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Monday 2 Jumâdâ Ath-Thâniya 1441 H - January 27, 2020 G

Fatwa n°: 110

Category: fatwas about selling and monetary transactions

Receiving payment for teaching Qur'an

The question:

What is the ruling regarding receiving payment for teaching Qur'an and Sharia-related knowledge?

The answer:

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. Peace and blessing be upon whom Allah sent as a mercy to the Worlds, upon his Family, his Companions and his Brothers till the Day of Resurrection.

Know that the majority of scholars consider that it is permissible to receive payment for teaching Qur’an. They based their arguments on what is established in Sahîh Al-Bukhâri on the authority of Ibn `Abbâs رضي الله عنهما that the Prophet صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم said : “The payment that you receive the most deservedly is what you are given for Allah’s Book”(1) and on what was established in two “Sahîh’s” (of Al-Bukhâri and Muslim) concerning the woman whom the Prophet صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم married to a man on the condition that he teaches her what he knows of Qur'an(2), and the Prophet’s صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم saying to `Umar Ibn Al-Khattâb رضي الله عنه, “What Allah عزَّ وجلَّ grants you from this property, without asking or being greedy for it, you would take it, increase it or give it in charity. Otherwise, you should not covet it”(3).

However, the argument of the Hanafites and those who agreed with them is the hadith narrated on the authority of `Ubâda Ibn As-Sâmit رضي الله عنه who said: “I taught some persons of the people of As-Suffah(4) writing and the Qur'an. A man of them presented to me a bow. I said, “It cannot be a reckoned property; may I shoot with it in Allah's path?”. But when the Prophet صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم was informed about it, he said, “If you want to have a necklace of fire on you, accept it”(5) This hadith has other versions and arguments which prove its authenticity. The same meaning of this hadith is narrated on the authority of Ubay Ibn Ka`b , `Abd Ar-Rahmân Ibn Shibl and `Imrân Ibn Hossayn. They interpreted the hadith of Ibn `Abbâs as meaning by “Payment” “Reward”. Others hold the opinion that this hadith is abrogated by other hadiths speaking about the warning against someone who receives payment in return for teaching the Qur’ân. Among these hadiths, that of `Uthmân Ibn Al-`Âs who said, “The last instruction of Allah’s Messenger صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم to me is that I should select a Muezzin who would not seek wages against the Âdhân (call to prayer) he called.”(6). The majority of the scholars refute the argument of the Hanafites and stipulate that the hadith of `Ubâda has in its chain of narration Al-Mughîra Ibn Ziyâd upon which there is divergence (among scholars of hadith). As for the other versions of the hadith, all are not valid and cannot be used as arguments. That is why they considered preponderant the hadith reported on the authority of Ibn `Abbâs رضي الله عنهما which is mentioned in Sahîh Al-Bukhâri, as there is no divergence as regards the narrators of this hadith; using thus the unanimous preponderance to prove that the narrator is trustworthy, this is one of the aspects of preponderance as regards the chain of narration, by considering each case of the narrators.

And even if we suppose that these hadiths make us think that it is not permissible and that they can be used as arguments, we will answer by saying that these hadiths do not absolutely contain a statement of prohibition, but they are only events which can be interpreted differently in order to be reconciled with the authentic hadiths as it is indicated by Ibn Hajar(7), and Ash-Shaukâni(8) in Nayl Al-Autâr(9).

As for the interpretation of the term “Payment” by “Reward” in the hadith of Ibn `Abbâs رضي الله عنهما, it is far from the reality, as the context of the hadith does not allow such interpretation. Moreover, saying that it is abrogated is discredited by the fact that abrogation cannot be proven by probability.

Some scholars chose to reconcile these hadiths, which seem at first sight contradictory. The most obvious way of reconciliation is to interpret the hadith reported by Ibn `Abbâs by saying that it states permissibility in general, including teaching the Quran, the Sharia sciences and receiving payment for the recitation of the Quran, when one is asked to do it, and for making exorcism; but there is exception [from that general rule], which consists of teaching the Mukallaf (a person meeting the conditions to be held accountable for his actions); apart from the latter, all is included in the general rule. This is the opinion of Ash-Shaukâni(10).

