Selling Masjid Property

By Mufti Taqi Usmani

Q.) We in a community in Canada have purchased a property and converted it into a masjid. Alhamdulillaah, this has had a positive influence on the community. A couple years have now passed and the feeling amongst some is that this particular location is not the most suited (size wise, for future growth, etc.). The question which arises is:

Is it permissible to sell the present property so that we can acquire another which is more suitable in our opinion?

Please do provide evidence and references so that we may show the answer to the brothers. As well, is there a difference of opinion in this matter among the 'ulamaa?

I request humbly that you respond to this question of ours as soon as possible as we do not want some of the brothers who are eager to make a decision to do so without being well informed of the correct shar'ee hukm. [Abu Abdullah. Dar Al-Madinah Islamic Society, CA]

A.) Selling Masjid in the situation you have mentioned in your letter is not permissible at all according to any school from the four recognized ones. Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Shaafi and Imam Maalik are firmly unanimous on the point that once a property is converted into a Masjid it cannot be sold in any case.  However, it is only Imam Ahmad Ibn Hambal who has opined that in an extreme situation where the Masjid is no longer useable for the purpose of a Masjid.  The only fact, that the location of the Masjid is not the most suited one, does not justify its sale even according to Imam Ahmad Ibn Hambal.  (For the rulings according to Hanafi, Shaafi and Maaliki schools see Al-Sharbini: Mughni Al-Mohtaj
v.2 p.392, AlMawwaq v.6 p.42, Ibn AlHuman: Fat Al-Qadir v.5 p.446 and for the stand point of Imam Ahmad Ibn Hambal see Ibn Qudamah: AlMughni v.6 p.225).