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Common issues prevalent in masaajid comittees

Last updated: 26th August 2012
Question ID: #4181
Short URL: http://qa.muftisays.com/?4181
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Muhammad
26th August 2012

 
Assalaamualaykum Warahmatullahi wabarakaatuh I'd be very grateful if you could kindly answer the following questions. It is a prevalent practice in many masaajid that operate under a committee system, that they finance the running of the masjid from funds collected as "Membership/Ramadhaan Fund". The amount is stipulated in a public meeting annually, then the committee collect this fee from each individual. Within this regard I have some questions. 1. Will this fee that is given be regarded as nafl sadaqa? 2. Upon occasion the committee members will demand the payment from the individuals, (a) (i) If the person does not give the money wholeheartedly and holds reservations (for example personal circumstances compel him to unwillingly part with wealth which he may wish to use elsewhere), but is bound to give it due to the pressure imposed on him, is it permissible for the masjid committee members to accept that money? (ii) Zakaat becomes compulsory depending on circumstances, but the committee does not consider individual circumstances, instead they have an age criteria, and whoever is over that age must pay the fee. Is this type of threshold that they set permissible? b) (i) Some masaajid committees use many techniques to derive this money from their members, committee members will talk ill of that person in public who hasn't paid, saying "such a person didn't give his fee", or they will ridicule him in their private official meetings is this permissible? Should such people even be allowed to manage with the affairs of the masjid who cannot hold confidential information a secret? (ii) Others use another technique to indirectly "name and shame" those individuals who don't pay their annual fund, they achieve this by displaying a public notice board of the every members name and details, displaying which member has made his payment or not. Is this permissible? (iii) If a person is not liable to give zakaah, can he be in anyway compelled to give such a fee? c) Also please can you comment on the. following: a rule which these committees make, that only those who come from a particular country may become a member (eg only those whose ethnic origin is "indian" are allowed to be masjid members) (i) those who are affiliated or whose family roots are from another country aren't allowed to be members. What is the shar'ee ruling in this regard? (ii) some go to the extent of not even allowing children (whose family background is from another country eg Bangladeshi or Pakistani) to attend the maddrassa that is operated by the masjid management. Are they allowed to use such a discriminative law? 3. (i) A masjid is having a construction project, to pay for this they demand each member of the masjid to pay a certain amount eg. A masjid undertakes a contruction project of £1,000,000 to finance this they hold a public meeting in which they decide that each member must pay £2,500 in the form of lillah. Is a committee allowed to take such steps in compelling each individual to pay? (ii) Some committee members even say if a person does not make his contribution towards the project, they will not support him at the time of death when the ghusl facilities are needed. These ghusl facilities are masjid property. Please comment. 4. I have always been under the impression that a person who does not have a shar'ee beard, or whose trousers dangle below his ankles is a faasiq, is it permissible for such people to become in charge of the management of a masjid/madrassa when righteous God fearing people are present? In the case of the above mentioned people if they do become committee members, are they in any way granted permission to make rulings in regards to shar'ee masaa'il? It is prevalent that when there is such a great dispute in shar'ee masaa'il the committee will always opt for the easiest one, not taking the view of their very own Imaam (as he will take the more precautious view, or according to him he dissagrees with another fatwa) are the committee allowed to override the Imaam's view, and by ignoring it, follow their own whims and establish a certain practice based on another Mufti's view, e.g. video streaming? Can you please advise what type of people should become masjid committee members? Finally, what do you advise me to do in regards to adhereing to such policies with me being a musallee of a masjid which is managed by such a committee. Jazakallahu Khaira



Answer
Ulamaa
Ulamaa ID 06
Answer last updated on:
6th December 2012
Answered by:
Ulamaa ID 06
Location: London
Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem
Al Jawaab Billahit-Tawfeeq

Respected brother

Jazakallah for entrusting us with such a matter and I pray Allah (swt) put the correct words in the answer to address such as sad state of affairs in Masaajid. May Allah (swt) reward you for making an effort to clear this and improve situations by the Will of Allah.

