Is It Permissible to Admire Historical Figures Who Fought Muslims?

Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick


I like to read Roman history. One day, I found some emperors named Nicephorus II Phocas, John II Komnenos, and Manuel I Komnenos. I know they all fought the Muslims but had good military skills.

Is it permissible to admire them because of their military skills, not because they killed the Muslims? Does this act violate the al-wala wa al-bara principle?


In the Name of Allah, The Entirely Merciful, The Especially Merciful.

While appreciating some aspects of their military skill may have some value from an educational perspective, we would caution you against going as far as “admiration”, mainly because of the atrocities you mentioned, as the lives of believers are Sacred, and Allah knows best.

Allah, Most High, says: “You will never find a people who ˹truly˺ believe in Allah and the Last Day loyal to those who defy Allah and His Messenger, even if they were their parents, children, siblings, or extended family. For those ˹believers˺, Allah has instilled faith in their hearts and strengthened them with a spirit from Him. He will admit them into Gardens under which rivers flow to stay there forever. Allah is pleased with them, and they are pleased with Him. They are the party of Allah. Indeed, Allah’s party is bound to succeed.” [Quran, 58:22]

I pray this is of benefit and that Allah guides us all.

[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar, Shaykh Taha Karaan. 

Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Mawlana Yusuf Karaan, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki, among others.

He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has served as the Director of the Discover Islam Centre and Al Jeem Foundation. For the last five years till present, he has served as the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town.

Shaykh Irshaad has thirteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic online learning and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and has completed his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.