Can a Muslim Participate in Interfaith Gatherings? – The Responsibility of Commanding with Good and Forbidding from Evil – Part Twelve

The battle between haq and baatil (truth and falsehood) commenced from the very inception of the creation of man. The moment Allah Ta‘ala created Nabi Aadam (‘alaihis salaam), his arch enemy, Iblees, began plotting and planning to misguide him and lead him astray.

After Nabi Aadam and Hazrat Hawwaa (alaihimas salaam) entered the world, this battle between haq and baatil continued to progress, and in every era of human history, the armies of Allah Ta‘ala combated the armies of shaitaan. The armies of Allah Ta‘ala were the Ambiyaa (‘alaihimus salaam) and their followers, and the armies of shaitaan were the disbelievers.

In the era of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), when the kuffaar saw that Islam was progressing by the day, they looked for different methods and ways to curb the spread of Islam.

Among the methods they adopted was that they came to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and presented various proposals to him.

The Proposals of the Kuffaar to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)

The kuffaar said to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), “O Muhammed! We shall give you abundant wealth and make you the richest man in Makkah Mukarramah, we shall get you married to whichever woman you desire, and we shall make you our undisputed leader – on condition that you do not speak ill of our gods (idols).

“If you do not agree to this, then we propose that you worship our gods for one year, and we shall worship your Allah for the next year. In this way, we will be able to reconcile our differences, and if the religion which you are inviting us towards contains goodness, then we will have a share in it, and if the religion which we are inviting you towards contains goodness, then you will have a share in it.”

In some reports, it is mentioned that they also said, “You should at least pass your hand over our idols to show some type of consideration to our religion. If you do so, then we will follow you.”

Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) responded to them saying, “I will wait for Allah Ta‘ala to decide between us in this matter.” It was then that Surah Kaafiroon was revealed.

بِسۡمِ اللّٰہِ الرَّحۡمٰنِ الرَّحِیۡمِ

قُلۡ یٰۤاَیُّہَا الۡکٰفِرُوۡنَ ۙ﴿۱﴾ لَاۤ  اَعۡبُدُ مَا تَعۡبُدُوۡنَ ۙ﴿۲﴾ وَ لَاۤ  اَنۡتُمۡ عٰبِدُوۡنَ مَاۤ  اَعۡبُدُ ۚ﴿۳﴾ وَ لَاۤ  اَنَا عَابِدٌ مَّا عَبَدۡتُّمۡ ۙ﴿۴﴾ وَ لَاۤ  اَنۡتُمۡ عٰبِدُوۡنَ مَاۤ  اَعۡبُدُ ؕ﴿۵﴾ لَکُمۡ  دِیۡنُکُمۡ  وَلِیَ  دِیۡنِ ٪﴿۶﴾

Say, “O disbelievers, I do not worship that (idols) which you worship, nor do you worship the One whom I worship (Allah Ta‘ala). And neither am I going to worship that (idols) which you worship, and nor will you worship the One whom I worship (Allah Ta‘ala). For you is your religion and for me is my religion.”

The Open Declaration of this Surah

In this surah, Allah Ta‘ala forbade Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) from accepting any of the  proposals of the kuffaar, and commanded him to declare pure tauheed – the oneness of Allah Ta‘ala – and to remain firm upon the pure and pristine religion of Islam without compromising in any way.

The reason for Allah Ta‘ala prohibiting Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and the ummah from accepting the proposals of the kuffaar is that the deen of Islam is a pure, perfect, complete and comprehensive deen that is based on the principles of tawheed (oneness of Allah Ta‘ala) and obedience to the command of Allah Ta‘ala alone.

Hence, this deen can never be joined with any other religion, as every other religion besides Islam is based on kufr, shirk and following a path against the obedience of Allah Ta‘ala, whereas the deen of Islam is based on purity, tawheed (the oneness of Allah Ta‘ala) and complete obedience to Allah Ta‘ala alone.

In essence, when this surah is an open declaration that Islam cannot be joined or mixed with the religion of the kuffaar in any way, then it is not permissible for a believer to participate in interfaith gatherings wherein shirk and kufr practices take place, shirk and kufr prayers are held, and each participant speaks highly of his religion and promotes shirk and kufr.

The Command of Allah Ta‘ala in the Qur’aan Majeed

Through one participating in an interfaith gathering which is a gathering on kufr and shirk, one will be going against the command of Allah Ta‘ala in the Qur’aan Majeed.

In the Qur’aan Majeed, Allah Ta‘ala commands the believers:

اِذَا سَمِعۡتُمۡ اٰیٰتِ اللّٰہِ یُکۡفَرُ بِہَا وَ یُسۡتَہۡزَاُ بِہَا فَلَا تَقۡعُدُوۡا مَعَہُمۡ حَتّٰی یَخُوۡضُوۡا فِیۡ حَدِیۡثٍ غَیۡرِہٖۤ  ۫ۖ اِنَّکُمۡ  اِذًا مِّثۡلُہُمۡ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ جَامِعُ الۡمُنٰفِقِیۡنَ وَ الۡکٰفِرِیۡنَ فِیۡ جَہَنَّمَ جَمِیۡعَۨا ﴿۱۴۰﴾ۙ

“When you hear the verses of Allah being rejected and ridiculed, then you should not sit with such people, unless they enter into some other discourse. (If you sit with them, then) you, in that case, will be like them. Surely, Allah will gather all the hypocrites and disbelievers together in Jahannam.” (Surah Nisaa v. 140)

It is obvious that in an interfaith gathering, when the pastor, pundit, etc. will speak highly about their religion or engage in prayer to their idols, etc., they will be committing shirk and kufr and opposing Islam.

Through showing consideration to the kuffaar and being tolerant at that time by participating in the gathering, one will be breaking the command of Allah Ta‘ala mentioned in this verse. The Fuqahaa mention that there is great danger and fear of such a person losing his imaan through participating in these gatherings.

To download the above article in PDF format, click here: Can a Muslim Participate in Interfaith Gatherings_1

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