadda said...

@Jaz; the Quran says "do not be friends AND protectors" Jews and Christians - the two groups surrounding where Islam originated. It doesn't mention time of war, gaurdians, advisors, Buddhism, or any other religion(s). "And he amongst you that turns to them (for friendship) is one of them. Verily Allah guides not a people unjust." It's clear and concise.

There are also other verses that dictate the killing of infidels. These verses don't say be friends with them or love them, or anything of the sort.

@anon; if I had studied it clearly, I'd probably be a killer, it's what the verse in the Quran 5:51 commands its followers.

ellen557 said...

I agree with Banana Anne.
Also, you know that every translation is different. My translation of that verse (Khalidi) says "Do not ally yourself with... etc", as opposed to do not take them as friends. That to me suggests that it is more to do with what Banana Anne is talking about.

Aynur said...

Islam Q&A is a Salafi site, like Banana Anna said.... Everything I've read there is quite awful. :(
Here let me give you another translation of that verse, from Muhammad Asad:

"O YOU who have attained to faith! Do not take the Jews and the Christians for your allies: they are but allies of one another and whoever of you allies himself with them becomes, verily, one of them; behold, God does not guide such evildoers."

In the footnotes he states: "According to most of the commentators (e.g., Tabari), this means that each of these two communities extends genuine friendship only to its own adherents-i.e., the Jews to the Jews, and ,the Christians to the Christians-and cannot, therefore, be expected to be really friendly towards the followers of the Qur'an."
And also:
"Lit., "the evildoing folk": i.e., those who deliberately sin in this respect. As regards the meaning of the "alliance" referred to here, see 3:28, and more particularly 4:139 and the corresponding note, which explains the reference to a believer's loss of his moral identity if he imitates the way of life of, or-in Qur'anic terminology-"allies himself" with, non-Muslims. However, as has been made abundantly clear in 60:7-9 (and implied in verse 57 of this surah), this prohibition of a "moral alliance" with non-Muslims does not constitute an injunction against normal, friendly relations with such of them as are well-disposed towards Muslims. It should be borne in mind that the term wali has several shades of meaning: "ally", "friend", "helper", "protector", etc. The choice of the particular term - and sometimes a -combination of two terms-is always dependent on the context. "

Susanne said...

Interesting post and comments. I've enjoyed reading them.

Stephanie said...

Firstly, I wouldn’t take any fatwa from Islam Q and A as they always take the extremist interpretation. Unfortunately, either due to lack of guidance in real life, or a lack of any sense of independent thought, many Muslims visit and quote this site.
Secondly, I’d point at that your post seems almost condescending, bordering on proselytization, rather intended or not. You first take an obviously unbalanced interpretation from a known Salafi website and then compare it to the Gospels creating a juxtaposition of sorts which reads: Islam is bad and hateful. Christianity/Judaism is good and loving. But maybe I’m just being overly sensitive this morning.
The verse does not say hate your enemy. Nor does it say anything about friends. It says not to take Christians or Jews as guardians. The word in question is awaliy, plural of wali. As you know, wali is the word for guardian and protector and is also the word used for the one who overlooks the signing of the marriage contract on behalf of a bride as a means to ensure her rights and interests.
Also, please read the next several verses directly proceeding verse 51. It is referring to a group of people who though Muslims have continued political alliances with Christians and Jews for fear that the fledgling Muslim community might fail. This is in a time when the community was under threat by these same groups looking to exterminate them.
While many of the verses in the Quran can and have to be understood within its historical context, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t wisdom in it today. How many of the Arabic world’s most despotic leaders were placed there by the West in order to serve Western interests rather than that of their own population. As another example look at the pathetic state of the Muslim world and the corruption and self serving interests of it’s governments. Muslim’s primary responsibilities and allegiances should be in serving Allah, His Messenger, and the ummah first and foremost. This creates unity and cohesion among both the local and global communities.

Stacy aka Fahiima said...

@Abu Sinan, You make a good point about the historical context of this particular verse. I do understand the pressures that the early Muslim community encountered and why they had more concern with protecting their own interests.
99% of scholars have no idea about the true nature of Islam? So what can be done about this?

