Assalamualaikum ustaz. During the current movement control order (MCO), numerous people are affected or lose their source of income and face other problems. My question is, is it permissible for the mosque’s management to use the funds from donations or other sources to help the kariah (people who live at that area) and other people who are affected by this pandemic?
Waalaikumussalam w.b.t. Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
Generally, Islam encourages any effort to help and ease each other’s burden. This is clearly stated by Allah SWT in the Quran:
وَتَعَاوَنُوا عَلَى الْبِرِّ وَالتَّقْوَىٰ
“And cooperate in righteousness and piety,”
Surah al-Ma’idah (2)
The word التعاون is known to mean cooperate in terms of cooperation from every party to help one another. At the same time, Islam places a condition that the cooperation must be for matters of righteousness and piety.
Righteousness and piety are matters that is beloved by Allah SWT and the syarak commanded the believers to perform it. Among the righteous maters encouraged by syarak is helping the people who are in need. This is stated in a hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah RA, where the Prophet PBUH said:
مَنْ يَسَّرَ عَلَى مُعْسِرٍ يَسَّرَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالآخِرَةِ
“If anyone relieves a Muslim believer from one of the hardships of this worldly life, Allah will relieve him of one of the hardships of the Day of Resurrection.”
Sunan Ibn Majah (2417)
Thus, this is the unity of Muslims, if he sees his brother in Islam is in need, he would also be affected by it. This is stated in a hadith narrated by Nu’man bin Bashir RA, he said, the Prophet PBUH said:
مَثَلُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ فِي تَوَادِّهِمْ وَتَرَاحُمِهِمْ وَتَعَاطُفِهِمْ مَثَلُ الْجَسَدِ إِذَا اشْتَكَى مِنْهُ عُضْوٌ تَدَاعَى لَهُ سَائِرُ الْجَسَدِ بِالسَّهَرِ وَالْحُمَّى
The similitude of believers in regard to mutual love, affection, fellow-feeling is that of one body; when any limb of it aches, the whole body aches, because of sleeplessness and fever.
Sahih Muslim (2586)
Coming back to the above question presented, we would like to sate that donations given to the mosque through any channels such as the mosque’s fund or online are in truth categorized as tabarru’ as stated by jurists.
The meaning of tabarru’ is: “An effort of a mukallaf who gives his property or benefit others now or in the future without any returns with the intention of charity or doing good.” Refer Al-Mausu’ah Al-Fiqhiyyah Al-Kuwaitiyyah (10/65).
Thus, it can be understood from the above meaning that a person who donates does not hope for any return in this world specifically for himself except that he hopes for the rewards from Allah SWT. At the same time, he donates with the intention of benefitting others whether it is right away or in the future.
Hence, the mosque’s management in this case acts as a trustee in managing and channelling the money ensuring that it is used for the benefit of the Muslim ummah in the area specifically and the whole ummah as a whole.
In the issue of the management of the mosque’s fund, we have explained it in detail in Bayan Linnas Series 218: Opinion Regarding the Issue of Managing Mosque’s Fund and it can be accessed through the link https://bit.ly/2WJuxas. On another hand, for the issue of utilizing the mosque’s funding in helping those who are affected throughout the MCO, we would like to share the words of Syeikh Zakariyya al-Ansari as the following:
(وَلَوْ أَعْطَاهُ دَرَاهِمَ وَقَالَ اشْتَرِ لَك) بِهَا (عِمَامَةً أَوْ اُدْخُلْ بِهَا الْحَمَّامَ) أَوْ نَحْوَ ذَلِكَ (تَعَيَّنَتْ) لِذَلِكَ مُرَاعَاةً لِغَرَضِ الدَّافِعِ هَذَا
If a person gives several dirham to him and said: “buy for yourself a turban with this money or take this turban to the bathroom,” or other similar statements, then it is a commandment for him to do so in order to fulfil the purpose of the individual who contributed (the money). Refer Asna al-Mathalib, Zakariya Al-Ansari (2/479)
He further adds:
(إنْ قَصَدَ سَتْرَ رَأْسِهِ) بِالْعِمَامَةِ (وَتَنْظِيفَهُ) بِدُخُولِهِ الْحَمَّامَ لِمَا رَأَى بِهِ مِنْ كَشْفِ الرَّأْسِ وَشَعَثِ الْبَدَنِ وَوَسَخِهِ (وَإِلَّا) أَيْ وَإِنْ لَمْ يَقْصِدْ ذَلِكَ بِأَنْ قَالَهُ عَلَى سَبِيلِ التَّبَسُّطِ الْمُعْتَادِ (فَلَا) تَتَعَيَّنُ لِذَلِكَ بَلْ يَمْلِكُهَا أَوْ يَتَصَرَّفُ فِيهَا كَيْفَ شَاءَ.
