Islam is a religion of love and respect. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) treated the people of different religions with tolerance. It was his loving character and good manners that often led the people to accept Islam.
Abdullah bin Sulaiman Al-Manea, a member of the Council of the senior scholars brought up the matter of the way Muslims should deal the people of other religions. He said that Islam is a religion of tolerance and mercy and that Muslims should spread true Islam by their good character and deeds.
Al-Manea gave a fatwa (religious advisory opinion) stating that Muslims can pray in Shiite or Sufi mosques, churches or synagogues. It was narrated that Jabir bin ‘Abdullah said: “The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: ‘The earth has been made for me a place of prostration and a means of purification, so wherever a man of my Ummah is when the time for prayer comes, let him pray.'” – Sunan an-Nasa'i 736
These words clearly state that we can bow down before Allah on any piece of land whether it be a church or a mosque. The misconception that Muslims cannot pray in churches comes from the incident when Hazrat Omar bin Khattab (May Allah be pleased with him) refused to pray at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem.
He said that he did not want to disturb the Christians in their church which is a valid reason, however, he did not say that the Muslims cannot pray in the Church. Later, Hazrat Omar offered prayer in a nearby area.
The Holy Prophet (PBUH) was very welcoming and a great host. Once the Prophet (PBUH) received a delegation of Christians from Najran. As the Prophet (PBUH) mostly conducted important matters in mosques, he invited them in and even allowed them to perform their own prayer facing Jerusalem.
The Holy Prophet (PBUH) always spread love among other people irrespective of their religion and did not draw boundaries between them and the Muslims. The Islamic scholar also highlighted the fact that Islam spread in many countries due to the good character of the Muslims towards other people of different religions.
The Indonesian and Malaysian people accepted Islam after being impressed by the manners and character of the Muslim merchants. We should enter churches to gain more knowledge about these places of worship, the scholar said.
Prophet (PBUH) warned us of the evils and taught us the features of the good, therefore we should be thankful to be Muslims and should not rush into giving fatwas without much thought. We should preach the religion of Islam by showing people the character that has been taught to us by our religion.
Islam is a religion of coexistence and love, not violence and intolerance. We should not push away the people of other religions, rather we should embrace them with the teachings of Islam. Our character should reflect our wonderful religion.
So letting them enter our places of worship and entering there’s can we become closer. Al Manea ended his statement by saying, “Muslims should enter churches to learn about Christianity, and Christians should be invited in mosques and pray in them, except the Grand Mosque in Makkah”
However, it is very important to mention here that Muslims cannot pray in a room where pictures and statue of idols are placed. In most of the churches, you find the statue of Hazrat Isa A.S and Hazrat Maryam A.S.
Hence, Muslims can pray in the churches where the statues are not placed or in any other room of the church without these things of shirk.
Source: Arab News