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“O ye who believe! take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends/awliya: They are but friends to each other. And he amongst you that turns to them is of them. Verily Allah guideth not a people unjust.” (5:51)The Arabic word used here is awliya which is mistakenly translated to mean friends. The singular form of awliya is wali and the concept is walaah. As we see in the following verses, the word “wali” is used plenty of times in various verses, all that demonstrate that the word “wali” does not mean friendship, but protector/guardian.

“Allah is the Protector/Wali of those who believe. He takes them out from the depths of darkness to light…” (2: 257)

“And whosoever is killed unjustly, We have granted his next kin “wali” the authority to seek judgment or punishment in this case…” (17:33)

Therefore, a more accurate translation of 5:51 would be the following:

“O ye who believe! take not the Jews and the Christians for your protectors: They are but protectors to each other. And he amongst you that turns to them is of them. Verily Allah guideth not a people unjust.”

In fact, the whole idea of Muslims being instructed to not befriend Christians and Judaists is incongruous with the various verses of the Qur’an that instruct Muslims to not discriminate against people on any basis, to be kind to them all, and just:

“O you who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah as witnesses to fair dealings and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just, that is next to piety. Fear Allah, indeed Allah is well-acquainted with all that you do.” (5:8)

AND

“Allah forbids you not with regard to those who fight you not for your faith, nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them. For Allah loves those who are just. Allah only forbids you with regard to those who fight you for your faith, and drive you out of your homes and support others in driving you out, from turning to them for protection (or taking them as wali). Those who seek their protection they are indeed wrong- doers.” (60:8-9)

AND

“O mankind! We created you from a single pair of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other not that ye may despise each other. Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is he who is the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted with all things.” (49:13)

Additionally, 5:51 does not make a reference to ALL Christians and Jews, just those who were at war with Muslims, such as the Roman Christians and some of the Jews of Medina, which is supported here:

“O ye who believe! Take not my enemies and yours as protectors/awliya,- offering them your love, even though they have rejected the Truth that has come to you, and have on the contrary driven out the Prophet and yourselves from your homes, simply because ye believe in Allah your Lord! If ye have come out to strive in My Way and to seek My Good Pleasure, take them not as friends/almaratha, holding secret converse of love and friendship/almaratha with them: for I know full well all that ye conceal and all that ye reveal. And any of you that does this has strayed from the Straight Path.” (60:1)

So this chapter forbids taking those as protectors who have driven the Prophet or Muslims out of their homes and who betray and attack Muslims as soon as opportunity presents itself.

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