I was wondering about the verse from the Qur'an (http://quran.com/3/28):

"Let not believers take disbelievers as allies rather than believers. And whoever [of you] does that has nothing with Allah, except when taking precaution against them in prudence. And Allah warns you of Himself, and to Allah is the [final] destination."

--- Sahih International ---

And another translation:

"Let not the believers take the disbelievers as Awliya' (supporters, helpers, etc.) instead of the believers, and whoever does that will never be helped by Allah in any way, except if you indeed fear a danger from them. And Allah warns you against Himself (ie. His Punishment), and to Allah is the final return."

--- Muhsin Khan ---

I was wondering about the implications of this verse and to what extent one can take help from non-Muslims, as also having friendship and warm relations with them.

For example, I have several good friends from among non-Muslims who help me with advise in my work, and I also have good business — and consequently personal — relations with many of them. Is this allowed?

  • 2
    +1 Good question. Maybe you should ask someone with sound knowledge in Arabic to enrich the translation within its context?
    – user2350
    Jun 6, 2013 at 9:11
  • 1
    If you look at the context in which this ayat comes, it is clear that this is not a general order, but specific to non-believers of that time.
    – goto
    Oct 30, 2013 at 5:43

8 Answers 8


You should notice the phrase "instead of believers", that is, if there are two person that can help you similarly, one believer and another non-believer, then you should not chose the non-believer over the one who is a believer. This seems so rational and clear, but in practice you should care about the details, maybe the non-believer has some facilities (money. knowledge) that the believer one has not, but the extra facilities that the non-believer has over the believer is not required for your point, so still the believer one should be chosen as your partner or ally.

Meanwhile I am not a scholar so think about this point as a hint :)

At the same time there is a general rule that Allah has stated in his book:

هَلْ جَزَاءُ الْإِحْسَانِ إِلَّا الْإِحْسَانُ

Is the reward for good [anything] but good? [Ar-Rahman,60]

That is if someone helps you it will not be Islamically acceptable to be a priory disrespectful to him, even though he is an atheist. Examples for them are a lot in both Quran and Sunnah, when Allah says until atheist stay on your side don't break the covenant with them, or says if some ones oppress you then you can respond back similarly but never go further that if you do then you will be an oppressor, and etc.; all these and other examples show being just is very important and good have no bad respond. In Shia Ahadeeth we have been told that if a non-believer did something good for you respond back as good as he treated you and if a believer did something good for you respond back even better than how he treated you, that is more than being just when dealing with a believer. In your case, those people help you so you should help them in respond and this grant a communication between you and them.

This is quite logical and rational. A person who is not a believer his deeds even if very good will never reach Allah since it has no صبغة الله, not aimed for reaching وجه الله and etc., so they will have no reward for those deeds in the judgment day, but Allah is the Just and should reward them and He does this by responding back them in this Dunya. When you answer the kindness of your friends by being kind toward them this is the reward for them, if you don't they will anyway receive their reward in Dunya and you have did wrong in communication with them. See this verse that supports what just stated:

مَن كَانَ يُرِ‌يدُ الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا وَزِينَتَهَا نُوَفِّ إِلَيْهِمْ أَعْمَالَهُمْ فِيهَا وَهُمْ فِيهَا لَا يُبْخَسُونَ

Whoever desires the life of this world and its adornments - We fully repay them for their deeds therein, and they therein will not be deprived. [Hud,15]

As far as I have mentioned people who do not believe in Allah still do well for either of these reasons:

  1. Intellectual Ethis: living in a society that everyone go by some pre-defined (not necessarily heavenly originated) ethical rules will be easier and more desirable!

  2. If I behave better people will love me and being loved and respected is important to me; to absorb attention of my parents, friends, my boss, the girls or guys around, ..., to gain fame for being polite, for being donor; to earn credit and etc.

There may be more reasons for that but my memory stopped at this point. By the way, good deed will be answered by good responses and if there is no fate there will be no reward put aside for that deed in the Here After.


