Q: My mother agreed to let her property be used for a madrassa, however she now needs to sell the property due to financial hardships. Is she able to do this?
My mother has been donating money to Islamic projects in the past and came across an Imam who wanted to establish a madrasa in South East London.
My mother informed him that she had a house that could be converted in order to provide this facility. We arranged for the tenants from that house to be re-housed elsewhere and made it available for the imam to start his project.
It has now been nearly 4 years since my mother made the property available to him, we have asked him for updates over the years and he has a much bigger project in mind, he wants to build a madrasa elsewhere, (buy an old pub and convert it) he has taken us to view an old gym and said that he would buy it and convert it etc. The gym was costing £580k and he advised that he will find 400 Muslims to each donate 1k each etc.
My mother is not a wealthy women and now being over 60 is unable to work as much as she has been. She is currently experiencing some financial difficulties.
She would like to know if she can sell the property, keep some of the funds and donate the rest back to the imam e.g. sell the property for £250k, keep £50k to clear her debt and donate the rest back to the imam.
We have been doing some research and have come across hadiths mentioning that once you make donation, you should not take it back etc.
As originally intended, my mother still want to donate the money but as her financial circumstances has changed, it will ease her situation if she would be able to clear her debt.
My mother informed me that she has no confidence in the Imam but as she has already informed him of this it would be wrong for her to take her donation elsewhere.
No contractual arrangement is in place with the Imam.
A: You have confirmed that your mother, at no point transferred the property, made an endowment or other legal commitment. Rather she simply agreed to let him use the property.
If ownership was never transferred, neither in writing nor verbally, and nor possession secured by the Imam, then your mother retains ownership of the property. She is at liberty to do with it as she pleases.