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Are Masjid trustees are responsible for theft of money?

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Askimam.org

Can Mufti Saheb please clarify the following for us: 1. Can the trustees of a musjid be held responsible for theft of money out of musjid lillah and zakaat safe boxes? 2. If the trustees did not do due diligence of clearing lillah /zakaat safes on a regular basis, can they be held responsible for theft of funds? If so how should they be held accountable? 3. What is the ruling with regards to zakaat funds that were stolen from such safe boxes? 4. How should a minor be dealt with if he has admitted to theft from the boxes? 5. How should a major be dealt with if he is implicated by the guilty youngster who was caught stealing on camera? Jazaakallah Hashim NB. 1.The musjid is locked during the night. The musjid also has an alarm system. 2. The money was fished out of the boxes with a wire. This was established through cameras that was recently installed


In the Name of Allaah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salaamu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullaahi wa-barakaatuh.

Brother in Islaam,

The answers to your queries are as follows:

1-2. The donations of the masjid are an amaanah by the representatives (mutawallees) of the masjid. If the donations were stolen from the masjid despite there being security measures, as is the case in the query above, the trustees will not be responsible. If there was negligence from the side of the trustees, such as not having security measures in the masjid, the trustees would be responsible[1].

In the enquired situation, you state that aside from the money being kept in the safe, the masjid has an alarm system and a camera system. Accordingly, the trustees were not negligent at this point and thus cannot be held responsible. The delay in clearing out the safe is not negligence as the camera system and alarm system were operating.

3. When the masjid collects zakaah, the trustees act as a wakeel (representative) of the one discharging the zakaah. Hence, the money in the hands of the trustees is an amaanah. As the trustees were not negligent as established above, they will not responsible. Those who had given their zakaah to the masjid for distribution will have to discharge their zakaah again. The trustees of the masjid should inform the public accordingly.

4-5. The trustees may consult one another and determine the best course of action in dealing minor and adult.

And Allaah Ta’aala Knows Best.

Muajul I. Chowdhury

Student, Darul Iftaa

Astoria, New York, USA

Checked and Approved by,

Mufti Ebrahim Desai.


[1] عمدة الرعاية بتحشية شرح الوقاية (6/ 260)

لأنه أمانة في يده ولا ضمان في الأمانة

This answer was collected from Askimam.org, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Ebrahim Desai from South Africa.

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