Top Saudi scholar says Muslims may pray in churches and synagogues

Abdullah bin Sulaiman Al-Manea
Updated 10 November 2017
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Top Saudi scholar says Muslims may pray in churches and synagogues

JEDDAH: Abdullah bin Sulaiman Al-Manea, a member of the Council of Senior Scholars, has said that Islam is a religion of tolerance and mercy, not of violence, intolerance, or terrorism. Al-Manea stressed that Muslims should spread true Islam and follow the tradition of the Prophet in his tolerant treatment of people from different religions.
Al-Manea gave a fatwa (religious advisory opinion), reported by Al-Anba’ Kuwaiti newspaper, stating that Muslims may pray in Shiite or Sufi mosques, churches or synagogues. He noted that all lands belong to God, and cited the Prophet’s words: “The earth has been made a place of prostration and a means of purification for me.”
Al-Manea said that Islam is a religion of coexistence not of violence, and noted that Muslims cannot have differences in the basic principles of Aqidah (creed) of Islam, but they may differ in the branches.
Concerning dealing with non-Muslims, Al-Manea cited an occasion when the Prophet received a delegation of Christians from Najran in his mosques, and he allowed them to perform their own prayer facing Jerusalem. Al-Manea also cited other sayings of the Prophet which reflected his kindness and mercy with non-Muslims.
Al-Manea stressed that Islam spread in many countries, such as Indonesia and Malaysia, because of the good manners of Muslim merchants, which attracted the citizens of these countries to embrace Islam.
Al-Manea stated that the Prophet explained all aspects of good and warned of everything evil. Al-Manea called upon Muslims to be thankful to God for the blessing of faith and warned against rushing into giving fatwas.
The office of Al-Manea issued a statement 10 years ago stressing that Muslims are allowed to enter churches to look around and gain more knowledge about these places of worship. The statement referred to the incident when Omar bin Al-Khattab, the second Muslim Caliph, refused to pray at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem because he did not want Muslims to bother Christians in their church. Instead, he prayed in a nearby area, where a mosque was built with the name Omar Mosque. Yet, Omar did not say that Muslims cannot enter churches.
Al-Manea stressed that Muslims “may enter churches to learn about them, and Christians are allowed to enter mosques — except the Grand Mosque in Makkah — and pray in them.”


In exclusive essay, Prince Khaled bin Salman argues world should unite in confronting Iran's aggression

Updated 5 min 38 sec ago
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In exclusive essay, Prince Khaled bin Salman argues world should unite in confronting Iran's aggression

  • Hitler 1938, Iran 2018: World ‘must learn the lesson of history' writes the Saudi envoy to the US

WASHINGTON: The world must confront Iranian aggression in a way that it failed to do in the 1930s with Adolf Hitler and the Nazis, Prince Khalid bin Salman, the Saudi Ambassador to the United States, has warned in an exclusive political essay published in Arab News.
Appeasement was unsuccessful in halting Nazi Germany’s rise to power, and it will be equally unsuccessful in deterring the theocratic regime in Tehran, Prince Khalid says.
“At a time of thunderous echoes of the 1930s — the sustained fallout from an economic crisis, extreme polarization of the political spectrum from the far right to the hard left, inaction from the global community and malignant actors determined to fill a void in leadership by spreading their ideology of hate and violence — it is incumbent on the global community to act with resolve,” Prince Khalid writes.
He argues that the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, far from curbing Tehran’s regional meddling and support for global terrorism, has in fact provided it with more than $100 billion in resources to finance these activities.
“As at Munich eight decades ago, when Western concessions failed to satisfy Nazi Germany’s desires for a bigger, more powerful ‘Reich,’ the world is again faced with the twin options of offering treasure and territory to placate a murderous regime, or confronting evil head-on,” Prince Khalid writes.
He draws a comparison between Saudi Arabia, with its ambitious development plans in investing for a strong and stable future, and Iran’s lavish spending on military adventurism in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and elsewhere. “Those who adhere to terrorism and violent extremism are but a small minority in both Saudi Arabia and Iran,” he writes. “The difference is that in Saudi Arabia these terrorists are on the run, while in Iran they are running the country.”
Prince Khalid welcomes the avowed determination of US President Donald Trump to take a more realistic approach to the Iranian menace, and he offers Saudi Arabia’s unqualified support.
“The world must join us to confront Iran with seriousness and intent. Iran needs to know it will pay a price if it continues to violate international law and interfere in the affairs of its neighbors,” he writes.
To read full essay in today's opinion section, click here.
To read essay in PDF format , click here