Allah Almighty says: “O ye who believe! Take not for intimates others than your own folk, who would spare no pains to ruin you; they love to hamper you. Hatred is revealed by (the utterance of) their mouths, but that which their breasts hide is greater. We have made plain for you the revelations if ye will understand.” (Al `Imran: 118). Allah also says: “O you who believe! Take not for patrons unbelievers rather than Believers. Do you wish to offer Allah an open proof against yourselves?” (An-Nisa’: 144)
These verses and many others denote that Muslims are not allowed to take as intimates persons from outside the community of the believers. It also denotes that it is prohibited to show them love or affection as he who does so is not on the right path.
However, there is a Qur’anic verse indicating that it is lawful to deal with non-Muslims. The verse reads: “Allah forbiddeth you not those who warred not against you on account of religion and drove you not out from your homes, that ye should show them kindness and deal justly with them. Lo! Allah loveth the just dealers. Allah forbiddeth you only those who warred against you on account of religion and have driven you out from your homes and helped to drive you out, that ye make friends of them. Whosoever maketh friends of them – (All) such are wrong-doers.” (Al-Mumtahanah: 8-9)
To create harmony between these verses, Muslim scholars said that what is really rejected in this respect is showing love and inclination to the laws and way of life of disbelievers, granting them support and putting trust in them; all these may lead to disbelief while putting trust in them may lead to revealing the secrets of Muslim which may, in its turn, form a direct threat to Muslims’ interests.
This prohibition involves disbelievers, combatants and non-combatants. However, it is allowed to enter into amicable relations with non-Muslims who opt for peace with Muslims, as long as such interaction does not involve showing admiration or some sort of inclination to them. This is the ruling governing Muslims’ relation with the People of the Covenant, and non-Muslims living under the protection of Islamic State (i.e. dhimmis).
Many incidents denoted that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and his Companions sought the help of the disbelievers in order to defend themselves or attain lawful objectives. Among these incidents are the following:
1- The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) allowed Muslims to migrate to Abyssinia so as to be safe with regards to their life and religion; he said: “Better for you is to leave for Abyssinia for there is a king who is committed to justice. There you will have a safe stay until Allah grants you a way out.”
2- Also, when the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) returned from At-Ta’if and tried to enter Makkah, Zayd ibn Harithah said to him: “How can you enter it (Makkah) while its people have driven you out?” Thus, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) sought the protection from Al-Akhnas ibn Shurayq and Suhayl ibn `Amr but they refused. Al-Mut`am ibn `Adiyy accepted to grant the Prophet (peace and blessings upon him) protection in order to help him deliver the message of his Lord. This is reported by Ibn Al-Jawzi.
From the above-mentioned facts, we conclude that when the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) turned to those men of Quraysh seeking protection on his way back from Taif, he neither tried to have any fidelity to or any alliance with them nor did he compromise any of his beliefs or endanger his commitment to Islam; rather, the interest of Islam and the welfare of the Muslim community was his first and foremost concern especially as Muslims, at this very period, were still weak and oppressed.