Until the Day of Judgment—Part 2

by Mansoor Ahmad

For months, my wife and I were hearing and reading differing viewpoints about whether our masjid area could be converted to a social hall. Since she is not an Islamic scholar, my wife was hoping that someone else would write an article to clarify the Islamic stance on this subject. But no one did. So my wife took the initiative to research the subject for her own satisfaction.

What she found disturbed her so much that she felt compelled to write an article on this subject. Before posting the article, she had an Islamic scholar review the article. He commended her on the effort she put into researching the subject and found nothing wrong with what she wrote.

What she found was eye opening even for me. I was always under the impression that this issue was ambiguous in different schools of thought, but what she found was that there is no ambiguity. All four schools of thought believe that once a place is designated a masjid, it remains a masjid until the Day of Judgment.
After her article was posted, I have been informed that there are a lot of people in the community who are concerned about this issue and have been looking for ways to get the IAGD leadership to understand the seriousness of their plan to convert our masjid area into a social hall.

One brother told me that he had called two grand Muftis in Pakistan, Mufti Rafi Usmani and Mufti Taqi Usmani, who are well respected around the world. These Muftis told him that once an area is built as a masjid, it cannot be used for any other purpose. Other individuals on their own are contacting Muftis, both locally and abroad, to get answers to this issue.

Two or three years ago, Mufti Saeed Palanpuri, a well-respected Mufti from India, visited IAGD and gave a speech. One of the brothers indicated that when the Mufti was asked whether our masjid area could be turned into something else, the Mufti said that once a masjid, always a masjid. He said that if you have no other choice and cannot leave it as a masjid area, the only other option is to turn it into an Islamic library. But even that is only if there is no other choice. Mufti Saeed Palanpuri also had a meeting with a couple of the IAGD leaders regarding this issue.

Alhamdulillah, as a community, we are very fortunate. We own a lot of land around the current masjid. And we already have two other plan options—Plan H and Option 2 presented by Br. Sharif Gindy, Br. Fasahat Hamzavi (members of the Expansion Committee), and Br. Jukaku Tayeb—that expand the current masjid area so that it can remain a masjid. There is no need to turn the current masjid area into a social hall.

If our current masjid area will remain a masjid until the Day of Judgment, do we really want to use it as a social hall? Many members of the community donated money for the construction of the current masjid with the intention of saqada jaariya, with the understanding that they would be receiving ongoing rewards for their donations. Do we have a right to then turn this masjid area into a social hall?

First and foremost, IAGD is a religious organization. If all four schools of religious thought are clear on this point—that a masjid area should not be changed or converted into anything else—why are we even thinking about doing this?

I originally opposed the expansion plan for financial reasons, believing that the expansion was too large and cost too much money. I still believe that, but I now think that converting the current masjid area into a social hall is the most important issue we are facing regarding the expansion. We must properly handle the religious aspects of the expansion before we start worrying about size and cost.

We are still in the planning phase, so it is not too late to consider another plan that will leave our current masjid area as part of the masjid. I am requesting the Board of Directors and Board of Trustees to select a plan that will not force the community to deal with this unnecessary issue. I am requesting our Imams to speak up about this fiqhi issue and help our leaders and community make this important decision. I am especially making an appeal to the community to speak up and demand that the current masjid area not be turned into a social hall.

May Allah (SWT) guide the community, give us wisdom, and unite us as we make this important decision. Only Allah (SWT) knows best.

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