Praise be to Allah.
Allaah has stated in His Book that the kuffaar bear enmity towards us and they would not spare any effort to cause us harm, and they wish us ill, and they will not be pleased until we follow their way. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“O you who believe! Take not as (your) Bitaanah (advisors, consultants, protectors, helpers, friends) those outside your religion (pagans, Jews, Christians, and hypocrites) since they will not fail to do their best to corrupt you. They desire to harm you severely. Hatred has already appeared from their mouths, but what their breasts conceal is far worse. Indeed We have made plain to you the Ayaat (proofs, evidences, verses) if you understand.
119. Lo! You are the ones who love them but they love you not, and you believe in all the Scriptures [i.e. you believe in the Tawraat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel), while they disbelieve in your Book, the Qur’aan]. And when they meet you, they say, ‘We believe.’ But when they are alone, they bite the tips of their fingers at you in rage. Say: ‘Perish in your rage. Certainly, Allaah knows what is in the breasts (all the secrets).’
120. If a good befalls you, it grieves them, but if some evil overtakes you, they rejoice at it. But if you remain patient and become Al-Muttaqoon (the pious — See V.2:2), not the least harm will their cunning do to you. Surely, Allaah surrounds all that they do”
[Aal ‘Imraan 3:118-120]
“Never will the Jews nor the Christians be pleased with you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) till you follow their religion. Say: ‘Verily, the Guidance of Allaah (i.e. Islamic Monotheism) that is the (only) Guidance.’ And if you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) were to follow their (Jews and Christians) desires after what you have received of Knowledge (i.e. the Qur’aan), then you would have against Allaah neither any Wali (protector or guardian) nor any helper”
Ibn Katheer (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: The words of Allaah, “Take not as (your) Bitaanah (advisors, consultants, protectors, helpers, friends) those outside your religion” mean people other than you, the followers of other religions. A man’s bitaanah (advisors, friends, etc) are his closest friends who know about his private affairs. Then he narrated the report of Ibn Abi Haatim with his isnaad from Ibn Abi’l-Dahqaanah, who said: It was said to ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allaah be pleased with him): There is a slave from the people of Heerah who is literate; why don’t you employ him as a scribe? He said: Then I would have taken a bitaanah from people other than the believers. Ibn Katheer said: This report, along with this verse, indicates that it is not permissible to employ ahl al-dhimmah as scribes in a position of authority over the Muslims where they can become acquainted with their private affairs, where there is the fear that they may disclose them to enemies among ahl al-harb. Hence Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “since they will not fail to do their best to corrupt you. They desire to harm you severely”.
End quote from Tafseer Ibn Katheer (1/528).
Al-Qurtubi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: Allaah, may He be glorified and exalted, forbids the believers in this verse to take close friends from among the Jews, Christians and followers of whims and desires, and to consult them and delegate their affairs to them. … Then Allaah explains the reason why He forbids being close to them, which is: “since they will not fail to do their best to corrupt you”, i.e., they will not stop striving to corrupt you. In other words, even if they do not fight you openly, they will not stop plotting and planning.
Then he said: The words of Allaah “Lo! You are the ones who love them” mean the hypocrites, as is indicated by the words “And when they meet you, they say, ‘We believe’”. This was stated by Abu’l-‘Aaliyah and Muqaatil. Love here refers to good will, i.e. you, O Muslims, have good will towards them but they do not have good will towards you because of their hypocrisy. And it was said that what is meant is: you want them to become Muslim and they want you to become kaafirs. And it was said that those referred to here are the Jews, and this was the view of the majority. The word Scriptures here is generic. Ibn ‘Abbaas said: What is meant is Scriptures, and the Jews believe in some of them, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “And when it is said to them (the Jews), ‘Believe in what Allaah has sent down,’ they say, ‘We believe in what was sent down to us.’ And they disbelieve in that which came after it” [al-Baqarah 2:91].
“And when they meet you, they say, ‘We believe’” i.e., in Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and that he is the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). But when they are alone amongst themselves they bite the tips of their fingers at you in rage and say to one another: Do you not see how these people are prevailing and increasing in number? End quote from Tafseer al-Qurtubi (4/177).
Al-Tabari (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: What is meant by the words “Never will the Jews nor the Christians be pleased with you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) till you follow their religion” is: Neither the Jews nor the Christians will ever be pleased with you, O Muhammad, so stop trying to please them and seek the pleasure of your Lord by calling them to that with which Allaah has sent you of the truth. End quote, Tafseer al-Tabari (1/565).
Our Lord, may He be glorified and exalted, states that many of the people of the Book wish that we would embrace kufr, out of envy and hatred. He says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Many of the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) wish that if they could turn you away as disbelievers after you have believed, out of envy from their ownselves, even after the truth (that Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم is Allaah’s Messenger) has become manifest unto them. But forgive and overlook, till Allaah brings His Command. Verily, Allaah is Able to do all things”
Ibn Katheer (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: Allaah warns His believing slaves against following the path of the kuffaar of the people of the Book, and tells them of their enmity towards them, both inward and outward, and the envy that they feel towards the believers, even though they are aware of their virtue and the virtue of their Prophet. End quote.
Allaah says concerning the people of kufr (interpretation of the meaning):
“How (can there be such a covenant with them) that when you are overpowered by them, they regard not the ties, either of kinship or of covenant with you? With (good words from) their mouths they please you, but their hearts are averse to you, and most of them are Faasiqoon (rebellious, disobedient to Allaah)”
This is how they are; they please the Muslims with their words, but their hearts are filled with enmity and evil.
To sum up, even if there are some kuffaar who seem to love the believers, one of the following three scenarios must apply:
1 – It is just artificial and outward show with no basis in reality, as our Lord, may He be glorified and exalted, tells us, and He knows best what their intentions are and what is in their hearts.
2 – It happens with the one who has abandoned Islam and has taken the kuffaar as close friends, and has thus become one of them, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “And if any amongst you takes them (as Awliyaa’), then surely, he is one of them” [al-Maa'idah 5:51]. Hence they are pleased with him and love him.
3 – It may be genuine but this is very rare, and what is rare does not prove anything. It may be due to the kaafir not adhering to his religion or because of his not caring about religion, as is the case with many of them nowadays.
What every Muslim must do is beware – as Allaah has warned him – of taking the kaafirs as close friends and confidantes and feeling at ease with them, whether the kaafir appears to be friendly or hostile, and whether he is sincere in his love or not. This is the established rule concerning which there can be no debate.
And Allaah knows best.