This is way overdue. We had a session last Thursday, but I was so occupied last few days that I just do not have time to get this out. The ayat below was discussed quite 'heatedly' as it was talked about in so many angles.
Janganlah orang-orang yang beriman mengambil orang-orang kafir menjadi teman rapat dengan meninggalkan orang-orang yang beriman. Dan sesiapa yang melakukan (larangan) yang demikian maka tiadalah ia (mendapat perlindungan) dari Allah dalam sesuatu apapun, kecuali kamu hendak menjaga diri daripada sesuatu bahaya yang ditakuti dari pihak mereka (yang kafir itu). Dan Allah perintahkan supaya kamu beringat-ingat terhadap kekuasaan diriNya (menyeksa kamu). Dan kepada Allah jualah tempat kembali.
My initial interpretation is as simple as the the tafsir. It states the warning of being to close to disbeliever. For example a Muslim,being too close to a non Muslim colleague to the point that they do almost everything together, where as there are other Muslim that this person can be close to. This does not mean that Islam discriminate the non Muslims. We understand that being too close, you tend to do most of the things together, simplest act is dining. Not saying that we could not eat with a non Muslim, but certain aspects tends to be overlooked once you are too comfortable being in a certain circle of friends. Eating at a place which does not serve pork does not mean that it is halal.
Of course, you can take the high road and try to educate the non Muslim on what can and what cannot be eaten / done, but I am saying its a much bigger challenge and my hat goes to those who can really stand firm and not compromising Islamic value each and every time they are around non Muslim close friends.
However, the topics actually gets bigger that night, what else can it be? Politics!!! I should have noticed that much much earlier. The debate always revolves around Malay party (UMNO) coalition with other party (MCA+MIC), which to some people its against Muslim in general and PAS has benefited a lot of votes based on this stand alone. However, due to very interesting turn of events, for the past 2 GE, we've seen PAS even created a coalition with non Muslim parties (DAP+PKR), which goes totally against their fight in the first place. And what does all these affect Muslim in general? We split, not 2 but 3 main camps so far. Whatever that the Holy Quran said is true. If you look deeper, we'll find almost every prohibition in it is true. Al-Quran is indeed the most complete guide to our life.
History of the ayat in prohibition of supporting the disbelievers (in this case is Christian and Jews) is supported in other ayat, Surah Al-Maidah;
Wahai orang-orang yang beriman! Janganlah kamu mengambil orang-orang Yahudi dan Nasrani itu sebagai teman rapat, kerana setengah mereka menjadi teman rapat kepada setengahnya yang lain; dan sesiapa di antara kamu yang menjadikan mereka teman rapatnya, maka sesungguhnya ia adalah dari golongan mereka itu mereka itu. Sesungguhnya Allah tidak memberikan petunjuk kepada kaum yang berlaku zalim.
and also in Surah Al-Anfal,
Dan orang-orang yang kafir, setengahnya menjadi penyokong dan pembela bagi setengahnya yang lain. Jika kamu (wahai umat Islam) tidak menjalankan (dasar bantu-membantu sesama sendiri yang diperintahkan oleh Allah) itu, nescaya akan berlakulah fitnah (kekacauan) di muka bumi dan kerosakan yang besar.
The way I understand is not to be too close to the non believers, at the expense of fellow Muslim. Allah has also warned us for the kind of non-belivers, that is although they seemed divided (different parties) they are actually working towards the same goal, the type that in time, will jeopardize Muslims as a whole. I mean, look at Singapore, do you know that wearing hijab in not allowed in their school? Exactly my point!!
Well, it is up to us Muslim, in what is our best way to defend and uphold our belief and religion, InsyaAllah...