Christians

Christians are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.

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Amina Inloes, Amina Inloes is originally from the US and has a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Exeter on Shi'a hadith. She is the program leader for the MA Islamic Studies program at the... Answered 2 weeks ago

In addition to what has been said, my understanding of this verse is with respect to the meaning of "wali/awliya" as putting one's self under someone else's authority. That is, one should not put one's self under the authority (in the sense of dependence or giving over power of one's self to someone else, e.g. politically, financially, personally) of someone who is not Muslim in such a way that one loses control over one's life or society and cannot easily recover it.

To my understanding, one of the principles of the early Muslim community was self-definition and self-sufficiency. It doesn't mean that one cannot be friends; friendship is different from disempowerment. To see the results of political or economic disempowerment, one can look at what happened during the colonialist era as an instructive example. (I am not saying that European colonialism was a morally Christian act, but just that this is how these dynamics can play out in the real world)

I would like to add that, in this day and age, no one would argue the reverse; that is, none of the Western countries (which are somehow connected to the Christian heritage even if they are not necessarily "Christian") woud put themselves under the political, legal, financial, or cultural authority of Muslims, yet no one says that this is prejudiced. 

Seyed Ali Shobayri, Seyed Ali Shobayri is of mixed Iranian and Scottish descent who found the path of the Ahlul Bayt (a) by his own research. He holds a BA in Islamic Studies from Middlesex University through the... Answer updated 2 weeks ago

Bismillah, 

Asalamu Alaykom, 

The verse that you have asked about is often used by some anti-Islam supporters to  portray Islam as a hateful and intolerant religion which goes against peaceful co-existence. 

They use the verse to say that a Muslim isn’t allowed to be friends with non-Muslims. It is correct that some translations have translated the word ‘Awliya’ - the plural of wali’ - as ‘friends’ but the word wali or awliyah, can have various meanings depending on the context. 

Firstly in Islam as we know, marriage is allowed  with the people of the book. Therefore it wouldn’t make sense for Allah to command us not be friends with the people of the book and at the same time, allow marriage with them. Is it possible that one may have a Christian or Jewish wife but not be her friend?! 

Secondly, when we read history, we find that the prophet Mohammad had (sawa) peaceful interactions with the people of the book as well as friendship. 

Extracted from a longer Hadith in Kitāb Al-Tawhīd by Sheikh Saduq, we find the following: 

كان لرسول الله صديقان يهوديان 

“The Messenger of Allah had two Jewish friends” 

This shows us that according to our books, the prophet did in fact have friendship with those from the people of the book. By coupling this hadith with the verse, we would come to realise that the word ‘wali’ must have a different meaning than friend. 

When we look into some books of history, we find that according to some reports, this verse was revealed during an incident relating Jews who had breached a covenant with the prophet. 

Please read the passage below: 

“It is reported that the Messenger of Allah besieged them for six days until finally they surrendered to him. `Abdullah ibn Ubayy came to him and interceded on their behalf saying: “O Apostle of Allah, these are my allies and clients who have defended me against the black and the red (that is, against all kinds of people). They were three hundred armoured soldiers and four hundred without armour. Would you now cut them down all in one morning? By Allah, I can then find no security; rather I dread the turns of for- tunes!” The people of Banu Qaynuqa` were allies of the Khazraj tribe only, and not of the Aws. `Abdullah ibn Ubayy persisted in his entreaties until the Prophet relented and granted him their blood. But seeing the humiliation which they had suffered, the people of Banu Qaynuqa` left Medina altogether and settled in Adhri'at in Syria. Then Allah sent down concerning `Abdullah ibn Ubayy and others of the Khazraj tribe:

O you who have faith, take not the Jews or the Christians as patrons. . . (Qur'an. 5 : 51‐ 52) .”

Source: Beacons of Light: Muhammad, the Prophet and Fatimah az-Zahra’ (the Radiant) a Partial translation of I'lamu 'l Wara bi Alami 'l-Huda of Abu Ali al Fadl ibn al Hasan ibn al Fadl at Tabarsi (c. 468/1076 - 548/1154). 

