In Principle, all Items Placed in a Mosque are an Endowment for all Muslims

Answered according to Shafi'i Fiqh by Darul Iftaa Jordan
I have prayed in a mosque in which there were handbooks and leaflets, so I took some of them. Is that permissible?

All perfect praise is due to Allah, The Lord of The Worlds; and may His blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Mohammad and upon all his family and companions. In principle, all items placed in a mosque are an endowment{Waqf} for all Muslims. According to Islamic Sharia, there are special rulings and conditions for an endowment, which steers the benefit of the endowed item to whom it was endowed for, and the endowed item isn`t possessed by anybody. Therefore, handbooks and leaflets which are intended for the benefit of Muslims, not for distribution, take the ruling of a Waqf. It was stated in the book { Sharh Montaha Al-Eradaat(2/398) }: “ Its pillars(i.e. the Waqf) are: an endower, an endowed item, persons endowed for and the form which the endower used upon making the endowment. The form is either by deed or by word…… An item becomes an endowment by doing what serves that end. “ However, there is no harm on the person who took some of these handbooks and leaflets with the intention of borrowing, provided that he obtained the permission of the person in charge. Moreover, it isn`t permissible for him to take them with the intention of keeping them to himself, rather, he should give them back within the specified time since they have been put in the mosque for the benefit of all the Muslims. In case of damage, either by negligence or intentional destruction, he is liable to make a compensation. Accordingly, you should repent and seek forgiveness from Allah for taking the above items from the mosque. You should also give them back if they are in a good condition, or give their cash value in case they are damaged. And Allah knows best.

This answer was collected from the official government Iftaa Department of Jordan.

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