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On Prayers Performed by Muslims inside Churches

On Prayers Performed by Muslims inside Churches

 

 Published in June 17, 2017

Translated by: Ahmed Fathy

 

 We have received this important message via email from a young man; we publish part of it here followed by our reply.

(Dear Dr. Mansour ... I enjoyed reading, in Arabic and in English, your article about tolerance titled "Islamic Tolerance: A Comparison between Egypt and the USA"[found on this link: http://www.ahl-alquran.com/English/show_article.php?main_id=15993 ] and I was touched to read about the funeral of a Muslim American inside a church ... I agree with you that mosques in the USA are extremist and make religion a source of money-making trade, and this contrast between extremist mosques and the tolerant churches in the USA makes me pose this question about Islam (Quranism), not Muslims (or Muhammadans); the Quran commands us to avoid pagan idols, and some churches are filled with 'holy' statues, crosses, and icons; you have written that you have performed prayers once in a church in Egypt and once in a church in the USA. The query posed now is as follows: Is it OK within Quranism to allow non-Muslims to perform their prayers inside mosques? Of course, non-Muslims may sanctify and revere statues and so on; can they perform prayers inside mosques? If not, are churches more tolerant than mosques of Islam? ... Another question is about not to attend meetings and gatherings where Quranic verses are being ridiculed; you have fully explained this in your article (in English) titled "Muhammad Does not Embody Islam, Let Alone Muslims" [found on this link: http://www.ahl-alquran.com/English/show_article.php?main_id=16369] about how Prophet Muhammad used to make errors and the Quran has rebuked and corrected him and how all prophets used to commit mistakes as they were never infallible in the article (in English) titled "Faults and Errors of Prophets " [found on this link: http://www.ahl-alquran.com/English/show_article.php?main_id=13836] ... My question is as follows: could non-Muslims hold these meetings that ridicule Quranic verses inside mosques? If not, are churches more tolerant than mosques of Islam? ... My last question is about religious disputes among the sunniest, Shiites, and Sufis. Sunnite Wahabis refuse to pray inside mosques containing 'holy' mausoleums, and you and other Quranists adopt the same stance. Wahabis refuse Shiite prayers performed by prostrating on a brick taken from the city of Karbala, Iraq. Wahabis refuse to enter Shiite mosques dedicated to Al-Hussein and any Shiite holy sites/mosques in Iraq and Iran. Wahabis adopt the same stance regarding Sufi mosques. Quranists in their turn refuse to enter such mosques with mausoleums made holy by polytheists; I wholeheartedly agree with Quranists in this stance, as mosques must be dedicated wholly and only to God ... My question now is as follows: can Shiites, for instance, be allowed to pray inside a Quranists' mosque? Can Sufis/Shiites perform their rituals inside a Quranists' mosque? Is that OK despite Quranists rejection of such rituals? ... Thank you for your time ...).

 

OUR REPLY:

1- In the early 1990s in Cairo, Egypt, we were a member of a group named Religious Fraternity, and its headquarter was in a church in the Cairene (high-class) district of Garden City. We used to deliver lectures and speeches there; in times of the five daily prayers, we used to pray inside this church, inside one room there filled with prayers' rugs available for those who would like to pray any of the five daily Islamic prayers. More often than not, we have performed prayers in many Egyptian and American churches when we had to pray while visiting them and worried lest the time would elapse and the prayers might be missed. We never felt awkward at all while doing this every single time.    

2- During our prayers inside churches, we never prayed before any icons or statues; we used to avoid being near to them when we pray; meanwhile, we respect the religious freedom of Christians who revere such icons and statues as part of their faith. We have appreciated the fact that they allowed us to perform the Islamic prayers inside their churches. Avoidance in the Quranic command is for the statue or item being sanctified by others; there are ample room for any Muslim to pray inside any church away from icons and statues. 

3- The same applies to polytheistic mosques of the Muhammadans that contain mausoleums; if one has to pray inside them lest the time would elapse and the prayers might be missed, one is to pray away from the mausoleums. This never occurred to us; no one has ever invited us to deliver speeches, lectures, or sermons inside any mosque with mausoleums. If we ever felt worried lest the time would elapse and the prayers might be missed, we pray anywhere, even inside vehicles.  

4- As far as real Islam (i.e., Quranism) is concerned, gates of mosques should be open for all people just like the Kaaba Sacred Mosque ordained by God to be open in safety and security for all people. The real Islamic mosque is the one that contain no 'holy' mausoleums and no azan (call to prayers) that mentions names of mortals (prophets and non-prophets) beside God. We have called many times to establish a Quranist mosque in the USA so that American Quranists (and it will be open for all peaceful persons, regardless of their faiths) would perform prayers in it; this dream has not been realized yet. In Egypt, participating in establishing two mosques at two points in time; most frequenters of both mosques were Sunnites who came to quarrel with our person, and eventually, they confiscated both mosques and expelled all Quranists out of them for good. In Egypt, we were invited many times to deliver Friday congregational prayers sermons, and we typically preached Quranism and Quranic facts refused by Sunnites, and many troubles ensued. If one day Quranists would have a mosque of their own in the USA, the azan (call to prayers) will mention only God's Name and we will welcome all peaceful people to pray inside it regardless of their faiths.        

