Ruling on building temples in the Arabian Peninsula

Fatwa no. 21413 All Praise is due to Allah, Alone. May peace be upon the Last Prophet.The Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta' has reviewed the referred questions to His Eminence, the Grand Mufty (Islamic scholar qualified to issue legal opinions) by a number of questioners. The questions are recorded in the Secretariat General of the Council of Senior Scholars under no. 86, dated (5/1/1421 A.H.), and nos. 1326, 1327, 1328, dated 2/3/1421 A.H. Concerning the ruling on building places of worship for non-Muslims in Arabia such as Christian churches, Jewish synagogues, etc. Is it permissible for a company owner to allocate a place for non-Muslim workers to practice their worship there?

Studying these questions, the Committee answered as follows:Every religion other than Islam is mere disbelief and error. Every house of worship other than that of Islam is considered a place of disbelief and error, because worshipping Allah is only permissible through what He has legislated. The Islamic Shari`ah (law) is the Last Divine Testament for both Jinn and man. Thus, it abrogates the past codes of law according to the consensus of scholars. (Part No. 1; Page No. 468) Anyone who claims that the religions of Jews and Christians are true whether from among themselves or not, denies the Book of Allah (Qur'an), the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the consensus of Muslims. Thus, he is an apostate even if he claims Islam. However, the proof must be established against him if it is thought that he is unaware of the truth. Allah (Exalted be He) states, And We have not sent you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) except as a giver of glad tidings and a warner to all mankind. Allah also states, Say (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم): "O mankind! Verily, I am sent to you all as the Messenger of Allâh. Allah (Glorified be He) states, Truly, the religion with Allâh is Islâm. Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) states, And whoever seeks a religion other than Islâm, it will never be accepted of him Allah (Glorified be He) states, Verily, those who disbelieve (in the religion of Islâm, the Qur’ân and Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) from among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) and Al-Mushrikûn will abide in the Fire of Hell. They are the worst of creatures. It is authentically reported in “Sahih Al-Bukhari” and “Sahih Muslim” and others that the Prophet (peace be upon him) stated, In the past, every prophet used to be sent to his people only but I have been sent to all people. Therefore, it is an Islamic duty to forbid disbelief, because it entails the worship of other than Allah and contradicts the Shari`ah. Consequently, it is forbidden to build houses of worship for religions other than Islam (Part No. 1; Page No. 469) such as Judaism, Christianity, etc. These temples, whether a church or otherwise, are considered places for worshipping other than Allah, as they are not in conformance with the Islamic Shari`ah that abrogates all the past codes of law. As for the good deeds of the disbelievers, Allah (Exalted be He) states, And We shall turn to whatever deeds they (disbelievers, polytheists, sinners) did, and We shall make such deeds as scattered floating particles of dust. Thus, scholars have unanimously agreed upon the prohibition of building temples such as churches in Muslim countries. Likewise, it is not permissible that two religions are recognized as formal religions in the Muslim lands, and there must be no rituals or temples for non-Muslims such as churches or any other building. Scholars unanimously agreed on the obligation of destroying churches and other places of worship if they were built recently in the Muslim lands. It is not permissible to oppose the Muslim ruler in destroying them, but you must obey him. Scholars (may Allah be merciful to them) have unanimously agreed that building these places such as churches in the Arabian Peninsula is more sinful because of the clear and sound Hadith reported on the prohibition of combining two religions in the Arabian Peninsula. The Prophet (peace be upon him) stated, There should not be two religions together in the Arabian Peninsula. (Related by Imam Malik and others. Moreover, it finds further grounds in the reports of "Sahih Al-Bukhari" and "Sahih Muslim") (Part No. 1; Page No. 470) The Arabian Peninsula is the sacrosanct base of Islam which no disbeliever is allowed to violate, to assume its nationality, or to own anything therein. Needless to mention that the building of churches for the cross worshippers is also prohibited there. So, no two religions are to co-exist there. It is only one religion with which Allah sent His Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). There shall be only one Qiblah (Ka`bah-direction faced in Prayer); the Muslim direction to the ancient House (Ka`bah). Praise be to Allah who guided the rulers of this country to prevent building these places of worship on this sacred Muslim soil.We cry out to Allah for the temples that the enemies of Islam have brought to Muslim lands such as churches and their likes. We ask Allah to protect Islam against their plots.Thus, it is evident that setting up houses for non-Muslim worship such as churches or allocating places for them in any Muslim country is of the greatest support for disbelief and endorsement of their faith. Allah (Exalted be He) states, Help you one another in Al-Birr and At-Taqwâ (virtue, righteousness and piety); but do not help one another in sin and transgression. And fear Allâh. Verily, Allâh is Severe in punishment. Shaykh-ul-Islam (may Allah be merciful to him) said, "Anyone who believes that churches are places where Allah is worshipped or that the worship of the Jews and Christians is true (Part No. 1; Page No. 471) and constitutes obedience to His Prophet, or that Allah likes or is pleased with this act of worship, or helps them to open such places and establish their religion, is a disbeliever." He also said, "Anyone who believes that Christians' visits to their churches draw them near to Allah, is an apostate. If he is unaware that this is forbidden, he must be informed. However, if he insists on his opinion after this, he will be considered an apostate.We seek refuge in Allah against deviation after integrity and against error after guidance. A Muslim must be careful lest he be included in Allah's statement, Verily, those who have turned back (have apostatised) as disbelievers after the guidance has been manifested to them - Shaitân (Satan) has beautified for them (their false hopes), and (Allâh) prolonged their term (age). This is because they said to those who hate what Allâh has sent down: "We will obey you in part of the matter." But Allâh knows their secrets. Then how (will it be) when the angels will take their souls at death, smiting their faces and their backs? That is because they followed that which angered Allâh and hated that which pleased Him. So He made their deeds fruitless. May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.