English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran (2010)

by Maulana Muhammad Ali

Chapter 5: Al-Maidah — Food (Revealed at Madinah: 16 sections, 120 verses)

Section 8 (Verses 5:51–5:56): Relations of Muslims with Enemies


یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا لَا تَتَّخِذُوا الۡیَہُوۡدَ وَ النَّصٰرٰۤی اَوۡلِیَآءَ ۘؔ بَعۡضُہُمۡ اَوۡلِیَآءُ بَعۡضٍ ؕ وَ مَنۡ یَّتَوَلَّہُمۡ مِّنۡکُمۡ فَاِنَّہٗ مِنۡہُمۡ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ لَا یَہۡدِی الۡقَوۡمَ الظّٰلِمِیۡنَ ﴿۵۱﴾

5:51 O you who believe, do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends. They are friends of each other. And whoever among you takes them for friends he is indeed one of them. Surely Allah does not guide the unjust people.1

فَتَرَی الَّذِیۡنَ فِیۡ قُلُوۡبِہِمۡ مَّرَضٌ یُّسَارِعُوۡنَ فِیۡہِمۡ یَقُوۡلُوۡنَ نَخۡشٰۤی اَنۡ تُصِیۡبَنَا دَآئِرَۃٌ ؕ فَعَسَی اللّٰہُ اَنۡ یَّاۡتِیَ بِالۡفَتۡحِ اَوۡ اَمۡرٍ مِّنۡ عِنۡدِہٖ فَیُصۡبِحُوۡا عَلٰی مَاۤ اَسَرُّوۡا فِیۡۤ اَنۡفُسِہِمۡ نٰدِمِیۡنَ ﴿ؕ۵۲﴾

5:52 But you see those in whose hearts is a disease, hastening towards them, saying: We fear that a calamity may befall us.2 Maybe Allah will bring the victory or a commandment from Himself,3 so they will regret what they hid in their souls.

وَ یَقُوۡلُ الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡۤا اَہٰۤؤُلَآءِ الَّذِیۡنَ اَقۡسَمُوۡا بِاللّٰہِ جَہۡدَ اَیۡمَانِہِمۡ ۙ اِنَّہُمۡ لَمَعَکُمۡ ؕ حَبِطَتۡ اَعۡمَالُہُمۡ فَاَصۡبَحُوۡا خٰسِرِیۡنَ ﴿۵۳﴾

5:53 And those who believe will say: Are these they who swore by Allah with their most forcible oaths that they were surely with you? Their deeds will be fruitless, so they will be losers.

یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا مَنۡ یَّرۡتَدَّ مِنۡکُمۡ عَنۡ دِیۡنِہٖ فَسَوۡفَ یَاۡتِی اللّٰہُ بِقَوۡمٍ یُّحِبُّہُمۡ وَ یُحِبُّوۡنَہٗۤ ۙ اَذِلَّۃٍ عَلَی الۡمُؤۡمِنِیۡنَ اَعِزَّۃٍ عَلَی الۡکٰفِرِیۡنَ ۫ یُجَاہِدُوۡنَ فِیۡ سَبِیۡلِ اللّٰہِ وَ لَا یَخَافُوۡنَ لَوۡمَۃَ لَآئِمٍ ؕ ذٰلِکَ فَضۡلُ اللّٰہِ یُؤۡتِیۡہِ مَنۡ یَّشَآءُ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِیۡمٌ ﴿۵۴﴾

5:54 O you who believe, if anyone of you should turn back from his religion, then Allah will bring a people whom He loves and who love Him, humble towards the believers, mighty against the disbelievers, striving hard in Allah’s way and not fearing the censure of any censurer.4 This is Allah’s grace — He gives it to whom He pleases. And Allah is Ample-giving, Knowing.

اِنَّمَا وَلِیُّکُمُ اللّٰہُ وَ رَسُوۡلُہٗ وَ الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوا الَّذِیۡنَ یُقِیۡمُوۡنَ الصَّلٰوۃَ وَ یُؤۡتُوۡنَ الزَّکٰوۃَ وَ ہُمۡ رٰکِعُوۡنَ ﴿۵۵﴾

5:55 Only Allah is your Friend and His Messenger and those who believe, those who keep up prayer and give the due charity, and they bow down.

وَ مَنۡ یَّتَوَلَّ اللّٰہَ وَ رَسُوۡلَہٗ وَ الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا فَاِنَّ حِزۡبَ اللّٰہِ ہُمُ الۡغٰلِبُوۡنَ ﴿٪۵۶﴾

5:56 And whoever takes Allah and His Messenger and those who believe for friend — surely the party of Allah, they shall triumph.


  1. All non-believers, whatever their own differences, had made common cause against Islam; this is what is meant by their being friends of each other. Muslims are warned that they should not expect help or friendship from any party of them, whether Jews, Christians, or idolaters. It would have been weakness of faith in the ultimate triumph of Islam if, from fear of a powerful enemy, they had sought help and friendship here and there among a hostile people, as the next verse shows. See 60:7–9 which make it clear that the prohibition against friendly relations with the disbelievers was only temporary, to be operative only so long as the war continued. Those verses settle conclusively that friendly relations between Muslims and non-Muslims, as such, are not prohibited.
  2. By hastening towards them is meant hastening to make friendship with them or seeking their help, fearing a Muslim reverse.
  3. Bringing about a commandment refers to the establishment of the rule of Islam, by which is meant the dominance of Islam, there being a further reference to the spiritual conquests of Islam in v. 54.
  4. Muslims were severely persecuted while at Makkah and their troubles at Madinah increased manifold owing to the presence of warring tribes on all sides. Yet they faced all these hardships with the greatest perseverance, and cases of apostasy were rare.