What do the scholars of the Dīn and muftīs of the Sacred Law state regarding the following issue: A certain charity collected some donations several months before Ramadān to arrange the Iftār of people in al-Madīnah al-Munawwarah during the last ten days of Ramadān. People donated to this cause wholeheartedly, but then six days before ‘Eid, the charity sent out a small notice saying that the remaining money will be spent on another project. Is it permissible for them to do this?
Questioner: Adil from Scotland
بسم اللہ الرحمن الرحیم
الجواب بعون الملک الوھاب اللھم ھدایۃ الحق والصواب
It is absolutely not permissible for the charity to do this; it is essential for them to only spend in that cause which they collected for. If, after spending in that particular cause, there is some money left over, then it is essential that the charity return this remaining money back to the original people who donated it in the first place, or that the charity spends it in any cause the people specify from that moment in time. It is absolutely, totally, and utterly harām to spend this money on any other cause without their permission. A small notice will not suffice for seeking their permission; they were merely informed that ‘the rest of the money will be used for another project’, their permission was not sought. Thus, the charity needs to return the money straightaway to those who originally donated from the onset, or seek permission explicitly, and whatever cause they give permission for, money should be spent only for such said purpose. If one cannot come to know as to who originally donated the money, then it should be spent on a similar cause the following year. For example, the money remaining from the iftār of the last ten days of Ramadān for al-Madīnah al-Munawwarah should be spent on the iftār of the last ten days of the following Ramadān for al-Madīnah al-Munawwarah the next year.
Just as the ruling for the money gathered for the shroud of a faqīr [poor person] is mentioned in Durr Mukhtār,
“فَإِنْ فَضَلَ شَيْءٌ رُدَّ لِلْمُصَّدِّقِ إنْ عُلِمَ وَإِلَّا كُفِّنَ بِهِ مِثْلُهُ، وَإِلَّا تُصُدِّقَ بِهِ”
“If anything remains from the money given, then if one know of the person who gave it initially, so it should be returned to such said person. Otherwise, the money should be spent on the shroud for a similar faqīr or given to charity.”
[al-Durr al-Mukhtār, vol 2, pg 206]
Just as Sayyidī Alā Hazrat Imām Ahmad Razā Khān, may Allāh shower mercy upon him, states in Fatāwā Ridawiyyah that it is essential that the money leftover from the amount donated is returned back to the original person who gave it as per his [original] share. Or it is used in a cause which the person gives permission for; it is harām [unlawful] to spend it without permission. Yes, when one cannot come to know of the [original] person, then one should use it in a similar cause as to why it was collected for in the first place. For example, money was collected for the building of a Masjid, but the Masjid has now been built, then one should use this money for any other building work of the Masjid also; one should not use it for a dissimilar cause e.g. building a madrasah. If one does not come across a similar cause, then one should donate this remaining money to faqīrs [the poor].
[Fatāwā Ridawiyyah, vol 6, pg 206]
واللہ تعالی اعلم ورسولہ اعلم صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم
کتبہ ابو الحسن محمد قاسم ضیاء قادری
Answered by Mufti Qasim Zia al-Qadri
Translated by Haider Ali
Read the original Urdu answer here: [Q-ID0580] Can money donated to a Charity be spent on any noble cause or only on what was intended?