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Assalamualaikum SS Datuk Mufti. I’m a muallaf Muslim and my family members are still Christians.

My question is, what is the ruling for me to attend my sister’s wedding that would be held in a church? And what is the original ruling for a Muslim to enter other religion’s house of worship?


Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the many countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.

The basis of a relationship between a Muslim and non-Muslim is toleration, beneficence and peace. Allah SWT states in the Quran:

لَا يَنْهَاكُمُ اللَّهُ عَنِ الَّذِينَ لَمْ يُقَاتِلُوكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ وَلَمْ يُخْرِجُوكُمْ مِنْ دِيَارِكُمْ أَنْ تَبَرُّوهُمْ وَتُقْسِطُوا إِلَيْهِمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّالْمُقْسِطِينَ

“Allah does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes - from being righteous toward them and acting justly toward them. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly.”

Surah al-Mumtahanah (8)

The difference in religion does not obstruct us from treating our family members kindly
on a family basis or to anyone based on humanity.

The Ruling of Entering Church or Other Religion’s House of Worship

Islamic scholars have differing opinions on the ruling of entering other religion’s house of worship:

  1. Prohibited: Among the scholars that hold this opinion is Imam Syihabuddin ar-Ramli, Imam Ibn Hajar al-Haitami (Refer Nihayatul Muhtaj2/63, Tuhfatul Muhtaj 2/424). The scholars from mazhab Syafi’e states it is prohibited for the presences of idols inside it.
  2. Makruh (undesirable): Some scholars from mazhab Hanafi states that praying inside a church is undesirable, and Ibn Nujaim wrote a fatwa from Ibn al-‘Alaa al-Ansari on the ruling of that, it is undesirable to enter Jewish convent or Christians church for it is a place of assembly for shaytan. However, a more accurate opinion from Ibn Nujaim states that the ruling is makruh tahrimi. (See Hasyiyah Ibn ‘Abidin1/380, Al-Bahr ar-Ra’iq 1/480 and 7/214; Al-Fatawa al-Hindiyyah 5/346). And this is the most accurate opinion according to Syeikhul Islam Ibnu Taimiyyah (See Al-Fatawa al-Kubra 5/327). From Ibn ‘Abbas RA, Imam Malik also ruled it makruh to pray inside a church. This is also the opinion that scholars from mazhab Syafi’e hold, and it is prohibited for Muslims to pray inside it if they forbid it. (Hasyiyah ‘Umairah, 1/222). Imam Bahuti from mazhab Hanbali ruled it makruh to pray inside a church that has idols inside it according to a hadith that states angels will not enter a house that has idols in it. (Kasyaf al-Qanna’ 1/293)
  3. Permissible: This is the opinion of Ibnu Qudamah and Al-Mardawi from mazhab Hanbali. Ibn Qudamah also states that Hasan al-Basri, Umar Abdul Aziz, Sya’bi and Al-Auza’ie also hold this opinion. Imam al-Bahuti also said that it is permissible to enter churches and convents that do not have idols in it. (Refer Al-Mughni8/113 dan 2/57, Al-Insaf fi Ma’rifati ar-Rajih min al-Khilaf, 1/496, Kasyaf al-Qanna’ 1/293 dan Al-Muhalla 1/400). Imam Khatib as-Syarbini also permitted the entry to churches and convents where there are no idols in it. (Mughni al-Muhtaj, 6/78)


The Ruling of Attending Wedding Reception

According to Islamic scholars from mazhab al-Syafi’e, the ruling of attending wedding reception of non-Muslim is sunnah if the one that invites is from family members, neighbours or if our attendance will benefit the dakwah of Islam. (Refer Nihayatul Muhtaj, 6/371; I’anatu at-Thalibin, 3/408; Muhammad ibn ‘Umar as-Syathiri, 2015, Syarh al-Yaqut an-Nafis, Beirut: Darul Minhaj, pg. 600 and Muhammad az-Zuhaily, 2015, Al-Mu’tamad fil Fiqh as-Syafi’e, Damshik: Darul Qalam, 5th edition, 4/77).

Imam al-Mardawi from mazhab Hanbali also agrees with this opinion, citing the permissibility of attending the wedding reception of non-Muslims from the opinion of Imam Ahmad and Ibn Qudamah. (Refer Al-Insaf, 8/320)


As a conclusion, we hold the opinion of the original ruling that states a Muslim entering other religion’s house of worship is permitted if the purpose is permitted by the Islamic law, such as for dakwah, fulfilling an invite for dialogues between religions and others. However, the attendance to churches or other religion’s house of worship is prohibited during their religious celebration.

A Muslim is also permitted to attend weddings at a church, it is sunnah if the bride or the groom is from his family members, friends, neighbours or his attendance could benefit the dakwah of Islam.

Our conclusion is from many hadiths that state many companions of the Prophet PBUH entering and praying inside churches.

The same goes in the incident of the treaty signed between Saidina ‘Umar al-Khattab and Ahlu Dzimmah that states that they would let Muslims to enter their church during the day or at night. This is one of the proofs used by Ibn Qudamah in ruling it permissible for Muslims to enter churches. (See Al-Syarh al-Kabir ‘ala Matn al-Muqni’, 10/613)

We also conclude it using analogy to the ruling of the permissibility to accompany the deceased of non-Muslim family members, as stated by Syeikh Muhammad az-Zuhaily that said the final opinion in mazhab Syafi’e permits Muslims to accompany the deceased of non-Muslim family members in accordance to a narration by ‘Ali RA:

قُلْتُ لِلنَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم، إِنَّ عَمَّكَ الشَّيْخَ الضَّالَّ مَاتَ، فَمَنْ يُوَارِيهِ قَالَ‏:‏ ‏"‏ اذْهَبْ فَوَارِ أَبَاكَ

He came to the Prophet PBUH and said: 'Abu Talib has died.' The prophet PBUH said: 'Go and bury him.' He said: 'He died as an idolator.' The prophet PBUH said: 'Go and bury him.'

(Refer Al-Mu’tamad fil Fiqh as-Syafi’e, 2015, Damshik: Darul Qalam, 5th edition, 1/648)

Even when a funeral of a non-Muslim that has religious ritual elements is permitted, thus, the same applies to wedding ceremonies using qiyas.

However, there is a prohibition from entering their house of worship during the religious celebrations. Narrated by Umar RA:

لا تدخلوا على المشركين في كنائسهم يوم عيدهم فإن السخطة تنزل عليهم

“Do not meet the idolaters in their churches on their celebration, for Allah’s wrath is upon them”

 Al-Baihaqi in As-Sunan (9/234), Abdurrazaq in Al-Musannaf (1609)

Islam as a religion does not separate family members or break family relationships despite having different religions with each other, and Islam also does not prohibit brotherhood and friendship with other non-Muslims.

However, it must be only a mere attendance, he must not have any involvement with the ritual ceremony of the wedding, for example not being involved in the prayer, the accompaniment of the bride entering the church or be on the altar with the priest when the wedding is being solemnized.

Furthermore, any activity that do not coincide with Islamic law such as dancing, drinking alcoholic beverages, and promiscuity between man and woman is to be avoided at all costs.

Our answer is in accordance to the concept of fiqh al-ta’ayush that is practised by Syeikh al-Azhar al-‘Allamah Ahmad al-Thayyib and also by Darul Iftaa’ of Egypt that permits the entering of Muslims to churches or other religion’s house of worship for a visit, sight-seeing, or attending wedding or funeral, as long as it does not transgress the guidelines set in Islam. (Refer the fatwa at Darul Iftaa’ Misriyyah official website link