Jumuah salaah and functions in a church.

Q. I work for a Medical Center in the U.S. and the Medical Center is affiliated with the Catholic Church. There are some Muslim doctors who are employed here as well, these doctors hold their Jumuah salat in the hospital chapel with all the artifacts that are present in a church. Is their Jumuah salah valid and how does one give advice to these professionals to try to make salah in a nearby masjid which is only 7 minutes drive from the medical center?

Also in another Muslim community nearby where I used to reside, a specific Muslim organization held a fund raising dinner for the local Islamic school in a Catholic Church, where there are plenty of other venues within the city to hold such functions for the Muslim community. From a Shari’a standpoint, is the dua if any was supplicated accepted? How can one advise this organization to stop such functions held in a Church?

A. The brothers should be told that first and foremost Jumuah Salaah must be held in a Masjid before any other place is sought. In fact, some of the great Jurists from the Salafus Saaliheen (the Pious Predecessors) have held the opinion that Jumuah Salaah is allowed only in a Jami Masjid, that is, the main Masjid of the city.

In general, the scholars have mentioned that Jumuah Salaah is meant to be a weekly gathering of Muslims coming together to praise and glorify Allah. Based on this, it has been well established in many Islamic Countries, from the past that on the day of Jumuah, Muslims would leave their locality masjid and go to the main city Masjid (Jami Masjid) to have the Jumuah Prayer. This resulted in large gatherings of the Muslims which is the prime objective of the weekly Jumuah Salaah.

From this, it can be well understood that Jumuah is unlike the daily Zuhr Salaah which can be held in private chambers or wherever there is convenience. Instead, Muslims are required to join together in the main city Masjid to have the Friday Prayer or any other masjid.

Therefore, on the day of Friday, a Muslim must first look for a Masjid which holds the Friday Prayer. Once a masjid is available then he must go to the masjid for the Jumuah Salaah. Hence, in the case mentioned, since the masjid is close to the Medical Center, it is upon the Muslims to attend the Masjid for Jumuah Salaah, instead of having it in such a place where shirk, as well as things that are associated with shirk takes place.

With respect to the other question, although it is disliked and abominable to host Islamic functions in such places, it would not prevent duas from being accepted. Muslims must understand that each place of worship represents a certain religious group and attending a church or being present at a church is connected to Christians and not Muslims. These practices are not to be found in the Muslim generations of the past, nor can they be seen from the life of the Messenger of Allah (SAS). Muslims have been ordered in the Holy Quran to adhere to the teachings of the Prophet (S.A.S) and to refrain from following the practices and traits of the Jews and Christians. Whatever the reason may be, the church is not a place for hosting such functions.

And Allah knows best.

Mufti Waseem Khan