Should Muslims Hate Christians and Jews?

Question and answer details

Assalamo Alaikom. “Strongest among men in enmity to the Believers wilt thou find the Jews and Pagans; and nearest among them in love to the Believers wilt thou find those who say “We are Christians”. This Quranic verse talks about how Islam views these two religions. What is meant by “enmity” between Muslims and Jews? Are we required to hate each other? And so are we closer to Christians ideologically as Muslims? Thanks

Dr. Mohsen Haredy

Salam dear brother,

Thank you for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.

Islam is the religion of all the prophets and messengers from Adam to Muhammad. All prophets came with one and the same message, i.e. to worship God (Allah) alone and not to associate others with Him.

All the followers of previous prophets who worshipped God and admitted His Oneness are considered Muslims.

Islam calls the Christians and the Jews Ahl al-kitab (People of the Book), i.e. the followers of the scriptures of their prophets; Moses and Jesus (peace be upon them all).


Throughout the Muslim history, Muslims had good relations with people of other faith communities. It was the non-Muslims who started attacking Muslims and drove them out of their countries.

No one can claim that Muslims should hate the Christians and the Jews. Muslims are urged to have good relations with people of other faith communities. Islam is about religious tolerance and accepting the other.

With regard to the verse you quoted in your question, it has a specific context in which it was revealed. It is reported that the King of Abyssinia, the Negus, sent a delegation to see the Prophet’s manners and characteristics. The Prophet recited some Quranic verses to them and the tears started coming out from their eyes.

The Prophet is reminded of the fact that it was the Jews who broke their treaties with Muslims and plotted against them.

Scholars maintain that the Jews do not accept the truth and they follow their egos. They even claim that they are the chosen people of God. Because they do not accept the truth, they killed some of the prophets sent to them. They even tried to kill Prophet Muhammad on several occasions.

The Jews also changed the words of their scriptures and distorted the message they received from God. For these reasons, they are described as the most hostile to the believers. This feeling of being hostile to the believers is also shared by those who associate others with God, i.e. disbelievers.

On the contrary, the Christians usually accept the truth and when the Quran is recited to them their eyes overflow with tears because they recognize the Truth in it, as Allah mentioned in the Quran what is translated as:

{And when they (who call themselves Christians) listen to what has been sent down to the Messenger, 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.} (Al-Maeda, 5:83)

Again the verse is talking about a certain category of the Christians with specific characteristics. Therefore, generalization is not recommended.

When some of the Jewish prisoners of war accepted Islam, they were welcomed in the Muslim community and they were treated in the best manners

The general principle is that Muslims should deal kindly and justly with all people even non-Muslims. We read in the Quran what gives the meaning of:

{He does not forbid you to deal kindly and justly with anyone who has not fought you for your faith or driven you out of your homes…} (Al-Mumtahinah 60:8)

The Quran details the purpose of creating people from males and females in the following words:

{O people, We have created you from a male and a female and made you into races and tribes so that you may know each other…} (Al-Hujurat 49:13)

The address is given here to all people and not only Muslims. All people of different backgrounds should work together towards a healthy society in which all members live in peace.

There is no reason for Muslims to hate the Jews and Christians. The Quran calls the People of the Book to come to a common word, that they and the Muslims worship God alone and do not associate partners with Him. (Aal-Imran 3:64)

Once Muslims, Christians and Jews come to a common word, they will recognize that they are friends and brothers in humanity.

I hope this answers your question.

Salam and please keep in touch.

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