Donations for building mosques

Q176 :The mosque in our locality is being rebuilt, but much of the money is received as donations from rich people who acquired their wealth through cheating the government and bribery. What is the Islamic point of view in this matter? Can one stay away from such a mosque and pray at home on grounds that it is built with money earned through non-Islamic ways? Can donations from non-Muslims be used in the construction of a mosque?


A176 : What worries me in your question is the sweeping remark that rich people have acquired their wealth through unlawful means. It is not beyond a highly God-fearing man who has a good measure of business acumen to get rich through perfectly legitimate means. While it is true that some people may not have any scruples about cheating the government or bribing officials in order to get some unlawful advantages, we cannot apply the same standards to everybody in a sweeping statement which condemns everyone that gets rich. Among the companions of the Prophet, there were people who managed to become very wealthy and none of them can be accused of having used unlawful means. When the mosque is built in your locality, to abstain from offering prayer in it is wrong. By doing so, you deprive yourself of an opportunity to congregational prayers. You will be abandoning a duty. Allah tells us to bow down in worship with others who do likewise. That means that congregational prayer is a duty. The fact that some of the money received for building the mosque may have come from a suspect source is no justification to abstain from attending it. To start with, donations received from Christians and other non-Muslims can be used in the construction of the mosques. That is certainly permissible. Moreover, the committee collecting donations is not required to verify the source of every donation made. What you have to remember is that giving a donation is a separate transaction. The money itself is not contaminated by the process it is earned. Therefore, if I sell a certain item of merchandise to a person who pays the price with money he had stolen or had received as bribery, my earning is perfectly legitimate because I am not responsible to verify his source of income. The same applies to the fund-raising committee for building the mosque. You may say that these people are known to accept or take bribery or whatever, but Islam does not conduct its dealings with individuals or communities on the basis of hearsay.


Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )