In what you may call an Islamic Republic, it isn’t easy, and by no means convenient, to have a friend who’s a non-Muslim. Let alone a best friend who’s a non muslim. Here is a list of things that happen when you enter that “Astaghfirullah!” zone:
1. Your parents think you’ll convert, basically
Good luck explaining to your parents how you could do such a haram thing. You eat with them? Astaghfirullah! You talk to them? Astaghfirullah! You love them?! ASTAGHFIRULLAH!
2. If they’re of the opposite gender, may the blessings of God be upon you
It goes without saying that if you have a best friend from the opposite gender, you’ll end up marrying them. Obviously. Yours is from the opposite gender AND a non-muslim. See where that is going?
3. You have to deliberate upon how to greet their parents, and vice versa
Do I say salam? No, what if they’re offended? Do I say hi? No, they’ll think I’m too ‘modern’.
4. If they’re Hindu, you can’t have beef around them
Which means, you can’t go out have steak with them, out of respect. Which means you can’t go out have non-veg food with them. Which means you can’t have food with them. And in Pakistan that means you can’t go out with them at all.
5. You think their traditions and beliefs are limited to what TV tells you
Obviously. Because Star Plus has always been synonymous with Hindu beliefs and practices. So when you visit their place, well, surprise!
6. You get to celebrate other festivals
In hiding, of course. Celebrating another religious festival with a non-muslim? That is just wayyy into the haram zone.
7. You know they won’t judge you for things like some of your pseudo-Muslim friends conveniently do
The best thing about having a non-muslim best friend is that they won’t look for reasons to judge and label you and start giving you huge ass lectures on how our religion prohibits something, owing to the distorted version of religion that is practiced here.
Bonds of friendship are forged not on the basis of religion, class or gender. Living in Pakistan, it really is tough to make people, especially your parents, see that if you connect with someone, you just do. If you have a non-muslim best friend, you just do. No questions asked.
Don’t we all have ways to bypass those ‘rishta-nahi-milayga-agar-ye-kiya-toh’ rules?