Christians Common Questions About Islam

RELIGIOUS PRACTICE

38- How does the Muslim practice his religion?

The Muslim practices his religion primarily by obeying the prohibitions laid down in the Traditions, and by observing what are called the "pillars of Islam". There are five pillars:- 1. The Shahada, or confession of faith (Q. 39). 2. The Salat, or Ritual Prayer (Q. 40-52). 3. The Zakat, or Ritual Almsgiving (Q. 53-55). 4. The sawm, or Fast in the month of Ramadhan (Q. 56-58). 5. The Hajj, or Pilgrimage to Mecca (Q. 59-68).

39- What is the Shahada?

The Shahada (Confession of faith) consists in declaring "I bear witness that there is no divinity but God; I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of God". In Arabic, "Ashhadu an la ilaha illa'llaj; ashhadu an-na Muhammada-r-rasulu'llah". This formula must be repeated frequently, especially on conversion to Islam, on hearing the call to Prayer, in the Prayer itself, and at the point of death.

40- What is the meaning of the Call to Prayer?

God is most great (twice or four times); I bear witness that there is no divinity but God (twice); I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of God (twice); Hasten to the Prayer (twice); Hasten to well-being (twice); The Prayer is better than sleep (morning only; twice); God is most great (twice); There is no divinity but God.

41- What is the purpose of Ablutions?

Tradition records that Muhammad said, "Ritual purity is the half of faith and the key of Prayer". The acts and objects which cause ritual defilement (Q. 37) make one unfit to perform the Prayer. Therefore a Muslim must know how to purify himself before Prayer. For some defiling acts and objects, a "lesser ablution" is sufficient; this is done by touching with water the face, the hands and arms up to the elbows, the head (rubbed with a wet hand), and the feet up to the ankles, etcetera. All this must be done exactly according to rule. In some other cases the "greater ablution" is necessary; for this a complete bath is needed, so that every part of the body may be touched by water. Pure or running water should be used, but if this is not available the worshipper may purify himself with sand or dust, first making a declaration of his intention.

42- What are the actions of the Prayer?

There are four main postures in the Ritual Prayer; standing (Arabic, iqama); bowing (ruku') with hands resting on the knees; prostration (sujud) in which the knees first touch the ground, the worshipper sits on his hells, then bends forward so that hands and first nose then forehead touch the ground; and sitting (julus) on the hells, the body upright, hands on thighs, fingers slightly apart (not together), eyes lowered (but not shut). There are many other complicated details, and a mistake in the actions or in the words may nullify the whole prayer, so that the worshipper must start again at the beginning…..There is also ablution before the Prayer, and at the beginning a declaration of the intention to offer a certain number of prayer-cycles.

43- What are the words of the Prayer?

The words of the Prayer must be recited in Arabic, and consist of praise to God and request for God's blessing. Here is the meaning of some parts of it:-"God is most great…holiness to Thee, O God and praise to Thee…I seek refuge with god from the cursed Satan…God hears him who praises Him…O God, have mercy on Muhammad and on his descendents, as Thou didst have mercy on Abraham and his descendents…O God, bless Muhammad and his descendents…O God, our Lord, give us the blessings of this life and also the blessings of the life to come, save us from the torments of fire…The peace and mercy of God be with you". Some short passages of the Qur'an are recited, always including the 1st Sura (Fatiha) and often the 112th (Ikhlas). Note that there is no "Confession of Sin" and Declaration of Forgiveness, as these are found in Christian worship; also in the Ritual Prayer there is no idea of intimate communion with God, listening to Him and telling Him our personal hopes and wants. However, after the end of the Ritual Prayer there is a place where quiet personal supplication may be offered in the vernacular. Compare Q. 91.

44- What are the times of Prayer?

1. Between the first light and sunrise (Arabic: Subh or Fajr); 2. After midday, but before the sun has declined half way (Zuhr); 3. After Zuhr, till just before sunset (Asr); 4. After sunset, till nightfall (Maghrib); 5. After nightfall, till midnight ('Isha). The Prayer must not be performed at the moment of sunrise or sunset, to avoid any impression that the sun is the object of worship.

45- Is the Prayer performed only five times a day?

No, these five times are obligatory, but the zealous Muslim may add Prayers at other prescribed times, and this is recommended as meritorious.

46- What is the direction of the Prayer?

