It forbidden to take people Books as friends or supporters at 5:51, but at 5:5 it is possible to marry their women?

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. (Al-Ma'idah [5] : 51)

This day [all] good foods have been made lawful, and the food of those who were given the Scripture is lawful for you and your food is lawful for them. And [lawful in marriage are] chaste women from among the believers and chaste women from among those who were given the Scripture before you, when you have given them their due compensation, desiring chastity, not unlawful sexual intercourse or taking [secret] lovers. And whoever denies the faith – his work has become worthless, and he, in the Hereafter, will be among the losers. (Al-Ma'idah [5] : 5)

After all, the wife becomes a close person.

  • The topics these two verses Adresse are totally different. Therefore there's no need for reconciliation here.
    – Medi1Saif
    Nov 17, 2022 at 17:11

2 Answers 2


Verse 5:5 allows for sexual relations with the women among the Jews\Christians in the capacity of wives or slave concubines.

Verse 5:51 forbids موالاة (friendship\wardship) with the Jews\Christians in general.

A reconciliation is not really required because it is possible to act on both verses. If you have a wife or concubine it is not necessary to develop a close bond with them, rather you are only required to fulfill their rights. Indeed the Quran says that the Muslims do not have affection for the disbelievers, even if they are family members:

لا تجد قوما يؤمنون بالله واليوم الآخر يوادون من حاد الله ورسوله ولو كانوا آباءهم أو أبناءهم أو إخوانهم أو عشيرتهم

You will not find a people who believe in Allah and the Last Day having affection for those who oppose Allah and His Messenger, even if they were their fathers or their sons or their brothers or their kindred.

Quran 58:22 also see Quran 60:1-4

يا أيها الذين آمنوا لا تتخذوا آباءكم وإخوانكم أولياء إن استحبوا الكفر على الإيمان ومن يتولهم منكم فأولئك هم الظالمون

O you who have believed, do not take your fathers or your brothers as allies if they have preferred disbelief over belief. And whoever does so among you - then it is those who are the wrongdoers.

Quran 9:23

And wives and concubines who are disbelievers will also come under these verses.

There are also other points to keep in mind: Some people claim that verse 5:51 is specific to the Harbis while marriage should be limited to Mu'ahid disbelievers. Secondly even if it applies to all the disbelievers, there are exceptions in this verse and making one type of contract (marriage) with a subset (chaste women) can be taken as such an exception - 5:51 is general and 5:5 is specific and a general-specific pair are not considered contradictions but are combined to arrive at the final meaning.



Ayah 5:5 allows marriage and concubinage to the People of the Book. And you are allowed to love them and have close bonds with them.

Ayah 5:51 is more contextual and forbids taking People of the Book as protectors but this does not forbid one from being friendly or on good terms with them. The Arabic word, awliyā, in this ayah means protectors, not "friends" or "allies".

O you who believe! Take not Jews and Christians as protectors. They are the protectors of one another. And whosoever takes them as protectors, surely he is of them. Truly God guides not wrongdoing people.

— Quran 5:51 in the Study Quran p. 698

In-Depth Explanation of Quran 5:51

This verse addressed to Muslims (O you who believe) forbids them to take Jews and Christians as protectors (awliyāʾ). Awliyāʾ (sing. walī) can also mean “friends” or “allies” (see also 3:28c; 4:139c), but here more likely denotes those whom one would turn to as a protector or dominant authority. This term and the verbal noun from the same root, walāyah, are used in the Quran to denote the bonds of loyalty, mutual protection, and friendship that ideally mark the relationship between members of the same religious community (see, e.g., 8:72; 9:71). Although this is the only verse in the Quran in which believers are urged not to take Jews and Christians, specifically, as protectors, believers are elsewhere urged to avoid taking as protectors those who disbelieve (3:28; 4:89, 139, 144), those who mock their religion (v. 57), God’s enemies (60:1), and even close relatives who prefer disbelief to belief (9:23). That Jews and Christians are protectors of one another indicates that they realize those bonds of loyalty among themselves, as separate religious communities; and in vv. 80–81, they are criticized for having themselves taken “disbelievers” as protectors.

This verse reportedly concerned certain Madinan Muslims who had political allies and protectors among the Jews. One report tells of the Companion ʿUbādah ibn al-Ṣāmit, one of the natives of Madinah who had become Muslim (Anṣār) but had maintained alliances of mutual protection with the Jewish clans. He came to the Prophet to renounce his attachment to them and to declare that his only “protectors” were God, the Prophet, and the believers (see v. 55). Another Madinan Muslim, ʿAbd Allāh ibn Ubayy, subsequently came to the Prophet declaring his need to maintain a similar relationship of protection with his Jewish allies, and this verse then came down, instructing him and believers generally not to do so (Q, R, Ṭ). Another account reports that after the Muslims suffered the military loss at Uḥud, some Muslims, feeling vulnerable, established allies among the Jewish clans. This verse was meant to forbid this practice (Ṭ).

The verse warns that whoever takes the Jews and Christians as protectors is of them, meaning one of them. Thus to seek an alliance of mutual protection with Jews or Christians is to identify oneself as one of them, since the relationship of mutual protection (walāyah) with one’s coreligionists is what defines one, in part, as a member of the religious community. See also 3:28 and 4:139, where taking such allies apart from the believers—that is, apart from fellow Muslims —is explicitly criticized. For some this means that the status of one who allies with members of another religious community, such as with Jews or Christians, has the same status, legally and theologically, as the other members of that religious community (Q, Ṭū). The verse’s prohibition against alliances of protection with those outside the Muslim community likely had much to do with the fluid and somewhat precarious social and political situation of the fledgling Islamic community during the time of the Prophet; and it is important to note that Islamic Law, developed after the Islamic state had become fully established, allowed agreements of mutual protection with non-Muslim states and political entities. According to some commentators, this verse also means, in part, that the relationships of inheritance between those who ally themselves with another group and the members of the Muslim community are nullified, since the root for awliyāʾ/walī can relate to inheritance as well as to mutual protection (Q, Ṭs).

The word for protector (awliyāʾ/walī) can also mean “friend,” and thus the verse may cast doubt on the acceptability of Muslims maintaining amiable relations with Jews and Christians, leading some but not all to conclude that one should not have close relationships with them or confide in them (Z). Some commentators include a report that the second Caliph, ʿUmar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb, adduced this verse in an (unsuccessful) attempt to persuade his provincial governor, Abū Mūsā al-Ashʿarī, to stop employing the services of his Christian scribe (IK, R, Z). Nonetheless, most commentators as well as the reported occasion of revelation for this verse make clear that here the word connotes something closer to “protector” or “ally” and situates it in a context of the Islamic community struggling to define and establish itself against those who were enemies of the religion. The verse should not be interpreted as forbidding friendly relations with Jews and Christians on a purely personal level, since such a reading would contradict v. 5, which allowed for the most intimate of personal relationships—marriage—to exist between Muslim men and Jewish and Christian women, and 60:7–8, which states that Muslims may behave justly and kindly to any who do not fight them on account of religion or otherwise oppress them.

Source: The Study Quran p. 698-700

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