Every month members of my local masjid must pay a monthly membership fee otherwise they will lose their membership. Being a member of the Masjid has a few perks, for example one is able to make suggestions in the AGM, one can be rest assured that the Masjid will look after his funeral rituals when he passes away etc. etc.
I happen to be a member of the Masjid committee and my opinion is held in high regard. Recently one of the brothers brought his concerns with regards to the membership fee and I thought it would be best if I asked Mufti Saheb whom I have trust in, is it ok for the masjid to charge such a fee?
The membership is also restricted to people of a certain community and background as stated in the constitution. Can Mufti Saheb also kindly clarify if such a clause is correct?
The Masajid are the houses of Allah which are for the benefit of the Muslim Ummah at large. Any Muslim may enter any Masjid and engage in the Ibadaat of Allah Ta’aala whether it is in the form of Salaah, Tilaawat, I’tikaaf, etc. without being coerced to contribute towards the running expenses of the Masjid. Yes, it is different matter if one voluntarily contributes towards the expenses of the Masjid for which he will be rewarded in the Court of Almighty Allah. All Muslims whether wealthy or poor, contributors or non-contributors should enjoy an equal standing and position in the Masjid. Yes, the trustees of the Masjid enjoy a degree of added responsibility in the sense that they will attend to the smooth functioning of the Masjid.
The said membership fee is in a way coercing people into contributing towards the expenses of the Masjid. This is encouraged by exclusively allowing contributors to hold an opinion in the AGM and promising them that their burial needs will be attended to which is incorrect. The AGM should be open to all the Musallis and all should have an equal right to voice their concerns. The current system affords privileges to the wealthy because of their contributions whilst the poor are brushed aside as a result of their poverty. We therefore do not approve of such a system.
Secondly, it is the duty and right of every Muslim to attend to the funeral rites of another Muslim (irrespective of his nationality, colour, financial standing, etc.) by attending to his Ghusl, Kafan, Salaah, Burial, etc. By attending to the funeral rites of a wealthy contributor only (and overlooking the poor) is against the teachings of Allah and His Rasul ﷺ. We therefore advise that such a clause be removed from the constitution.
If the Masjid committee is in need of funds for their day-to-day expenses, then brothers should be encouraged to contribute or trustees may go out to other towns and cities on a collection drive. However, the approach in question should be abandoned immediately as this will result in creating further division in the Ummat which will weaken the Ummah even more.
Checked and Approved By:
Mufti Muhammed Saeed Motara Saheb D.B.