The worshipper faces Mecca, and in particular the shrine Kaaba (Q. 62-63). Anyone who performs the Prayer in this direction is recognized as a Muslim, and the direction is taken up in many other circumstances--an animal being sacrificed is turned towards Mecca; the dead are buried with the face towards Mecca. 

47- Who leads the Prayer?

In principle, any respected Muslim who knows how to do so may lead the Prayer. The Leader is called the Imam, but this is not a "priesthood" or "order" to which he is ordained. The Imam is in no sense an intermediary between God and the believer; his function is merely to say the Prayer aloud and clearly, so that all may perform the actions and repeat the words in unison. However, in practice there is generally one particular man, well-trained in the Qur'an, who is appointed to lead the Prayer at a particular mosque, and he may be paid for his services.

48- Where may the Prayer be performed?

It may be performed in any place that is ritually pure, not defiled by one of the objects or creatures pronounced unclean (Q.37). Any space set aside for Prayer becomes a Mosque--it is not necessary to have a building. No dogs may enter, no blood must be spilt, and humans must not relieve themselves there. But there is generally no prohibition on resting, talking, eating and even sleeping in a mosque. 

49- Why is it necessary to remove the shoes before entering a Mosque?

Since a mosque must be ritually pure, it is advisable not to enter with shoes which may have touched something impure. Therefore it is customary to leave footwear at the door and enter bare-footed.

50- Why are women (or young women) generally excluded from the mosque?

Women must not enter the mosque during their menstrual period; therefore they are often strongly discouraged from entering the mosque at all, in case they might carelessly come in a state of impurity. However, their presence is not actually forbidden by Muslim law--women pilgrims do enter the Sacred Mosque at Mecca. A woman past the age of childbearing may be made responsible for cleaning the mosque, and may occupy a modest place at the back to join in the Prayer.

51- Why do Muslims go to the Mosque on Friday?

Every Friday the men of the Muslim community should perform the noon Prayer all together and hear a sermon. This corporate Prayer demonstrates the solidarity of the community, and is considered to have great merit in God's sight. It is prescribed by 62, Jumu'a 9; according to Tradition Adam both entered and left Paradise on a Friday, and the Day of Resurrection will be a Friday! However, in Muslim law Friday is not a day of rest, like the Jewish Sabbath. 

52- What is the Muslim Rosary (Subha or Tasbih)?

The Rosary is not peculiar to Islam, but was adopted by Islam from other religions. It helps the worshipper to count the number of his invocation or prayers. For example, it is recommended to recite 100 times the formula "There is no god but Allah, without partner; to Him the kingdom, to Him praise, and He is over all; the power". The Rosary often has 100 beads--one for "Allah" and 99 for His "excellent names". It is used especially during Ramadhan, when God is thought to take special account of men's good deeds.

53- What is Zakat?

This is the third pillar of Islam. "Zakat" means "purification"; it is a kind of ritual tax or alms, the paying of which is held to purify" the rest of a Muslim's possessions and to expiate his sins. Apparently it was at first a free-will offering, but it rapidly became a legal requirement. In theory, only Muslims are required to pay it. As opposed to this prescribed tax, "sadaqa" is more like a free-will offering, an act of charity and kindness. 

54- What must the Muslim pay, according to the law?

Zakat may be paid either in goods or in cash. The tax is imposed on produce of the soil, fruits, cattle, gold and silver (including money) and upon merchandise. There are complicated rules for calculating it; generally it is a tithe (tenth part) on fruits and produce of the soil, but a fortieth part on money and merchandise. But a poor man who has less than five camel loads of property need not pay! 

55- To whom must the Zakat be paid?

There are eight classes of people who may benefit from the tax: 1. Those in need; 2. The very poor (teachers of the law are regarded as being in these classes--so may receive Zakat); 3. The tax-collector may keep part as his "salary"; 4. Those whose hearts are to be reconciled (those converted to Islam who need help in adapting to the new community); 5.slaves, who have arranged to buy their freedom, to help them find the necessary sums of money; 6. Debtors who have voluntarily, for the love of God, undertaken to pay off their debt; 7. "in the way of God", those volunteering to fight in Holy War, or for the building of mosques; 8. Travelers who are in need. In many lands today, government taxation seems to have replaced the Zakat; however, beside this traditional Zakat, the term is applied to alms given to the poor at the end of Ramadhan, to mark the end of the fast (zakat al-fitr).

