A Probe into the Concept of Friendship in the Qur’ān

Document Type: Research Paper

Author

Associate Professor and Director of the International Institute for Islamic Studies, Qom.

Abstract

The topic of human relationships—be they positive and sympathetic, or negative and hostile—receives a great amount of attention in the Qur’ān. Human beings need to be aware of both their friends and their enemies in order to learn how to engage with both groups, how to make additional friends and defend themselves from harm caused by enemies, and, if possible, turn these enemies into friends. There are several concepts used in the Qur’ān to refer to the general notion of friendship—a relationship that is positive, constructive, and sympathetic. Starting with an analysis of the concept of spouse (zawj) and then focusing on five other concepts (ṣāḥib, khalīl, akh, ṣadīq, and walī) used in the Qur’ān to refer to friendship, I will try to explore their distinctive features as well as their similarities.