Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: A non-Muslim co-worker of mine has asked me to attend a church service with him. Would it be permissible to do so?

Answer: In the name of Allah, Most Merciful.

Walaikum assalam,

In the Hanafi school, it is prohibitively disliked and sinful to enter the worship places of disbelievers without a strong, overwhelming interest. This does not appear to be the case in your situation.

There are hadiths that tell us that such places are the gathering places of devils. It is also impermissible to attend such places because of the shirk-based imagery that they contain. [Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar; Shafi`i school: Ramli, Nihayat al-Muhtaj Sharh al-Minhaj]

If we are commanded to stay away from places of sin and vice (such as bars and night clubs), then what about places where the ultimate sin takes place: associating partners with Allah?

Wisdom would entail simply making an excuse to get out of the situation.

When there is an overwhelming benefit in going (such as giving a talk on Islam, etc.), and no fear of personal harm in doing so, one may go. It should be kept in mind that avoiding harm is given precedence in Islam to attaining unto benefits, especially when the harm is likely and the benefits uncertain.

The way of traditional Islam is that a committed Muslim should consult with scholars regarding such matters. Even scholars consult other scholars before serious decisions. It is from the sunna to seek advice and to consult others. The young seek the advice of elders (in knowledge, experience, or age). The elders seek advice of peers or the young. Even the Beloved of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) was commanded, “And seek their counsel regarding your affairs.”

And Allah alone gives success.

Wassalam,
Faraz Rabbani

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