56- What is the month of Ramadhan?

Fasting has been known in all ages as a religious practice, and had existed before the time of Muhammad. At the beginning of his ministry Muhammad fasted, as the Jews did, on the 10th day of the first month. Later he fixed instead the whole month of Ramadhan (the ninth month). During this month occurs the Laylatu-l-qadr (night of power) on which the Qur'an is believed to have been brought down to the lowest heaven, ready to be revealed to Muhammad. During this month, from the first light of dawn till darkness falls, it is forbidden to eat, drink, smoke or have sexual relations; it is forbidden to swallow saliva, if this can be avoided; the letting of blood by leeches or cupping is inadvisable. But the fast is only considered to have been broken by a premeditated, free and willing action of infringement. Thus everything entering the body breaks the fast, but not if the action was done accidentally or under compulsion. Refreshment may be taken in the night, when there are often lavish feasts. Three kinds of fasting should be distinguished: (I) the Ramadhan fast, one of the pillars of Islam; (ii) fasting in expiation of a sin; (iii) fasting as a result of a vow, to acquire more merit with God. 

57- Who are obliged to fast in Ramadhan?

Every adult Muslim who is sound in body and mind and physically capable of enduring the fast, must observe it. It is recommended that children be trained to fast beginning from 10 years old. 

58- Who are excused from fasting?

The feeble-minded, the sick, the elderly, pregnant and nursing women, travelers or those engaged in hard labour--these are exempted in prescribed circumstances. It is actually forbidden to fast when in danger of death, when faced by the enemy and (for women) during the menstrual period and for 40 days after childbirth. But the days of fast which have not been observed must, in most cases, be compensated by subsequent fasting or by some other kind of expiation.

59- What is the Pilgrimage?

The Pilgrimage or "Hajj" is the fifth pillar of Islam. It is obligatory for every Muslim who is healthy in body and mind and who can afford to go, to go on the Pilgrimage to Mecca once in his lifetime. (Further visits are voluntary). He will visit the shrine called the Kaaba, and perform prescribed rites. 

60- What is an "alhaji"?

One who has performed the pilgrimage is honoured with the title "alhaji" or "alhajj"; if a woman, "alhaja". The title indicates the pilgrim's prestige among fellow Muslims; he is presumed to be endowed with special blessings from God. But the Alhaji has, as such, no special duty or office in the Muslim community.

61- Is Mecca the centre of the world?

Muslims have said that Mecca is the centre or "navel" of the world, and that the Kaaba lies just under the throne of God. A glance at the map--remembering that the world is round like a ball!--will show that no place is literally at the world's centre; this is just a way of expressing how important Mecca is in Muslim faith.

62- Who built the shrine at Mecca?

Muslims say that Adam and Even (Hawwa) first built the Kaaba--a flat roofed stone "house", estimated to be 50 feet high, and 35 feet broad by 40 feet deep. Adam and Even had met at Mecca after being driven from Paradise. Later (Muslims believe) the shrine was restored by Abraham and Ishmael, and maintained by other prophets. Non-Muslims presume the shrine to be an ancient place of worship no different in its origin from other shrines which existed in Arabia; they believe the traditions about its origin to be legendary.

63- What is the Black Stone (al-hajaru-l-aswad)?

Set into the south-eastern corner of the Kaaba, at four or five feet above ground level, is a stone, reddish black with red and yellow particles. It seems to have been originally one stone, but to have been broken when it was once carried off. The three large pieces and several fragments are held together by a silver band. The stone thus joined together is about 7 inches in diameter. Traditions say that the stone came down from God, and was originally white, but was turned black because of man's sin. Muhammad found the Meccans worshipping the stone as an idol; he (in Muslim belief) restored it to the worship of the One God for which it had originally been dedicated. Going round the Kaaba (3 times running, four times walking) is one of the most important rites of the Pilgrimage, and each time round the pilgrim does his best to kiss it, or at least to touch it with his fingers and touch his fingers to his lips. He feels he obtains divine blessing by doing this. Christians are often disturbed, and some Muslims are too, at the thought that people who worship One God should kiss a stone which was previously used in idolatry. But it is untrue to suggest that Muslims worship this stone as a god. This is clearly shown by the saying of the Caliph "Umar, "I know that you are a stone, which can neither help me nor harm me; if the Prophet had not kissed you, I would not have done so".

64- What is the water which Pilgrims bring home from Mecca?

