Thursday 25th April, 2019



In 10AH, the Holy Prophet (s) received a delegation of 60 Christians from Najran in Medina who came to engage him in a debate about the Holy Prophet, the Divinity of Jesus Christ(as) and the superiority of  Christianity over Islam. According to the Great Sunni Qur'anic exeget Imam Qurtubi in his Jaamiu al-Ahkaam, Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Seera Annabawiyyah by Muhammad B. Ishaq etc the Holy Prophet received the Christian delegation in his Mosque, and that he allowed them pray in the Mosque facing the East because they followed the Byzantine theological rite.

Muhammad Ibn Ishaq in his Seera Annabawiyyah cited an Hadith from Muhammad Ibn Ja'far B. az-Zubayr (ra) who said "When their worship time came, they stood up to perform their worship in the Prophet's mosque. Prophet Muhammad then said " Let them worship" and they prayed towards the East. "

In Sahih al-Bukhari 1/167 when Umar Ibn Khattab(رضوان الله تعالى عليه) conquered Jerusalem few years after the demise of our beloved Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his household), Umar entered the Church of Jerusalem and when it was time for Salaat, he prayed at the doorstep of the Holy Church. According to Bukhari Umar(ra) said to the Christians                      

" We do not enter your Churches because of the statues and images therein".

In November, 2015, the Grand Sunni Imam of al-Azhar Sheikh Ahmad el-Tayyib (may Allaah prolong his life) welcomed a group of archbishops from the Anglican Church to his Mosque and office to deepen the interfaith harmony that exist between the two religions. These archbishops included Daniel Deng of Sudan, Bolly Lapok if Southeast Asia, Henry Isingoma of Congo and many others.The Grand Imam was reported to have said during the meeting   "al-Azhar is committed to correcting false teachings which often lead to violent extremism".

Meanwhile, when the early followers of Prophet Muhammad (s) were persecuted in Mecca, of all the four cardinal points of the globe, the Holy Prophet instructed them to migrate and seek refuge in Abyssinia present Eritria and Ethiopia, not to Father Cambel of Christ the King Church but to a Christian Emperor called King Negus (Najaashi). Some Muslim historians like Yacubi and others relate that the Christian Emperor cordially welcomed them in his Bte Kirisitiani known in Amharic language as a Church in which the Idol worshippers and the Muslims of Mecca engaged in debate before the Christian King. A Christian though, who did not believe in the Holy Prophet, but accommodated the Muslims, granted them security and freedom and eventually dismissed the idol worshippers of Mecca.

In February, 2019, Pope Francis visited Sheikh Zayed Grand mosque in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and held a meeting with the Muslim  Council of Elders in the United Arab Emirates. The purpose of the visit was also said to be on inter-religious dialogue.

Bukhari and Muslim have narrated :.                                عن عمير المؤمنين ابي حفص عمر ابن الخطاب (رض) قال سمعت رسول الله (ص)يقول إنما الاعمال بالنيات وانما لكل امرىء ما نوى فمن كان هجرته إلى الله ورسوله فهجرته إلى الله ورسوله ومن كان هجرته لدنيا يصيبها أو امرأة ينكحها فهجرته إلى ما هاجر اليه

"On the authority of leader of the believers Umar Ibn al-khattaab (ra) who said " I heard the Messenger of Allaah (s) say " Actions are according to Intentions and everyone will get what was intended. Whoever migrates with an intention for  Allaah and His Messenger, then his migration will be for Allaah and His Messenger. And whoever migrates for worldly gain or to marry a woman, then his migration will be for the sake of whatever he migrated for" related by Bukhari and Muslim.

The examples are many including Islamic authorities who were invited by Jews to their synagogues, but I think the above examples may be more than enough to enlighten us and I think no one can judge the conduct of the Best Creature of Allaah Prophet Muhammad (s), Umar(r) and Sheikh Ahmad el-Tayyib and say they entered to worship Christ.

May the Almighty Allaah continue to guide and empower us with more  knowledge, wisdom and understanding to follow issues that will lead to moderation, make Islam more attractive to the ignorant and non Muslims.

"All praise is due to Allaah Who guided us to this, and we would not have found the way had it not been that Allaah had guided us."


Article by Anas Sandho, General Secretary of Shia and Ahlu Bait in Ghana.