Al-Manzil Financing for Masjid Building

By Mufti Taqi Usmani

Q.1) In ISNA convention held this year in Chicago I came across a brochure by Al Manzil that they provide loan for building mosques and Madrasah. They mention your name (Mufti Taqi Usmani) as head of Sharia board in the brouchure. We want to build a mosque and Madrasah in Grand Rapids. Would you be kind enough to let us know whether the concept mentioned in that brochure is in accordance with Islamic Shariah. [Dr Naveed Siddiqi Islamic Center Of Grand Rapids, MI.]

A.2) It is true that the House Financing Program of UBK introduced as Al-Manzil is approved by us, but it is meant for acquiring house for personal use. The main Manzil Program in USA is based on Ijara. This form of financing does not suit a Masjid because under the proposed system, the bank itself purchases the land or the building then leases it to the client. It means that the property remains in the ownership of the bank until the last installment of rent. This procedure is not suitable for a Masjid because up to the time of final settlement it will be a hired place and will not attain the status of a full-fledged Masjid.

However, another Al-Manzil Program is based on Murabahah and I am not sure whether or not this form is introduced in the USA. But if it is introduced a Masjid can seek financing through this mode because in this case the bank purchases the place or the building and sells it to the client on deferred payment basis and thus the property does no longer remain in the ownership of the bank.

In the case of Madrarasa, however, any one of the two forms, namely Ijara or Murabahah can be adopted.


Q.2) We use the ijara wa iqtina for mosques because communities are leasing in the first place or have no musalla. When we use this tool, unlike murabah, it allows us to be more flexible in the financial planning for mosques which have notoriously irregular collections. The relationships are normally for five years at which time the community buys out the lease and has full title. My understanding of Sheikh Mufti Taqi Usmani's comment is that the site is still suitable for prayers and juma even though it is not yet owned by the community. Please comment on or correct my understanding. Thank you. [Abdulkader Steven Thomas]

A.2) What I had mentioned about the leasing arrangement to finance to purchase a place for mosque so that the people can pray in such a place, however, it will be merely a Musalla and will not acquire the full status of a mosque unless the properly is finally purchased by the mosque because in the intregnum period the property will be owned by the lessor and the ownership will be transferred only after actual purchse takes place. I hope this will clarify the position.