According to Tradition, when Abraham sent away Hagar and her son Ishmael, they lost their way in the desert, and Hagar ran back and forth looking for water for her child to drink. God took pity on her and caused a spring to gush forth at Ishmael's feet. The two hills Safa and Marwa are said to be the points between which Hagar ran back and forth--so pilgrims run between them seven times. The spring Zamzam (now piped) which flows within the area surrounding the Kaaba, is believed to be the spring which God created for Hagar. Many pilgrims bring home water from this spring.

65- Does the water of Mecca wash away sins?

In the world of Islam this spring is venerated, and its water is considered rich in blessings. According to widespread popular belief in Africa, the water has an almost magical power, and can wash away men's sins. So some pilgrims bring back little bottles of the water which they intend to drink before they die. This belief is emphatically rejected by Muslim theologians; it is not derived from the Qur'an nor from reliable Tradition, and it is opposed to the doctrine that only on the Last Day will God forgive or punish, according to His predestinating decree (Q. 34, 36).

66- Why do the pilgrims throw stones?

This is one of the obligatory rites of the pilgrimage. Five miles from Mecca, in the region of Mina (or "Muna"), there are three stone pillars, fairly broad and about five feet high. The Pilgrim must throw stones, especially at the one nearest to Mecca. He has collected his seven pebbles that morning or the night before, and he throws them a distance of a few yards, flicking them with the thumb and forefinger of the right hand. This ceremony is said to be in memory of Abraham, who was tempted by Satan at this spot and drove him away with stones.

67- What are the principal Muslim festivals?

There are two essential festivals in Islam: 'Idu-l-adha (or 'Idu-l-kabir, Greater Bairam) at which animals are sacrificed all over the Muslim world, at the same time as the sacrifice which concludes the Pilgrimage proper at Mecca; and 'Idu-l-fitr (Lesser Bairam), the festival of the breaking of the fast. Each of these annual festivals lasts generally for three days, and is a time of popular merrymaking. Other festivals have been added, among them the Mawlidu-n-Nabi (birthday of the Prophet) on the 12th day of the 3rd month. 

68- Why are sheep, etc. sacrificed?

At the'idu-l-adha, it is desirable to offer a sacrifice, in the ratio of a sheep or goat per person, or a camel or cow for seven persons. The sacrifice is obligatory only for those who can afford it and who have made a vow to do it. The sacrifice is regarded as a memorial to Abraham's willingness to offer his son in obedience to God's command--but Muslim Tradition says that the son was Ishmael, not Isaac. There is a popular belief among African Muslims that the killing of this animal is an atonement for sin or a propitiation to avert evil. But in orthodox teaching the sacrifice is a commemoration, an act of obedience to God and of charity to those who share the feast; it is not any kind of blood atonement. "Their flesh and their blood will not reach God, but your piety will reach Him". Again, although the sacrifice is made in the direction of the Kaaba, it is quite untrue to say that it is offered to the Kaaba or Black Stone; it is considered to be offered to the One God. (22, Hajj 38/37; 34/33).

69- Who laid down all these laws?

Not all of these laws (above and following: the five pillars, warfare, sacrifice, circumcision, etc.) are written in the Qur'an. Many are based on the Sunna, i.e. the teaching and example of Muhammad as recorded in the Traditions (Hadith). In the many points of conduct where there is no specific teaching or example from Qur'an and Sunna, the law has been laid down according to Qiyas (analogy) and to Ijma' (the consensus of learned Muslims). Four slightly different systems of law are equally recognized as orthodox. In North and West Africa, Maliki law is commonly observed; Shafi'I law is the commonest in East Africa, Egypt and southern India; Hanafi law in Pakistan and Turkey; while Hanbali law is the least popular. As an example of the differences, Maliki law (W. Africa) prescribes that the arms should drop to the sides during the standing position of the Prayer; while in Shafi'I law (and in the Ahmadiyya movement and some Tijaniyya) the arms are folded, hand to elbow. See also Q. 74, 75. Many Muslims regard the whole law as coming from God, and to be kept without change or question. But other Muslims feel that some of the laws which were appropriate in the ancient world and among Arabs, can no longer be applied in modern times and in other lands. They would claim the right to amend the law, provided that any amendment does not conflict with the Qur'an and Sunna. A few Muslims even refuse to be bound by the Sunna, and seek to base their belief and conduct essentially on the Qur'an. 

