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According to Sharia, can donor ask for refund ? Under what conditions ?

I represent a Madressa where children do Hifzul Quran as well as secular education. We have been running this school in a rented place and as such have been making an effort to raise funds for acquiring a piece of land to build or an existing building for a permanent place. Parents as well as other Muslims have donated the money for construction fund. We do not have enough money yet to be able to accomplish the goal. Past June we ran out of lease at the existing place. We at present are looking for another place to rent so we can continue our mission. We are hoping from Allah that we will have that place soon. We intend to continue to look for a permanent solution as well. In the mean time our school principal has quit and have opened up another school. Some of the students who were part of our school will be attending the new school. The past principal is telling us that some of the parents and donors have asked that we give the money they had donated for our school be given to the new school. Under these circumstances, according to Sharia can donor ask for refund? Under what conditions ? P.S. Please forward the questions regarding question no. 8207 (Guidance financial) to Mufti Taqi Usmani, Karachi ? Mufti saheb is requesting that specific questions be forwarded to him so he can clarify.

Answer

When a person donates money, property, etc to an institution the ownership of the money/property is transferred to the institution, therefore a person cannot ask for his donation to be refunded. The ownership has already changed hands therefore it does not remain as the person’s wealth anymore. Zakaat on the donated item will not be obligatory on the person who has donated the item if the institution did not use or dispose of that item within his Zakaatable year, because it is not his possession anymore. (Ahsanul Fataawaa, Vol. 1, Page 431, Vol. 6, Page 416-417)

and Allah Ta’ala Knows Best

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

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