Apparently, many people have been criticizing the Muslim religion for one of its verses in the Qur’an—the one that states: “O Believers! Take not the Jews or Christians as friends. They are but one another’s friends. If anyone of you taketh them for his friends, he is surely one of them! God will not guide the evil doers” (Sura 5:56 in the translation by J.M. Rodwell). Therefore, a defense of these words has been given on

The main thesis is that these words were only valid during the lifetime of Muhammad. The first problem for the reader of the Qur’an would be, “Which parts are relevant only for the time of Muhammad, and which are always true?” For example, verse 40 of the same Sura commands: “As to the thief, whether man or woman, cut ye off their hands in recompense for their doings. This is a penalty by way of warning from God himself. And God is Mighty, Wise.” Was this punishment temporary, or was it to be followed for all time?

What about the other passages in the Qur’an that echo similar sentiments? Consider, for example, this one:

Let not believers take infidels for their friends rather than believers: whoso shall do this hath nothing to hope from God—unless, indeed, ye fear a fear from them: But God would have you beware of Himself ; for to God ye return. SAY: Whether ye hide what is in your breasts, or whether ye publish it abroad, God knoweth it : He knoweth what is in the heavens and what is in the earth; and over all things is God potent” (Sura 3:27).

The question to ask is: “Are Christians still defined as infidels, or did this classification change after Muhammad’s death?” It certainly seems that many Muslims feel hostility toward Christians. Many persistently shout, “Death to the Infidels!”—which brings about the last point with respect to this “change in meaning after Muhammad’s lifetime” doctrine: “How are Christians or Jews supposed to distinguish which Muslims believe this new doctrine of friendliness and which believe what Muhammad wrote in the Qur’an?” If Muslim men in Europe would gang up on isolated women to rape them, they would scarcely blush at lying about which kind of Muslim they are, would they? See the problem?