Allah, the Almighty, has created mankind for His divine law revealed to the last and final Prophet Muhammd (pbuh) and bestowed upon them what they need to live in this temporary world. The Holy Qur’an announces: “And He (Allah) giveth you of all that ye ask for, but if ye count the favours of Allah, never will ye be able to number them” (14:34)
One of the important favours that Allah has granted to mankind is wealth and property. So it appears that Allah is the only genuine and real owner of the wealth and property and He has given these to mankind as trust (amanat) meant for the welfare and benefit of all human beings and other creations of Allah. It is prohibited in Islam to allow the concentration of wealth and property in a few hands without discharging its financial obligations to society. The Holy Qur’an condemns the concentration of wealth and property “Woe to everyone who pileth up wealth and layeth it by thinking that his wealth would make him last forever’’(104:1-3).
Islam permits individuals and organisations to acquire, own and possess wealth and property as much as they can provided they do so through lawful means and pay zakat, sadqah and fitra on them and allow their descendants to inherit the wealth and property after their death. Islam prevents the concentration of economic power in a few hands and thereby seeks to eliminate the economic disparity among people in society.
Among all charities as prescribed in Islam, zakat is mandatory like prayer (salat). A Muslim refusing to pay zakat is called fasiq. Zakat means purification and development. When a Muslim pays zakat on his wealth and property, zakat purifies his wealth and property besides allowing him to contribute to the growth of his society. Non-payment of zakat makes one’s wealth and property impure and haram. Prayer of someone consuming and hoarding such wealth is not accepted by Allah. Masjids especially situated in towns and cities in India are rich and now many of them are centrally air-conditioned. People who establish prayer and do I’tekaf in these Masjids feel peace and comfort. These Masjids own and possess huge wealth and property besides other earning sources like rents from houses, restaurants and shops etc. These Masjids earn huge amount of income every year and keep them deposited with the bank opening accounts in the names of the President/Secretary of the Masjid Committee. If an enquiry is conducted it would reveal a credit balance of several lakh rupees in each such account. Needless to say that though these Masjids have huge bank balances and wealth and property, still there are donation boxes installed inside their premises. What does it mean? Does Islam permit such huge amounts of money and wealth and property amassed and concentrated in a Masjid without discharging its socio-economic obligation towards society? Islam teaches that all Masjids in the world enjoy same rank, status and position except the Masjid-e-Haram in Makkah, Masjid-e-Nabawi in Madina and Masjid-e-Aqsa in Jerusalem. A Muslim is required to love and respect all Masjids in the world just as he loves and respects his Jamaat’s Masjid. But it is a pity to note here that many Masjids in rural areas suffer from fund crunch failing to pay salaries of their imams regularly and to undertake repair and other work resulting in a deplorable condition of those Masjids. It is seen that due to lack of funds some Masjids appoint imams only for Jum’ah prayer. I think, it will not be wrong if the solvent Masjids transfer their excess funds to the financially weak Masjids and even Madrassas in rural areas so that these Masjids and Madrassas could run smoothly and serve their purpose. Hope, our Ulama will think over this suggestion and pass their valuable comment on it.
M. Abdus Samad
P B College, Gauripur, Dhubri (Assam).