Stacy aka Fahiima said...

@Banana Anne, Thanks for the additional sources and information about IslamQA's bias. It is sad indeed to see that the worst bigoted information is coming from Saudi, the home of Islam.

Stacy aka Fahiima said...

@Sarah Elizabeth, I know! Its the same type of bias that some people automatically have for Muslims, simply because they have never known a Muslim as a person, just as an entity.

Stacy aka Fahiima said...

@GTFrenzy, So, if you stay away from online fatwas, where do you go for information on how a particular ayah should be interpreted?

If you ask an imam, it seems like you would get the same biased opinions depending on where he was educated and his own background.

Stacy aka Fahiima said...

@Wrestlingw/Religion, I fit kind of where you do. The Quran does contain a lot of situational advice that is dangerous if interpreted literally today. The same thing could be said of situational advice in the Bible concerning the early Israelites conquest of the land and treatment of the local inhabitants.

For me too, the core of my belief has to be to love God with all my being and to love my neighbor as myself.

Stacy aka Fahiima said...

@Angie, I essentially agree. I don't think that the Bible was meant to be considered inspired down to every single letter either. It reflects the culture, language, and time period in which each part of it was written. However, the basic message is inspired and timeless.

I think that believing in the absolute verbal perfection of the Quran is problematic too. Based upon my own study, it also shows the same kinds of biases.

Hope my saying that didn't hugely offend anyone though!

Stacy aka Fahiima said...

"beware of what your tongue is saying about the quran containing contradictions"

If your eternal salvation depends on believing that the Quran is without any error, that is between you and Allah. I think that God gave us a free will so that we can test things to see what is good.

Stacy aka Fahiima said...

@Aynur, context is everything isn't it? I will take a closer look at the contest and see if I think its more likely "allies" in a political sense.

Stacy aka Fahiima said...

@Stephanie, Don't worry, I'm not trying to proselytize anyone. I'm just trying to view the verses through the lens of my own religious background, and since I also study the Bible, those verses just came to mind.

Anyway, I definitely realize that most Muslims, especially those I know and love, don't have a negative attitude towards the people of the book.

That's why I am trying to figure out why some scholars are pushing this interpretation through their fatwas and interpretations.

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

As mentioned before, not all MUhammad's wives were Muslim when he married them. There are also NO records of him forcing anyone to convert. The way that fatwa interpreted the verse is ridiculous and contradicts not only the Qur'an but the compassionate and kind personality of the Prophet.

She's Reaching said...

Like people have mentioned, I think it is extremely important to be aware of context and time of revelation. After doing a little research, I read that the surah was revealed during the time that the treaty of Hudaibiyyah was in effect.

Allahu A'lam but I strongly believe that the terms of the contract had to with it.

Also, this is a book for all people and all times. If you feel something does not speak to you, it might be very relevant to someone else.

I think it's extremely dangerous and opens the door to shaitan once we start doubting or believing that the Qur'an has contradictions. Islam is a logical religion, but if I cannot see the wisdom, I'd rather believe "blindly" and I guess that is what faith is.

Stacy aka Fahiima said...

Yes fatwa are definitely not infallible! Sometimes they're downright scary.

@she'sReaching, I'll have to look up more about the treaty of Hudaibiyyah so I can understand the historical context better.

Safiyyah said...

Salaams and Greetings:

I didn't read through all the comments ... but a lot of the confusion has to do with the difference between or the meaning of the words "friends," "kafir," "non Muslim, etc."

In the Q&A you linked to, you notice that the person questioned can he be friends with a kafir, and the sheikh responded with talking about Jews and Christians :(

I make the case this way: if Jews and Christians are such bad folks, why can the Muslim man marry them and make them the mothers of Muslim children? There is no confusion. It's the way people tend to confuse things. Especially due to language, translation, etc., as I'm sure you know because of your skill, Masha Allah, with languages.

Does Islam ask the Muslim to abandon his non Muslim family? Absolutely not, unless that family member is trying to do something sinful or islamically hurtful to the Muslim.

Not every non Muslim is a kafir. Not all Jews and Christians are kafir.