5- God commands us to provide security to all houses of worship of all people and denominations: "...Were it not for God's restraining people by means of others, monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques - where the name of God is mentioned much - would have been demolished. God supports whoever supports Him. God is Strong and Mighty." (22:40); this verse makes us dream that one day a compound of houses of worship would be established somewhere that contains all houses of worship in one site: an Islamic/Quranist mosque, a Sufi mosque, a Shiite mosque, a Sunnite mosques (even if the last three had mausoleums or not) and churches representing all denominations, plus a Jewish temple and temples for Hindus, Sikh, Buddhists, etc. This site of this compound would be visited by all people of all denominations to pray; they will enter and exit it in peace as human brethren: Muslims in terms of peaceful behavior. In such a great spiritual and healthy atmosphere, there is no room at all for compulsion in religion or religious persecution; individuals choose freely to pray in whatever way they like and to believe in any faith they like; God will judge all humanity and settle their differences in faith on the Last Day.      

6- We advise you to read our article on prohibiting performance of prayers in side harmful mosques; i.e., the ones that teach and preach devilish narratives/hadiths and/or incite terrorism/violence. We prove this view based on the following points.

6/1: One is never obliged to pray in such harmful mosques; one can pray inside one's house or anywhere else.

6/2: Believers are judged by God on the Last Day regarding what they witness, hear, and watch: "...The hearing, and the sight, and the brains-all these will be questioned." (17:36); this responsibility entails them not to listen to falsehoods of the Muhammadans in their mosques or, e.g., in media.

6/3: God commands us in the Quran never to attend, utter, witness, or hear falsehoods and to avoid them as much as one avoids pagan idols, rituals, mausoleums, etc.

6/4: Friday congregational prayers are to be performed ONLY in mosques where only God and His verses are mentioned, without any deifying and sanctifying mortals/deities/partners in the sermons and azan: "O you who believe! When the call is made for prayer on Congregation Day, hasten to the remembrance of God..." (62:9). Thus, Quranists who have no mosques pray Friday noon prayers at their homes, in groups or alone.

6/5: Besides, we, Quranists, never impose our views and stances on anyone; we adhere to the Quranic principle in this verse: "There shall be no compulsion in religion..." (2:256).

7- Compulsion and coercion in religious affairs and matters include the case you mention about some Sufis who desire to impose their rituals in a Quranist mosque – for instance – where they insist on singing and dancing; Sufis can do this in supplement building(s) of the Quranists' mosque, and NOT where Quranists pray. This is like the way we used to pray inside some Egyptian and American churches while avoiding and keeping away from icons and statues and the spot where Christians pray inside them. Likewise, so Sunnite or Shiite imams are to be allowed to preach and deliver sermons inside Quranists' mosque as their speech will inevitably contain insults to God and Muhammad and falsehoods that we, Quranists, have refuted; they can deliver such speeches in supplement building(s) of the Quranists' mosque, and NOT where Quranists pray. These Sunnite and Shiite imams are not to force Quranists (or anyone else) to hear them or to attend their gatherings. We respect the absolute religious freedom for all people regardless of their faiths and rituals, but they are NOT to impose on us hearing or attending their meetings and gatherings. In the same vein, Quranists never impose themselves (or their sermons, speeches, notions, writings, etc.) on anyone, even though we preach the Quran, the book in which the Muhammadans claim they believe.   

8- As for your question about meetings ridiculing Quranic verses of God; the answer is implied in the above points. God has reproached Muhammad by telling him the following: "When you encounter those who gossip about Our Verses, turn away from them, until they engage in another topic..." (6:68). This means that Muhammad at first attended their meetings when they talked jestingly about the Quran to ridicule its verses; the command in 6:68 is not to avoid and shun the persons but to avoid them if they talked about this topic and to rejoin them if they change the subject and talk about something else. This means that God does NOT confiscate religious freedom nor freedom of thought and expression; God does NOT command us in 6:68 to coerce people to praise the Quranic verses. Thus, we can talk with any non-Muslims about any topic in any gatherings or meetings, but once we hear the Quranic verses being undermined, ridiculed, mocked, etc. we leave the meeting in peace and let them talk as much as they like; our responsibility is not to hear falsehoods as per this verse: "...The hearing, and the sight, and the brains-all these will be questioned." (17:36). Muhammad applied 6:68 later on, whereas some early believers in Yathreb during Muhammad's lifetime did not apply 6:68. This means that religious freedom in the Yathreb city-state was absolute; people were to obey or to disobey Quranic commands and no mortals ever punished them. Even hypocrite were free absolutely (as long as they were peaceful and never raised arms and committed violence) to engage into acts and words of political and religious opposition. Some early believers attended such gatherings and meetings of hypocrites who ridiculed Quranic verses; Muhammad never punished them; God has warned them in this verse: "He has revealed to you in the Book that when you hear God's revelations being rejected, or ridiculed, do not sit with them until they engage in some other subject. Otherwise, you would be like them. God will gather the hypocrites and the disbelievers, into Hell, altogether." (4:140).        

 

LASTLY:

1- This is a main feature of absolute religious freedom within Islam (Quranism) applied by Muhammad as a leader of the Quran-based rule within the Yathreb city-state.

2- This absolute religious freedom contradicts the sharia laws within man-made earthly religions of the Muhammadans whose religious disputes have led them to many wars in the past centuries until now, even many mosques are being blown up now as military targets! This followed the stage when mosques have been turned earlier into centers for mobilization and incitement of sectarian violence to turn the ignorant, gullible masses into violent people filled with bigotry and hatred.   

3- What we preach and write on our Quranism website is not accepted by the Muhammadans, though we assert all our writings with Quranic verses as proofs. What we preach and write on ahl-alquran.com is nearer to the principle of religious freedom applied and practiced in the USA and in the West in general. 

4- The result is what we have tackled in our previous article (in English) titled "A Quranic Fact: Without Absolute Religious Freedom, the Earth Goes to Ruin and Corruption". This is why corruption is deep-rooted in the countries of the Muhammadans as much as religious persecution and compulsion in religion are dominant there.     


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