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Should I continue my studies at a Christian seminary in America?

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Askimam.org

 I need to ask you a question about a burning issue I am facing and need your scholarly judgment in the light of the Quran and the Sunnah (including jusristic Analogy if that matters).

I have been trapped in a strange situation. I am a student of religion in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. I came here to study “World/Comparative Religions” and got scholarship at a university in Cincinnati called Cincinnati Christian University. However, when I reached here and took my first tour of the university, I found out that it was not a university in the proper sense of the word; instead, it was a Christian seminary. However, it was too late. They do not teach World Religions program, and the Master of Religion is totall focused on the Bible and evangelical Christianity. I could not do research on the nature of the university before flying to the US because a good contact of mine had recommended it; I trusted his word. Moreover, the university website also did not make it clear whether it was a Christian religious school or a secular school.

I was desperate to take courses in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and other major religions at a postgraduate level. Similarly, I also wanted to learn Hebrew and Greek in order to better approach the Bible, so that I could become a defender of Islam with a firsthand knowledge of the Judo-Christian Bible. By this point, everything is going according to the expectation as well as according to my need. 

However, the worst part of the story is that everyone here thinks about me as a Christian. In fact, they assumed that since I had applied to this Christian school, I must have been a Christian. I do not want to be labeled as a Christian nor am I interested in the false Pauline Christianity. I am dedicated, convinced Muslim, a follower of our Holy Prophet (S.A.W.). It always becomes difficult for me to defend my position and retain my true identity. I have been silent for last six months as I am just trying to pass my time here in order to earn the degree and get out of this school. If I told them the truth that I did not believe in what they believed, the whole scholarship and other favor would be revoked. I would also lose all my investment, which I made for a quick degree in religion before starting my PhD at some respected state university here in the US.

In the classes, I have to pray with them in the name of “Jesus”, not as a Prophet of God, but as the Son of God. I always keep saying “Astaghfirullah” in my heart when all pray – I never join them aloud. I am sometimes asked to pray and when doing so, I pray in my first language (Urdu), which no one understands here. So I pray to Allah (SWT) for their guidance and showing them the light of Islam. They of course never come to know the contents of my prayer. Similarly, I have to write assignments and research papers here as an academic requirement, which are supposed to be written in a Christian way. And if I do not write them according to their Trinitarian faith, I cannot get any score. However, I still never use words like Son of God, Trinity, Divine Jesus etc., and rhetorically cover these topics.

I hope I have explained my position in detail and I am sure it fully makes sense to you. Please guide me as what I should do next – whether I should quit it and go back to my home country leaving everything right here or I should continue to study and finish my degree in a camouflaged manner?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

Assalāmu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullāhi wa barakātuh

As a Muslim with firm conviction in the tenets of Islām, to continue as a student in a Christian seminary and even participate in their acts of worship is unconscionable. Rasūlullāh (sallAllāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said:

من تشبه بقوم فهو منهم

“Whoever imitates a people, he is amongst them.”[1]

To identify with a religious group and resemble them in their religious peculiarities is the worst form of imitation.[2]

We advise you to leave the seminary immediately and to renew your commitment to Islām by pronouncing the shahādatayn and making tawbah to Allāh from any acts of disbelief that occurred while you were at attendance in the seminary.[3]

And Allah Ta‘ālā Knows Best

Zameelur Rahman

Student Darul Iftaa

Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.


[1]سنن أبي داود، مؤسسة الريان، ج٤ ص٣٩١

[2] إمداد الأحكام، ج١ ص٢٨٦

[3] وكذا (يكفر) من فعل فعلا أجمع المسلمون على أنه لا يصدر إلا من كافر وإن كان صاحبه مصرحا بالإسلام مع فعله كالسجود للصليب والنار أو المشي إلى الكنائس مع أهلها بزيهم من الزنانير وغيرها (الجامع ألفاظ الكفر، دار إيلاف الدولية، ص٢٧١-٢)

الفتاوى المحمودية، كراجي، ج١ ص٢٠٤

This answer was collected from Askimam.org, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Ebrahim Desai from South Africa.

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