Anyhow, verses of Qur'an were revealed in response to what was going on during the time period and they continue to have relevance (not literal meaning) for people for all time.

Anyhow, a lot of non Muslims, and Jews and Christians, will be tolerant with the Muslims but only up to a point. If one believes that Jesus (as) is the Son of God, or God, or part of a Trinity, and loves that religion, why would he want to be friends or intimates with someone who doesn't believe as he does?

Friendship and aquaintance are different things.

I treat all people with respect and that is what is required of a Muslim. Do I have to love them? Take them as confidents? Invite them home? Have them over for an outside barbecue, etc? Absolutely, not unless I want to.

GTFrenzy said...

{@GTFrenzy, So, if you stay away from online fatwas, where do you go for information on how a particular ayah should be interpreted?

If you ask an imam, it seems like you would get the same biased opinions depending on where he was educated and his own background.}

I get my information from the Quran,Sunnah, and Tafsir which I try to understand it on my own. I read books that cover the topic I'm looking for. Then, I find other books that help explain If I don't understand something I ask those who understand the language and the context/history about certain ayahs/surahs/etc. Such as fellow students who may know something I don't know, my parents, sometimes even from the Al-Maghrib classes I took. I then make make a decision upon that.

I've come to realize that most issues that are brought up about the Quran or hadith are taken out of contexts and used to set agenda or ideas. Lets take the verse that have been abrogated, such as the verse that state that one should not be in a state of intoxication when performing ritual prayer. Now, if someone who does not know (or knows but has a agenda)that this ayah has been abrogated can justify that consuming alcohol is okay. Just as long as they are not intoxicated when praying.

Odna said...

I don't think I have anything to add really other than I dislike Islam Q&A a lot. Their answers scare the hell out of me and many of them sound very odd even from a Islamic level.

Sam said...

In the english translation they use the word friends and protectors but the one word they are referring to is waliya which means an overseer or protector; such as, a waliya for a woman that is about to get married or a waliya for someones' affairs who is unable to manage their own affairs. In this context it is telling the muslims to rely on themselves for their affairs but that does not mean they cannot be friends with christians or jews. Just like you are a waliya for your family but you have friends who do not oversee your affairs. That is one of the problems with translations, you can sometime deviate from the true meaning.

nisa said...

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Allah forbids you not, with regard to those who fight you not for (your) Faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them: for Allah loveth those who are just.

Allah only forbids you, with regard to those who fight you for (your) Faith, and drive you out of your homes, and support (others) in driving you out, from turning to them (for friendship and protection). It is such as turn to them (in these circumstances), that do wrong.

[Quran 60:8-9]


Hi, hope this verse explains it. :)

Ciyaalka Xaafadda said...

Regardless of how some try to sanitize these obviously violent verses, the Quran is specific in its preach of violence as it is in mentioning particular religous groups, namely Jews and Christians. Had other groups been major at that time and at that particular area, say for example Buddhism, the Quran would have probably also mentioned them and declared that being friends with them would amount to rejecting Allah or braking the connection with Allah. Apostacy punished by death in Islam.

Islam Q&A represents the Saudi/Wahabbi version of Islam. It's considered the most puritan form and follows Islamic theology from its earlier roots in the 6th century Arabia. This puritan brand of Islam is contemptuous toward other deviations of Islam and seeks their eradication/killing. In Islam, the Saudi version is considered the gold standard.

Most extreme groups involved in terrorism around the world follow the Wahabbi brand of Islam. Al Qaeda represents what Islam was like in its infancy. The late Zarqawi, asked why his group is brutally violent, claimed that "we are only obeying the Quranic verses that demand the practice of violence against non-Muslims" and that later verses that preach tolerance have been abrogated by the previous verses, possibly after Islam strenghtened.

The above verse and others in the Quran shed light as to why Islam is synonymous with violence. And a person sanitizing those verses would be considered "mujrim" and warrants death under Sharia law. Subsequently, a tolerant Muslim would not be willing to express his/her views, say under a Taliban/Saudi rule because they would be accused of changing the word of Allah.

