Fatwa ID: 05717
Answered by: Mufti Muhammad Adnan
Please can you forward this email to whoever can help us, Insha Allah, with an Islamic ruling regarding our problem below: Our local masjid, also owns a nearby community building. It was purchased mainly through Qard-E-Hasana. Alhamdulillah, I am in charge of a youth club that uses the building on a weekly basis; as well as providing activities for the youth we have an Islamic ethos and aim to connect them with their religion. We operate as a separate entity to the Masjid and have agreed to pay rent to the Masjid for use of the building and rely mainly on external funding to cover our costs. Our current grant will run out in the next 12 months and we will need to apply for more external funding to help us continue.
We have a variety of costs:
1) Rent (paid directly to the masjid)
2) Utility bills; gas, elec, water, tax etc.
3) Project costs; repairing and buying new equipment for activities such as pool, table tennis, football. As well as office costs.
4) Trips/away days: We regularly take the youth on trips such as paintballing / laser quest etc.
5) Salaries; we don’t currently employ anyone but we may consider doing this if more external funding can be acquired.
6) Capital costs e.g. the building itself such as paying for repairs to the leaking roof. Our goal is to inshallah expand our activities and roll out further projects, such as Cooking and Sewing classes for Muslim females. But we are dependent on external funding to begin any further projects and to also allow us to continue with what we are already doing (as well as providing the Masjid with a crucial source of Income).
Many of the grants that are currently available involve money that is from the national lottery either directly or indirectly. I am unclear whether it is categorically haraam to use such money for anything. So, please can you give us a Shariah ruling to clarify: Can grants that are from the proceeds of Lottery money be used by our Community Group at all?
If yes, given our situation, which of the above types of costs can be funded by Grants from Lottery funding?
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Allah Most High says:
“They ask you concerning wine and gambling. Say, in them, there is great sin and some benefit for men. The sin is greater than the benefit.” (Surah Baqarah: 219)
Gambling and taking part in National Lottery is, without doubt, unlawful and sinful. There is no need to go into details about the unlawfulness of gambling as this is not the issue in question here.
The funds that go to good causes from the income generated by the National Lottery is haram and merely changing hands would not come under the term Tabdeel-E-Milk (change of ownership). The money that is given to organisations who then distribute it amongst the community etc are merely agents for the National Lottery organisation, hence it is still called National Lottery funding. Therefore Islamic organisations should avoid using these kinds of funds as the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said: “Allah is pure and accepts nothing but what is pure.” (Sahih Muslim: 500)
However if the funds were transferred to an organisation by the National Lottery Organisation and they then become the owners of the fund and have their own criteria for funding, then this would indeed be considered Tabdeel-E-Milk and therefore these kinds of funding may be acquired by Islamic organisations.
Some scholars have allowed using unlawful money for charities in general, such as building roads, constructing community centres for the poor and financing other public welfare projects. (Fatawa Rahimiyya, Vol 3, P260)
In the books of jurisprudence it is stated that if one has money, which was acquired through interest (or other unlawful means), it will be necessary to give it away to the poor with the intention of removing the unlawful money from one and without the intention of reward. (Fatawa Hindiyya Vol 5, P349)
In conclusion, due to the fact that there has been no Tabdeel-E-Milk it will not be permissible for Islamic organisations to obtain these grants and funding. The level of poverty, which may have according to some scholars permitted the use of such funds, does not exist in the communities in the UK. Therefore it would not be lawful to obtain grants or funding from the National Lottery or such other organisation that provide funding from this kind of source to pay a salary or to pay for a community centre.
Only Allah knows best.
Written by Mufti Muhammad Adnan
Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham