IslamQA

Guidelines for fees during Covid-19

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by DaruliftaaZambia.com

Question

Asslaaamu Alaykum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakaatuh

Kindly guide us on the payment of fees in the following circumstances:

Due to the virus, the government had ordered schools to close 3 weeks before the term ended. All the schools and Madrasahs failed to complete the term normally. It has now been 6 weeks. During this period, different institutes took different approaches:

  • Some institutes have neither been sending any work nor teaching online.
  • Some institutes decided to complete the term via mandatory online teaching. This was costly for both the school as well as parents. The online lessons were much shorter than the actual school teaching times.
  • Some institutes announced that the first three weeks shall be considered as the end of term holiday (brought forward by three weeks). Thereafter, they started sending out work packs of mostly revision work. This was done without specification whether it is a continuation of term 1 or beginning of term 2. The work packs were very small and completing them only took 20-25% of the time that students usually spend in school.
  • Some institutes have officially started term 2 via online teaching.
  • Some institutes have started sending new work after the holiday via Whatsapp but there has been no specification of whether this is part of term 1 or term 2 work.

What amount of fees need to be paid during this period? Almost all the Muslim institutes have no breakdown of the fee structure. Fees are usually charged as ‘school fees’ without any specification of whether library and laboratory access, sports facilities, etc. are included or not.

The concerns from a parent’s point of view are:

  • Institutes are trying to impose the fees arbitrarily with threats of deregistering students upon failure or refusal to pay. This is done with full knowledge that new students are not being enrolled by institutes at the moment or will not get space in other institutes. Hence, parents are forced to pay. They are being bullied.
  • What happens to the fees for three weeks that have not been completed by some of the institutes? Also, what about inadequate work packs and shortened online teaching?
  • Online learning via video link is costly for parents. Yet schools are unwilling to compromise at all on the fees or are giving very small discounts despite shortened teaching ours.
  • Institutes that have been sending small work packs may justify collection of full fees.
  • Parents have been spending hours supervising children doing their work from home.
  • Students will not be able to access the full facilities of the institute, yet the ‘undefined fees’ remain either the same or are not reasonably reduced.

On the other hand, if full fees are not paid, some institutes will face challenges as far as covering their overheads is concerned. Payment of salaries will be difficult. Some schools have spent a lot of time behind devising systems for teaching during this period. There is no stimulus package offered by the government. However, there is guidance on reduction of salaries during this period when the work rate is not per normal.

However, some institutes are in a good enough position to see themselves through without charging the full fees

We therefore request for guidelines on fees both for the institutes as well as the parents. We seek Mufti Sahib’s advice in this matter.

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

In principle, all business relationships in Shari’ah are governed by a contract that is mutually agreed. School and Madrasah fees take the form of Ijaarah contracts.

The current situation of the COVID-19 shutdown is unusual, unprecedented and unforeseen. It is very likely that agreements and contracts do not cater for such scenarios and the contracting parties may not have been prepared for or have budgeted for such a situation.

In view of the concerns of the institutes as well as the parents, it is fair to consider the wellbeing of both parties. It is unrealistic to arbitrarily demand either for a reduction in fees or for payment of the full amount.

In this case, the most advisable solution is to come to a mutual agreement on the issues detailed in the question.[i] Hence, we advise that each institute deal with the matter individually. The institute should appoint one representative and the parents whose children are enrolled in that institution should also appoint a representative. These two representatives should be left to discuss the matter and present a joint decision that will be binding on both parties. [ii]

As far as fees for term two are concerned, we advise the parties to seek legal counsel before engaging in any negotiations or agreements.

This is a time for all parties to exhibit true values of Imaan and demonstrate adherence to Islamic teachings. We should be driven by our human and religious values and not only material gain. Our consideration and compromise for each other shall be regarded as an act of great virtue.

Remember the Hadith:

[iii] لاَ يُؤْمِنُ أَحَدُكُمْ، حَتَّى يُحِبَّ لِأَخِيهِ مَا يُحِبُّ لِنَفْسِهِ

“You do not have true Imaan until you love for your brother what you love for yourself.”

Also consider the Hadith of Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wa Sallam:

رَحِمَ اللَّهُ رَجُلًا سَمْحًا إِذَا بَاعَ، وَإِذَا اشْتَرَى، وَإِذَا اقْتَضَى[iv]

“May Allah shower mercy upon the person who adopts a kind attitude when he sells, when he buys and when he asks for payment (of loans).”

No matter what the outcome of the deal may be, if a person is lenient in his dealings, at least he will be a recipient of the blessed du’a of Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wa Sallam.

 

And Allah Ta’ala Knows Best

Mufti Nabeel Valli

Checked And Approved by                                       

Mufti Ebrahim Desai

Darul Iftaa Mahmudiyyah

Lusaka, Zambia

 

[i]  {وَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ شِقَاقَ بَيْنِهِمَا فَابْعَثُوا حَكَمًا مِنْ أَهْلِهِ وَحَكَمًا مِنْ أَهْلِهَا إِنْ يُرِيدَا إِصْلَاحًا يُوَفِّقِ اللَّهُ بَيْنَهُمَا إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلِيمًا خَبِيرًا} [النساء: 35]

 

المبسوط للسرخسي (21/ 62)

[بَابُ الْحَكَمَيْنِ]

