Is it forbidden to be friends with non-Muslims?
From some in al-Maida (5:51) it is understood as “Don’t be friends with Jews and Christians,” but in the verse it is not the word “friend” (Rafiq, Sadiq, Khalil…) but “Wali (p. Awliya – اَوْلِيَٓاءَۢ )” that is written. Wali means protector, patron, someone that is obligated on someone else’s behalf to take charge of a country, a very close friend.
In Al-Imran (3:75) it is said, that under the people of the book (Jews, Christians…) are not all the same, that some of them take responsibility and are trustworthy, but some are not.
Al-Mumtahana (60:9) specifies people with whom one is not to be friends with due to their characteristics, and that one should also not take them as protectors or patrons: “He forbids you only to take those as protectors or patrons that are against you because of your religion, have fought and driven you away from your dwellings (homes) and have assisted in your eviction …”
It is not forbidden to have friends that are our neighbours, work colleagues or fellow citizens. However, it is advised not to keep company with those that due to their belief tyrannise and fight against Muslims.