As there are many parts to the question, I will paste the question itself before answering that portion.

1) "Will this fee that is given be regarded as nafl sadaqa?"

It is considered Nifl Sadaqah if it is simply a donation given. Whether in Ramadhan or out of Ramadhan determines amount of reward. However, this does not mean that if a person wishes to donate before Ramadhan they wait till Ramadhan as there should be no delay in good deeds. But if a person out of respect for this month donates then rewards can be multiplied as emphasized in Ahadeeth.

If by giving funds a person receives any special treatment, service or returns by means of any sort of membership or showing, it cannot be considered Nifl Sadaqah and it is important that Masaajid keep collections of donations pure and simple without offering anything in return.


2. a. (i):
"If the person does not give the money wholeheartedly and holds reservations (for example personal circumstances compel him to unwillingly part with wealth which he may wish to use elsewhere), but is bound to give it due to the pressure imposed on him, is it permissible for the masjid committee members to accept that money?"


It is permissible for the Masjid to accept any money given by the owner of the amount. If the pressuring is not justified and Ghair Sha'ree then the sin will be on the committee member who uses such methods into pressuring individuals. However, the validity of the Masjid accepting the money is intact as the money was afterall given by the owner under his own will and not stolen or robbed from him forcefully.


2. a. (ii):
"Zakaat becomes compulsory depending on circumstances, but the committee does not consider individual circumstances, instead they have an age criteria, and whoever is over that age must pay the fee. Is this type of threshold that they set permissible? "


There is no fixed age criteria in Zakaah. Anything sanctioned or demanded on this basis would be groundless and impermissible.


2. b. (i):
"Some masaajid committees use many techniques to derive this money from their members, committee members will talk ill of that person in public who hasn't paid, saying "such a person didn't give his fee", or they will ridicule him in their private official meetings is this permissible? Should such people even be allowed to manage with the affairs of the masjid who cannot hold confidential information a secret?"


These actions would fall under slander, backbiting and deceit. Not only is it not permissible but very sinful. Huqooqul 'Ibaad is not forgiven until the person himself forgives them. Such people should not be allowed to manage or be in any position of making decisions in the Masjid.

2. b. (ii):
"Others use another technique to indirectly "name and shame" those individuals who don't pay their annual fund, they achieve this by displaying a public notice board of the every members name and details, displaying which member has made his payment or not. Is this permissible?"


This is not permissible. The technique itself falls short of complete lack of sincerity from the donors whether they know about it or not. The donors should not permit the Masjid to do this. There are sincere methods to encourage donations but a lot of caution should be taken when displaying any name with the amount donated. In contrast, listing names who were not able to donate for any reason is shameful and questionable.

2. b. (iii):
"If a person is not liable to give zakaah, can he be in anyway compelled to give such a fee?"


No financial obligation should be put on a person who is not liable to give Zakaah. To do so would be Haraam.

2. c):
Also please can you comment on the. following: a rule which these committees make, that only those who come from a particular country may become a member (eg only those whose ethnic origin is "indian" are allowed to be masjid members)


The prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) strived all his life to break these traditions from the days of ignorance. To limit who can serve and offer services to the house of Allah based on which country or part of country they born in is despicable and shameful. Breaking the Islamic brotherhood blessed in the words of Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) based on race is the works of Shaytaan and has no part in Islam.

2. c. (i): "those who are affiliated or whose family roots are from another country aren't allowed to be members. What is the shar'ee ruling in this regard?"

There is no basis in Islam to this condition and would be incorrect.


2. c. (ii): "some go to the extent of not even allowing children (whose family background is from another country eg Bangladeshi or Pakistani) to attend the maddrassa that is operated by the masjid management. Are they allowed to use such a discriminative law?"

They are not permitted in Islam to have such a law.

3. (i)
"A masjid is having a construction project, to pay for this they demand each member of the masjid to pay a certain amount eg. A masjid undertakes a contruction project of £1,000,000 to finance this they hold a public meeting in which they decide that each member must pay £2,500 in the form of lillah. Is a committee allowed to take such steps in compelling each individual to pay? "


Compelling any person to give a certain amount as Lillah would not be Lillah. When a person gives for the sake of Allah sincerely, it is Lillah. When a person gives out of embarrassment, harassment or fear, the sole of Lillah donation is taken away. It is not permissible to use this method to collect money for the Masjid.


3. (ii):
"Some committee members even say if a person does not make his contribution towards the project, they will not support him at the time of death when the ghusl facilities are needed. These ghusl facilities are masjid property. Please comment. "


They cannot make such a threat for money. The importance of Ghusl of the deceased is completely shrouded by such a threat. The ritual and importance of Ghusl Mayyit is attacked by such a threat. If a person encounters this, they should distance themselves from such a committee and try to distance others from them. No individual can be threatened in such a manner and by the grace of Allah (swt), there are many sincere Muslims who offer Ghusl services that should be used instead.

4.
"I have always been under the impression that a person who does not have a shar'ee beard, or whose trousers dangle below his ankles is a faasiq, is it permissible for such people to become in charge of the management of a masjid/madrassa when righteous God fearing people are present? "


The pious, knowledgeable and Muttaqee (God fearing) should be in charge. Many blessings of Allah befall on works lead by the pious. A Faasiq should not be in a such a position. If they are, they should be approached in private and taught. I feel any effort made to replace them in the correct manner would be advisable.


"In the case of the above mentioned people if they do become committee members, are they in any way granted permission to make rulings in regards to shar'ee masaa'il? "

They are permitted to do so with the guidance of qualified scholars and people of knowledge.


"It is prevalent that when there is such a great dispute in shar'ee masaa'il the committee will always opt for the easiest one, not taking the view of their very own Imaam (as he will take the more precautious view, or according to him he dissagrees with another fatwa) are the committee allowed to override the Imaam's view, and by ignoring it, follow their own whims and establish a certain practice based on another Mufti's view, e.g. video streaming? "

If the Imam's view and suggestion is an opinion and the committee do not follow it bearing in mind that the decision taken does not break any Islamic laws, the decision would be acceptable. If a ruling is passed by the qualified scholar of the Masjid and the committee ignore it, they could be questioned about such decisions.


"Can you please advise what type of people should become masjid committee members?"

Generally, it is a misconception that only Ulamaa and/or Huffaaz should only be committee members. My personal advice in light of Sharee'ah and taking lessons from Seerah and history is that such positions in the committee of a Masjid fall under 3 requirements: Required, Preference and those that should not.

Required:
1) Taqwah
2) Practice
3) At least one qualified scholar
4) Mature

Preference:
Knowledge (of Islam)
Stable (Financially, mentally and other key aspects that affect being in such positions)

Those that should not:
Elderly and weak in an active position
Anyone who openly displays signs of Nifaaq
Those who shave




"Finally, what do you advise me to do in regards to adhereing to such policies with me being a musallee of a masjid which is managed by such a committee."

May Allah (swt) reward your dearly for your striving and efforts. I would advice to (in order)

1) Write to committee highlighting all the issues.
2) Give them a date to reply by reasonably.
3) In the letter, highlight the issues, solution and what you expect
4) Back up the letter with this answer if needed
5) Before sending the letter, get the support of key people you may know. If not then get the support of other Musallees trying best not to make the complaint public just yet.
6) If they respond, follow it up. If they do not respond, remind them and ask them once again to reply by another date and adding that failure to reply will result in yourself and all those that supported the letter to take action against the committee for all the wrong doings. Every Masjid is registered in one way or another. Here in UK we have charity commissions and from the things listed, many charity laws are broken too (having experience with running a registered charity myself)
7) If you feel that is not the best option due to the positive services, try to distance yourself from the committee. Try to distant others too and see if it helps. If there's improvement, you can assist thereafter.

The situation varies from committee to committee so the above might not be the best option for all but a simply guideline to where to start a process or correcting the wrongs of the committee. May Allah have mercy on those who do wrong in His house. Ameen


And Allah knows best