70- Why have Muslims propagated their religion by warfare?

We must say first that Muslims are by no means the only people to have propagated their religion by warfare! But in Muslim law, "Holy War" (Jihad) has been considered as an obligation imposed by God and his Prophet (9 Tawba 5). The religion of Islam must be spread to all the world, by force if need be. Idolatry is the greatest evil that exists, so warfare is considered legitimate as a means to rid the world of this evil. Idolators may be forced to convert to Islam, on pain of death or enslavement. It is an act of piety (in Islam) to make converts in this way, and the Muslim who dies fighting "in the way of God" is thought to go straight to Paradise. However, there are two important qualifications to this traditional Muslim outlook. Firstly, the followers of the "religions of the Book", Christians and Jews, should be granted a certain measure of toleration within the Muslim community, e.g. it is contrary to Muslim law to convert a Jew or Christian by force, or to destroy their places of worship. Secondly, Muslims have frequently been more tolerant than their law suggests. Mystics have said that the only true "Jihad" is an inward spiritual battle aiming at moral perfection; while increasingly, Muslims today are saying that the command to use force applied only to the circumstances of Muhammad's time, or only to self-defense and not to the making of converts (2 Baqara 186/190; 257/256). Both Muslims and Christians have, at various times in their history, practiced conversion by force. In the modern world, so torn by suspicion and violence, it is to be hoped that "men of God" will be men of peace, and will spread their faith only by peaceful persuasion and good example. 

71- Why do Muslims kill an apostate (one who changes from Islam to another religion)?

The Qur'an gives no authority for punishing an apostate in this world. But many Traditions (e.g. the 40 Hadith of AnNawani), and all the schools of law, say that a male apostate should be killed. Even if he is not killed in practice, he has often been driven out and his family and possessions taken away--thus he was treated as though he were dead. The reason is that in ancient times anyone who changed his religion used to be considered a traitor and rebel against his country. This was true not only of Islam but of many other religions too. However, surely we are more enlightened today than the people of long ago: we realize that religious observance performed under compulsion is not pleasing to God. If we compel someone to profess what he does not sincerely believe, we are compelling him to act as a hypocrite. Increasingly Muslims are realizing the value of religious toleration. The United Nations Charter, to which nearly all Muslim nations have assented, prescribes toleration in religion, with freedom for the individual to change his religion or belief.

72- What is the authority for a Muslim having several wives?

The Qur'an and Traditions authorize the Muslim to marry only four wives; i.e. he may divorce one of the four and take another, but he may not at any one time have more than four legitimate wives. However the great majority of Muslims in the world today have only one wife at a time, and some Muslims have reinterpreted the statement of the Qur'an, saying that the verse really upholds monogamy as the ideal form of marriage. (4, Nisa 3 with 128/129).

73- What is Purdah?

Purdah is the seclusion of women "for God". The Qur'an commanded that Muhammad's wives should remain in their houses and be seen by no adult males other than slaves and close relatives. (33 Ahzab 33: 55). Many Muslims have secluded their women-folk in order to follow the example of Muhammad. But other Muslims take this as a command to Muhammad only, or as an ancient custom unsuited to modern times. A majority of Muslim women are not now secluded. Again, many Muslims consider that 33, 59 means that a woman's face should be completely covered when she goes outside the house; others take it to mean simply covering the head and body.

74- Why do Muslims refuse to eat meat slaughtered by a pagan?

Muslims are forbidden to eat the flesh of an animal which has not been ritually slaughtered; the name of God must be called over it and its throat must be completely cut so that all blood drains from the body. Since the pagan is presumed not to know the correct method and not to know the difference between pure and impure (Q. 37), the Muslim is advised not to eat his food. It is lawful for the Muslim to share in food and drink prepared by Jews and Christians (excluding of course pork and fermented drink)--5, Ma'ida 5/7; however, the Maliki law followed in North and West Africa prescribes that the meat must have been slaughtered in accordance with Muslim law. Muslims living in the West often prefer to eat Jewish "kosher" meat. 

75- Is circumcision a distinctive mark of Islam?

In some regions circumcision and abstaining from pork are popularly regarded as the marks of a Muslim. But circumcision is not a specifically Muslim practice. Many non-Muslim peoples of Asia and Africa also practice it. Circumcision is not mentioned in the Qur'an, but is generally considered obligatory for all male Muslim children. Under Maliki law however, it is "customary" (sunna) rather than obligatory.

