Shafaqna (Shia International News Association) – The Grand Ayatollah Sistani answered some questions regarding Friendship.According to Shafaqna the questions and answers are as follows:
Question1: Is it permissible for a boy of fifteen years to have a girl friend?
Answer: Friendship with a non-mahram is not allowed.
Question2: Is it permissible for a Muslim to have a non-Muslim friend?
Answer: A Muslim is allowed to take non-Muslims for acquaintances and friends, to be sincere towards them and they be sincere towards him, to help one another in fulfilling the needs of this life. Almighty Allãh has said in His noble Book: “Allãh does not forbid you in regard to those who have not made war against you on account of (your) religion, and have not driven you forth from your homes, that you show them kindness and deal with them justly; surely Allãh loves the doers of justice.” (60:8)
When these kinds of friendship produce good results, it guarantees that the non-Muslim friend, neighbour, or colleague and business partner will know about the values of Islam, and it will bring him closer to this upright religion. The Prophet said to Imam ‘Ali, “If Allãh guides through you a single person from His servants, that is better for you than anything upon which the Sun shines from the East to the West.”
Question3: Is it permissible to exchange greetings and gifts with a non-Muslim, if he is a neighbour or a co-worker, etc.?
Answer: If he does not express hatred towards Islam and Muslims in words or actions, there is no problem in doing what is required in friendship like being good and charitable towards him. Almighty Allãh has said, “Allãh does not forbid you in regard to those who have not made war against you on account of (your) religion, and have not driven you forth from your homes, that you show them kindness and deal with them justly; surely Allãh loves the doers of justice.” [60:8]
Source: Ayatollah Sistani