So we see that from this source, a hypocrite from among the companions, tried to intercede for the Jews of Banu Qaynuqa who broke the peace treaty with prophet which was a betrayal. The Prophet allowed this Jewish tribe to reside in Medina on the condition that they do not help enemies against the Muslims; despite this, they still broke their agreement. 

From this source it shows that Allah revealed this verse to rebuke the hypocrite Abdullah bin Ubay who took these people as his allies and his protective guardians. He relied on them and had a type of attachment towards them over the prophet and Muslims. 

This leads us understand that if we take the verse to mean friends, it would indicate those from them who Muslims  have conflicts with, and not regular people from Ahlul kitab. 

However from the context of the historical report, it seems that the correct translation could be the following: 

O you who have faith, take not the Jews or the Christians as patrons or protective guardians. . . (Qur'an. 5 : 51‐ 52) 

Also it could be possible for a Muslim to be forbidden from friendship with some other Muslims. For example if they would lead him astray or to an immoral path, he must not be friends with them despite them being Muslims. So this isn’t discriminatory and restricted to only people of the book. 

If a Muslim was to have a Christian friend for example, who he may study with or partake in sports with etc, then this would be permitted providing that this person wouldn’t lead him down an immoral path or a deviated path. How many times have we found ourselves around Christians who held better moral traits than Muslims although they are upon Batil? 

Also to mention, it is better for someone to take mu’minin as friends as  this will lead them to become stronger in iman and prevent them from haram things. 

It should be noted that the  book above, also contains reports from non-Shia reported Seerah of the prophet. This is due to the Shia losing many books by having them burnt by the enemies, so the above opinion is a possible exegesis for the verse and not 100% definite. Allah swt knows best and the full explanation of the Quran will be with us when Imam Mahdi (May Allah hasten his reappearance) returns. 

What we do know for certain, is that it wouldn’t mean friends in the absolute sense as the Prophet had two Jewish friends as reported in our sources. As we know, the Prophet Mohammad (sawa) is of course our role model who we try to imitate. If he showed friendship and kindness towards the non-Muslims, we may also take this example. 

May Allah grant you success 

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Seyed Ali Shobayri, Seyed Ali Shobayri is of mixed Iranian and Scottish descent who found the path of the Ahlul Bayt (a) by his own research. He holds a BA in Islamic Studies from Middlesex University through the... Answer updated 1 month ago

Bismillah, 

Asalamu Alaykom, 

This is permitted provided that no haram would be done. So for example, a Muslim may not go to a haram environment like a pub or club. Let us say the Muslim even goes to a normal restaurant but then his non-Muslims colleagues consume alcohol; he would not be permitted to sit on the same table as them in which alcohol is being drunk at. 

If however they go to a restaurant and there is no drinking alcohol on the same table, and the food is halal, then there is no issue and it is permitted inshallah. 

May Allah grant you success 

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Sayyed Muhammad Husaini Ragheb, Sayyed Muhammad Husaini Ragheb has a BA in Law from Guilan University, Iran and has also undertaken Hawzah studies in Qom. He is a Cultural Affairs director of Ethics Group of Al-Mustafa Open... Answered 2 months ago

Simply reply by Alaikum Assalaam wa Rahmatullaahi wa Barakaatuh
in fact this is a dua
you are saying "May God's peace and blessings be upon you" in Arabic
So if this friend of yours is acting that much friendly and wants to greet you with your Islamic culture do treat him/her in the same way and DO translate it for him/her.

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Abbas Di Palma, Shaykh Abbas Di Palma holds a BA and an MA degree in Islamic Studies, and certifications from the Language Institute of Damascus University. He has also studied traditional Islamic sciences in... Answer updated 2 months ago

as salam alaikum

Muslims believe that 'Isa Ibn Maryam, peace be upon him, was a humble servant of Allah, the Messiah, and one of His prophets and messengers. This is confirmed by the Qur'an who explicitly denies the notions of trinity and incarnation present in mainstream Christian doctrine.

