Schools often visit our Mosque and pay for coming in and visiting (classes of mostly non-Muslim students and their teachers). At least 10 brothers can alternate themselves, depending on their availability, dedicating their time, sometimes 45 minutes up to 2 hours, and welcoming and introducing the masjid to those schools. Here are my questions:
Is it lawful to take the money, by the management of the masjid for the masjid, for the visit, considering that we have the opportunity to directly talk with them and let them hear from a Muslim the correct Islamic point of view of their questions?
Is it lawful for the brother(s) to take some of the amount paid by the school, considering this as a remuneration for their time?
1) Welcoming School children and/or other non-Muslim guests, and introducing them to the Mosque and Islamic teachings is not only permitted but a highly commendable act – especially given that in current times there are many misconceptions about Islam and its pristine teachings. As such, it represents a good opportunity to make Da’wah to non-Muslims.
Islamically, it is permissible to allow non-Muslims entry into the Mosque, as long as they get permission from the Muslims, and behave respectfully towards the Mosque. This would include dressing appropriately, which the Mosque authorities can help with by providing elegant loose clothing, with hoods for women.
There are several authentically established reports in the works of Hadith, including Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim, that non-Muslims used to enter the Messenger of Allah’s (Allah bless him & give him peace) Mosque in Madina, and he would host non-Muslim delegations within the Mosque. As such, according to the vast majority of classical jurists (with the exception of Imam Malik), there is nothing wrong with non-Muslims entering Mosques, excluding the Holy Mosque of Makka (Al-Masjid al-Haram). As for Al-Masjid al-Haram, there is a difference of opinion amongst classical scholars – with Imam Abu Hanifa (Allah have mercy on him) allowing their entry into it. (See: Bada’i al-Sana’i, Al-Talkhis al-Habir 1/520 and other major classical reference works).
It is stated in Al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya, one of the leading reference works in the Hanafi school, that, “There is nothing wrong with non-Muslims (dhimmis) entering the Al-Masjid al-Haram and all other Mosques. This is the sound opinion in the Madhhab, as mentioned in Al-Muhit of Sarakhsi.” (Al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya 5/246)
2) As for taking money for the visit, it is permitted for the Mosque management to do so, and use some of it to pay for the time and effort of those who welcome the guests and introduce the Mosque to them. It is similar to being paid for teaching Islamic knowledge and other type of Da’wah work.
The early Muslim scholars, including Imam Abu Hanifa (Allah be pleased with him), did not permit accepting money for such religious and Islamic tasks. However, the vast majority of later scholars from all four Sunni Schools of Islamic law allowed accepting payment – even though it is the moral responsibility of a Muslim to render such services voluntarily. This is due to the fact that early Muslims were remunerated for their efforts by the state treasury (bayt al-mal), and given that one has to spend time and effort, and at times wealth, in carrying out such works.
Imam Ibn Abidin, the renowned late Hanafi jurist, states, “It is related from our three Imams: Abu Hanifa, Abu Yusuf and Muhammad (Allah be pleased with them all) that hiring [and accepting payment] in return for virtuous actions (ta’aat) is invalid (batil). However, many later Mujtahid Imams [of the Hanafi School] – who were people of deducing rules (takhrij) and preferring one text over the other (tarjih) – issued a verdict in favour of the soundness of accepting payment for teaching the Qur’an, out of necessity (dharura). This is due to the fact that [in earlier times] teachers were remunerated from the state treasury (bayt al-mal), which has now ceased. As such, if hiring and accepting payment is considered incorrect, there is a possibility of the [knowledge of the] Qur’an and religion being lost, due to the teachers’ need of earning a livelihood. Scholars who came after them and were similar to them [in knowledge and rank] also issued a Fatwa regarding the soundness of accepting payment for giving the Adhan and leading the prayers, and they are both from among the salient features of religion. Thus, they allowed hiring personnel for delivering the Adhan and leading the prayers due to need and necessity. This is the position chosen by those [Hanafi] scholars who came after Abu Hanifa and his students, knowing that had Abu Hanifa and his students been in their times, they would have given similar verdicts and retracted from their previous position.” (Majmu’a Rasa’il Ibn Abidin 1/13-14)
Imam Khatib al-Shirbini (Allah have mercy on him) of the Shafi’i School states, “It is permitted to hire someone for preparing the body of the deceased (tajhiz) such as bathing the dead body, shrouding it and burying it (tadfin), and for teaching the Qur’an or part of the Qur’an and other similar acts that are considered to be collective obligations (fardh kifaya)…” (Mughni al-Muhtaj 2/442 Also see: Nawawi, Al-Majmu’ & Ibn Qudama, Al-Mughni)
Among the evidences for this is the report in which a group of Companions (Allah be pleased with them) passed by a community residing close to a river whose leader had been stung by a scorpion. A man from amongst them came and said to the Companions (Allah be pleased with them), “Is there anyone amongst you who can do Ruqya, for near the water there is a person who has been stung by a scorpion.” So one of the Companions went to him and recited Surat al-Fatiha, and took a sheep as his payment. The man was cured, and the Companion brought the sheep to the rest of the companions who disliked it and said, “You have taken wages for [reciting the] book of Allah?!” When they arrived at Madina, they asked the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) regarding it, and he said, “You are most entitled to take wages for [reciting the] book of Allah.” (Sahih al-Bukhari no: 5405)
As such, it is permitted to accept payment in return of the time spent in welcoming non-Muslim guests and introducing the Mosque and Islam to them. This money can be used for the benefit of the Mosque and also given as wages to those who take out time for this task. It is however superior, if there is no need, to carry out such work voluntarily.
And Allah knows best
[Mufti] Muhammad ibn Adam
Leicester , UK