What do the scholars of the Dīn and muftīs of the Sacred Law state regarding the following issue: There is a sunnī charity in the U.K. – it has collected many thousands of pounds to make a mosque, but it has used this money to build a multi-faith centre i.e. as a collective place of worship for all Muslims, Sikhs, Jews, Christians. Is doing this permissible?
Questioner: Adil from Scotland, UK
بسم اللہ الرحمن الرحیم
الجواب بعون الملک الوھاب اللھم ھدایۃ الحق والصواب
It is impermissible & absolutely, totally, and utterly harām, that the money being collected for a mosque is spent on another cause, let alone a multi-faith centre; this is out of the question. Meaning, it is impermissible to use this even for a madrasah or a charitable organisation.
Just as Sayyidī Āla-Hazrat Imām Ahmad Razā Khān, may Allāh ﷻ shower countless mercies upon him, states, while answering a questioning regarding the income of stores which have been donated for a mosque, stating that, “Here the ruling of Sharī’ah is that the first thing to be considered with regards to donated items [i.e. that which has been donated for a specific purpose] is the intention & condition of the actual donor. Whatever purpose someone has donated some land and shops for a mosque [for example, someone owns some land or buildings used as a shop, and this person donates either, specifying that any income earned from them be it rent, profit, etc will be spent only on the masjid], it will be spent on such said purpose only; even if there is distribution of iftār, sweets, fixing or installing lighting, khatam [distribution of food for a specific purpose]; using it for another purpose is harām, harām, unequivocally harām, even if it is on the basis of a religious madrasah [seminary].
The stipulation of the person doing waqf is wājib to act upon just as the Holy Prophet ﷺ states.
Up to the extent that if one has dedicated something only for the building of a mosque, then other than repairing the mosque, it cannot even be used for purchasing cleaning jugs, mats – let alone iftār, etc.”
[Fatāwā Ridawiyyah, vol 16, pg 485-486]
Contemplate over the fact that using the money collected for the building of the mosque on something for the mosque itself such as the buying of carpet, cleaning jugs, etc is impermissible, then using it to build a multi-faith centre is even further impermissible more so. Whosoever has done so must repent immediately, and if the person commissioned [i.e. the person responsible] who was given the responsibility of the task of building the mosque did so, so he should pay this exact amount from his own pocket for the building of the masjid or make that [centre] into a masjid, and give any extra costs out of his own pocket. However, if someone else did so who was not the person responsible, then it is incumbent for him that he returns the money either from his own pocket or by selling the multi-faith centre, from the people who donated, or seek new permission from them [to use it for another purpose].
Just as Sayyidī Āla-Hazrat Imām Ahmad Razā Khān, may Allāh ﷻ shower countless mercies upon him, states that repentance is fard for him and paying compensation is fard for the amount that he used. If he was the person responsible for the masjid, so he should use it for the lighting, etc of that masjid; he will not become unaccountable if used for another masjid. However, if he was not the person responsible, so he should return the money to those who gave it to him initially, saying that I have spent this much of the money you gave and I am returning the amount which remains, because if he is the person responsible, then acceptance [of the money donated] has become complete, otherwise it still remains in the ownership of the donor.
[Fatāwā Ridawiyyah, vol 16, pg 461]
However, here there is no person responsible because the masjid had not even been built yet; rather, it was about to made. So, in this case, one will have to sell the multi-faith centre and pay the full amount to the people who donated the money or from one’s own pocket, or seek new permission from them to use it on a masjid, etc. Just as the Imām of the Ahl al-Sunnah, Mawlānā Shāh Imām Ahmad Razā Khān, may Allāh ﷻ shower endless mercies upon him, states that, “The ownership of the money for the person donating remains; when it is not spent on the purpose they gave it for, then it is fard to return it to them, or for them to give permission (for it to be used) for another purpose. Whomsoever amongst them (the donators) is no longer (alive), it will be given to their inheritors, or for whichever purpose his sane mature (inheritors) give permission (to use it for, it is to be used for that). Yes, whomsoever is no longer (alive) and neither are their inheritors (alive), or one cannot become acquainted or come to know of from whom it was taken, it is likened to missing wealth [i.e. lost & found]; it can be spent on any good cause such as a masjid, an Ahl al-Sunnah madrasah, Ahl al-Sunnah publications, etc.
[Fatāwā Ridawiyyah, vol 23, pg 563]
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-ID0608] Is it permissible for a Charity to collect money for a Masjid but instead build a Multi-Faith Centre?