As-salaamu `alaykum. I just wanted an understanding of the following verse of the Qur’an: "O ye who believe! Turn not (for friendship) to people on whom is the wrath of Allah, of the Hereafter they are already in despair, just as the unbelievers are in despair about those (buried) in graves.” (Al-Mumtahinah: 13) Does this verse mean that we are not allowed to be friends with non-Muslims because of their belief or is this referring to those who are hostile towards Islam? Many thanks.
Wa `alaykum as-Salamu wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
Thank you for your good question.
Islam does not prevent a Muslim from making friends with anyone regardless of his beliefs, race, country, etc.
In his response to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and an Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states,
Verses such as the one you have quoted refer to those who were fighting the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and his cause in order to prevent the spread of Islam. They should never be taken to mean that Muslims cannot befriend non-Muslims.
In fact the Qur'an and the Prophetic traditions have made it clear that we are to cooperate with everyone, regardless of differences in creed or religion, for all that is good and virtuous.
Hence the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) declared, "If Quraysh were to call me to cause of honoring the ties of kinship and reverencing that which is sacred, I would hasten to join them."
He also said, "I attended a pact of virtue in the house of `Abd Allah ibn Jud`an; for restoration of justice and coming to the aid of the oppressed. If I were to be called to it in Islam, I would rush to join it!"
It is also important to recognize that Islam spread in various parts of the world mainly because of Muslims interacting with others compassionately.
Allah Almighty knows best.