Question: What is the ruling on visiting public displays/exhibits like museums and temples and the likes of them for leisure, consideration, discretion, and reflection of what is in them of misguidance, Jazakallahu khairan?
Answer: In some of these Museums are idols, especially the museums of the disbelievers. So whoever is capable [ie. has the authority] of entering in these museums and breaking these idols and false statues, which are in them, then let him do so. I do not think that he is capable of [doing so] and if he is not capable of [doing so], then no doubt he should avoid [them].
As for going to the museum that has some old antiques from clothing: how they [the ancients] use to wear high heels, vessels, and some properties which they call antiques, and things which they used to put on the camels and horses, then there is no forbiddance in it. There is no prevention and it is upon the Muslim to not forget the remembrance of Allah.
From the evidences for what we mentioned is the statement of Allah:
وَالَّذِينَ لا يَشْهَدُونَ الزُّورَ وَإِذَا مَرُّوا بِاللَّغْو مَرُّوا كِرَامًا
And those who do not witness falsehood, and if they pass by some evil play or evil talk, they pass by it with dignity.
This is because he is not capable of changing the evil. The Prophet (ﷺ) said:
لا تدخل الملائكة بيتا فيه كلب ولا صورة
The Angels do not enter a house which there is a dog or picture
[Al-Bukhari no. 3226 and Muslim no. 2106]
Meaning that the Angels do not enter due to the presence of that evil. Like this, Jibreel came to enter the house of the Prophet (ﷺ) and he saw a picture. So he said:
مُرْ برأس التماثيل فليقطع، ومر بالجرو فليخرج
So he ordered for the head of the picture to be cut and ordered the dog to be removed
[Saheeh Musnad no. 1360]
Abu Ayyub radiallahu anhu saw a screen [with pictures] hung on a wall and he did not enter [the house] after being called for a walimah [ie. due to the pictures on the screen]. So these are sufficient evidences and with Allah is divine success.
[Taken from al-Iftaa ‘ala asila til-waaridah min dawl shatta pg. 251-252]
Translated by Faisal ibn Abdul Qaadir ibn Hassan