Giving charity through Haram income
  • Currently i am unemployed and my only source of income is through my dad who works in a bank. Whatever money i have saved up over the years has come through his salary.

    I like to do a lot of charitable work and help the poor whenever i can. I saved up money over several years and then invested it in building a Masjid. During this Ramadan i want to contribute more but have some questions im hoping you will be able to answer.

    Through research i have found out that you should not use Haram earned money to contribute in charity or even build a Masjid. Can you provide relevant authentic information proving/disproving this issue? I have no other source of income, yet my heart wants to do so much for the poor.

    What should i do? I want to spend my savings and do lots of good charitable work but i am not in a position to do through halal money. I pray to get a halal job so that i can resolve this issue and In Sha Allah i believe it will work out.

    I do not want to miss out on an opportunity to help the poor especially in Ramadan. Will my contributions not be counted?

    Your opinion will be appreciated!

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  • Assalam Walikum Waramatullah Warbarkatu.

    Mashallah it is good that you are helping the poor and needy. Inshallah you will find a good job.

    a) Is it allowed to use unlawful/doubtful money for the construction of the Masjid or the community centre?

    a) As far as your first question is concerned, one should keep in mind the following Ahadith of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace):

    1) Said ibn Yasar (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said:Whoever gives in charity from good (halal) earning - and Allah only accepts the good - it is as if he placed it in the palm of the Merciful to raise it, as one of you raises his foal or young camel until it is like the mountain. (Muwatta of Imam Malik, Hadith no. 2844)

    2) Sayyiduna Abd Allah ibn Umar (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: Allah does not accept any prayer without purity, neither does he accept charity from what was stolen from booty (ghulul). (Sahih Muslim, Sunan Tirmidhi, Hadith no 1, Sunan Abu Dawud, Sunan Nasai & Sunan Ibn Majah)

    Qadhi Abu Bakr ibn al-Arabi (Allah have mercy on him) says in the explanation of the above Hadith:

    Giving in charity from unlawful wealth is similar in non-acceptance to performing Salat without obtaining purity. (See: Sunan Tirmidhi with footnotes from Ahmad Shakir, 1/ 6)

    3) Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: Allah the Almighty is pure and accepts only that which is pure (Sahih Muslim)

    The above narrations are categorical on the fact that Allah Most High does not accept charity given from unlawfully acquired wealth, for He is pure, and He only accepts what is pure.

    Based on this, the great Hanafi Jurist (faqih), Imam Ibn Abidin (Allah have mercy on him) states in his renowned Radd al-Muhtar, commentating on Imam al-Haskafis statement if from lawful (halal) wealth:

    Taj al-Shariah said: However, if one spends filthy wealth in the Masjid, or wealth which was gained through both unlawful and lawful means, then this will be disliked (m: makruh tahriman), because Allah Most High does not accept apart from that which is pure, hence it will be Makruh to pollute the Masjid with wealth that Allah does not accept. (Radd al-Muhtar, 1/658)

    Therefore, it will not be permitted to give or take unlawful wealth as donation for the construction of a Masjid, Islamic/community centre or any other cause for that matter; rather unlawful money should be given away to the poor and needy without the intention of gaining a reward.

    The above was the ruling of a donation from someone whose complete wealth was purely from unlawful means. If however, ones wealth was a mixture of Halal and Haram, then if more than half of ones wealth is lawful (halal) and less than half unlawful (haram), it would be permissible to accept this as donation even without investigating whether one is donating from the unlawful or lawful part of the wealth, as the ruling is given according to what is dominant.

    However, if most of ones wealth is certainly unlawful, then it would not be permitted to accept such wealth as donation to the Masjid unless one states that the money provided is from lawful wealth. (al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya, 5/343)

    You state that peoples wealth may be doubtful due to it being kept in the bank, etc. However, merely depositing money in the bank does not make it unlawful; hence it will be permitted to accept such money, unless there is some other clear reason of unlawfulness.

    One must remember that the wealth which is not permissible to accept as donation is that which is certainly unlawful, such as interest money, money gained through gambling, stealing or trading in unlawful trade, etc. It is also not necessary to carry out a detailed enquiry as to whether ones wealth is Halal or otherwise. If ones wealth is clearly known to be Haram, even without making an inquiry, then the above-mentioned injunction would apply.

    . Giving and taking interest are both decisively impermissible in Islam.

    2. Given this, the default is that it is impermissible to have any kinds of interest-bearing accounts. Many banks provide zero interest current accounts. If these are available where you are, it would not be permissible to get an interest-bearing account, even “low interest.” Given the need to safeguard money and the unavoidable need to engage in financial transactions, the jurists of our age have given a dispensation for low interest current accounts if the abovementioned type are not available.

    3. When you deposit money in the bank, the interest they give you is not your property, Islamically. The default would have been to actually return it to its rightful owners. Given that this is not possible, we are legally obliged to effectively return it to them by giving it away in charity, so that even though their money does not go back to them its benefit does in the form of the benefit of charity given on their behalf.

    It is only charity, however, with regards to the actual owners of the money. When you give this money away, you can only intend to get rid of unlawful filthy money from your holding, while repenting and seeking Allah’s forgiveness for disobeying Him in a matter He deems most hateful. To seek ‘good’ or reward when one gets rid of this money would be a serious sin in itself, the fuqaha tell us.

    One may either give this money to those deserving of zakat (=the poor and needy), or to charities. There is nothing wrong or dubious with accepting this money, because the sin devolves back to the person who wrongful engaged in the unlawful transaction and not the actual money itself.

    [Sources: al-Hadhr wa’l Ibaha of al-Nahlawi, al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya, Ibn Abidin’sRadd al-Muhtar, with some details from questions asked of Shaykh Mahmoud Ashraf Usmani, and other scholars]

Assalam Alaykum

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