Respected Mufti Sb,
If you could be kind to answer the following please:
1) The annual membership fees that are stipulated by Masjid committees if this isn’t paid on time, is it regarded as a debt and will it be deducted when giving zakat?
2) If the person has financial difficulties but is still forced to pay without his pleasure, is it permissible for the committee to accept the money?
3) Does someone have to be compelled to pay this fee?
4) If not paid, is it allowed for the committee to not allow the person to send his kids to their madrassah, or have his ghusl mayyat done at the same masjid?
5) If the masjid is having construction work done a large amount is fixed by the committee that all members MUST pay, is this force or compulsion allowed?
6) What is your opinion of such membership fees that our masjids have?
Wa Alaikum As Salaam,
1) The annual membership fee cannot be regarded as a debt, and hence, cannot be deducted while paying Zakaat.
2) No one should be forced to pay this fee, and it cannot be taken from a person without his consent. The committee should not accept the fees if they had forced the person to pay. Instead, they should return it to him and when he gives it with his free will, then they can accept it.
3) No one must be compelled to pay this fee.
4) If the fee is not paid, by a person then it is not allowed for the committee to stop his kids from attending the madrassah. In a similar manner, the committee cannot refuse to do the ghusl of this person (when he becomes deceased) at the masjid facilities.
5) If the masjid is having a construction, then an appeal should be made to the Muslims to contribute to it for the sake of Allah. In addition, they can make a request to the Muslims (of that locality and elsewhere) to make a commitment to donate a fixed sum towards the project. However, the committee cannot stipulate a sum of money (whether it is large or small) upon any individual and then force him to pay it. The masjid is the house of Allah. It is neither a private property nor a business enterprise. Hence, monies given to its maintenance and construction must be given with one’s free consent, willingly and without being forced to do so.
6) In my opinion, such membership fees should not be imposed upon the musallis or those who attend a particular masjid. A membership fee reflects a fee which is charged by a masjid for one to become a member, and this is not so in Islam.
With respect to funds that are needed for the masjid, then appeals can always be made to Muslims to contribute towards the maintenance/construction of the masjid. Muslims in the community can also make commitments to give a fixed sum every month to the masjid. These however, must be done willingly, with one’s consent and will not be called a membership fee. Those who do not contribute, or are not able to contribute cannot be barred from the masjid facilities and the free services that are offered to all Muslims.
And Allah knows best,
Mufti Waseem Khan