Wed 23 Jm2 1435 - 23 April 2014
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Can he pray for his Christian friend to be healed?

I have a Christian friend whom I love very much, and he is one of the Christians who are praised in the Qur’aan. Now he is very sick; does Islam allow me to pray to Allaah to heal him?.

Praise be to Allaah.  

The belief in al-wala’ wa’l-bara’ (loyalty and friendship vs. disavowal and enmity) is one of the most important basic principles of Islam. Just as faith increases and decreases, so too people vary in the extent to which they adhere to this important principle, and their adherence to it increases and decreases. But if this principle is destroyed completely in a person’s heart and he does not do what it implies, this means that faith has been destroyed entirely as well, and faith is the basis on which he loves the close friends of Allaah and hates His enemies. This principle is indicated by a number of verses in the Book of Allaah and ahaadeeth from the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). These include the following: 

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“You (O Muhammad) will not find any people who believe in Allaah and the Last Day, making friendship with those who oppose Allaah and His Messenger (Muhammad), even though they were their fathers or their sons or their brothers or their kindred (people). For such He has written Faith in their hearts, and strengthened them with Rooh (proofs, light and true guidance) from Himself. And He will admit them to Gardens (Paradise) under which rivers flow, to dwell therein (forever). Allaah is pleased with them, and they with Him. They are the party of Allaah. Verily, it is the party of Allaah that will be the successful”

[al-Mujaadilah 58:22] 

“O you who believe! Take not for Awliyaa’ (protectors or helpers or friends) disbelievers instead of believers. Do you wish to offer Allaah a manifest proof against yourselves?”

[al-Nisa’ 4:144] 

“O you who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians as Awliyaa’ (friends, protectors, helpers), they are but Awliyaa’ of each other. And if any amongst you takes them (as Awliyaa’), then surely, he is one of them. Verily, Allaah guides not those people who are the Zaalimoon (polytheists and wrongdoers and unjust)”

[al-Maa'idah 5:51] 

“O you who believe! Take not as (your) Bitaanah (advisors, consultants, protectors, helpers, friends) those outside your religion (pagans, Jews, Christians, and hypocrites) since they will not fail to do their best to corrupt you. They desire to harm you severely. Hatred has already appeared from their mouths, but what their breasts conceal is far worse. Indeed We have made plain to you the Ayaat (proofs, evidences, verses) if you understand”

[Aal ‘Imraan 3:118] 

It was narrated that ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) set out before Badr and when he was in Harrah al-Wabarah a man caught up with him whose daring and courage were well known, so the companions of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) rejoiced when they saw him. But when he caught up with him, he said to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): “I have come to follow you and get booty with you.” The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to him: “Will you believe in Allaah and His Messenger?” He said: “No.” He said: “Then go back, for I will never seek the help of a mushrik.” Narrated by Muslim, 1817. 

The Sahaabah (may Allaah be pleased with them) accused Maalik ibn al-Dakhshan of being a hypocrite because he often kept company with some of the hypocrites and met with them, as is narrated in al-Saheehayn (al-Bukhaari, no. 415; Muslim, no. 33) 

There are many such reports, which indicates that it is haraam to take the kaafirs as close friends and to love them. This friendship may take many forms, such as approving of their kufr, mixing with them and being friendly towards them, living with them, taking them as close friends, loving them, preferring them to the believers, referring to their laws for judgement and so on. See question no. 2179

From the above, you will see that loving a kaafir is a serious matter, because it goes against one of the most important principles of Tawheed, which is loving and being loyal towards the believers, and disavowing and rejecting the disbelievers. 

With regard to your saying that this kaafir is one of the Christians whom Allaah praises in the Qur’aan, the answer to that is that those whom Allaah praised in His Book are a specific type with certain characteristics which Allaah describes after the verse in which He praises them. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“Verily, you will find the strongest among men in enmity to the believers (Muslims) the Jews and those who are Al-Mushrikoon, and you will find the nearest in love to the believers (Muslims) those who say: ‘We are Christians.’”

