Can I Own a Mosque?

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: I have a question regarding ownership of a masjid. Is it permissible to have a masjid as your own private property?

Answer: assalamu `alaykum

A mosque is an endowment (waqf) and not the private party of any single individual.

As an endowment, the default ruling is that it is not permitted for the person who originally built a mosque to sell it, take it back, move it, or have one’s family inherit it. The endowed land will maintain the status of a mosque even if people no longer utilize it for prayer, or the actual mosque becomes dilapidated. This is the position of Abu Hanifa and Abu Yusuf.

According to Muhammad ibn al-Hasan, if a mosque is no longer in use, it would return to the private ownership of the individual who built it or his inheritors. However, while it is in use, it would remain an endowment.

[Kasani, Bada`i al-Sana`i (6:219); Ibn Humam, Fath al-Qadir (5:446)]


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