Question: We are the governing body of a local mosque, referred to here as “Masjid A”. Our situation is that some property was purchased without the approval of the general membership as required by our bylaws. Since the membership had not given the approval to purchase the property, one of the community leaders convinced some of the brothers to purchase the property privately. The property was then purchased under the name of this community leader and his spouse, though he has said publicly in the mosque and in newsletters that the organizing body purchased the property. They have begun daily prayers, Friday services, and other religious activities at this center. Some of the issues that we would like clarification on are the following:
1. “Masjid A” paid the expenses and gifts of a hafiz who provided his services during the month of Ramadan at this new center. Is this proper?
2. A check was taken from “Masjid A” by this community leader without the knowledge of some of the board members and was used as a down payment for this new center. What should be done?
3. The Imam of “Masjid A” was taken from Thursday afternoon until Sunday afternoon and was paid by “Masjid A”. Who should pay the Imam if he is providing his services to our members in a different city, maybe 20 miles from “Masjid A”?
4. Members were given incorrect information when some of our brothers were collecting money for this new center. They were telling the members that this new center would be under the same organization as “Masjid A”. Is this proper?
نحمده ونصلّي على رسوله الكريم
Answer: There are three types of questions asked:
1. Questions related to the mosque
2. Questions related to the administration
3. Questions related to the Imam
The following are the answers to these questions:
Questions Related to the Mosque
The masjid is among the most sacred of lands upon the face of the earth. As a house of Allah, no other piece of land can be equal to a masjid. The Noble Messenger ﷺ declared the masjid to be the most beloved of places. In a ḥadīth, Hazrat Abu Hurayra رضي الله عنه narrated that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:
أَحَبُّ الْبِلَادِ إِلَى اللَّهِ مَسَاجِدُهَا وَأَبْغَضُ الْبِلَاد إِلَى الله أسواقها رَوَاهُ مُسلم
The most beloved of lands to Allah are its masjids, and the most reprehensible of lands to Allah are its markets – Muslim. (Mishkāt-ul-Maṣābīḥ, Kitāb-uṣ-Ṣalāh, Bāb-ul-Masājid wa Mawḍi`-iṣ-Ṣalāh, Ḥadīth 696)
The respect and sanctification of mosques is something that has been specifically ordained. That is why any act that is contrary to the honor of the mosque is prohibited. Hence, it is not allowed to come into the mosque after using or consuming things that give off unpleasant odors. In some aḥādīth it is mentioned that that the mosques are the gardens of heaven. In a ḥadīth from Hazrat Abu Hurayra رضي الله عنه, the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:
”إِذَا مَرَرْتُمْ بِرِيَاضِ الْجَنَّةِ فَارْتَعُوا” قُلْتُ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ وَمَا رِيَاضُ الْجَنَّةِ قَالَ ”الْمَسَاجِدُ”
“When you pass by the gardens of Paradise, then eat.” I said, “O Messenger of Allah, what are the gardens of Paradise?” He replied, “The masjids!” (Tirmidhi, Kitāb-ud-Da`wāt, Bāb, Ḥadīth 3509)
In another ḥadīth, Hazrat Abu Hurayra رضي الله عنه reports:
قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: «لَا يَزَالُ أَحَدُكُمْ فِي صَلَاةٍ مَا دَامَ يَنْتَظِرُهَا، وَلَا تَزَالُ المَلَائِكَةُ تُصَلِّي عَلَى أَحَدِكُمْ مَا دَامَ فِي المَسْجِدِ، اللَّهُمَّ اغْفِرْ لَهُ، اللَّهُمَّ ارْحَمْهُ، مَا لَمْ يُحْدِثْ»، فَقَالَ رَجُلٌ مِنْ حَضْرَمَوْتَ: وَمَا الحَدَثُ يَا أَبَا هُرَيْرَةَ؟ قَالَ: فُسَاءٌ أَوْ ضُرَاطٌ
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “None of you will stop praying as long as he is waiting for the prayer, and the angels will not stop praying for any one of you as long as he is in the masjid [saying], ‘O Allah, forgive him, O Allah have mercy on him,’ as long has he does not break his purity.” A man from Hadhramaut said, “What is breaking purity, o Abu Hurayra?” He replied, “Passing wind.” (Tirmidhi, Kitāb-uṣ-Ṣalāh, Bāb Mā Jā’ fi’l `Uqūd fi’l Masjid wa’ntiẓār-iṣ-Ṣalāh min al-Faḍl, Ḥadīth 330)
From these narrations, you can see the importance, respect, and high status of the masjid as well as its religious significance. It is also clear that the masjid is not an ordinary place but a house of Allah.
