Salam, I have a question regarding churches. As a martial artist, I am always looking to keep myself fit and healthy to defend myself and others when need be. I have wanted to do Judo for a long time, but the only convenient club for me is based inside a church. There are other clubs, but they are far and difficult to get to. Would it be permissible to go to this club despite the fact they are inside a church? The purpose of entering the church is solely to practice judo.
In general, a Muslim would avoid entering the places of worship of other faiths without reason, need, or benefit—and would particularly avoid others’ religious services. [Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar; Nawawi, al-Majmu` Sharh al-Muhadhdhab]
However, the jurists mention the permissibility of entering when there is need or benefit, as long as one wouldn’t be confused about one’s faith or compromise on one’s religious practice.
Shaykh Atiyya Saqr, one of the distinguished Egyptian muftis of recent times, gave fatwa on the permissibility of entering the church for non-religious purposes—such as the one mentioned. [Fatawa Dar al-Ifta’ al-Masriyya, 10.249]
As such, it’s wouldn’t be disliked to enter a church specifically for judo classes that are otherwise permissible.
And Allah is the giver of success and facilitation.
[Shaykh] Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Faraz Rabbani spent ten years studying with some of the leading scholars of recent times, first in Damascus and Amman, Jordan. His teachers include the foremost theologian of recent times in Damascus, the late Shaykh Adib al-Kallas (may Allah have mercy on him), and his student Shaykh Hassan al-Hindi, one of the leading Hanafi fuqaha of the present age. He returned to Canada in 2007, where he founded SeekersGuidance to meet the urgent need to spread Islamic knowledge–both online and on the ground–in a reliable, relevant, inspiring, and accessible manner. He is the author of Absolute Essentials of Islam: Faith, Prayer, and the Path of Salvation According to the Hanafi School (White Thread Press, 2004.) Since 2011, Shaykh Faraz has been named one of the 500 most influential Muslims by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center.