Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah
Some people who have asked for Sadaqah relief for their rent and their student loans have $15k of credit card debt. They wanted to know if the masjid can give them an interest-free loan. Can Sadaqah funds be used for this purpose?
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
Assalamualaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakaatuh
Allah says, “And if someone is in hardship, then [let there be] postponement until [a time of] ease. But if you give [from your right as] charity, then it is better for you, if you only knew.” [Qur’an 2:280] This verse refers to loans that are given to people who need money, and they ask for more time in repayment. The wording used at the end of the verse “charity” comes from the root word of ‘sadaqah’. Since forgiving a loan for people who are in debt is considered a type of sadaqah, it would be permissible for the masjid to give them a loan, and if needed, to forgive that loan someday.
However, the intention of the giver of this ‘sadaqah’ money is important. If the giver intended to discharge their zakah, then this money is restricted. Allah has used the word ‘sadaqah’ to refer to zakah in the Qur’an as well: “Zakah expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed to collect [zakah] and for bringing hearts together [for Islam] and for freeing captives [or slaves] and for those in debt and for the cause of Allah and for the [stranded] traveller – an obligation [imposed] by Allah. And Allah is Knowing and Wise.” [Qur’an 9:60] Zakah must be handed over to the person in need completely [known as tamlik].
Therefore, first, ascertain whether these are Zakah funds or not. If they are not, then the money may be used to give a loan to these people.
Only Allah knows best
Written by Maulana Mustafa Umar
Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham