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Should Religious Relics of Non-Muslims Be Destroyed?

Answered as per Shafi'i Fiqh by Seekersguidance.org

Question: Afghanistan being a Muslim country has been under Muslim rule for 13 centuries, and the ancient relics of Bamiyan Buddhas were desecrated by the Taliban government, even though Muslim places of worship are respected in Buddhist countries like Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and Thailand. Is the Taliban’s action against Bamiyan Buddha, which is a sacred symbol for the global Buddhist community, Islamically correct?


Assalamu alaykum,

Thank you for your question.

Entering a Non-Muslim’s Place of Worship

In the chapter of non-Muslims subject in an Islamic state, the Reliance of the Traveller says,

“011.7 A non-Muslim may not enter the Meccan Sacred Precinct (Haram) under any circumstances, or enter any other mosque without permission (A: nor may Muslims enter churches without their permission).“

In addition to this, consider the advice of the Caliph Abu Bakr when he sent an army to the Levant, “You will find people who have devoted themselves to monasteries, leave them to their devotions. Do not kill the old and decrepit, women or children; do not destroy buildings; do not cut down trees or harm livestock without good cause; do not burn or drown palms; do not be treacherous; do not mutilate; do not be cowardly, and do not loot…” [https://seekersguidance.org/articles/prophetic-guidance/islam-vs-isis-a-letter-to-baghdadi-from-leading-scholars/]

Respect and rights

Non-Muslims have a right to the safety and security of their relics and places of worship, and I pray that the followers of all religions can have interfaith discourse without resorting to violence, actions against the Shari’a, and disregard for human rights.

[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.

This answer was collected from Seekersguidance.org. It’s an online learning platform overseen by Sheikh Faraz Rabbani. All courses are free. They also have in-person classes in Canada.

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