Attending Religious Gatherings of Christians by Muslims
I have made a Christian friend who recently invited me to one of his community sessions. The issue with attending those is that those sessions are not very academic. They sing from the psalms for the most of it, which was most beautiful. As they sung, I wondered how beautiful Hadrat Daud Alaihai-salam would have sung the Psalms! When they are singing hymns to Jesus and saying all sorts of things as Jesus is God, you can’t ignore that they all stand in praise of Jesus “the Lord”, and therefore, I too, ended up standing with them. So like everyone else, it seemed that I too was participating, which I didn’t like. Only the end part of the proceedings is academic in nature. Please guide me as to whether I should attend these lectures or not?
I will attend their gatherings. I will listen to their sermons with seriousness and respect. But I would not participate in what is called religious rituals of theirs. There has to be a line drawn on the possibility of bringing them closer through coming closer to them.
What you have mentioned to me, or how I’ve understood it, is that you’re attending gatherings wherein Jesus, alaihissalaam, was being described as the son of God. You had to stand in respect at what they were singing. Knowing that what they were singing is shirk, at least a part of it, I think I shouldn’t participate in the ritualistic activity that they are conducting. I would either find ways of gracefully dissociating myself from what they are doing at that time or else would not go there at all. As for their good people, I would find ways to talk to them on other occasions.
Many people are following their religions sincerely. That doesn’t mean that we should join them in what they are doing. When we know that it is wrong to ascribe partners to God, if any such act is being done, I wouldn’t like to be a part of it. If the person doing it is sincere, he/she will hopefully come out of it, not necessarily because of me joining him/her in the act.
I have a fear that joining them while they are doing things so clearly wrong, would start affecting my feelings as well. I have to be careful about my religious feelings first and foremost. No compromises on that.
To summarize, I feel there’s no harm attending their sessions, provided you have talking to them about the Islamic view, at some point, in mind. Be a little careful, but I wouldn’t discourage you. It gives you a reason to know how others think. Don’t participate in anything that amounts to a religious ritual. It should only be for learning purposes and enabling others to come close to you.
I hope I have clarified my position.