It is permissible to rent churches and other places to hold prayers, provided that the following is avoided:  1. Praying where statues are placed. If they happen to be there and in the direction of the qiblah, then they should be covered.  2. Praying in a place where there is physical impurity. This is included in the decision taken by the International Islamic Fiqh Academy’s third conference, held in Amman, Jordan from 8–13 Safar 1407 AH, corresponding to 11–16 October 1986. The decision was in reply to questions received from the International Institute of Islamic Thought in Washington. The Academy stated in its ruling that ‘it is permissible to rent a church for prayer when necessary. Praying facing statues and pictures should be avoided.  These must be covered if they are placed in the direction Muslims face in prayer. The Permanent Committee for Research and Fatwa in Saudi Arabia also issued a fatwa, No. 9,118, permitting prayer in a rented church, provided that there is no other place available. The Committee said:  ‘If a different place is available for prayer, then praying in a church or temple is not permissible because these are the worship places of unbelievers where beings other than God are worshipped and because they contain statues and shaped pictures. If no other place is available, then the case is one of necessity and prayer in such places becomes permissible.’ [Umar said to the priest: ‘We do not come into your churches because of what is in them of statues and shaped pictures. Ibn [Abbas used to pray in churches except those where there are statues and shaped pictures.’ (Related by al-Bukhari, subheading: prayer in a church)