The Qur'an says: "Indeed they have disbelieved those who say:- Allah is the Messiah son of Maryam-" (5:72) and "Indeed they have disbelieved those who say:- Allah is the third of the three-" (5:73). In fact "the Messiah son of Maryam was only a Messenger" (5:75).

Mainstream Christianity believe that Allah was incarnated in a human being, 'Isa Ibn Maryam, who they think to be "God made flesh" but such notion is not only rejected by the Qur'an and Muslims, it also cannot be proven by the Scriptures themselves as no "Gospel of Jesus" reached us in its original form.

With prayers for your success.

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Sayyed Mohammad Al-Musawi, Sayyed Mohammad al-Musawi is originally from Iraq and heads up the World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League in London. Other than being involved in various humanitarian projects, he frequently responds to... Answer updated 5 months ago

Jesus Christ (AS) never said that he was a god or son of God. The oldest texts about Christianity have no such claim frm Jesus, his mother, or any of his sincere disciples. 

This claim of trinity was created by some people hundreds of years after Jesus (AS).

Mut'ah marriage is the solution to sexual problems of people who  can not have permanent marriage, and this problem existed all the times. We believe that the faith  of all the prophets is same buy their Shariah differs according to the situation of their communities. We have no details of the Sharia of previous prophets but we believe that Allah (SWT) did guide people in every time to the solutions of their problems including their sexual needs. 

Wassalam.

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Amina Inloes, Amina Inloes is originally from the US and has a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Exeter on Shi'a hadith. She is the program leader for the MA Islamic Studies program at the... Answer updated 6 months ago

Especially for teenagers/young adults, it is better to avoid close friendships with people of the opposite gender whom you cannot marry. At this age, feelings develop easily, and it can lead to wrong actions or heartbreak (or both). There are also a lot of hormones that interfere with good judgment. Sometimes, being forbidden from being with someone makes you want them more and that can lead to a Romeo and Juliet type of situation which doesn't work out well for anyone. 

Also, it may lead to false hopes, e.g. fantasizing that he might convert to Islam, whereas that is unlikely. I think in general, girls tend to look at young men as potential life partners at a younger age than guys. So it is likely she might end up emotionally dependent and starting to build up the illusion that they will be together in life, whereas this is unlikely to happen in real life. At the same time, his mind might be entirely on pursuing his own goals in life and not sharing this idea. 

Islamically speaking, it isn't appropriate to be spending time alone together, going places together, being emotionally intimate with each other, touching each other in any manner, etc. 

I am not saying there is no possible benefit to the friendship as friends can help us through all sorts of life challenges, but just that it's better to be cautious and more distant.

The way to do that is just being less close and communicating less and etc. Friendships also take their own course and people often move apart in life, especially after graduation. 

 

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Zaid Alsalami, Shaykh Dr Zaid Alsalami is an Iraqi born scholar, raised in Australia. He obtained a BA from Al-Mustafa University, Qom, and an MA from the Islamic College in London. He also obtained a PhD from... Answered 6 months ago

Bismihi ta'ala

You have a great responsibility on your shoulders, in not only honouring your revert wife in the best way you can, but also showing the highest standards of Islamic Akhlaq to your in-laws. You represent Islam, and they see Islam through you. Even though they might be atheists, or followers of a religion, for you it is of utmost importance to conduct yourself in the best way possible. 

Your wife also has an important duty in trying to maintain the relationship between the two families as civil as possible. Along with her studying about religion and deepening her understanding of Islam, she can also engage in polite and productive discussions with them. 

When she does this, there will be no concern from your side that she is being negatively influenced. If she is strong enough in her faith, then even if a discussion becomes heated, it will not effect her. 

Yes, it might be frustrating from your side, and all you want to do is just socialise with your in-laws, but they bring up topics that might aggravate you. 