76- Why are Muslims forbidden to eat pork or take alcoholic drink?

The Qur'an forbids them--5, Ma'ida 92/90; 16 Nahl 116/115. Anyone taking them is ritually defiled, and so unfit to perform the Prayer or recite the Qur'an. The story is often told in African Islam that a pig saved Muhammad from death, and therefore the pig must not be eaten; another story is that a pig helped Hagar and Ishmael to find water in the desert. These are legends which have no foundation in the Qur'an or Traditions. 

77- Are there sects in Islam, as there are in Christianity?

Muhammad said (in Hadith) that his people would be divided into 73 sects, and all but one of these would go to hell! About 40 years after the death of Muhammad, the Muslim community divided into two parts, each of which considers itself to be the true Islam and the other a sect. The majority belong to "Sunni" Islam, which is that described in this book. But some 10% of the Muslims of the world belong to "Shi'a" Islam, found mainly in Iran, Iraq and India. Shi'ites believe that 'Ali (Q. 7) was the true successor to Muhammad, and some regard him as a kind of incarnation of the divine; they regard 'Ali's son Husain as a martyr, whose death has an almost atoning significance and is celebrated in the Muharram festival. Shi'a Islam accepts a different series of Traditions (Q. 69), and so has minor differences of ritual and major differences of law. Shi'a is itself divided into many sects, of which the most famous is the Isma'ili (in India and East Africa), of which the Aga Khan is one of the spiritual heads. There are however many groups or societies in Islam which should not be regarded as sects, so long as they recognise one another as Sunni Muslims. Among these are the religious brotherhoods (tariqa) which originated when a saintly teacher gathered disciples and established rules and rituals additional to the ordinary worship of Islam. Such are the Qadiriyya and Tijaniyya brotherhoods. Sometimes the leader was thought to possess powers of healing and of intercession in the day of judgment, and after his death his tomb became a shrine and pilgrims would come to pray there e.g. the Muridiyya (Senegal), venerating their founder Ahmad Bamba. There are also educational and welfare societies such as Ansarud-Din, which are not normally to be regarded as sects. 

78- What are the Ahmadiyya and Baha'I Movements?

Ahmadiyya: This movement was founded by Ghulam Ahmad in India about 1889 A.D. Ahmad called himself the Mahdi (Q. 24) and the Messiah, and claimed the same inspiration that former prophets had received from God; he said he was the Comforter (John 14: 16f & 26; 15; 26; 16; 13f) and the "Praised One" (61, Saff 6). He also opposed the traditional Muslim belief about the end of Jesus' life on earth (Q. 23); he claimed that Jesus was actually crucified and nailed to the cross, but did not die there! Instead (he said) Jesus was taken down unconscious, buried alive, revived in the tomb, traveled to India, and died there at the ago of 120 years (See references in ("Ahmadiyya", Fisher, p. 38, 44 etc.). After Ghulam Ahmad died, the Ahmadiyya movement split into two. The Qadiani (Rabwah) group say that Ahmad was another allegiance and obedience to Ahmad's descendant as Caliph. They say that they alone practice "the true Islam"; an Ahmadi should therefore not give his daughter in marriage to a non-Ahmadi. The second group (Lahori) do not regard Ahmad as a Prophet and have drawn very close to Sunni Islam except in their belief about Jesus. Unlike the Qadianis, they deny that Jesus was born of a virgin, and do not accept that he performed miracles. But like the Qadianis, they follow Ahmad's teaching about the crucifixion of Jesus. The Qur'an translation and commentary of Muhammad Ali represent Lahori Ahmadiyya; the translation of Sher Ali represents Qadiani. (There is also a quite different "Ahmadiyya" brotherhood in East Africa). The Baha'I Movement, though arising from Islam, is not now recognisably Muslim. There is no public ritual; sacred scriptures of any religion may be read, and prayer may be offered (three times a day) in any language.

79- Is a Muslim permitted to enter a Christian place of worship?

There is no law in Islam which forbids the Muslim to enter a Christian place of worship; and Christians, for their part, will welcome anyone who enters in a spirit of reverence. The only difficulty is that a Muslim might, by misunderstanding; think that Christians were worshipping two gods, and he could then be seriously offended, since it is the supreme sin in Islam to associate any second divinity with God. Cf. Q. 84-85.