Saying “thank you” to a disbeliever after receiving their help.


What is the ruling of he who thanks a disbeliever by saying ‘thank you’ after receiving his help?


There is evidently nothing (legislated in the religion) preventing him from saying “thank you” to him if he has performed an act of goodness towards him.

(The Prophet said ﷺ:)

[Whoever performs an act of goodness towards you, repay him]

(Narrated by Abdullah Ibn Umar in Abu Dawud (hadeeth number 1672) and graded Saheeh by Shaykh Albani in Saheeh Abee Dawud (hadeeth number 1469))

As for saying “may Allah compensate you with goodness” (or) “may Allah reward you for your efforts”. No, he does not say this to him nor anything else that suggests he has been venerated, rather (he only states) what is required to recompense him.

The Prophet ﷺ said :

[Whoever does not thank the people does not thank Allah]

(Narrated by Abu Huraira in Abu Dawud (hadeeth number 4811) and Tirmidhi (hadeeth number 1954). Shaykh Albani also graded it Saheeh)

And the term ‘people’ in general (and therefore) includes the Muslim and Non-Muslim. Therefore, whoever does not thank the people does not thank Allah. Thus, if a disbeliever performed an act of goodness (to you) and you said “thank you” (or) “I appreciate your help” to him there is nothing preventing you (from saying this).

The Prophet ﷺ said in regards to the captives of Badr, if Mut’im (Ibn Adee) had interceded on their behalf, his intercession would have been successful (meaning:) if Mut’im had interceded on their behalf, I would have accepted his intercession. (Narrated by Jubir Ibn Mut’im in Al-Bukhari – hadith number 3139).

This is (an example of) thanks in response to an act of goodness, as he used to be good to The Prophet ﷺ so he acknowledged this and said “If he had interceded on their behalf I would have accepted his intercession”.

Thus, there is nothing to prevent a person saying “thank you” or “I appreciate this” and other than these statements which do not suggest that there is a reward for him with Allah as there is no reward for the disbeliever (in the Hereafter).

{وَمَا مَنَعَهُمْ أَن تُقْبَلَ مِنْهُمْ نَفَقَٰتُهُمْ إِلَّآ أَنَّهُمْ كَفَرُوا۟ بِٱللَّهِ وَبِرَسُولِهِۦ وَلَا يَأْتُونَ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ إِلَّا وَهُمْ كُسَالَىٰ }

{And what prevents their expenditures from being accepted from them but that they have disbelieved in Allah and in His Messenger and that they come not to prayer except while they are lazy} (Taubah: 54)

Therefore, they are not deserving of the reward of Allah for their good actions due to the absence of that which is required for its attainment, Islam and Eeman. Rather, the disbeliever is only recompensed for his acts of goodness in the worldly life. As for Allah rewarding them for their acts of goodness (in the Hereafter) – definitely Not. He only rewards the believers and Muslims and writes down their reward which is stored for them until the Day of Resurrection.

TN: Please note the hadeeth of Jubair ibn Mutim in Al Bukhari was referenced by the Shaykh (may Allah preserve him) in meaning and not wording. It was therefore translated based upon the wording of The Shaykh (may Allah preserve him) and not the original wording of the hadeeth.

Answered by: Abu Bilaal Al Hadhramy – may Allah preserve him


Answered on: 19, Safar 1441 (17th October 2019)

Translated by: Abu Sufian Saami Ibn Daniel Al-Ghaani