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Can the Masjid Committee use the money from the sadaqah box for masjid expenses?

Question

Can the Masjid Committee use the money from the sadaqah box for masjid expenses?


بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيْم

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

Answer:

Sadaqah refers to that which is given for the sake of Allah (SWT) without taking any compensation. Sadaqah is of two types:

1. Sadaqah Wajibah (Obligatory)

2. Sadaqah Nafilah (Optional)

As for Sadaqah Wajibah, e.g. Zakat, Sadaqatul Fitr, Kaffarah, Fidya, violation of Ihram or Hajj, and sadaqah made binding upon oneself via Nazr (vow), it is necessary to give such sadaqah to those who are eligible to receive zakat, e.g. Muslims who are poor. Such money cannot be used for Masjid expenses. (Tuhfatul Fuqaha: v. 1, p. 300 [DKI]; Qamoosul Fiqh: v. 4, p. 222 [Zamzam])

Regarding Sadaqah Nafilah, it can be used for any good cause, e.g. Masjid expenses, construction, building a madrasa, etc. However, if the donor clearly states that he wants the money to be given to the poor, then the Masjid Committee must comply with his request. Also, if the general understanding of Sadaqah in a community refers to that wealth which is given to the poor, then the Masjid Committee cannot use that wealth for other purposes besides giving it to the poor because the customs of people in Islamic law are taken into consideration, therefore Islamic legal rulings are sometimes based upon people’s customs (Sharh Uqood Rasm Al-Mufti: p. 75 [Maktaba Al-Bushra]).

Money that is given to the Masjid is an amanat (trust), thus every Masjid should be careful regarding how they spend it. A simple solution would be to label one box as “Zakat/Sadaqah Wajibah” and another box as “Sadaqah Nafilah”. However, due to the lack of knowledge, many people do not understand these technical differences, hence we advise you to clearly state on the Sadaqah Nafilah box how the money will be spent, e.g. ‘This money may be used for Masjid expenses, construction, or given to the needy.’


Only Allah knows best

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