Inter faith meetings with men and women in the Masjid
Fatwa No: 85800


A member of the Shura committee in the Masjid in our city- a city in a non-Muslim western country- asked me to write to you this email about a issue that the Shura committee members are arguing about. This issue is: Allowing non-Muslim women to enter the men's area in the Masjid, set down - in the men's area - in a circle with other Muslim and non Muslim men and women, while non Muslim women and, sometimes Muslim women are not wearing Hijab and dressed in regular western clothes. It is called the interfaith meetings, were members of the three religions (Islam, Christianity and Judaism) discuss concurrent matters about their religion. The elected Shura member that supports this issue is claiming that this is a sort of Da'wa, and it is necessary to promote the Muslim community in the western society that we live in. The disagreeing committee members argue that this is not Da'wa as this has been happening for a long time now and nothing good has resulted from it, further more, these meetings and the way they occur might not be religiously correct. The Muslims participating in these meetings have limited knowledge of Shariah or Fiqh, none of them has received any academic Islamic studies, even some of them consider Hijab for Muslim women as a cultural practice and that Muslim women are not-obligated to wear it. A brother raised an issue that some of these women might enter and set in the Masjid while she is in her monthly menstrual cycle, and there is no way for knowing that to ask her to leave. Please help us to stay on and stick to the right path, that of the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.


Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds; and may His blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all his Family and Companions. Fuqahaa disagreed concerning non-Muslim's entering a Mosque. 1) Ahnaaf legalize non-Muslims entering all Mosques, without exception, depending on the Prophet's (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) permission to the non-Muslim delegation of Thaqeef to enter his Mosque. Also, they believe that impurity of non-Muslims is related to their belief, i.e. they are not impure in their bodies. Allah Says: {O you who believe (in Allâh's Oneness and in His Messenger (Muhammad SAW)! Verily, the Mushrikûn (polytheists, pagans, idolaters, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allâh, and in the Message of Muhammad SAW) are Najasun (impure). So let them not come near Al-Masjid-al-Harâm (at Makkah) after this year, …}[9: 28]. Ahnaaf believe that what is meant by "So let them not come near al-Masjid al-Haram" is when they do that arrogantly or naked or if they come to take it over. 2) Another group of Muslim scholars believe that it is legal for non-Muslims to enter all Mosques with the exception of al-Masjid al-Haram as well as any Mosque in the Haram area provided they have got the permission. This is the opinion of al-Shafi'iyah and a narration from Ahmad and some Hanbali followers. Ali (Radiya Allahu Anhu) saw a Magian entering the Mosque while he was on the pulpit, and he came down and drove him out of the Mosque because he entered without permission. Also, the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) allowed the people of Taif - before embracing Islam - to enter the Mosque. Sa'id Ibn al-Musaeb said: ' Abu Sufyan used to enter the Mosque of al-Madinah before embracing Islam. 'Umar Ibn Wahab entered the Prophet's (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) Mosque to kill him, but Allah guided his heart to embrace Islam' . 3) According to a narration from Ahmad , it is not permitted for a non-Muslim to enter any Mosque, al-Mardawi assured that this is the authorized opinion in Ahmad's school of thought. According to Ibn Qudamah : 'The above-opinion is based on the narration that Abu Musa came to 'Umar Ibn al-Khattab carrying a record of Abu Musa 's accounts. So, 'Umar asked Abu Musa to invite the person who wrote these records. Abu Musa said: 'He does not enter Mosques'. 'Umar said: 'Why?'. The answer was: 'He is a Christian'. This incident proves that it was a known fact among them that a non-Muslim does not enter a mosque. Also they say that as long as the ceremonial impurity, menses and childbirth bleeding prevent one from entering a Mosque then the state of polytheism is with greater reason to be prevented' . This was what Umar Ibn 'Abdul 'Aziz wrote to his representatives in the Muslim state: {… So let them not come near Al-Masjid-al-Harâm (at Makkah)…}[9: 28]. Another verse supports the above-stated point: {In houses (mosques), which Allâh has ordered to be raised (to be cleaned, and to be honoured), in them His Name is remembered}[24: 36]. Entering of non-Muslims to Mosques contradicts the goal for which they are built. It is recorded in Sahih Muslim: "Mosques are not fit for (should be saved from) urine, filth, …" . And a non-Muslim is impure. Another Hadith reads: "It is Haram for a menstruating woman or an impure man to enter a Mosque" . And the disbeliever is not pure. Allah Says: {… Verily, the Mushrikûn (polytheists, pagans, idolaters, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allâh, and in the Message of Muhammad SAW) are Najasun (impure). …}[9: 28]. 4) The fourth group believe that it is Haram for a non-Muslim to enter a Mosque unless there is true need. This is the Maliki school of thought. Some Fuqahaa differentiate between a Zimmi and a non-Muslim who is in state of war with Muslims. Here, we state that the dominant opinion in this concern is it is permissible for non-Muslims to enter all Mosques except al-Masjid al-Haram as long as there is need or some interest for Muslims and Islam. It is recorded in al-Bukhari and Muslim that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) sent a group of horsemen towards Najd and they brought a man from Banu Hanifa named Thumamah Ibn Athoal . The Prophet's (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) companions tied him to a pole in the Mosque. Muslim's narration reads that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) left Thumamah for one day and then the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) asked him: "O Thumamah ! What do you think of?". Thumamah replied: 'As I said before, if you set me free, I will be thankful, and if you kill me, know that you have killed a man who ranks high. Then, if you want money, we'll give you what you want'. So the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) left him. In the next day, the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) asked him: "O Thumamah ! What do you think?" The reply was like before. The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) ordered his companions to free him. So, Thumamah went to an orchard of palm trees and washed there. Then, he entered the Mosque and said: 'I bear witness that La Ilaha Illa Allah and Muhammad Rasullul Allah'" . However, we draw your attention to the rule that there should be no mixing between men and women, especially in the Mosque, and women are to abide by the full Hijab. Then, there is no problem if men and women discuss matters separately. There should be a barrier between them in case of discussion between men and women, since the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) discussed with the Christians of Najraan and offered Islam to them. Allah knows best.

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