[al-Maa'idah 5:82] 

Then He says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“That is because amongst them are priests and monks, and they are not proud.

And when they (who call themselves Christians) listen to what has been sent down to the Messenger (Muhammad), you see their eyes overflowing with tears because of the truth they have recognized. They say: ‘Our Lord! We believe; so write us down among the witnesses.

84. ‘And why should we not believe in Allaah and in that which has come to us of the truth (Islamic Monotheism)? And we wish that our Lord will admit us (in Paradise on the Day of Resurrection) along with the righteous people (Prophet Muhammad and his Companions).’

85. So because of what they said, Allaah rewarded them Gardens under which rivers flow (in Paradise), they will abide therein forever. Such is the reward of Al-Muhsinoon (the good‑doers).

86. But those who disbelieved and belied Our Ayaat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.), they shall be the dwellers of the (Hell) Fire”

[al-Maa’idah 5:82-86] 

So the rest of this passage makes it clear that what is meant are those who believed in Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and were affected by listening to the Qur’aan and its call. 

The scholar ‘Abd al-Rahmaan al-Sa’di said, commenting on this verse: Here Allaah describes which of the two groups is closer to the Muslims and to friendship them, and which group is furthest away : “Verily, you will find the strongest among men in enmity to the believers (Muslims) the Jews and those who are Al-Mushrikoon”. 

These two groups are the most hostile towards Islam and the Muslims, and the ones who try hardest to cause them harm, because of their great hatred towards them and because of their envy, stubbornness and kufr. 

and you will find the nearest in love to the believers (Muslims) those who say: ‘We are Christians’”  

Allaah mentions a number of reasons for that, such as:  

Among them are priests and monks, i.e., scholars, ascetics and worshippers in hermitages far away. Knowledge accompanied by asceticism, and worship, are things that soften the heart and take away harshness, hence you do not find in them the harshness of the Jews and mushrikeen. 

They are not proud, i.e., there is no arrogance in them or refusal to submit to the truth. This is why they are close to the Muslims and to friendship with them, because one who is humble is closer to goodness than one who is arrogant. 

When they listen to that which has been revealed to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), that has an effect on their hearts and they submit to what they believe in. Hence they believed and said: “Our Lord! We believe; so write us down among the witnesses” – namely the ummah of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) who bear witness to the Oneness of Allaah and to the soundness of the Message brought by the Messengers, and they bear witness for and against the former nations.  

These verses were revealed concerning the Christians who believed in Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) such as the Negus (ruler of Abyssinia) and others who believed. There are still some among them who choose the religion of Islam and who realize that what they used to follow is false. They are closer to Islam than the Jews and mushrikeen. 

Tafseer al-Sa’di, 1/511 

With regard to praying for kaafirs, this falls into two categories: 

1 – Praying for a kaafir to be guided to Islam and so on. This is permissible. It was narrated from Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “O Allaah, support Islam with the man who is more beloved to You: Abu Jahl or ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab.” Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 3681; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani. Here he was praying for one of them to be guided. 

2 – Praying for him to be forgiven and so on. This is forbidden according to scholarly consensus. 

Al-Nawawi said: With regard to offering the funeral prayer for a kaafir and praying for forgiveness for him, this is haraam according to the text of the Qur’aan and scholarly consensus. 

Al-Majmoo’ 5/120 

It says in Tuhfat al-Muhtaaj: It is haraam to pray for a kaafir and for one whose Islam is in doubt with regard to matters of the Hereafter, even if that is one of his parents. (3/141). 

With regard to praying for him to be healed from sickness, this is permissible if it serves a purpose, such as if one hopes that he will become Muslim and that his heart will be softened and so on. This is indicated by the hadeeth of the Sahaabi who recited ruqyah for the chief of a tribe who had been stung by a scorpion. This has been discussed in the question no. 6714. Praying for healing comes under the same heading as ruqyah. 