(قَالَ – رَحِمَهُ اللَّهُ -:) الْأَصْلُ فِي جَوَازِ التَّحْكِيمِ قَوْله تَعَالَى: {فَابْعَثُوا حَكَمًا مِنْ أَهْلِهِ وَحَكَمًا مِنْ أَهْلِهَا إنْ يُرِيدَا إصْلَاحًا يُوَفِّقْ اللَّهُ بَيْنَهُمَا} [النساء: 35] وَالصَّحَابَةُ – رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمْ – كَانُوا مُجْمِعِينَ عَلَى جَوَازِ التَّحْكِيمِ وَلِهَذَا بَدَأَ الْبَابَ بِحَدِيثِ الشَّعْبِيِّ – رَحِمَهُ اللَّهُ – قَالَ: كَانَ بَيْنَ عُمَرَ وَأُبَيِّ بْنِ كَعْبٍ – رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمَا – مُدَارَأَةٌ بَيْنَهُمَا فِي شَيْءٍ فَحَكَّمَا بَيْنَهُمَا زَيْدَ بْنَ ثَابِتٍ – رَحِمَهُ اللَّهُ -: فَأَتَيَاهُ فَخَرَجَ زَيْدُ بْنُ ثَابِتٍ إلَيْهِمَا وَقَالَ لِعُمَرَ – رَحِمَهُ اللَّهُ -: أَلَا تَبْعَثُ إلَيَّ فَآتِيكَ يَا أَمِيرَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ فَقَالَ عُمَرُ – رَحِمَهُ اللَّهُ -: ” فِي بَيْتِهِ يُؤْتَى الْحُكْمُ ” فَأَذِنَ لَهُمَا فَدَخَلَا وَأَلْقَى لِعُمَرَ وِسَادَةً فَقَالَ: عُمَرُ – رَحِمَهُ اللَّهُ -: هَذَا أَوَّلُ جَوْرِكَ. وَكَانَتْ الْيَمِينُ عَلَى عُمَرَ – رَحِمَهُ اللَّهُ – فَقَالَ زَيْدٌ لِأُبَيٍّ – رَحِمَهُ اللَّهُ -: لَوْ أَعْفَيْتَ أَمِيرَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ مِنْ الْيَمِينِ فَقَالَ عُمَرُ يَمِينٌ لَزِمَتْنِي، فَلَأَحْلِفُ فَقَالَ: أُبَيٌّ – رَحِمَهُ اللَّهُ -: بَلْ يُعْفَى أَمِيرُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَيُصَدِّقُهُ.

وَالْمُرَادُ بِالْمُدَارَأَةِ الْخُصُومَةُ وَاللَّجَاجُ

 

المحيط البرهاني في الفقه النعماني (8/ 117)

الفصل الثالث والعشرون: في الرجلين يحكمان بينهما حكما

يجب أن يعلم بأن التحكيم جائز ثبت جوازه بقوله تعالى: {فابعثوا حكماً من أهله وحكماً من أهلها} (النساء: 35) ، وبما روى أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: «أنه أنزل بني قريظة على حكم سعد بن معاذ» وبأثر عمر وعلي رضى الله عنهما؛ وشرط جوازه أن يكون الحكم من أهل الشهادة، لأن الحكم فيما بين المحكمين بمنزلة القاضي المولى في حق الكل، وإنما يصح تقليد القضاء لمن صلح شاهداً، فكذا هاهنا ويشترط أن يكون أهلاً للشهادة وقت التحكيم، ووقت الحكم جميعاً حتى أنه إذا لم يكن أهلاً للشهادة وقت التحكيم فصار أهلاً للشهادة وقت الحكم، بأن كان الحكم عبداً فأعتق وحكم لا ينفذ حكمه، هكذا ذكر صاحب الأقضية في الأقضية، والشيخ الإمام شيخ الإسلام في شرح كتاب الصلح.

 

 

[ii]  البحر الرائق شرح كنز الدقائق ومنحة الخالق وتكملة الطوري (7/ 25)

وَصِفَتُهُ قَبْلَ الْحُكْمِ الْجَوَازُ وَبَعْدَهُ اللُّزُومُ

 

[iii]  صحيح البخاري (1/ 12)

13 – حَدَّثَنَا مُسَدَّدٌ، قَالَ: حَدَّثَنَا يَحْيَى، عَنْ شُعْبَةَ، عَنْ قَتَادَةَ، عَنْ أَنَسٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَعَنْ حُسَيْنٍ المُعَلِّمِ، قَالَ: حَدَّثَنَا قَتَادَةُ، عَنْ أَنَسٍ عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ: «لاَ يُؤْمِنُ أَحَدُكُمْ، حَتَّى يُحِبَّ لِأَخِيهِ مَا يُحِبُّ لِنَفْسِهِ»

 

[iv]  صحيح البخاري (3/ 57)

2076 – حَدَّثَنَا عَلِيُّ بْنُ عَيَّاشٍ، حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو غَسَّانَ مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ مُطَرِّفٍ، قَالَ: حَدَّثَنِي مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ المُنْكَدِرِ، عَنْ جَابِرِ بْنِ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمَا: أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، قَالَ: «رَحِمَ اللَّهُ رَجُلًا سَمْحًا إِذَا بَاعَ، وَإِذَا اشْتَرَى، وَإِذَا اقْتَضَى»

This answer was collected from Daruliftaazambia.com, which serves as a gateway to Darul Iftaa Mahmudiyyah – Lusaka, Zambia.

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