It's the reason why Muslim extremist groups kill hundreds of their fellow Muslims each week, they're not following the word of Allah the right way and have adopted "kufar" thinking and lifestyle, like tolerance, human rights, etc.

Suroor said...

Stacy, many people have already mentioned this, but let me beat the dead horse one more time :) The word used for 'friends' is awliya from the root word Waw-Laam-Ya and while it means friend or ally or one close to you, it also means a guardian or heir or protector. Verse 3:28 offers similar caution and so do 4:89, 4:139, 5:57.

In all fairness, the word awliya is used 31 times in the Quran and in ALL instances other than the five verses I have mentioned above it is translated as "protectors" and NOT as "friends." It is rather unfair that in these five verses it is almost deliberately translated, used and preached as "friends."

However, I wonder what Muhammad would have done if he had not accepted his uncle Abu Talib as his protector!

Sam said...

Ciyaalka Xaafadda
Sure there has been terrorism committed by muslims but it is nothing compared to the West. Who has killed the most people in the 20th century, last I looked it was the West. Who has supported dictators and continues to support them today in the Middle East, the West. Who armed Saddam? Who has overthrown democratically elected governments, remember Allende in Chile and Mossadegh in Iran. Look at the Iraq invasion, by Western estimates over 600000 people have been killed by the invasion and that does not include the 500000 children killed by the sanctions pre war which Madeline Albright found agreeable. This is all done in the name of the rational, free speech, democratic, benevolent West against the barbarians. I wonder who is true barbarian?

Stacy aka Fahiima said...

Blah, I was feeling more positive, then I found this hateful nonsense from a Shia site:


Excerpt regarding "kafirs" and their uncleanness:


"107. * An infidel i.e. a person who does not believe in Allah and His Oneness, is najis. Similarly, Ghulat who believe in any of the holy twelve Imams as God, or that they are incarnations of God, and Khawarij and Nawasib who express enmity towards the holy Imams, are also najis. And similar is the case of those who deny Prophethood, or any of the necessary laws of Islam, like, namaz and fasting, which are believed by the Muslims as a part of Islam, and which they also know as such.

As regards the people of the Book (i.e. the Jews and the Christians) who do not accept the Prophethood of Prophet Muhammad bin Abdullah (Peace be upon him and his progeny), they are commonly considered najis, but it is not improbable that they are Pak. However, it is better to avoid them.

108. The entire body of a Kafir, including his hair and nails, and all liquid substances of his body, are najis."

Anonymous said...

No, it does not mention Buddhists or any other religion. The sole fact that there are no Buddhists mentioned shows the verse is not directed to every non-Muslim in the world but to those people who were in the area at the time because they were the only possibility of backstabbing. If the verse was a universal commandment it would have said: "Do not talk, look at or in any way interact with any non-Muslim ever." Basically, I see the "no compulsion in religion" and "to you yours and to me mine" as universal because no specific groups or functions(ie leaders)are mentioned in it while the latter is circumstance specific. Yes, wali does mean leader/ guardian and albeit war-time not being explicitly mentioned it is it can be deducted from surrounding verses and other historical evidence. Also, some people might see it as prophetic due to the fact that when many Arabs took the British and the French as a wali (ally/helper) against the Ottomans (i.e. putting national interests before common faith) they got the short straw with the Middle East carved up like hot cake to suit the oil businesses and profit making companies leaving many people stranded on the wrong side of the border and Kurds being ethnically cleanseds due to not having a state. Kurdistan as a state would not have suited oil interests since the best strategy to get the oil is divide and conquer hence the oil spot carved up into different states to allow the flames of nationalism to ignite. As much as I find various civil wars in the ME crazy (i.e. Iraq-Kuwait war) I am pretty sure any other two countries would act the same in with similar history and circumstances. Friend (i.e. a mate you go to have coffee with, pour you heart out to) is sadeeq, saheeb or in minor cases rafeeq. It is never wali. Wali is an official not casual term meaning political ally, leader or official partner. It never means friend. Ay, everyone says language degrees are over-rated but see how mistranslation of one word can cause a lot of mess. Anyway, my grandpa's Muslim neighbor took my grandpa as his bushiness partner (they had a tailoring/cloth business) and not only did they have a GREAT partnership with no double crossings but stayed friends till the guy died. If that verse was such a big commandment he wouldn't have done so as he was fully practicing (my grandpa is atheist like me). Sorry for being long guys over and out

Ciyaalka Xaafadda said...

