Question

I have been in charge as a treasurer of our mosque for last 2 years. Every year there is a large sum of money collected in the form of Zakat as well as Lillah. After appointment I specifically struggled to separate the charitable boxes for Zakat and Lillah. However, the mosque committee continues to mix these funds. They use all the funds to pay the high heating and lighting expenses. They say that it is being spent in path of Allah and its fine. I am continuously struggling to tell them that ulama’ do not allow using zakat for mosque. Please clarify if I should give in and allocate the zakat money for the mosque expenses?

Answer:

Bismillāhi Taʿala,

Waʿlaikum Assalām Waraḥmatullāh,

Allah Taʿālā has specifically mentioned the venues (maṣārif). It is incorrect to interpret “in path of Allah” (fī sabī lillāh) for the expenses of masājid. In Anwārul Bayān of ʿAllāma ʿAshiq ilāhi muhājir makkī raḥimahullah it mentions:

“for the path of Allāh…” According to Imām Abu Yūsuf raḥimahullah, this refers to those people who had left their homes for Jihād and were separated from the rest of the army. They may be given Zakāh if they do not have the means to sustain themselves and to reach their homes.

Imām Muḥammad raḥimahullah mentions that it refers to those people who have left for Ḥajj and are separated from their companions without any means of eating and returning home. Other jurists have written that it refers to needy students of Deen. Some are of the opinion that all persons engaged in the service of Deen may be given Zakaah as long as they are needy. (Anwārul Bayān C12 V60) 

Moreover, a mosque is an entity which is made waqf. It is not under anyone’s possession. This is the reason that a mosque cannot be changed into someone’s property. As a principle of zakāh, one of the requirement is that the “transfer of ownership” (tamlīk) by one of the maṣārif must take place. In allocating money for the mosque will not fulfil this requirement from any angle

I advise you to inform the people in you mosque about this juristic issue, and tell them that the zakāh of all those who have given will remain pending until it is handed over in the correct avenue.

If the committee people do not accept, then instead of giving in, you should resign from such post which will put you answerable in front of Allāh. [1]

Wallāhu Aʿlam,

Wassalamu ʿalaykum, 

Mufti Faisal al-Mahmudi
www.fatwa.ca

[1] (ومنها في سبيل الله) ، وهم منقطعو الغزاة الفقراء منهم عند أبي يوسف – رحمه الله تعالى – وعند محمد – رحمه الله تعالى – منقطعو الحاج الفقراء منهم هكذا في التبيين. والصحيح قول أبي يوسف – رحمه الله تعالى – كذا في المضمرات….ولا يجوز أن يبني بالزكاة المسجد، وكذا القناطر والسقايات، وإصلاح الطرقات، وكري الأنهار والحج والجهاد وكل ما لا تمليك فيه (الفتاوى الهندية (1/ 188))