Ash-Shaykh Muhammad bin Saalih al-Uthaymeen, rahimahullah, was asked on the ruling in Islam on addressing a kaafir with the word “my brother” and  “my friend”, to which he replied:

As for the word “my brother”  for other than a muslim, then this is haraam and it is not permissible except if he may be his brother of lineage or brother from being breastfeed by the same mother. (And) the reason being (for this is) if the brotherhood of lineage and breastfeeding have become negated, then it only remains the brotherhood of deen and a kaafir is not a brother for a believer in his religion. And remember the statement of Prophet Nuh:

{رب إن ابني من أهلي وإن وعدك الحق وأنت أحكم الحاكمين * قال يا نوح إنه ليس من أهلك}.

“O my Lord! Verily, my son is of my family! And certainly, Your Promise is true, and You are the Most Just of the judges.” He said: “O Nuh! Surely, he is not of your family

[11:45]

وأما قول: “صديق” أو “رفيق” ونحوهما: فإذا كانت كلمة عابرة يقصد بها نداء من جهل اسمه منهم فهذا لا بأس به،

And as for the word “friend”  or “companion” and their likes, then if it is mere speech which was added to the context without any definition to it which is intended to call by it the one whose name is unknown from amongst them (i.e. the kuffar), then that is fine.

وإن قصد بها معناها تودداً وتقرباً منهم فقد قال الله تعالى: {لا تجد قوماً يؤمنون بالله واليوم الآخر يوادون من حاد الله ورسوله ولو كانوا آباءهم أو أبناءهم أو إخوانهم أو عشيرتهم}،

And if he intended by it the actual meaning of it in showing love and seeking closeness from them, then Allah, The Most High, has certainly said:

لا تجد قوماً يؤمنون بالله واليوم الآخر يوادون من حاد الله ورسوله ولو كانوا آباءهم أو أبناءهم أو إخوانهم أو عشيرتهم

You will not find a people who believe in Allah and the Last Day having affection (i.e love) for those who oppose Allah and His Messenger, even if they were their fathers or their sons or their brothers or their kindred.

[58:22]

فكل كلمات التلطف التي يُقصد بها الموادة لا يجوز للمؤمن أن يخاطب بها أحداً من الكفار.

Therefore, all words of kindness which are intended by them to establish a relationship upon love, then it is not permissible for a believer to address anyone from the kuffar with such words.

مجموع فتاوى و رسائل الشيخ محمد صالح العثيمين المجلدالاول – باب الولاء والبراء.

Reference: Majmoo Fatawa of Shaykh Uthaymeen, first volume, chapter al-Walaa and and al-Walaa.

Also Allah, The Most High, said :

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَتَّخِذُوا الْيَهُودَ وَالنَّصَارَىٰ أَوْلِيَاءَ ۘ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاءُ

O you who have believed, do not take the Jews and the Christians as allies. They are [in fact] allies of one another.

[5:31]

However, we shouldn’t misunderstand the above verse like the khawaarij and the oppressive terrorists understood this verse, wherein they interpreted the verse in a way which went against the statement of Allah:

لا يَنْهَاكُمُ اللَّهُ عَنِ الَّذِينَ لَمْ يُقَاتِلُوكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ وَلَمْ يُخْرِجُوكُم مِّن دِيَارِكُمْ أَن تَبَرُّوهُمْ وَتُقْسِطُوا إِلَيْهِمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُقْسِطِينَ

Allah does not forbid you to deal justly and kindly with those who fought not against you on account of religion and did not drive you out of your homes. Verily, Allah loves those who deal with equity (i.e. justice).

[60:8]

Therefore, they interpreted the verse wrongly (saying) that we cannot be kind and we cannot deal with the non-muslims in the west with justice and that we cannot have dealings and transactions with them. And due to their corrupted understanding of such a verse, they have begun to oppress the non-muslims in the west and have begun to deal with them unjustly in a manner of terrorism.

Therefore, we as Salafis announce we aren’t extreme like them nor are we water down like those who try to hide the above verses from the Quran. However, we are moderate and upright walhamdulilah.

Translated by

AbdulFattaah bin Uthman
Abu Fajr