@Sam; by your logic, doing evil is ok as long as someone else did it before.

@Stacy; all the "feel good" comments are just a smokescreen when compared to what is in the deep end.

@anony; all that niceties sound really nice but don't mean a thing when churches are burnt and people are beheaded. And the borders were demarcated BEFORE the discovery of oil in Saudi Arabia. Borders weren't delimitated for oil allocation.

And as for us infidels, luckily, most Muslims don't know the Quran too well. lol

Sam said...

Ciyaalka Xaafadda
I never said that doing evil is ok as long as someone did it before. My point is that the amount of evil committed by Muslims, which I condemn, is nothing to what the West has done and in majority of cases is a reaction and consequence to Western intervention. You talk about people beheaded well the West does not even tell you when you will die. They will simply send a drone to incinerate your whole family at night or they will starve you death in sanctions. You pick which one you would like.

Ciyaalka Xaafadda said...

I'd rather have a terrorist like Hakimullah Mehsud killed by a drone than have him kill us all because the Quran told him so. Your profile says you're of Egyptian decent but reside in the US. Are you willing to be ruled by the Muslim Brotherhood and the creeping Wahabbism emanating from Saudi and penetrating Egypt?

Sam said...

So it is ok to thousands of civilians in the process of killing terrorist, for that is essentially what you are saying. By the same logic lets bomb london and washington dc to kill the terrorists there and if civilians die so what. Lets not be hypocrites in fighting terrorism. And remember that the US supported and armed him during the Soviet invasion but that is ok for he was not a terrorist then. I never remember reading once in Western papers that he was a terrorist then. And no I would not want to be ruled by Wahhabism or any political party that is supported by the West which both are.
So far you have refused to comment on what the West is doing in the Middle East, so I take it that you approve of it, and if so why is that the West has killed so many more people in the 20th century compared to muslims, is it inherent in their society, religion, or values to kill? Remember the holocaust, remember the Native Americans, remember the Blacks, etc.

Wrestling With Religion said...

If "Islam" has not committed as much violence in the 20th century as all the other, much more powerful, major world powers put together - what you are lumping together as "the West" - well, wow, that is some achievement huh? Who would have thought it?!

Sam said...

By the West I mean the Christian nations ie, Europe and the US, not that Christianity has anything to do with it. Yet if you look at the 20th century, one could make the argument the West has a propensity to violence and oppression compared to others. But that argument is never made with regards to the West but only Islam. The West is always perceived as rational, free, and ideal but Muslim countries are always depicted as violent, backward, and oppressive. If you look at the number of deaths in the 20th century, the West far outnumbers the Muslims at 1000 to 1 and it continues till this day. The recent violence in the Muslim world by Muslims has come primarily against oppressive governments and foreign interventions.

Safiyyah said...

I think Ayan Hirsi Ali is using a fake name and making comments on this blog, lol.

Anonymous said...

And the borders were demarcated BEFORE the discovery of oil in Saudi Arabia. Borders weren't delimitated for oil allocation.

Even if that is so, which seems a bit fishy to say the least, it was the colonial powers NOT the people from within the region. Btw Saudi Arabia is not the only one with oil Iraq (hint,hint) and Kuwait have oil too nearly as much as KSA. I.e. there was no Iraq after WW1 before the colonials created it. It was three states during the Ottoman Empire: Tigris, Euphrates and something else. Also Zimbabwe wasn't Zimbabwe but Rhodesia, Mumbai was Bombay and Chennai Madras. I mean good thing they got the native names back. Who the heck is going to stand their city names being changed to English? I'm part English but do not agree with colonialism. Victoria Lake/Falls in the middle of an African country just does not seem natural. Creating states on behalf of other people when they don't want it has dire consquences. Rwanda(few million Tutsis dead), Botswana (32 year war), thousand of Punjabis dead due to serving in Indian regiments against their will and having mustard gas tested on them,etc One could say well good stuff direct colonialism is over but what about indirect economic colonialism like debt, tied aid, quotas & tariffs, interest,...