If a person (who contribute the money) with the intention to (the person who was given the money) to cover his head with turban and clean it, by bringing to the bathroom and clean it, according to what he sees in terms of the person head is exposed (uncovered) and messy as well as there is dirt on the body of the person (then it is a commandment for the recipient to do as he is told). If not, which means if he did not specify his intentions (the intention of the donation is general), such as if he said (use the money) in a wide form in accordance with the custom, thus, the money is not set to be used for the matter (which has been stated). The recipient actually owns the money and it is permissible for him to use it as he sees fit. Refer Asna al-Mathalib, Zakariya Al-Ansari (2/480)
In simple terms, if the person donating the money specified that the money should be channelled to so and so, then the mosque’s management must channel it to the specified recipient or purpose. Whereas, if the donation comes from a general donation, then it is permissible for the mosque’s management to use it for anyone who are in need who are among the Muslims.
To conclude, we end our discussion with the following points:
- For every calamity or disaster that happens, it is PERMISSIBLE for the mosque’s management to use the GENERAL donation and fund received from various parties to be channelled to the kariah of the mosque who are in need.
- The form and amount to be handed out is in accordance with the wisdom of the mosque’s management considering several factors such as the capability of the mosque.
- We hope that all parties would cooperate in helping the Muslim ummah in lightening the burden of those who are affected throughout the movement control order.
The following we share the statement issued by the Federal Territories Committee of Fatwa Council regarding this issue:
- Federal Territories Committee of Fatwa Council held a special meeting regarding the usage of mosque’s funds in helping the kariah members who are in need due to the Movement Control Order (MCO) issued by the government in stopping the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and has AGREED on the following:
- Mosque’s and surau’s fund of which are not specificied for certain purposes are basically money donated by the Muslim ummah with the intention of benefitting the kariah members of the mosque and surau. Thus, it is permissible to be used for any activities or anyone who are in need as long as there is benefit through the utilization of the fund.
- This is understood from the statement of Syeikh Zakaria al-Ansari who said:
وَإِنْ لَمْ يَقْصدْ ذَلِكَ بِأَنْ قَالَهُ عَلَى سَبِيلِ التَّبَسُّطِ الْمُعْتَادِ (فَلَا) تَتَعَيَّنُ لِذَلِكَ بَلْ يَمْلِكُهَا أَوْ يَتَصَرَّفُ فِيهَا كَيْفَ شَاءَ
If not, which means if he did not specify his intentions (the intention of the donation is general), such as if he said (use the money) in a wide form in accordance with the custom, thus, the money is not set to be used for the matter (which has been stated). The recipient actually owns the money and it is permissible for him to use it as he sees fit. Refer Asna al-Mathalib, Zakariya Al-Ansari (2/480).
- An Islamic legal maxim states (كل متصرف عن الغير فعليه أن يتصرف بالمصلحة) “Everyone who acts as a trustee of someone, must act based on the maslahah (benefit).”
- Thus, in the current situation of dire need throughout the duration of the MCO which is enforced until 14th April 2020, the Committee decided that the usage of mosque/surau’s funds is PERMISSIBLE on the following conditions:
- It is not from a specific fund such as fund for waqf, building of the mosque, orphans and others;
- The contributions to be handed out is in accordance with the financial capability of the mosque/surau; and
- The channelling of the funds is under strict supervision from the management of the mosque/surau.
May Allah SWT rewards the contributors and donators of the mosque/surau funds throughout the Federal territories especially and the country in general. Hopefully, this great effort would somehow alleviate the burden of the kariah members of the mosque/surau. At the same time, it becomes a good deed of the Muslims and that Allah SWT would replace it by removing the trial of COVID-19 pandemic that is affecting our country today.
Lastly, we pray to Allah SWT to give us the correct understanding in practising this religion. Amin.