Charging people for entering the mosque to pray
Fatwa No: 91103

Question

I live in Montreal, Canada and was wondering if a mosque had the right to charge every person who wanted to enter the mosque for Friday Prayer (Jumu'ah) two dollars. The reason I ask is because unlike in Syria where everyone gives money to their local mosques there are many Muslims in North America who are scrooge and leave their mosques to dry. People just expect that their mosques will find revenue somehow or God will protect it because it is his house. This money that is raised would go to help run certain activities and renovate the building. In Canada the Mosques are not subsidized by the government. The Imaam has already spoken to the people many a times trying to show the importance of giving money and there is always a donation box.
My Questions are:
1) Is a mosque allowed to charge a fee for people to enter and perform prayer?
2) If so under what conditions and if not under what conditions.

Answer

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 is His slave and Messenger. We ask Allaah to exalt his mention as well as that of his family and all his companions.

There is no doubt that it is an obligation on the Muslims who reside in the west to cooperate in order to live a Muslim life in that western environment. The first thing that they should do is to build mosques and Islamic centres where they could meet five times a day in the obedience of Allaah, be able to perform their religious obligations and teach their children the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ). This can only be achieved by having each person donating whatever he could in order to build a mosque, a school and a centre. Donating for this purpose is among the best donations as this leads the Muslims to protect their religion, and perform their religious obligations and pillars of Islam. This is one way of the ways of striving for Allaah's Cause. Building mosques is a communal obligation in towns, villages according to the necessity. Al-Buhooti may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him [from the Hanbali school] said: 'It is an obligation to build mosques in towns, villages and [suburban] areas, and the like, according to the necessity; and this is a communal obligation.'

A communal obligation means that if one person or a group of people build a mosque, then the others are not sinful, but if none of them takes the initiative to build a mosque, then all of them are sinful. This means that if people are in need for a mosque or are in need to expand the mosque, then it is an obligation on all of them to do so. If a sufficient number amongst them do it, it is sufficient for them, and the others will not be sinful because some people have done it. Therefore, if the required maintenance of the mosque can only be achieved by imposing a particular amount on the people who live in the region, then it is an obligation to do so, as the obligation that could not be achieved except by imposing something, then this thing becomes an obligation. If the expansion of the mosque can be achieved by some people donating for it, then the rest of the people are not obliged to donate, and it will be a desirable act in their regard.

However, imposing an amount of money on the people should not be for performing Friday prayer or any other prayer. The scholars, from the Hanafi and Maaliki schools may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  them [and this is the predominant opinion of their schools] stated that it is not permissible to take a fee from the congregation in return for allowing them to perform the prayer in the mosque, as this drives people away from the religion of Allaah and from the prayer, and this is something that cannot be accepted in religion and it is not permissible for anyone to do so.

Allaah Knows best.

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