Whoever endows a mosque should take his hands off it
Fatwa No: 129299

  • Fatwa Date:18-11-2009 - Thul-Hijjah 1, 1430
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I attend a mosque which has been "given" for waqf by a local family. However, they insist on retaining ownership of the building, which is registered in their name, and the running of the mosque affairs. They refuse to have an amir and shura for the mosque, despite repeated advice, and have on occasion behave rudely with worshippers. A majority of the worshippers have appointed their own amir to represent them in any issues with the family. Is there any precedent in Islam for a mosque to be owned by an individual/family ?What are the implications for the building's status as a mosque, and the implications for the worshippers, particularly with regard to donations for the upkeep of the building. Should the worshippers work within the above restraints, or look for new premises which are free from such conditions?حزاك الله خير



All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.


The mosque is an endowment [Waqf] for all the Muslims and an endowment is not possessed by anyone, and no one in the past – to the best of our knowledge – had ever owned a mosque. Nonetheless, it is permissible to register the contract of the ownership of the mosque in the name of one person, group or family if there is a need or benefit of that. However, this writing does not represent the ownership of the mosque for whoever it is written in his name.

As regards the effects from this, then the majority of the scholars  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  them are of the view that when an endowment is issued and completed it becomes binding, and the person who endowed it becomes no longer able to dispose of the endowed property with any act that undermines the purpose of the endowment: so, it should not be sold, gifted or inherited, etc.

With regard to the rulings on the praying people and their donations to the mosque, then the Muslims may perform the prayer in it, and the prayer is valid and there is no problem in it, and they may donate for the maintenance of the mosque and they will be rewarded for doing so.

As regards being subjected to the restrictions placed by the family that endowed the mosque, then a person who gives an endowment is not permitted to dispose of the endowment in a manner that goes against its purpose (the purpose for which it was endowed), but if this does not go against its purpose, then this is permissible. For instance, if he determines a time for the opening and closing of the mosque for a benefit, like fearing that the mosque will be burgled or he decides anything that does not violate the purpose of the mosque, then this is permissible, and the praying people should consider this benefit.

As for the fact that the mosque is in the hands of the one who endowed it or that it was registered in the name of his family, then all this does not make it anything other than a mosque for Allaah in which people pray. However, it is permissible for a person who endowed something to be himself taking care of the endowment or that he appoints someone to take care of it even if it is from the members of his family. Nonetheless, it is not permissible for whoever the ownership (of the mosque) is in his name to dispose of it by selling and the like as he disposes of his own property even if he is the one who endowed it because the mosques are for Allaah, Allaah Says (what means): {And [He revealed] that the Masjids are for Allaah.}[Quran 72:18]

It should be noted that it is better for the person who endowed this mosque to take his hands off it, because if he dies before he takes his hands off it then there is a difference of opinion among the scholars  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  them about the validity of the endowment in that case, as some jurists consider that if a person who made the endowment dies before he takes his hands off the endowment then the endowment becomes void while others are of the view that the endowment is effective and it does not become void. Therefore, it is better if one takes his hands off the endowment in order to be on the safe side and to avoid the difference of opinion.

With regard to what you mentioned in the question that the family [who make the endowment] treat people with harshness and the like, then this family should be advised with wisdom and in a soft and gentle manner, and it should be clarified to them that Allaah ordered us to have good conduct as Allaah Says (what means): {And speak to people good [words].}[Quran 2:83]

The fact that they are taking care of the endowment by no means makes it permissible for them to harm people and treat them harshly.

Allaah Knows best.

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