If you say that the attitude of the kuffaar is better than the attitude of the Muslims – in absolute terms – then this is haraam, no doubt about it. In fact the one who says that should be asked to repent, because the most important attitude is a person’s attitude towards Allaah, and correct etiquette towards Him means not worshipping anyone other than Him. This attitude is to be found only among the Muslims and not others, and this general usage includes all the Muslims, and there must be some of them who have a proper Islamic attitude and follow the laws of Allaah.
But preferring the attitude of some of the kaafirs to the attitude of some Muslims is a mistake, because the bad attitude of the kuffaar towards their Lord, may He be exalted, and their Prophets (peace be upon them) is bad enough. They insulted Allaah and claimed that He has a son, and they slandered their Prophets and told lies about them. What good can their attitude towards people do them when their attitude towards their Lord is among the worst of attitudes?
Moreover, how can we look at the attitude of ten or one hundred kaafirs, and determine from that that their attitude is good, and forget the attitude of most of the Jews and Christians? How often have they betrayed the Muslims, how often have they destroyed their homes, how often have they tempted them away from their religion, how often have they destroyed their wealth [?], how often have they plotted and conspired against them?
The good attitude of a few of them does not count against the bad attitude of most of them, let alone the fact that this good attitude of their serves the same purpose, for they only want to benefit themselves and serve their own worldly interests, in most cases.
Shaykh Ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked about someone who was comparing Muslim workers to non-Muslim workers. He said: the non-Muslims are honest and I can trust them, and their demands are few and their work is good, but those (Muslims) are the exact opposite – so what is your opinion?
He said: They are not Muslims in the true sense of the word even though they claim to be Muslims. Those who are Muslims in the true sense of the word are better and more honest and more sincere than the kuffaar. What you said is a mistake and you should not say it. If the kuffaar are honest with you and fulfil their trusts so as to get what they want from you and to take jobs from our Muslim brothers, this is their only goal. They may pretend to be serving your interests but in fact they are only serving their own interests so that they can take money and so that you will prefer them.
What you have to do is only employ good Muslims. If you see Muslims who are not righteous then advise them and guide them. Then if they follow the right path, all well and good, otherwise you should send them back to their countries and bring others. Ask the agent who chooses employees for you to choose good people who are known to be honest, and who are known to pray and be righteous, and not to choose just anyone.
Undoubtedly this is a trick of the Shaytaan, whereby he says to you: These kaafirs are better than the Muslims, or are more honest, and so on. All of that is because the enemy of Allaah and his troops know of the great evil that results from employing kuffaar instead of Muslims. So he makes that idea attractive to them and encourages them to employ non-Muslims and leave the Muslims, and even to employ enemies of Allaah, thus giving precedence to this world over the Hereafter. There is no power and no strength except with Allaah.
I have even heard that some of them say that the Muslims pray and miss work because of their prayers, and the kuffaar do not pray so they do more work. This is like what we have mentioned above; it is a very serious matter to regard the Muslims’ prayer as something objectionable and to employ kaafirs because they do not pray. Whatever happened to faith and piety? Whatever happened to fear of Allaah? How can you criticize your Muslim brothers for praying? We ask Allaah to keep us safe and sound.
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked about describing the kuffaar as honest, trustworthy and good workers.
He replied: Even if that is true, their lies, deceit, betrayal and theft are far worse than what is found in some Muslim countries. This is well known. If it is true, these are qualities that are advocated by Islam, and the Muslims should be striving harder to acquire these characteristics so that they may acquire a good attitude as well as earning reward. But the kuffaar only aim to achieve material gains by means of these attitudes, so they are honest in their dealings so as to attract others to them.
But if the Muslim acquires these characteristics, in addition to material purposes he also seeks to fulfil a shar’i aim, which is to acquire faith and earn reward from Allaah. This is the difference between the Muslim and the kaafir.
With regard to the claims about honesty in kaafir countries – whether eastern or western – if this is true, it is only a little of goodness in comparison to the great evil, even if it is nothing more than the fact that they deny the rights of the One Whose rights are the greatest of all, namely Allaah – may He be exalted and glorified. “joining others in worship with Allaah is a great Zulm (wrong) indeed” [Luqmaan 31:13 – interpretation of the meaning]. No matter how much good these kaafirs may do, it is still greatly outweighed by their bad deeds, kufr and wrongdoing, so there is no goodness in them.
Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 3.
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said: The help of the ahl al-dhimmah (non-Muslims living under Muslim rule) should not be sought in government work or record-keeping, because that leads to many evil consequences. Ahmad was asked about the report of Abu Taalib with regard to collecting taxes, and he said: Their help should not be sought in anything.
Al-Fataawa al-Kubra, 5/539
It says in Fath al-‘Ali al-Maalik fi Fatwa ‘ala Madhhab Maalik: Preferring a kaafir to a Muslim is apostasy if that is on the basis of religion, otherwise it is not. (2/348).
See also question no. 13350.