Mosque and church
A mosque and church standing side by side

Sunni Muslims may freely pray in churches and synagogues, as well as in Shiite and Sufi mosques, a top Saudi scholar has said in a fatwa.

Abdullah bin Sulaiman Al-Manea, a member of the Council of Senior Scholars, asserted that Islam is a religion of tolerance and mercy in the religious ruling, according to Arab News.

Al-Manea said that Muslims should feel comfortable praying in places of worship of other religious groups, explaining that all land belongs to God.

“The earth has been made a place of prostration and a means of purification for me," he said, citing the Prophet Muhammad.

He also referenced an example from the Prophet's own life, when Christians from Najran visited his mosque. Prophet Muhammad allowed them to perform their prayers facing Jerusalem.

The fatwa follows in the footsteps of one issued by Al-Manea a decade ago when he said Muslims should feel free to visit Christian churches.

He said that Muslims “may enter churches to learn about them, and Christians are allowed to enter mosques — except the Grand Mosque in Makkah — and pray in them.”

religious leaders in Lebanon
Christian and Muslim religious leader worshipping together in Lebanon Source: Facebook/Khaled Yamout

Of course, even before this fatwa, many Muslims, Christians, and Jews have been happily sharing worship spaces.

In March, a video of a Lebanese sheikh reciting the adhan in a Beirut church went viral.

"We aim to encourage Muslim-Christian amity and promote the spirit of love, harmony and cooperation," Khaled Yamout told StepFeed at the time"Religion should unite us rather than separate us." 

A Palestinian Christian also showed solidarity with his Muslim neighbors by reciting the call to prayer at the Zine El Abidine mosque in the village of Taiba, also going viral in an online video.

"When I approached the Muezzin (reciter of the Muslim call to prayer) at the mosque and told him I am Christian, he warmly welcomed me. He also thanked me and all Christians in the area for standing in solidarity with Muslims," Nael Ghantous, the Christian man, said.