Wa `alaykum As-Salamu waRahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
Dear questioner, we would like to thank you for the great confidence you place in us, and we implore Allah Almighty to help us serve His cause and render our work for His Sake.
Answering your question, Dr. Salah Al-Sawy, President of the Shari`ah Academy and the Secretary General for the Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America, states:
Perhaps the most similar matter to which this issue can be compared is the ruling on speaking between the two sermons (i.e. while the Imam is seated). The people of knowledge have differed on it with three opinions, the strongest of which is its permissibility. This is the view of Abu Yusuf the companion of Abu Hanifah, the view of the Shafi`is, and the confirmed view of the Hanbalis. Of their proofs for this is:
The famous hadith of Abu Hurairah: “If you tell your companion: ‘Listen!’ while the Imam is delivering the sermon, then you have taken part in prohibited talk.” It is an agreed upon hadith (i.e. between Al-Bukhari and Muslim) and the proof from it is: the Prophet (peace be upon him) described the talker during the sermon as having taken part in prohibited talk, and this doesn’t apply when he is seated –meaning the Imam- between the two sermons, because he isn’t delivering the sermon then, so it is permissible.
The Imam isn’t speaking between the two sermons, so it is resembling of the state before and after the sermon (i.e. wherein silence isn’t mandatory).
The evidence of those that forbid it is weak, because they said that the sitting between the two sermons is a small silence between the two sermons. Hence it is impermissible to speak during it, because it resembles one being silent to inhale.
There is no doubt that this is a comparison of two very different things, because silence for breathing is normally much shorter than the silence between the two sermons. Also, there is no sitting in it, in addition to its being spontaneous and the one present won’t know it happened until most or all of it has passed, unlike the sitting between the two sermons. Therefore, making an analogy between the two isn’t correct.
Therefore, if it is allowed to be busy with talking, then being busy with that which is beneficial such as encouraging the people to donate to the mosque and the likes is allowed. This is even more the case when this is the only method of supporting the mosques and other Islamic institutions in the West. Keep in mind not to make this a consistent tradition, due to what that contains imitating the people of the book from one angle, and introducing into the religion that which wasn’t legislated in it from another angle.
Allah Almighty knows best.