When mosques come into existence through the donations of Muslim people, they become endowed property (waqf), and no one can retain waqf as personal property. The world-renowned jurist `Allāma Amjad Ali Azmi gives his explanation in the matter of endowed property as follows:
وقف کا حکم یہ ہے کہ نہ خود وقف کرنے والا اس کا مالک ہے نہ دوسرے کو اس کامالک بناسکتا ہے نہ اسکو بیع کرسکتا ہے نہ عاریت دے سکتا ہے نہ اس کو رہن رکھ سکتا ہے
The ruling of waqf is that the endower is not its owner. He cannot place it in the ownership of anyone else, or sell it, or rent it out, or put it up as collateral. (Bahār-e-Sharī`at, Waqf kā Bayān, Waqf ke Aḥkām, Ḥiṣṣa 10, Masla 43)
In light of the above explanation, the matter is clear that the money from “Masjid A” being used for buying a new place and being registered under an individual’s name is a severely reprehensible according to Islamic Law, and the individual in question would be considered very sinful. The former grand mufti of Pakistan and one of the great jurists of the past decade Mufti Waqaruddin gave his verdict in a similar situation. It reads as follows:
جب مسلمانوں نے چندہ کر کے زمین خرید کر مسجد بنائی اور عام طور پر مسلمانوں نے اس میں نماز پڑھنا شروع کردی تو انتی ہی بات سے وہ مسجد بن جاتی ہے اور یہ زمین وقف ہو جاتی ہے۔ وقف مکمل ہونے کے بعد اس وقف کا نہ کوئی مالک بن سکتا ہے، نہ کوئی خرید سکتا ہے اور نہ ہی اسے رہن رکھا جا سکتا ہے۔ جس شخص نے اپنے نام لیز کروالی ہے وہ سخت گناہ گار ہے اور یہ لیز باطل ہے۔ اور وہ مسجد اسی طرح مسجد باقی ہے جس طرح پہلے تھی علامہ علاء الدین الحصکفی متوفی ۱۰۸۸ نے در مختار میں لکھا: فإِذَا تَمَّ وَلَزِمَ لَا يُمَلَّكُ وَلَا يُمْلَكُ وَلَا يُعَارُ وَلَا يُرْهَنُ
When Muslim people collect donations, buy a piece of land, build a masjid, and then Muslim people on a common basis begin to pray in it, then at this point the land is designated a masjid, and the property becomes an endowment. Once the endowment is considered complete, no one can own this property, nor can they purchase it, nor can they put it up as collateral. The person [in question] who leased this property in his name is a severe sinner, and the lease is invalid. The masjid remains as it originally was. `Allāma `Alā’-ud-Dīn al-Ḥaṣkafi (d. 1088 A.H.) has written in “ad-Durr ul-Mukhtār”, “When it (the endowment) is completed and set, it cannot be given into ownership, nor can it be owned, nor can it be rented out or put up as collateral.” (Waqār-ul-Fatāwa, Kitāb-ul-Masājid, Masā’il-e-Waqf, Vol. 2 pg. 309-310, Bazm-e-Waqār-ud-Dīn, Gulafshān Library, Block 4, Gulistān-e-Muṣṭafa, Karachi)
The great jurist `Allāma Mufti Jalāl-ud-Dīn Amjadi writes:
اب رہا مسجد کا سوال تو وہ خواہ چندہ مانگ کر بنائی گئی ہو یا کسی شخص خاص نے اپنی ذاتی رقم سے بنائی ہو ہر حال میں وہ وقف ہے۔ وہ کسی کی ملکیت میں نہیں جو ملکیت کا دعویٰ کرے وہ شریعت اسلامیہ کا باغی مفسد اور اس کا دعویٰ باطل ہے
As for the masjid, regardless of whether it was built through the donations collected from people or someone specific built it with his own money, in every situation it is considered waqf; it is not in anyone’s ownership. Anyone who claims to own such property is outrageously against Islamic Law and a corrupt person; his claim is false. (Fatāwa Faiz-ur-Rasūl, Kitāb-ul-Waqf, Faṣl fi’l Masājid, Vol. 2 pg. 376, Dār-ul-Ishā`at Faiz-ur-Rasūl Baraon Sharīf)
