Is This Hadith, a Man Follows the Religion of His Friend, Literal, So If a Man Has a Non-Muslim Friend, Will He Become of That Religion?

Answered by Mawlana Ilyas Patel


Is the hadith Sunan Abi Dawud 4833 literal when it means a man is the religion of his best friend? If your best friend is of another religion, does this take you out of the fold of Islam?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

I pray you are in good faith and health. Thank you for your question.

If a person’s friend is a Non-Muslim, one will not be taken out of the fold of Islam by befriending them. However, befriending someone has its implications, even one’s Muslim friends. So one has to choose the best overall.

A Person Follows the Religion of His Best Friend

Abu Huraira (Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “A man is upon the religion (deen) of his best friend, so let one of you look at whom he befriends.” [Abu Dawud, Musnad Ahmad, Tirmidhi]

The hadith means a person follows the habits and ways of one’s friend. It does not mean the religion of one’s friend.

[Saharanpuri, Badhl al-Majhud Fi Halli Sharh Abi Dawud]

What is Deen?

“Deen” is a very comprehensive word. It does not only mean praying and fasting. The deen relates to one’s entire life-transaction:

  1. One’s relationship to Allah through belief, worship, and following His Commands;
  2. One’s relationship with others, through being good in one’s dealings, good character, honesty, uprightness, and so on;

Therefore, it covers:

  1. Belief;
  2. Outward worship;
  3. Good character and manners (akhlaq);
  4. Good, upright dealings with others (mu`amalat), in accordance with the Sacred Law and guidance of the Beloved of Allah (peace and blessings unlimited be upon him, his family, companions, and followers);
  5. One’s turning to Allah in all one’s affairs (suluk).

So, one’s close friendship and companionship should be those from whom one will benefit both in this life and the Hereafter; this does not mean not keeping cordial and beneficial friendships with good people from other faiths.  After all, how many have embraced Islam and been guided just by seeing the beautiful conduct of a Muslim friend?

To summarize, one should follow the aphorism of Ibn Ataillah (Allah have mercy on him) as a guiding principle: Do not keep company with anyone whose state does not inspire you and whose speech does not lead you to Allah.

I would like you to go through the valuable answers and links below. You will receive guidance and direction in sha Allah.


I pray this helps with your question.

[Mawlana] Ilyas Patel
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Mawlana Ilyas Patel has received traditional education in various countries. He started his schooling in the UK and completed his hifz of the Quran in India. After that, he joined an Islamic seminary in the UK, where he studied secular and Aalimiyya sciences. Later, he traveled to Karachi, Pakistan, and other Middle Eastern countries to further his education. Mawlana has served as an Imam in the Republic of Ireland for several years and taught the Quran and other Islamic sciences to both children and adults. He also worked as a teacher and librarian at a local Islamic seminary in the UK for 12 years. Presently, he lives in the UK with his wife and is interested in books and gardening.