Preferring Jews and Christians over Deviant Muslims: Ahmed Bin Hanbal’s Incident


In this article you will be taken a back to learn that the great Muslim scholar Imam Ahmed Bin Hanbal talked about preferring Jews and Christians over the deviant Muslims.

The Jewish and Christian hatred is often promoted by the radical Muslim preachers, who often misquote the Quranic text out of its historical and situational context: “O believers! Take neither Jews nor Christians as guardians—they are guardians of each other. Whoever does so will be counted as one of them. Surely Allah does not guide the wrongdoing people” [Quran 5:51].

This text is often quoted to delegitimize Abraham Accords which took place between Israel, and the four Muslim countries — the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco. Also, to discredit the defense and trade deals that take place between Arab Muslim countries and their Judeo-Christian counterparts.

Whether it’s Saudi-American partnership or Emirati-Israeli peace-deal, the above mentioned text often floats on the social media and internet forums.

The zealots often forget the Prophetic narrations or Hadiths, where Prophet Mohammed ﷺ dealt with the Jews and Christians with wisdom and mutual respect.

The famous incident of Christians of Najran is one such example, who came to meet the Prophet, and performed their way of worship in the mosque, after the Prophet permitted them to do so.

Rabbi Mukhayriq was part of Prophet’s Jewish-alliance to defend Madina during the battle of Uhud. In fact, he died fighting for the Prophet.

Imam Ahmed Bin Hanbal’s incident

The below text is taken from Chapter ‘On Seeking Help from the People of Desires and the People of the Book in the State’ [page 256].

People of Desires are the heretic or deviant Muslims. People of the Book are the Jews and Christians.

Abu Ali bin Al-Hussein bin Ahmed bin Al-Fadl Al-Balkhi said: “I entered upon Ahmed bin Hanbal, and the Messenger of the Caliph came to him asking him about the help of the people of desires. Ahmed said: ‘He does not seek help from them’. He said: ‘He seeks help from the Jews and Christians, and he does not seek help from them’. He said: ‘The Christians and the Jews do not call to their religions, and the people of desires call'”.

In Jami` al-Khalal on the authority of Imam Ahmad that the companions of Bishr al-Marisi, and the people of innovation (ahlul-Biddah) and desires, should not be sought from in anything related to Muslim affairs. This is the greatest harm to religion and Muslims.

Al-Bayhaqi narrated in the Manaqib Ahmad on the authority of Muhammad bin Ahmad bin Mansur Al-Marwadhi that he asked permission for Ahmad bin Hanbal, so he gave permission.

Ahmad said: “As for the Jahmiyyah, they should not be sought in matters of authority, whether they are small or many”. (Jayhmiyyah was a deviant Muslim sect. According to the Muslim jurists, modern day terrorist and takfiri groups hold the influences of Jahmiyyah ideology).

Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Marwadhi said: “Should he seek the help of the Jews and Christians, and should he not seek the help of the Jahmi?” He said: “O my son, Muslims are deceived by them (Jahmi), and the Muslims are not deceived by them (Jews and Christians)”.

How did the Pious Predecessors (Salaf) deal with the Jews and Christians?

Abdullaah bin Amr mentioned that he slaughtered a sheep and then said to his servant: “Did you send some to our Jewish neighbour? Indeed I heard the Messenger of God say: “Jibreel did not cease to exhort me concerning the neighbour until I began to think he would inherit from me!” (Al-Irwaa, 891)

A Jewish neighbor of Abdullah Bin Mubarak intended to sell his house. He fixed the price as two thousand, people said, this is worth one thousand only. He said the extra one thousand is for the neighborhood of Abdullah Bin Mubarak. When this message reached Abdullah Ibn Mubarak, he called his Jewish neighbor and offered him whatever he needed and advised him not to sell his house.


According to an article published by Arab News which quotes Muslim World League’s chief Dr. Mohammed al-Essa, “The source of much falsehood (hatred for Jews and Christians) is attributable to the Ottomans, who were behind mistranslations and misapplications of the Quran. Distribution of questionable hadiths by clerics of different backgrounds likewise led to confusion and divisive views”.

It further states, “Later, political movements, using theology as a cudgel, deliberately came to distribute inaccurate information. And, in non-Arab Muslim communities, understanding was severely skewed by the lack of access to original source material”.

“Poorly educated or ignorant self-proclaimed imams would use populist rhetoric and sensationalist sounding quotations out of context to fire up the public”. 

“The Muslim Brotherhood came to rely on these combinations of factors to push an intolerant and violent interpretation of Islam that was mainstreamed with the help of media, governments, political organizations, and other allies and fellow travelers”, it states.

Now it’s duty upon every generation to go back to its roots in order to create tolerant, humane, respectful, and intellectually open communities, using knowledge and history as models. 

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