The extent of the relationship is that you honour them, as your in-laws, and that you avoid arguments or anything that would tension things between you and them.

You should maintain patience, and think of the bigger responsibility you have. Always do dua for them, and pray for their hidayah.

With prayers for your success.

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Yes we can say that because the God of Prophet Ibrahim is none but Allah.

Wassalam.

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Amina Inloes, Amina Inloes is originally from the US and has a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Exeter on Shi'a hadith. She is the program leader for the MA Islamic Studies program at the... Answer updated 9 months ago

Christians and Muslims come from many ethnic and racial backgrounds. The only person they are all descended from is Adam.

At some point in history, the idea became popular that Arabs are descendants of Ishmael, and Jews are descendants of Isaac. Obviously not all Arabs are really descendants of Ishmael and it seems questionable for all Jews too, so it shouldn't be interpreted as a literal fact. Anyway, most Muslims are not Arabs so this does not factor into questions of descent. 

There are texts identifying the Prophet Muhammad as a descendant of Ishmael so this may be another way of associating Islam with Ishmael. Also Muslims tend to say that Ishmael was the son of Abraham whom God asked him to sacrifice (I sense another complicated question coming...) whereas Christians and Jews say it was Isaac. So, again, one can say there is a sort of figurative association or inclination towards each.

Of course, both Isaac and Ishmael are respected in the Islamic tradition and in the Qur'an.

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Amina Inloes, Amina Inloes is originally from the US and has a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Exeter on Shi'a hadith. She is the program leader for the MA Islamic Studies program at the... Answered 9 months ago

A scriptural perspective: According to Qur'an and hadith, it is good to share the message of Islam and invite others to it (what is known as da'wah). This should be done in a good way, with politeness and good forms of discussion and argumentation. 

However, nothing in Islamic texts that says that conversion for the sake of conversion is a goal. There is no real point to false conversion or forced conversion. The Qur'an and Islamic worldview acknowledge the existence of people of other faiths and that there is good and bad in other faiths. It is said that at the end of time when the Mahdi (the promised saviour/last imam) arrives, many people will convert to Islam because it will be clear that he has a true and good message. However, texts also indicate that some people will remain with their own religions and not convert to Islam. 

Many regions that today are majority Muslim took time to convert to Islam. This process happened gradually, over hundreds of years, and wasn't instant, even though the rulers of many of these regions identified as Muslim. Probably this is because while conversion is a social phenomenon, it is also a highly individual one, and individuals have different reasons for religious conversion. Sometimes there is a conflation between the expansion of the original Arab-Muslim Empires and conversion to Islam, but in reality just because the borders expanded did not mean that everyone in these territories suddenly became Muslim. 

A sociopolitical perspective: The Islamic world today does not have a single goal. While it would be ideal if Muslim-majority countries and Muslim leaders could unite (especially on the basics, such as economic cooperation), currently, this is not happening. Individual Muslim leaders and Muslim groups have their own goals. By and large, I think most Muslims today are more concerned about internal issues (politics, the threat of war) or questions regarding Islam and contemporary life, rather than expansion. Islam is already a large religion and isn't in danger of disappearing due to numbers. Also, most Muslim-majority countries have historically established religious minority communities. That being said, there are some Muslims who do work at spreading the message of Islam.

In any case, Islam is still spreading (particularly in the West and parts of Africa, but also - although there is less attention to it - in Muslim-majority countries and India). There is some interesting literature on the dynamics of the history of the spread of Islam if you wish to explore it.

 

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Sayyed Mohammad Al-Musawi, Sayyed Mohammad al-Musawi is originally from Iraq and heads up the World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League in London. Other than being involved in various humanitarian projects, he frequently responds to... Answered 10 months ago

Jesus (AS) is alive in the sky, s here is no question of resurrection.

What many Christians believe today does not mean necessarily the real teachings of Jesus (AS).

Wassalam.