Donations from Non-Muslims for an Islamic cause

Contemporary Fatawa, Fiqh / Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

(1) Is it permissible to accept donations from non Muslim individuals or organizations, for an Islamic cause like building a mosque, madrassah or similar other projects? We have been offered handsome donations for a proposed mosque cum Islamic center in our vicinity, by the non-Muslims of our area. The point of cover is that the source of income of the proposed non Muslim donors could not be vouched for its being in accordance with the tenets of Islam. Please advise us in the light of Shari‘ah.

A. Donations for a mosque or an Islamic center can be accepted from a non-Muslim individual or organization with the condition that such donations are not, in any manner, harmful to the interests of the Muslims. If, for example, there is an apprehension that the donors will try to interfere with the management of the mosque or the Islamic center or the donation will be detrimental to the self-respect of the Muslims, then, such donations should not be accepted.
So far as the question of the source of income of the donor is concerned, it is not necessary to carry out a detailed inquiry in this respect. However, if the source of income on the face of it, is proved to be haram, the donation should not be accepted.

Can one accept a donation for the above cause from a Muslim whose source of income is absolutely illegitimate (haram) and at the same time one can verify it?

(Dr. Zakaullah, New york)

A. As mentioned in the case of a non-Muslim donor, one is not required to enquire into the source of income of a donor, and unless it is evidently clear that the source is haram, one can presume that the money is halal. However, if it is absolutely clear, even without an inquiry, that the donation has come out of a haram source, then it is not allowed to accept such a donation.

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