We conclude in light of the verdicts of these jurists that it is very clear that whoever has registered this property in his personal name must immediately transfer it to the organization so that the Muslim people who are commonly in the area and others can get complete benefit. Mutual differences will also be resolved, and it is incumbent on this person to repent and ask Allah for forgiveness. (Allah knows best)
Questions Related to the Administration
Collective issues must be resolved with constitutions that are the sunna of the Noble Messenger ﷺ and his Companions رضي الله عنهم. Since religious institutions are formed for the benefit of the Muslim Ummah, a board of trustees or a working body/committee that acts with the mutual consultation of its members is needed. In order for the processes to be effective, all of the members must be consulted, and the arrived-upon solution must be acted upon accordingly. Allah says in the Quran regarding this:
وَشَاوِرْهُمْ فِي الْأَمْرِ
And consult them in affairs. (Ale `Imrān, 3:159)
وَأَمْرُهُمْ شُورَى بَيْنَهُمْ
And their affairs [are decided] by mutual consultation. (Shūra, 42:38)
Imam Qurṭubi in his world-renowned work “al-Jāmi` li Aḥkām-il-Qur’ān” also known as “Tafsīr-ul-Qurṭubi” says in this matter:
فَكَانَتِ الْأَنْصَارُ… إِذَا أَرَادُوا أَمْرًا تَشَاوَرُوا فِيهِ
Whenever the Anṣāri [companions of the Messenger ﷺ] wanted to do something, they would consult each other.
In the same work just a few lines further, he quotes another scholar, Ḥasan al-Baṣari’s comments:
مَا تَشَاوَرَ قَوْمٌ قَطُّ إِلَّا هُدُوا لِأَرْشَدِ أُمُورِهِمْ
No nation has ever mutually consulted except that they were guided to the best conclusion. (Tafsīr-ul- Qurṭubi, Vol. 8 Part 16, pg. 36, Dār Iḥyā’ Turāth-il-`Arabi, Beirut)
It is therefore the responsibility of the committee to consult each other and resolve all their issues. Since Muslims have been given this responsibility, they must give this its due consideration. They will be answerable on the Day of Judgement. Allah has made consultation more beneficial. Collective opinion is better that just one opinion, and it leads to better conclusions. Argumentatively speaking, another benefit of consultation is that if the results after consulting are incorrect, the board or committee will be collectively responsible and not any particular individual. For this reason, the board or the committee and especially the chairman must resolve the issues related to Muslims for their benefit through mutual consultation.
In this regard it is highly recommended that when a meeting is called, all the members must be present on time. One must give preference to collective interest and not individual interest. It is often observed that members do not come to meetings and then point fingers. This is not right, and to seek the pleasure of Allah and His Messenger ﷺ should be the creed of the believer.
Allah knows best.