As much as Wahabbism SUCKS (good thing the Albanians are having none of it so far coz it clashes with their national interests) so do oil interest games USA and others play pretending to support one end than withdrawing that support, moving onto somebody else, you know the tactic. A Greek magistrate totally nailed the description of British rule in Korfu. "It's like a man holding two bags behind his back, one of gold and one of wasps. He asks you to tap one arm at random like a tombola, you not knowing whether it will be the gold or wasps that come out. However, whichever arm you tap the wasps will come because he (the holder) will switch hands."

Anonymous said...

If "Islam" has not committed as much violence in the 20th century as all the other, much more powerful, major world powers put together

Er, I think the much more powerfulmajor powers is the key phrase here showing that they commited the violence because they were and are more powerful not because they were of a particular nationality, ideology, etc but simply because the COULD and in a different way (i.e. more subtle economic one) still CAN. ANY ethnicity, ideology, etc WILL commit violence and have certain expansionist tendencies when they CAN.

Sam said...

I always thought that the West though was always superior in human rights, democracy, and freedom compared the inferior muslims since they always claim it was based on Judeo Christian values. If that is the case why commit so much violence and death. If the West was always so benevolent, rational, and superior well then when you possess so much power you would use it for good not evil. When your predominant action is evil, then I think you have to question what kind of beliefs it is based on.

Wrestling With Religion said...

How come there are so many Muslims living in the West then, if its "predominant action is evil"? Pretty offensive don't you think?

We are wandering off topic. This post was about Islam and it was based on looking at the Quran and at what scholars say, not looking at the actions of Muslims. But I guess it's easier to denounce the West than to address Stacy's most recent comment.

Anonymous said...

100 % agree with what Stephanie said.

Anonymous said...

First, Stacy good question...Second, Stephanie well done, May Allah reward you. Third Ciyaalka Xaafada you need to be intellectual and stop being so childish. As For the verse presented..,For the starters, there is a difference between a friend and guardian in the Islamic context. The Surah is referring to Wali, which is a guardian, not simply friends. There is no contradiction in here, just read about the Muslim migration to Abbysinia, obviously they were Christians, but Prophet Muhamad recommended to migrate his pple there because he said "He is a king who does not tolerate opression"....The point is, sure we can be friends with Christians and Jews or athiest, what we can't do is look up to them or mimic their life style. Stacy you know too well that Islam, Judaism, and Christianity are mutually exclusive religions. You can't believe all the same time, and each one of them teaches ONLY one way to heaven...They say that others who astray from that path will inherit an eternal life in HELL.....Sensitivties aside for a moment...It doesn't matter whole lot how we get along in this world, allthough Islam happens to demand mutual respect and peaceful co-existence on this earth, we should warn pple from the coming danger, which is if they die in any state other than Muslim....May Allah guide you and all the sincere seekers,, and May Allah safe guide us all to the true path....Just make a sincere Dua/Supplication and Allah will answer insha-Allah...

Anonymous said...

Stacy, These two websites are very well developed and non-culturally skewed. They are both regulated by American born Muslims who understand both the text and context....I highly recommend you to consult with them, they even have feedback mechanisms....


Ciyaalka Xaafadda said...

So far Muslims' response to a direct quote from the Quran threating violence specifically towards Jews and Christians apears to be twofold;

1) Islam's not the only evil doer IN HISTORY!

- mention all past evils
- West probably started it
- mention/blame Western "hypocrisy"
- attack the questioner (if possible)
- listing Hitler assured
- claim Muslims are always victims
- an appalling dose of conspiracy theories
- for them, critizing Islam is inherently evil
- veiled threats (where applicable)
- Islam is NOT the ONLY evil, Jews are WORSE!

And that

2) the quote doesn't REALLY mean what it says.

- what Allah really meant was "nice," not evil
- the word is hypothetically reworded
- apply emotional tirade, sensitivity
- Jews are probably behind it
- scramble frantically to find an excuse
- typically appear caught off guard
- obvious disdain for the question itself
- apply sanitized version
- try to blather the point

Ciyaalka Xaafadda said...


