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Can a Muslim Enter a Church?[E-mail question]

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, MostMerciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and

peace and blessings be upon His

Messenger.

Dear brother, thank you for your question

that shows your interest in knowing more

about Islam and to keep stick to its

teachings.

There is nothing wrong for a Muslim to enter

a church for a permissible reason. It may,

even, be recommended in some cases to

contact Christians in their churches for

building good relations or for any other

good reason.

Responding to your question, Sheikh Ahmad

Kutty , a senior lecturer and an Islamic

scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto,

Ontario, Canada, states:

You are allowed to enter a church if

you have a legitimate need to do so;

such as attending a funeral or a

wedding or in order to acquaint

yourself with the Christian way of

worship or even developing cordial

relations with them. There is nothing

objectionable about it in such cases. I

would also add that they are not only

sanctioned but may even be

encouraged in Islam.

In other words, it all depends on the

intention and purpose of your visit. If

you are entering a Church for the

purpose of worship or receiving

blessings or confessing your sins or

beseeching favors from other than

Allah, then you are wrong.

If, on the contrary, it is not for any of

the above reasons, and you simply

went there to observe how the

Christians conduct their services and

familiarize yourself with their ways or

for the purpose of outreach, dialogue,

cooperation in virtuous acts, etc., then

there is nothing wrong with that.

In such cases, it may even be highly

recommended depending on the nature

of your visit and the circumstances. We

know that the Caliph `Umar ibn Al-

Khattab (may Allah be pleased with

him), while in Jerusalem, was taken

around in the ancient Church by the

patriarch, but he refused to pray inside.

When asked about it he said, “I am

afraid, if I were to do so, Muslims

might later claim it as a prayer place

or a musalla .”

To conclude, I can say that there is

nothing wrong for Muslims in visiting

churches, synagogues, or temples if

the purpose is other than worship or

religious reasons.

Allah Almighty knows best.

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