Payment for Religious Services

By Mufti Muhammad Kadwa
Posted: 16 Jamad-u-Thani 1423, 25 August 2002

Q.) Some Molvi's and Maulana's in our country and particularly Indo-Pak community accept money when they go to offer dua's/fatiha/niyaaz etc at someone's place. Is this acceptable in Islam? Is it allowed to accept such payment? It may be called hadiya but it is generally known that it is payment for their services.

I do not know how authentic it is but I heard someone quote a hadith whereby the Prophet (SAW) refused a gift saying "Do you wish that this gift hangs from my neck as a sword on the day of judgment?" I recall that this quotation was in the context of payment to someone when they offer their "services" at people's houses. I would appreciate if you would kindly quote this hadith or give me a reference to it. [Aniz]

A.) The Hadith you have referred to is as follows: Ubaadah ibn Saamit, Radi-Allahu anhu, narrates, 'I informed Rasulullah Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam that a man whom I had taught the Qur'an gave me a bow as a gift. This bow is not really wealth (of great value or as remuneration for my services). I will be able to use it for archery in the path of Allah.' To this, Rasulullah Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam replied, 'If you wish to be necklaced with a garland of fire, you may accept it.' (Mishkaat pg.285)

On the basis of this Hadith, acceptance of any form of remuneration for teaching the Qur'an is prohibited. However, on grounds of Dharoorah (necessity), the Ulama have permitted teachers, Imams, etc. to accept a wage for teaching Qur'an and Hadith.

In the case in question, the Ulama are called upon to render their services for duas, etc. There is no Shar'ee Dharoorah in these services. Hence, the prohibition will remain. And Allah Ta'ala Knows Best.