This is a critical issue. Many Westerners claim that they have good Muslim friends. They therefore reason that Muslims are just as respectful as other people. But is “friendship” a reliable test? Perhaps not! There are numerous Koranic verses claiming that Muslims cannot be friends with the non-Muslim:
• [Surah 3:27] “Let not the believers take the disbelievers for friends rather than believers. And whoever does this has no connection with Allah unless it is done [deceptively] to guard yourselves against them, guarding carefully.
• [5:54] O ye who believe, take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors. They are but friends and protectors to each other.
• [60:1] “O you who believe! Take not My enemies and your enemies (i.e. disbelievers and polytheists) as friends, showing affection towards them, while they have disbelieved in what has come to you of the truth”
• [60:4] “Indeed there has been an excellent example for you in Ibraaheem (Abraham) and those with him, when they said to their people: ‘Verily, we are free from you and whatever you worship besides Allaah, we have rejected you, and there has started between us and you, hostility and hatred for ever until you believe in Allaah Alone’”
How do Muslims understand these verses? One commentator writes (www.koranqa.com; fatwa 59879):
• “Undoubtedly the Muslim is obliged to hate the enemies of Allaah and to disavow them, because this is the way of the Messengers and their followers.
• “Based on this, it is not permissible for a Muslim to feel any love in his heart towards the enemies of Allaah who are in fact his enemies too. Allaah says”:
• “But if a Muslim treats them with kindness and gentleness in the hope that they will become Muslim and will believe, there is nothing wrong with that, because it comes under the heading of opening their hearts to Islam. But if he despairs of them becoming Muslim, then he should treat them accordingly.”
How then can we tell which Muslims will not hurt us or approve of those who do hurt us? It is clearly difficult to tell!