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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles


Muslim Journal

Liquidating Masjid Properties

Imam W. Deen Muhammad


Q: What is the best way to liquidate Masjid real estate holdings and distribution of funds?

A: Well, just to make sure. I would if there was any doubt as to the ownership of the property, clear that up first. Even if you need to discuss it with lawyers, clear that up first. Don't touch property unless it's sure that you're the legal owner. And I would say (that you would have to br­ing) the financial situation so that it could be managed, reasonably. If you know you've got properties or in­vestments that are...taking from the community and not bringing anything into the local Masjid or local area, then the wise thing to do is to sell them and invest or put that money where it's taking care of some real need that you have.

I would think that the only thing you would need is the community— a meeting of directly supporting members­- to just convene and form a resolution. Make a resolution that these members. along with the Imam and whoever he wants to involve, have resolved to sell certain properties. so that it would officially be put in some kind of record or minutes, and then, go on and do the practical and best thing for the members, for the (whole of the community).

Q: What is your position on banks and interest?

A: There is no way to avoid it. I don't think we should worry about it that much. We should just make sure that whatever interest we get, we're not using it for capital gain. in an exploiting kind of way. But interest in my opi­nion, now, is justified because of the changing values of your money, because of inflation, etc.

Q: Are you saying it's more like the Qur'an speaks about "tijaara" trade?

A: It's justified, because if you don't get interest, in time you'll lose your money. Your money will be eaten up by in­flation and other factors. So the interest that they're giv­ing now, in my opinion, is not that much for us to be wor­ried about at all because it says, do not accept interest multiplied, that's "ribad". Multiplied today, in my opinion,  means excessive.

Q: Like loan sharking or something?

A: That's right, excessive, (where you're) getting a lot of money back, more than justified for the money that you're giving. The bank will invest your money right. So, if they're going to use it to invest, then they owe you something, because that is an investment. So they owe you something. Most banks will invest your money. They won't just loan it out to somebody else. Then, if they loan it out to somebody else. Banks won't loan money to you unless you're going to invest or buy something that you really need for your house or something. So, I don't think this system can be seen in the light of "ribad", as it ex­isted in the time of Prophet Muhammad. Peace and bless­ings of Allah be upon him. I don't think the system, that the banking system in the world, now, can be looked upon as that kind of system. There is ribad, there is interest, but it's not nothing like in the degree that the Qur'an is referring to.