In my opinion, it is permissible to get a payment as a source of sustenance for devoting oneself to perform the acts of worship duly. This is not in fact a payment for the acts of worship, but it is for the support given to offer them. The reason is that if the teachers of the Qur'an devote themselves to seek for their sustenance and that of their family, this will cause the loss of the holy Quran and Sharia by losing those who bear them. This neither annuls the fact that it is an act of worship, nor stains the sincerity; otherwise, the fighter would not merit the spoils. In addition, teaching the Quran and religious sciences helps spreading Islam and its tenets. This is why the Shâfi`ites stated, exceptionally, a fatwa authorizing to get a payment for teaching the Quran, the jurisprudence and the hadith, renouncing then the opinion of their School [which says that it is not permissible to get a payment for the acts of worship] by way of Istihsân(11) and agreeing the overwhelming majority of the scholars.

All this is to be said only if the teacher is not paid by the concerned authorities or any other part. If he receives a payment from the ministry, it will not be valid for him to take additional money from the students’ parents, because the determined work is paid, so by which right would he take additional money? Except if he does an additional work, without even being neither negligent as regards the original work nor causing irregularity in its process; in this case, he can bring help to himself and his family by providing them with sustenance and necessary things by taking the determined additional money for the determined additional work.

However, if he charges a second person to do his work in case of need, the latter should not take money for doing the work on which the first. Yet, he can give his substitute from his money, without the substitute asking him from it.

The perfect knowledge belongs to Allah عزَّ وجلَّ. Our last prayer is all praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. Peace and blessing be upon our Prophet, his Family, his Companions and Brothers till the Day of Resurrection.

Algiers, Dhu Al-Hijja 12th, 1420H.
Corresponding to March 19th, 2000.

(1) Reported by Al-Bukhâri, chapter of “Medicine” (hadith 5737), Ad-Dâraqutni in his Sunan (hadith 3082) and Al-Bayhaqi in his Sunan, on the authority of Ibn `Abbâs رضي الله عنهما.

(2) Reported by Al-Bukhâri, chapter of “The Merits of the Quran” (hadith 5029) and in chapter of “Marriage” (hadith 5132) and Muslim, chapter of “Marriage” (hadith 3454), on the authority of Sahl Ibn Sa`d رضي الله عنه.

(3) Reported by Al-Bukhâri, chapter of “Zakat” (hadith 1473), Muslim, chapter of “Zakat” (hadith 1045) and An-Nassâ'i, chapter of “Zakat” (hadith 2605), on the authority of `Umar Ibn Al-Khattâb رضي الله عنه. The wording stated in the hadith is said by An-Nassâ'i. See As-Silsila As-Sahîha (2209).

(4) As-Suffah: a covered courtyard in Al-Masjid An-Nabawi(The Mosque of the Prophet) in which the poor used to take shelter.

(5) Reported by Abu Dâwûd, chapter of “Payment” (hadith 3416), An-Nassâ'i, chapter of “Commerce” (hadith 2157) and Ahmad (hadith 23357), on the authority of `Ubâda Ibn As-Sâmit رضي الله عنه. It is judged authentic by Al-Albâni in As-Silsila As-Sahîha (1/1/515).

(6) See some of these hadiths and the elements that support them in Irwâ' Al-Ghalîl (5/316) and in As-Silsila As-Sahîha (1/1/517).

(7) Reported by At-Tirmidhi, chapter of “Prayer” (hadith 209), Ibn Mâjah, chapter of “The call to the prayer” (hadith 714), on the authority of `Uthmân Ibn Abi Al-`Âs رضي الله عنه. This hadith is judged authentic by Al-Albâni in Irwâ' Al-Ghalîl (5/316).

(8) See Fat’h Al-Bâri (4/573).

(9) See Nayl Al-Awtâr by Ash-Shaukâni (7/35).

(10) See Wabl Al-Ghamâm by Ash-Shaukâni (2/161).

(11) Istihsân: is the fact that Al-Mujtahid (studious jurist) does not apply, in a determined case, a text, a Qiyâs (deduction by analogy) or a general rule which includes the given fact as a whole. Al-Mujtahid, due to a necessity, a general use, a hidden Qiyâs or another proof that requires renunciation, gives up the given rule and adopts another one that brings benefit.