In this Ayah, as well as others, Allah forbids us from taking non-Muslims as ( Close ) friends, whom we entrust things in, and use them as support, and have strong and warm relations with them. This is very dangerous, and those that do this is basically of them. I do suspect you heard of:

choose your friends wisely

This is because a person can become what is friends are (can be mislead by his friends), or, basically: he is whom he is around the most. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

الرَّجُلُ عَلَى دِينِ خَلِيلِهِ فَلْيَنْظُرْ أَحَدُكُمْ مَنْ يُخَالِلُ

A man follows the religion of his friend; so each one should consider/be careful of whom he befriends

I ask Allah for forgiveness of my mistakes.

  • @david, yes it is halal, but the meaning is more nuanced than that. See my answer. Feb 1, 2014 at 19:36

The word here is evliyae. Evliyae doesn't mean friend or ally in English. Evliyae is the plural form of veli, which means protector, someone responsible from you or someone who can decide for you. For example, in school, your parents are veli of you. They can decide for you, they are called when something emergent about you. In law of some countries, if you commit a crime and if you are under 18, your veli is punished instead of you. By default, your parents are your veli, if they are dead, the one who looks after you is your veli. Your veli is basically superior to you.

The verse says, don't take non-believers as your evliyae instead of believers. Firstly, this means if you have no choice, you can take them as your evliyae; but if you can choose, choose the believer one. Secondly, the verse says, if you accept them as your evliyae in order to protect yourself from them, it is allowed. But, there is a warning here, Allah is the one you should be feared truly. That means, you are allowed, but if you really need it. Don't use this verse as a mere excuse.

You can be friend with a non-believer, you can trade with a non-believer, but you can't make them your superior (or give them the right to decide for you) unless there is a very clear dangerous reason and have no other choice.

Think about you are looking for a job. If you have a choice, you should choose the believer. Because there is a probability that the non-believer boss may want you to do things forbidden in your religion such as joining a business dinner with alcohol. Or he/she may forbid you to pray salat just because he/she thinks it is a waste of time, rather you should work in that hour. Or he/she may forbid you fasting in order to not decrease efficiency in work hours. He/she may threaten you to dismiss from the job and give you a bad reference if you don't do what he/she is ordering.



Awliya' means protectors. This Ayah was revealed at a time when there was battles between Muslims and the disbelievers (ie Kuffar of Quraysh who had persecuted them and forced them out of Mecca, etc) and in the Ayah, Allah (swt) is warning Muslims not to take the disbelievers for protection or make deals with them over the Muslims. THIS DOES NOT MEAN YOU SHOULD NOT HAVE RELATIONS WITH NON MUSLIMS!!!! The Prophet (pbuh) and the Companions (ra) used to deal, give gifts and respected the non Muslims who caused them no harm, such as their neighbors.

It is our duty as Muslims to be kind and respectful to all humans and all of Allah's creations, and we should not judge anyone on their belief-- that is for Allah on the Day of Accountability. So you should continue to deal with your non Muslim colleagues, show them how our beautiful religion tells us to treat others..

I hope my answer helps,



O you who believe! Take not My enemies and your enemies (i.e. disbelievers and polytheists, etc.) as friends, showing affection towards them, while they have disbelieved in what has come to you of the truth (i.e. Islamic Monotheism, this Quran, and Muhammad SAW), and have driven out the Messenger (Muhammad SAW) and yourselves (from your homeland) because you believe in Allah your Lord! If you have come forth to strive in My Cause and to seek My Good Pleasure, (then take not these disbelievers and polytheists, etc., as your friends). You show friendship to them in secret, while I am All-Aware of what you conceal and what you reveal. And whosoever of you (Muslims) does that, then indeed he has gone (far) astray, (away) from the Straight Path. (Qur'an 60:1)

If they gain dominance over you, they would be to you as enemies and extend against you their hands and their tongues with evil, and they wish you would disbelieve. (Qur'an 60:2)

Indeed there has been an excellent example for you in Ibrahim (Abraham) and those with him, when they said to their people: "Verily, we are free from you and whatever you worship besides Allah, we have rejected you, and there has started between us and you, hostility and hatred for ever, until you believe in Allah Alone," except the saying of Ibrahim (Abraham) to his father: "Verily, I will ask for forgiveness (from Allah) for you, but I have no power to do anything for you before Allah." Our Lord! In You (Alone) we put our trust, and to You (Alone) we turn in repentance, and to You (Alone) is (our) final Return, (Qur'an 60:4)

"Our Lord! Make us not a prey for those who disbelieve, and forgive us, our Lord! Lo! Thou, only Thou, are the Mighty, the Wise.

