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Masjid Land

Question

There are 2 options available to the community

The first option would be to obtain a 99 year lease on a portion of land and construct a building on that land.

The second option would be to purchase a dwelling with the land attached.

The purpose of this lease or purchase is for the purpose of building a masjid on the land that was leased for 99 years which would work out cheaper or to transform the dwelling and land which was purchased outright in to a masjid which would be more expensive.

What is the sharia ruling on the above scenarios. 

Answer

In the case of a 99 year lease, the land will belong to the owner but it will be leased to the Muslim community in lieu of a rental. On expiry of the lease period, the land will have to be returned to the original owner and the structure (erected thereupon) removed or sold (to the owner). A Masjid built upon such land will thus not constitute a proper Shari’ee Masjid. 

The land and structure of a Shari’ee Masjid belongs solely to Allah Ta’aala, and perpetually remains as a Masjid (once officially declared as a Masjid), and not used temporarily as a place of Salaah as in the case of a 99 year lease agreement. Hence, a Masjid put up on leased land will not be recognized as a Shari’ee Masjid.

The second option where a dwelling is purchased together with the land and then (perpetually) made Waqf for a Masjid is correct. We therefore suggest that the community chooses this particular option (even though it entails more expense), if their intention is to erect a Shari’ee Masjid. If their intention is to erect a Musallah only (where the 5 daily Salaah will be taking place) then they are at liberty to put up a Musallah on the leased land. However, the Musallah will not enjoy the same rewards and virtues as a Shari’ee Masjid.         

Checked and Approved By:

Mufti Muhammed Saeed Motara Saheb D.B.

References

رَجُلٌ له سَاحَةٌ لَا بِنَاءَ فيها أَمَرَ قَوْمًا أَنْ يُصَلُّونَ فيها بِجَمَاعَةٍ فَهَذَا على ثَلَاثَةِ أَوْجُهٍ أَحَدُهَا إمَّا أَنْ أَمَرَهُمْ بِالصَّلَاةِ فيها أَبَدًا نَصًّا بِأَنْ قال صَلُّوا فيها أَبَدًا أو أَمَرَهُمْ بِالصَّلَاةِ مُطْلَقًا وَنَوَى الْأَبَدَ فَفِي هَذَيْنِ الْوَجْهَيْنِ صَارَتْ السَّاحَةُ مَسْجِدًا لو مَاتَ لَا يُورَثُ عنه وَإِمَّا أَنْ وَقَّتَ الْأَمْرَ بِالْيَوْمِ أو الشَّهْرِ أو السَّنَةِ فَفِي هذا الْوَجْهِ لَا تَصِيرُ السَّاحَةُ مَسْجِدًا لو مَاتَ يُورَثُ عنه كَذَا في الذَّخِيرَةِ وَهَكَذَا في فَتَاوَى قَاضِي خَانْ   
(الفتاوي الهندية ص455 ج2)

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