"There is a difference between a friend and guardian in the Islamic context." - A friend SHOULD be your "gaurdian" since your enemy would probably NOT be your gaurdian and would most likely harm you. A friend would probably "guard" you.

How does "the Islamic context" differ between the two, when in under normal circumstances, they'd essentially be same? Read the quote first/again...

"O' You who believe, take not the Jews and Christians for your friends and protectors: they are but friends and protectors to each other. And he amongst you that turns to them (for friendship) is one of them. Verily Allah guides not a people unjust."

That is a very clear and concise statement.

"The Surah is referring to Wali, which is a guardian, not simply friends." By definition, an individual "guarding" you would not be considered anything other than a friend.

"There is no contradiction in here." It's beyond "contradiction," it is a threat.

"..but Prophet Muhamad recommended to migrate his pple there because he said "He is a king who does not tolerate opression." Obviously, or they'd be harmed. This would be considered a "contradiction".

"sure we can be friends with Christians and Jews or athiest, what we can't do is look up to them or mimic their life style."

I won't even bother with that one!

Or this one..

"Stacy you know too well that Islam, Judaism, and Christianity are mutually exclusive religions. You can't believe all the same time, and each one of them teaches ONLY one way to heaven...They say that others who astray from that path will inherit an eternal life in HELL."

"It doesn't matter whole lot how we get along in this world." No? So the above quote IS true after all!

Moving on from my "childishness..."

"allthough Islam happens to demand mutual respect and peaceful co-existence on this earth, we should warn pple from the coming danger, which is if they die in any state other than Muslim."

"Islam happens to demand mutual respect and peaceful co-existence on this earth." LOL!

"May Allah guide you and all the sincere seekers,, and May Allah safe guide us all to the true path....Just make a sincere Dua/Supplication and Allah will answer insha-Allah." - Kids, this is what Islam does to your brain!

Montag said...

What a great discussion! Thank you for having provided a great and peaceful salon where people may discuss such things.

I have a Muslim friend who has long struggled with questions similar to this, in particular the nature of jihad.
Within the past month, he has told me that he thinks there may be a distinction in the meanings of words used within the period of successors up to and including Ali, and the meanings after the institution of "mulk".

In short, a friend may mean one thing within the period of struggling, nascent Islam, and then mean somewhat differently after the rise of the kingship under Mu'awiyah.

This entire discussion is a search for meaning. How very interesting.

DD said...

You are right: the interpretation of this particular verse IS hideous, hehe. While it would have angered me to my very soul a long time ago, i think i have now just accepted the fact that there are many different interpretations of Islam, and each of ours is legit in our own minds, lol.
Not to be arrogant but this interpretation can be easily refuted, for if we aren't allowed to become friends with Jews or Christians, then why are we allowed to marry them? Considering that then, we have to come to the conclusion that this ayah is referring to specific hostile Jews and Christians during Muhammad's (pbuh) time. Allahu Alaam.

乙áђгá said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
William said...



" If your own full brother, or your son or
daughter, or your beloved wife, or you intimate friend, entices you secretly to serve other gods, whom you and your fathers have not known, gods of any other nations, near at hand or far away, from one end of the earth to the other: do not yield to him or listen to him, nor look with pity upon him, to spare or shield him, but kill him. Your hand shall be the first raised to slay him; the rest of the people shall join in with you. You shall stone him to death, because he sought to lead you astray from the Lord, your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery. And all Israel, hearing of this, shall fear and never do such evil as this in your midst. (Deuteronomy 13:7-12 NAB)"

" Whoever sacrifices to any god, except the Lord alone, shall be doomed. (Exodus 22:19 NAB)"

Ruth said...

Three years have passed without any Islamophobic comment following William's comment about a verse in the Bible telling you to murder people outside your faith. I think Ciyaalka Xaafadda was shocked to death by this last comment.

Sam & Anonymous, there are verses in the Quran telling the believers to turn away from disbelieving people who insult the words of God. No use to talk to them. No need to reply their comments.