Fact: It is up to Christian men to connect with Muslim men. But why? Muslims tend to only connect with people who are the same gender, men with men and women with women. Especially if your Muslim friend is married, they will only have friends of the same gender out of respect for their spouse.
There are certain things to know about a Muslim man and his background before you start hanging out with them. Understanding what Islam says about men and how they are instructed to act will give you a good explanation of why your Muslim friend might behave in certain ways. After we study Islam’s standards for men, we will go into practical ways you can connect with your Muslim friend with the end-goal of being a true friend and a witness for Jesus!
Standards for men in Islam
Most conversations about Islam include how the religion treats women since there are strict regulations for them: what they can and can’t wear, where they can pray, what roles they can play, and much more. Islam’s standards for men are usually overlooked in the west when we learn about Muslims, but they are a necessary thing to understand if we want to have good conversations and friendships.
“The foundation of a man is his intellect, his honor is in his religion, and his manhood is in his character.” Adab al-Dunyā wal-Dīn 17
“A man will not hit the mark, nor fulfill his manhood, until he has two characteristics: Forgiving people and overlooking their faults.” (Abdullah ibn Shumait reported: Ayyub al-Sakhtiyani, may Allah have mercy on him, said this) al-Murū’ah 106
“Men are the caretakers of women, as men have been provisioned by Allah over women and tasked with supporting them financially.” Quran 4:34
As you can see, there are a lot of similarities between the standards for Muslim men and Christian men, and many standards for Muslim men are good and praise-worthy. However there are important differences. The Quran states that:
- The Muslim man may beat his wife/wives if they are disobedient (Sura 4:34)
- His testimony or witness is twice as credible as a woman’s (Sura 2:283 and Hadith Sahih Al-Bukhari Number 2658)
- The share of inheritance for a son is double his sister's (Sura 4:11)
Boys are often given more precedence and value than the daughters in an Islamic family. They are served by their sisters even when they are young, and they will receive a larger inheritance than any of their female family members, even that of their mother. When Muslim men are told they are smarter and more capable than women, this leads to a life of pride and entitlement. At the same time, Muslim men feel responsible to provide for the women in the family, and most consider it shameful if they are not the main breadwinners.
On an emotional level, most Muslim boys are trained to be strong and tough. They learn to be reserved and not show emotions, like love or fear, especially to strangers.
Keep in mind that each Muslim has a different background, so make sure to take the time to get to know your friend’s family culture and background and their worldview.
How Christian men can connect with Muslim men
Your Muslim colleague or neighbor is waiting for you to take the initiative invite them to hang out with you. They are afraid to be rejected, and they do not know what you think of them. So take the first step and keep showing your desire to befriend them and spend time with them.
As your relationship progresses, so will the depth of your conversations and activities together. If you are just beginning to get to know each other, meet up for coffee or go to a local sporting event together!
Once you have established a friendship, you can go on a hike together, watch a movie, or invite them to play sports with your friends. If they have a family of their own, invite them over to have a shared meal with both families! You can help them do a project at home and learn from each other.
For younger men, you could even play video games together. When you’re on the game chat together for hours, you have a great opportunity to get into deep conversations. God can use anything to share the Gospel!
There may be a time when your friend goes through a difficult situation. Do not hesitate to ask to pray for them. Put on your hand on his shoulder and pray right there and then. Follow up, and maybe even suggest to start meeting weekly to read a Psalm and pray. (Still remember to keep healthy boundaries as you get closer with your Muslim friend)
As you build your relationship, make sure your Muslim friend knows that you are a true follower of Christ, and stress that it is a relationship with Christ and not just a religion that you follow. Share how and why you chose to follow Jesus and how He’s changed your life. Make it clear that you are willing to go deeper into spiritual conversations with him whenever he wants.
Conversation starters for hanging out with your Muslim friend
If you need some help knowing how to start conversations, we got you covered:
- What were the dynamics in your family growing up?
- What was/is your relationship with your parents like?
- If they were not born in America: What was it like growing up in (native country)?
- What traditions did you grow up with, and do you still practice them with your own family and why?
Prayer for Muslim men
Dear Lord, thank you for giving me this relationship with my friend. Please give me the wisdom to know how to minister to them. Speak through my words and actions. Open up their heart with your Holy Spirit to receive your love. Help me be a good friend to them. Amen.