Non-Muslim tourists entering the mosque
Is it permissible for non-Muslim tourists to enter mosques?
Shafi’i and Hanbali scholars as well as Mohammed Ibn al-Hasan from the Hanafis hold that non-Muslims are allowed to enter all mosques except for the Sacred Mosque (the Ka’bah).
However, according to the soundest opinion of the Shafi’is and Hanbalis, allowing non-Muslims in the mosque is contingent upon the existence of permission, whether or not the person is ritually pure.
Hanafis generally hold that it is permissible for non-Muslims to enter both the Sacred Mosque and others. They believe that the mere presence of non-Muslims inside the mosque does not contaminate it. It was reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) allowed the non-Muslim delegation of Thaqeef into the mosque and said, ‘Nothing causes the earth to become impure’.
Malikis and according to an opinion of Hanbalis maintain that it is undesirable for non-Muslims to enter a mosque except for a necessity, such as when a non-Muslim professional architect is better suited for constructing a mosque than a Muslim.
As for the Quranic verse that reads, “Indeed the polytheists are filthy so do not let them near the Sacred mosque after this year,” it means if they approach the mosque to usurp it, come with pride or to circumambulate it while completely naked as was the practice during the pre-Islamic era. However, it does not refer to preventing non-Muslims from entering mosques.
It was confirmed that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) allowed non-Muslims to enter his mosque after the revelation of the Quranic chapter At-Tawbah. This chapter was revealed in the year 9 A.H and he received the Christian delegation of Najran the following year and allowed them into his mosque.
There is therefore no legal impediment against non-Muslims, whether or not they are tourists, entering mosques as long as they wear the proper attire that does not desecrate the sanctity of the holy premises.
And God Almighty knows best.