A question was put to the marja`:
In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate
My question is this: There is a piece of land that was given as an endowment, but we do not know the intention made for its’ use. A one floor masjid has been built upon the land and the Ministry of Endowments has split the masjid into sections so that it might be used and rented and the proceeds of that be given as a gift for the upkeep of the masjid.
What is the ruling on the trade being conducted and what is the ruling on that gift being taken and given to the masjid for its’ upkeep. Please bear in mind that the Ministry of Endowments in our country has made a part of the first floor of the masjid into commercial spaces which have already become cramped.
In the beginning, this floor was built as a prayer area, but upon the completion of the second floor of the masjid (which will also serve as a prayer area), what will the ruling be on the first floor when we have already used it for prayer?
The answer given by the marja`, Imam `Abdur-Rahman Ash-Shami, may Allah preserve him, is as follows below:
Firstly, it is necessary to return to the Ministry of Endowments in order to know the original intent and reason for the making of the Endowment by its’ donor.
If the intention made was that it was endowed as a masjid and nothing else was mentioned (i.e., if there was no mention that the first floor or section was for the purpose of renting and the second floor was to be for the masjid), then it would be impermissible to do anything else other than maintain the masjid. Taking rent or other benefits from the land would not be permitted as it was not specifically stated.
Secondly, if there should be some explicitly worded text or statement specifying that the first floor or section of the land is for rentals and other transactions, then there is no harm in carrying out this request.
If this floor or section is also put to use for prayer therein when the second section is finished and ready, then they also rent them out, there is no harm in this either.
Taken from the website of the maraji`