Assalamualaikum ustaz. My friend who is a non-Muslim invited me to break my fast at his house. Is it permissible for me to go because I don’t want to offend him or hurt his feelings? Hope for an explanation.
Waalaikumussalam wrt, wbt.,
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
We have previously answered the issue of praying in churches or monasteries in the article Irsyad Al-Fatwa Series 238: The Ruling of Praying in Churches or Monasteries. The conclusion is that it is makruh (undesirable) to pray in churches but it is not haram. In our opinion, it is permissible to break a person’s fast in a non-Muslim’s house according to this analogical deduction and there are no syarak evidences which prohibit this matter. Thus, it falls back to the Islamic legal maxim:
الأَصْلُ فِي الأَشْيَاءِ الإِبَاحَةُ حَتَّى يَدُلَّ الدليلُ عَلَى التَّحْرِيْم
“The original ruling of something is its permissibility until there is evidence that prohibits it.”
Refer al-Asybah wa al-Naza’ir (pg. 133)
Imam al-Khatib al-Syarbini in his book Mughni al-Muhtaj (4/405) states:
“Among (the obligatory conditions of answering an invite for a feast) is that the person who invites must be a Muslim. Thus, if the person is a non-believer (non-Muslim), then it is not obligatory to fulfil the invite for there is no commandment of love and care towards them and the food served would be disgusting if there is possibility that it is najis (considered impure in Islam) or it is prepared badly. Thus, it is not sunnah to answer an invite from a dzimmi as it is sunnah to answer an invite from a Muslim, for it is sunnah to answer an invite from a Muslim.”
From the above explanation, we can understand that:
- The ruling of answering an invite from a non-Muslim is different from the ruling of answering an invite from a Muslim.
- The difference is due to the fact that it is feared the food that is being served do not fulfil the standard of halal and haram in syarak rulings or it is contaminated with najis. However, if it is safe from these concerns, then its ruling remains as permissible.
- It is sunnah to answer an invite of a non-Muslim who is the same status as a dzimmi which means those who has a peace treaty with the Muslim government or authority.
- It is makruh (undesirable) to socialize with them if there is fear that they would influence the belief of Muslims. However, if there is no such threat, then the opportunity is used to spread and convey the message and goodness of Islam, closing the distance of them with Islam through good human interactions, then it is permissible.
Refer al-Mu`tamad fi al-Fiqh al-Syafie (4/77 & 5/98) by Syeikh Dr. Muhammad al-Zuhaili.
According to the above facts and discussions, we are inclined towards the opinion that states that it is permissible to answer the invite of a non-Muslim to break one’s fast at their house and it is even sunnah. This is so on the condition that the food and drink served is halal and safe from anything that is haram such as swine, alcoholic beverages and other najis. Our advice, use this opportunity the best way by showcasing good character and conduct of a Muslim, convey the message of Islam and at the same time sharing the blessings Allah SWT has granted us all in the form of food and drinks.