The ruling concerning visiting pagan temples | The official website of Sheikh Muhammad Ali FERKUS
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Sunday 22 Sha`bân 1445 H - March 03, 2024 G

Fatwa No.: 1183

Category: Fatwas about Creed - Alliance and Disavowal


The ruling concerning visiting pagan temples




I am a student in Italy; as a part of my studies, I undertake discovery tours to archaeological temples and take pictures of them. These temples are often Christian and contain many statues, and I am –Thanks to Allah– [Muslim] practitioner, and want to know if there is a sin in visiting churches and religious temples and taking pictures of them considering them as a part of history? And if there is a sin in posting these pictures in social Medias? May Allah reward you.


All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. Peace and blessing be upon whom Allah sent as a mercy to the Worlds, upon his Family, his Companions and his Brothers till the Day of Resurrection. This being so said:

It is neither permissible to visit churches and polytheistic temples, to witness disbelievers acts of worship, to attend their rituals, nor to participate in their feasts, for these are disbelievers own characteristics, and imitating them in such acts is prohibited by the hadith of the Prophet–صلَّى الله عليه وسلّم: “Whoever imitates a people is one of them.”(1) And because of what is included in these places, namely: magnifying their temples, paying reverence toward their acts of worship and increasing their numbers, which is also forbidden, and exposes its doer to calamities, scourges and indignation; Al-Bayhaqî  رحمه الله– narrated that ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattâb  رضي الله عنه– said: “Avoid the enemies of Allah –Jewish and Christians– in their feast, the day in which they are gathered; because the wrath [of Allah] is descended upon them and I fear it may hit you, and do not learn their gibberish [language] thus you adopt their manners.”(2)

Besides, it is basically inherent to a Muslim’s faith and manners to glorify the sanctities and rites of Allah عزّ وجلّ. Therefore, he avoids his sinful and prohibited things and everything that causes the anger of Allah عزّ وجلّ. Thus, he does not attend the places and gatherings that contain prohibited acts and sayings. On the contrary, the Muslim has to magnify Allah’s beloved deeds that bring closer to Him, and he who magnifies and glorifies them Allah rewards him greatly, and it shall be better for him in his life and his after life in the Sight of his Lord. And Allah عزّ وجلّ says:

﴿وَمَن يُعَظِّمۡ حُرُمَٰتِ ٱللَّهِ فَهُوَ خَيۡرٞ لَّهُۥ عِندَ رَبِّهِۦ[الحج: 30].

The meaning of the verse:

Whoever honors the sacred ordinances of Allah, it is best for him in the Sight of his Lord.﴿ [Al-Hajj (The Pilgrimage): 30].

And says:

﴿وَمَن يُعَظِّمۡ شَعَٰٓئِرَ ٱللَّهِ فَإِنَّهَا مِن تَقۡوَى ٱلۡقُلُوبِ[الحج:32 ].

The meaning of the verse:

Whoever honors the symbols of Allah-indeed, it is from the piety of hearts.﴿ [Al-Hajj (The Pilgrimage): 32]. And Allah عزّ وجلّ says –describing the slaves of Ar-Rahmân–:

﴿وَٱلَّذِينَ لَا يَشۡهَدُونَ ٱلزُّورَ[الفرقان: 72].

The meaning of the verse:

And those who do not witness falsehood.﴿ [Al-Furqân (The Criterion): 72].

Meaning: they do not attend forbidden sayings and acts, including Shirk (polytheism) and worshiping idols. Some of the Salaf (Pious Predecessors) interpreted ٱلزُّورَ (falsehood) as polytheists feasts(3).

In addition, it is not a secret that publishing pictures of temples and churches on social Medias includes involving Muslims in it, and endearing such places to them, and praising them as a way of admiring, glorifying, and greatening them, which is –undoubtedly– against the faith and manners of a Muslim –as preceded–.

Yet it is permissible –in some cases– to enter Christians’ churches and disbelievers’ temples for a certain need or a religious interest or generally in purpose of investigation and confirmation –whether it was historical or else– as an exception to the principle of prohibition for a specific necessity, and this ruling is cancelled when the necessity does not exist, as prescribed in the general rules.

And perfect knowledge belongs to Allah عزَّ وجلَّ; and our last prayer is all the praises and thanks are to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, and prayers of Allah are to Mohammad and his Family, Companions and Brothers until the Day of Resurrection.

Algiers on: Dhu Al-Qa’da the 16th, 1437 H.
Corresponding to: August the 19th, 2016 G.

(1) Reported by Abû Dâwûd (hadith 4031) on the authority of Ibn ‘Umar رضي الله عنهما–.This hadith is judged Sahîh (authentic) by Al-Albânî in Al-Irwa’ (1269) and in Sahîh Al-Jâmi‘(6149).

(2) Reported by ‘Abd Ar-Razzâq in his Musannaf (1609) and Ibn Abî Shayba in his Musannaf (26281) and Al-Bayhaqî –according to his wording– in Shu‘ab Al-Îmân (8940, 8941) and As-Sunan Al-Kubrâ (18861, 18862).

(3) See: Tafsîr Ibn Kathîr (3/328-329).