Interfaith gatherings and discussions
(Mufti Muhammad Desai)

What is the ruling in regards to interfaith gatherings and discussions which is becoming common in the Ummah?


There is no scope for interfaith gatherings and prayers in Islam. The Deen of Islam is the only way of life that is accepted by Allah Ta’ala as mentioned in Surah Aa’le Imraan,
إِنَّ الدِّينَ عِندَ اللّهِ الإِسْلاَمُ

Verily the way of life accepted by Allah Ta’ala is Islam (total submission to the will of Allah Ta’ala ) [A’ale Imraan, Verse 19]
In another verse Allah Ta’ala states,
وَمَن يَبْتَغِ غَيْرَ الإِسْلاَمِ دِينًا فَلَن يُقْبَلَ مِنْهُ وَهُوَ فِي الآخِرَةِ مِنَ الْخَاسِرِينَ

Whoever seeks a Deen besides Islam, it shall never be accepted from him and he will be among the losers in the Aakhirah. [A’ale Imraan, Verse 85]

By uniting with the Kuffar and engaging in Ibaadat, we are indicating (to them) through our actions that we as Muslims are open to their way of Ibaadat and religion, whereas, we are aware that they are upon Kufr. The scholars have written that being happy (by means of our approval) with Kufr is Kufr, hence participating in such gatherings is indeed a dangerous practice.
{فَلا تَقْعُدُوا مَعَهُمْ حَتَّى يَخُوضُوا فِي حَدِيثٍ غَيْرِهِ} أي غير الكفر. {إِنَّكُمْ إِذاً مِثْلُهُمْ} فدل بهذا على وجوب اجتناب أصحاب المعاصي إذا ظهر منهم منكر ؛ لأن من لم يجتنبهم فقد رضي فعلهم ، والرضا بالكفر كفر (الجامع لاحكام القراٰن ص418 ج5)
Secondly, the mercy of Allah Ta’ala and tranquillity descend upon those engaged in the Ibaadat of Allah Ta’ala, whilst the Kuffar and their Kufr draw the displeasure of Allah Ta’ala. By uniting with them we as Muslims are deprived of the mercy of Allah Ta’ala, whereas our problems will only be solved when the mercy of Allah Ta’ala descends.
Thirdly, the Kuffar of Makkah also negotiated with Rasulullah Salallahu Alaihi Wasallam in regards to their Deen. They said that they were prepared to accept Islam if Rasulullah Salallahu Alaihi Wasallam worshipped their idols or even kissed them. Allah Ta’ala revealed the verses of Surah Kaafiroon wherein Rasulullah Salallahu Alaihi Wasallam was instructed to inform the Kuffar of Makkah that he will never worship their deities. In the final verse of this Surah Allah Ta’ala says,
لكم دينكم ولي دين
For you is your religion and for me is mine.

We learn from this Surah that interfaith gatherings and compromising in matters of Deen is not something new, rather such negotiations existed from the time of Rasulullah Salallahu Alaihi Wasallam. The Quraan Sharif provided a clear cut ruling on the matter that there is no compromise in the matters of Deen. The Kuffar should continue with their Deen and acts of worship, and we the Muslims will continue with our Deen and Ibaadaat. After all, they are really not interested in adopting our Deen of Islam, rather they want us to adopt their Deen as they feel that they are also on the truth.
Obviously, this is in no way means that we shouldn’t given them Dawat towards the oneness of Allah Ta’ala. Our mission of inviting the Kuffar towards the oneness of Allah will continue but at no stage will we negotiate in matters of Tawheed, Ibaadaat or any other fundamental aspects of Deen.
Fourthly, it seems that we engage in these interfaith dialogues, prayers, gatherings to curry favour with the Kuffar. Perhaps, many Muslims and even Ulama are of the opinion that if we are on good terms with the Kuffar then we will be protected and safe. Our trust should be on Allah Ta’ala alone, as He alone is our Protector. Yes, we have been permitted to be kind and courteous to the Kuffar, if it is beneficial to the Muslims at large, but this is no way means that we should compromise in our Deen to gain such benefit. The Kuffar will never be loyal and satisfied with the Muslims (irrespective of our kind attitude towards them) until we follow their Deen, as stated in the following verse of the Quraan Sharif,
وَلَن تَرْضَى عَنكَ الْيَهُودُ وَلاَ النَّصَارَى حَتَّى تَتَّبِعَ مِلَّتَهُمْ
The Jews and the Christians will never be satisfied with you until you follow their religion (Surah Baqarah, Verse120)

When Quraan is informing us that they will never be pleased with us, how can we then place our trust on them and have hope of them coming to our aid and assistance. We should strengthen our connection with Allah Ta’ala and seek assistance from Him, as Rasulullah Salallahu Alaihi Wasallam and the Sahaaba had done on the occasion of Badr and other occasions. This is when the divine assistance of Allah Ta’ala will arrive from the unseen.
By us uniting with these Kuffar we are in reality weakening our connection with Allah Ta’ala and further depriving ourselves of the mercy and help of Allah Ta’ala. We think that we are benefitting and gaining by such activities, but in reality we are putting ourselves into destruction. Hadrat Sheikh ul Hadith, Maulana Muhammad Zakariyya Rahimahullah laments, that when people regard poison as the cure and the cure as poison, then we can only complain to Allah Ta’ala and unfortunately this is our condition. May Allah Ta’ala open our hearts and guide us towards that path in which lies our ultimate success in Dunya and Aakhirah. Ameen!

Mufti Mohammed Desai
25 Rabi-ul-Aakhir 1444 / 30 November 2021