Ruling on living in an apartment above a church
My wife and I are from Syria, and we live in Sweden, where there is a huge housing crisis and great difficulty in finding a place to live. We are committed followers of Islam, and we try to call people to Islam; we also have a good relationship with the church and its attendees, but our goal is to get to know them in an attempt to call them to Islam, and we never meet any Christian person but we try to call him to Islam, directly or indirectly.… My question is: on the second floor of the church there is an apartment with a door and staircase that are separate from the entrance to the church or its halls. They have offered to rent this apartment to us, although they know for sure that we are deeply committed Muslims. Of course the apartment is free of any symbols of Christianity, such as crosses for example. Is it permissible for us to live in it?
Praise be to Allah
We put this question to our shaykh, ‘Abd ar-Rahmaan al-Barraak (may Allah preserve him), and he replied:
It is permissible for you to live in this apartment, even if there are images and Christian symbols in it, but you can remove them if possible, or cover them up and conceal them if it is not possible to remove them.
And Allah knows best.