(Qur'an 60:5)

Certainly, there has been in them an excellent example for you to follow, for those who look forward to (the Meeting with) Allah (for the reward from Him) and the Last Day. And whosoever turn away, then verily, Allah is Rich (Free of all wants), Worthy of all Praise. (Qur'an 60:6)

Perhaps Allah will make friendship between you and those whom you hold as enemies. And Allah has power (over all things), and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Qur'an 60:7)

Allah 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, Allah loves those who deal with equity.

(Qur'an 60:8)

It is only as regards those who fought against you on account of religion, and have driven you out of your homes, and helped to drive you out, that Allah forbids you to befriend them. And whosoever will befriend them, then such are the Zalimun (wrong-doers those who disobey Allah). (Qur'an 60:9)

I apologize for the big answer, but to get a complete picture you have to read that all.

This is chapter no. 60 (Surat Al-Mumtahanah), I think **these verses are the abrogated ones over any precious verses. **

friend = a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection (Oxford Dictionary)

So, we need to capture what's going on in the above verses. Firstly, Allah said to befriend (Non -Believers) then he is telling we might become friends, and then he says, do not befriend those who've fought not against you or the Prophet(pbuh). But, he doesn't say make friends with the disbelievers, but he says, deal with them justly. So, the example of Ibrahim (pbuh) mentioned above applies, and Allah says, do not make them your close friends. Because their negative behavior is very likely to influence you.

O you who believe! Take not as friends the people who incurred the Wrath of Allah (i.e. the Jews). Surely, they have been in despair to receive any good in the Hereafter, just as the disbelievers have been in despair about those (buried) in graves (that they will not be resurrected on the Day of Resurrection). (Qur'an 60:13)

May the creator guide us all.


The ayats refer to the idolaters (idol worshippers) of Quraish, hence non-believers, Allah Subhanahu Taallah never mentions the Christians or the Jews as non-believers they are referred as People Of The Book in the Quran, so there should not be any confusion who the non-believers are also keeping in mind revelation of the Quran was periodic and event based in the Life of Prophet Muhammad (salelahu elayhay waaleyhi wasallam).


I recently read in my translation of the Qur'an, tafsir on this verse. I cannot quote it at this point, but the summary of it is that the wording implies a friendship That is so close that your life goals are the same.

Is a believer's goals in life (perhaps we could say that they are to please Allah subhana wa-ta'ala, and to enter Jannah bi'ithnee Allah) the same as a non-believer (cars, money, fame, family.... Dunya things)? No, they shouldn't be.

Remember that when you say "I like you", as we are naturally inclined towards similar people, you are saying "I'm like you". Do you want to be like them?


It seems that most of the commentators are hard at work to fall in a social milieu of the day by stretching the meanings, to accommodate the current situations, we all are living in.The sunnah of the prophet (PBUH) and the expulsion under war situation have been presented to supplement such point of views. It is also suggested (God forbid) that these injunctions were for that particular time. (declaring the non-applicability of them in present times).

The point, however, is that isolated verse and hadith would not present a true scenario intended by Almighty Allah. One has to juxtapose all such verses and the relevant ahadith to picture perfect the real sense. For example; Check out the Ma'araful Qura'an by Mufti Muhammad Shafi Pg 54-- 61 Vol 2----to have a perfect understanding of the injunctions, Please. Those who contaminate the minds of the unsuspecting people and absolve themselves by declaring, at the end,--although I am not a scholar---should rather not opine without authority, for God sake.

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