Fatwa from Jamia Darul Uloom Karachi, Pakistan

Concerned from a fiqhi perspective about turning our current masjid into a social hall, a community member requested a fatwa from Jamia Darul Uloom in Karachi, Pakistan. The original fatwa (question and answer) is written in Urdu and Arabic and can be downloaded here by clicking this link:

Jamia Darul Uloom Question and Answer

The Arabic portion of the fatwa was discussed in Dr. Gindy’s article below, entitled “Are We Playing with Fire?” Here is an English translation of the Urdu portion of the fatwa:

QUESTION:

Our town, in Detroit, Michigan, the expansion project of our masjid is ready. According to this project, on an existing big plot a separate new masjid is to be built. And the existing masjid prayer area will be converted into social hall or classrooms. My question is, can we convert the existing masjid area into social hall or classrooms?

Our masjid is 30 years old. The details of the social hall and classrooms follow. Social hall is used for lectures and meetings. People rent this for their domestic functions, weddings, Ameens, iftars and graduation parties. In these functions, there is no music allowed. In the hall, women are on one side and men are on the other side. In the classrooms, it is an elementary school in which there is Islamic and also regular schooling. The majority of the teachers are women.

Please answer the question in light of all four madhabs (schools of thought). The majority of the mussallees follow the Hanafi madhab (school of thought). Some follow the Shaafi madhab (school of thought). Can you mail me the answer with the signatures of Mufti-e-Azam Pakistan Hazrat Mulana Mufti Mohammed Rafi Usmani and Hazrat Mulana Mufti Mohammed Taqi Usmani soon? I would be very grateful to you. May Allah (SWT) give you reward. Ameen.

ANSWER:

In the Name of Allah, the most Merciful and Beneficent.

The Answer to the Question

In the case of a mussalla, if this place was not designated waqf for the masjid. Instead, the salats are being performed here as a temporary prayer area. In this case, it is not a shariah masjid. Instead, it is a mussalla. In case of building a masjid in another place, it is permissible to make a social hall or classrooms at this place.

And if this place was waqf for the masjid and the masjid was built, then this is a shariah masjid. The ruling of a shariah masjid is that it stays a masjid until the Day of Judgment.

If the new masjid is built, it is not permissible to use the old shariah masjid for any other purpose than a masjid. And at this place, it is not permissible to do any type of work that is against the etiquettes of the masjid. In this case, converting the old masjid into a social hall or classrooms is absolutely not permissible. Instead, it is mandatory that this prayer area be included in the new masjid.

Yes, before building the new masjid, you can make the intention of making a social hall, etc. in the basement. The condition is that the basement is waqf for the auxiliary purposes of the masjid. It is not anybody’s personal property.

Since no such intention was made before building the old masjid, so the basement is in the same ruling as the shariah masjid, and it is not permissible to use it for any other purpose than the masjid.

The fatwa was issued by Sayed Husain Ahmad and signed and sealed by Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani on August 29, 2012. According to Wikipedia, Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani“is a Hanafi Islamic scholar from Pakistan who was born in 1943. He served as a judge on the Federal Shariat Court of Pakistan from 1981 to 1982 and the Shariat Appellate Bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan between 1982 and 2002. He is an expert in the fields of Islamic Jurisprudence (fiqh), economics and hadith. He also held a number of positions on the Shariah Boards of prestigious Islamic institutions, and is one of the most influential Islamic authors outside the Middle East.” His full biography can be found at:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhammad_Taqi_Usmani

Annually, the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre prepares a list of the top 500 most influential Muslims in the world, with special highlight on the top 50. Sheikh Muhammad Taqi Usmani ranks number 32 on the 2011 list. The list of the top 50 can be found at:

http://themuslim500.com/top50_2011

According to this website, “Usmani’s chief influence comes from his position as a global authority on the issue of Islamic finance. He has served on the boards, and as chairman, of over a dozen Islamic banks and financial institutions, and currently leads the International Shariah Council for the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) in Bahrain. He is also deputy chairman of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, one of the highest legal bodies in the Muslim World.

Usmani is very important as a figurehead in the Deobandi movement—one of the most successful of the Islamic revivalist initiatives of the past century. Usmani was born in Deoband, India, the son of Mufti Muhammad Shafi (the former Grand Mufti of Pakistan) who founded the Darul ‘Uloom Deoband, a leading center of Islamic education in Pakistan.”

4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Stalwart 1 on September 14, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    I am waiting for the most convincing argument that the MASTERS (BOT) are hiding from their subjects (the community). And that argument is stopping them from accepting the number of community members who don’t agree with their plan,the religious dimension (which is pretty strong) and the financial prespective.There must be something but so far they don’t think that the community is capable enough to understand it since only they are the blessed ones who can foresee the future (but not the AAKHIRAH)and the community is not that important ,so that they should share that knowledge wiith them.
    So,many things have been said so far but the silence from the MASTERS is not what is usually practiced .Isn’t this the high time that they should share the supreme vision which, subjects are not understanding.
    I beg of you to please share that reason which is stopping you for accepting the demand of the community.

    Reply

    • Posted by Stalwart 1 on September 19, 2012 at 4:49 pm

      I have heard that the chairman of BOT has said a lot of things to the brother who got the FATWA from Pakistan .He not only undermined the scholars but also insisted that what they are doing is right ,in the light of the opinion that they got by providing an incorrect information.
      I have a question that ,converting a 30 years old declared prayer area into something where the AHKAAMS of ALLAH ( SWT) will be broken, is not permitted in any MADHAB.It is pretty serious issue and it doesn’t make any difference whether the situation is in North America or in Pakistan .Why you are not ready to accept the ruling from actual ULEMAS ,who have fulfilled the pre requisites of an authority to give any FATWA.
      BOT & BOD should educate themselves on the FUNDMENALS of DEEN. What is the source of knowledge ..the precedence given in QURAN ,if not in Quran then SUNNAH or HADEETH .If you don’t find anything similar in the history then we do the IJTEHAAD.
      Here you have countless examples even in the current history that once a masjid always a masjid but you people have no FEAR OF ALLAH or HIS AA’ZAAB.

      Reply

  2. Posted by Maulvi Bashar on September 15, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    It was very impressive to see this fatwa from Grand Mufti from Pakistan. He is very big scholar in the Islamic world. He is Grand Mufti, the son of Grand Mufti and the brother of Grand Mufti. Whoever was able to get this fatwa from such a great scholar should be commended. May Allah (swt) reward him and his family for these efforts.

    The English translation is exact word to word translaton of the Urdu version. Whoever did the translation did great job. The question was on point and the answer clearly shows that we can not convert the masjid to a social hall.

    The fatwa from fiqh council did not make sense to those who understand the hadith of the prophet (saw). The question was not accurate about our situation. The answer did not look like fatwa. The board’s fatwa looks like emails between friends. Its not signed, sealed, no supporting information is quoted. Mufti Usmani’s fatwa looks like an official and proper fatwa.

    This is a very serious issue for our community and it should not be treated as lightly as the board did by sending out that email. The board of directors and board of trustees should not have overlooked this issue. This should have been the first issue that they took care of. We cannot play with Allah’s house like this.

    Reply

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