Questions related to the Imam
Imāmat these days is treated as ijārah (hiring), and so the rules of imāmat follow the rules of ijārah. In the United States, when an organization sponsors someone to come to the country to be an imam, they enter into an agreement with that person, and so the imam is to abide by that agreement and fulfill its obligations accordingly. Similarly, the organization should also abide by the terms of that agreement. At the time of the sponsorship, if there was no agreement undertaken, then the compensation is unknown. In this case, the compensation is disputable, but not null and void because the compensation is subject to the time devoted and other conditions of agreement to be met also. Imām-e-Ahle Sunnat Mujaddid-e-Dīn o Millat Imam Ahmad Raza Fāzil-e-Bareilvi in this regard comments:
اگر اجارہ صراحۃً خواہ دلالۃً واقع تو ہُوا یعنی اس نے اُجرت کے لئے امامت کی اور قوم نے بھی اسے اجیر سمجھا مگر تعین اجرت نہ بیان میں آیا نہ قرائن سے واضح ہوا تو اجارہ فاسدہ
If the agreement itself was established either explicitly or by indication, meaning that he started leading prayers for compensation and the people considered him a worker, but the compensation was not specified or clarified through the circumstances, then this compensatory agreement is corrupt/disputable. (Fatāwa Riḍawiyya 30 Volume Edition, Kitāb-uṣ-Ṣalāh, Bāb-e-Imāmat, Vol. 6, pg. 639)
If at the time of the sponsorship the matter was clearly addressed in the agreement that if needed, the Imam will be asked to go to subsidiaries of “Organization A” at remote locations and be present there to perform rituals at the request of the board, then the Imam can go to “Masjid A’s” subsidiaries/ satellite mosques in question, and “Masjid A” will compensate him from their funds accordingly, and the Imam is obligated to fulfill this commitment, as Allah says in the Quran:
وَأَوْفُوا بِالْعَهْدِ إِنَّ الْعَهْدَ كَانَ مَسْئُولًا
And fulfill the promise; surely the promised will be asked about [on Judgement Day]. (Bani Isrā’īl, 17:34)
The late Grand Mufti of Pakistan Mufti Waqaruddin saysin this regard in “Waqār-ul-Fatāwa”:
ملازمت کرنے والوں کی یہ ذمہ داری ہے کہ ان کی ملازمت کی ڈیوٹی کا جتنا وقت مقرر کیا گیا ہے، اتنا وقت پر وہ ڈیوٹی گزاریں۔ کام نہ ہو جب بھی وہ وقت پورا کریں۔ وقت پورا کرنا ان پر لازم ہے۔
Those who are employed are responsible for completing the required time that was set for their jobs. Even if there is no work to do, they must still give that set amount of time; it is necessary for them to complete that time. (Waqār-ul-Fatāwa, Kitāb-ul-Buyū`, Mulāzimat kā Bayān, Vol. 3, pg. 323, Bazm-e-Waqār-ud-Dīn, Gulafshān Library, Block 4, Gulistān-e-Muṣṭafa, Karachi)
If these satellite mosques are a separate organization, if their management and committees are separate and the income and expenses of these entities have nothing to do with “Masjid A”, then the Imam going to this subsidiary is not permissible. Is this against the terms of the agreement? See Mufti Waqaruddin’s verdict. He writes:
منتظمین و ملازمین کے درمیان، جو باتیں طے ہو جائیں، وہ ایک معاہدہ ہے۔ معاہدے کی پابندی کرنا مسلمان پر لازم ہے۔ اس کے خلاف کرنے پر قرآن و حدیث میں سخت وعیدیں آئی ہیں۔ قرآن کریم میں ہے: الَّذِينَ عَاهَدْتَ مِنْهُمْ ثُمَّ يَنْقُضُونَ عَهْدَهُمْ فِي كُلِّ مَرَّةٍ وَهُمْ لَا يَتَّقُونَ سورۃ ۸ الانفال، آیت: ۵٦
Whatever is agreed upon between the organization and its employees becomes a legal contract, and to fulfill its terms is necessary for a Muslim. The Quran and Ḥadīth contain strict warnings for those who against it. “Those who make a contract among you then they break their agreement every time and have no fear.” [al-Anfāl, 8:56] (Waqār-ul-Fatāwa, Kitāb-ul-Buyū`, Mulāzimat kā Bayān, Vol. 3, pg. 321, Bazm-e-Waqār-ud-Dīn, Gulafshān Library, Block 4, Gulistān-e-Muṣṭafa, Karachi)
Whenever he leaves “Masjid A” to go to another mosque and provide his services, he is absent from “Masjid A” and thus not entitled to pay from them; rather, he would need to secure his pay from the other entity. They are responsible for paying his salary. However, if for propagation or teaching purposes his services are needed elsewhere and the agreement clearly does not address this service, and it is publicized and known to the people that this is an objective of this organization, then there is no harm in doing so; he can do this.
Allah knows best.
Mohammad Qamarul Hasan (Mufti)
Imam and Khaṭīb of Al-Noor Masjid
Houston, TX 77081
22nd Muharram 1425 Hijri
18th of March 2004
Note: This fatwa has been abridged and slightly altered, and the names of the parties involved have been removed. – Omair Shariff