Indeed it is permissible for you to visit him during this sickness, because when a person is sick his heart is softer and is more likely to accept the truth. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) had a Jewish boy who used to serve him, and he fell sick. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came to visit him; he sat by his head and said to him: “Become Muslim.” He looked at his father, who was present, and he (the father) said to him: “Obey Abu’l-Qaasim (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).” So he became Muslim and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) went out saying, “Praise be to Allaah Who has saved him from the Fire.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1356. 

Ibn Hajar said: This hadeeth indicates that it is permissible to employ a mushrik as a servant and to visit him if he falls sick, and this is a form of kind treatment. 

But praying for a kaafir to be healed does not mean that one has befriended him or loves him or prefers him to a believer, as explained above. And Allaah knows best. 

For more information see Questions no. 23325, 20471, 32560, 41631, 6517, 26721, 1397, 3485

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen was asked about the ruling on taking kaafirs as friends. He replied: 

Taking kaafirs as friends and supporters is haraam according to the Holy Qur’aan. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“You (O Muhammad) will not find any people who believe in Allaah and the Last Day, making friendship with those who oppose Allaah and His Messenger”

[al-Mujaadilah 58:22] 

“O you who believe! Take not as Awliyaa’ (protectors and helpers) those who take your religion as a mockery and fun from among those who received the Scripture (Jews and Christians) before you, and nor from among the disbelievers; and fear Allaah if you indeed are true believers”

[al-Maa’idah 5:57] 

“O you who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians as Awliyaa’ (friends, protectors, helpers), they are but Awliyaa’ of each other. And if any amongst you takes them (as Awliyaa’), then surely, he is one of them. Verily, Allaah guides not those people who are the Zaalimoon (polytheists and wrongdoers and unjust)”

[al-Maa'idah 5:51] 

Allaah tells us that if the believers are not friends and supporters of one another, and the disbelievers are not friends and supporters of one another, and the two are not distinct from one another, then there will be fitnah (tribulation) and a great deal of corruption on earth. 

A believer can never trust a nonbeliever no matter how much friendship and sincerity he shows. Allaah says concerning them (interpretation of the meaning): 

“They wish that you reject Faith, as they have rejected (Faith), and thus that you all become equal (like one another)”

[al-Nisa’ 4:89] 

And Allaah said to His Prophet (interpretation of the meaning): 

“Never will the Jews nor the Christians be pleased with you (O Muhammad) till you follow their religion”

[al-Baqarah 2:120] 

So the believer must depend upon Allaah and apply His laws, and not let the blame of any blamer bother him or fear his enemies. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“It is only Shaytaan (Satan) that suggests to you the fear of his Awliyaa’ [supporters and friends (polytheists, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allaah and in His Messenger, Muhammad)]; so fear them not, but fear Me, if you are (true) believers”

[Aal ‘Imraan 3:175] 

“And you see those in whose hearts there is a disease (of hypocrisy), they hurry to their friendship, saying: “We fear lest some misfortune of a disaster may befall us.” Perhaps Allaah may bring a victory or a decision according to His Will. Then they will become regretful for what they have been keeping as a secret in themselves”

[al-Maa'idah 5:52] 

“O you who believe (in Allaah’s Oneness and in His Messenger Muhammad)! Verily, the Mushrikoon (polytheists, pagans, idolaters, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allaah, and in the Message of Muhammad) are Najasun (impure). So let them not come near Al‑Masjid Al-Haraam (at Makkah) after this year; and if you fear poverty, Allaah will enrich you if He wills, out of His Bounty. Surely, Allaah is All-Knowing, All-Wise”

[al-Tawbah 9:28] 

See Majmoo’ Fataawa al-Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, 3/31-46; al-Wala’ wa’l-Bara’ fi’l-Islam, p. 352.

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