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Insurance for Mosques: Allowed?

07 October, 2017
Q As-salamu `alaykum. We, in the Islamic center here in America, face a problem and a debate about having insurance for the mosque. We do not have insurance for the mosque, and few weeks ago, someone set fire to the back of the mosque and burnt a big part of it, but we managed to put the fire out. So, some members of the mosque administrative board suggested to buy insurance to protect the mosque. If anyone gets hurt in it and sues us, he will win a ruling to receive thousands of dollars in compensation, as we do not have insurance. It is obligatory according to the law of some states to have insurance, but ours does not have this law till now. Some brothers objected to having insurance for the mosque against fire or any other risks, claiming that it is haram to arrange insurance or to receive more than the liabilities of fire damage. Please, what is the ruling on this issue? Can we buy an insurance policy or not? And what if the company pays us more than the damages or the total premiums? Will it be riba?


Wa `alaykum as-salamu wa rahmatullahi 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.

In this fatwa:

There is nothing wrong with buying an insurance policy for mosques.

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In his response to your question, Prof. Dr. Monzer Kahf, Professor of Islamic Finance and Economics at Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies, states:

I cannot imagine that there are Muslims in America who still think in this way. It is, in fact, unbelievable. No Muslim, because of his personal view on a controversial matter, has the right to expose the entire community and the mosque —a waqf dedicated to all Muslims — to such a high risk. This is totally in contradiction with the very core of our religion.

Insurance is not riba (usury), and it is not gambling on the Predestination. Insurance is a distribution of the risk among a large number of people, who have equal shares of risk.

Scholars have different opinions on this type of financial transactions. Some believe that it is impermissible, because it contains gharar (ambiguity of date and amount of the liability to be incurred by the company). Other scholars argue that it is permissible, because the amount of this gharar is containable and within limits as it depends only on the accident insured against.

In the Shari`ah, the issue of gharar is much smaller than the issue of ribaGharar can be tolerated when there is no other contract that replaces the gharar-touched contract.

Also, gharar is tolerated when it is possible to know it with other-than-the-parties sources. Do not we buy a house without looking at its foundations? This is an example of gharar that is tolerated.

In America (like in India), insurance is compulsory, especially for public property that belongs to the whole community. It is even more needed as there are no Islamic takaful insurance companies in America.

Thus, insurance is necessary for houses, cars, and other properties, as any sensible Muslim will realize.

Allah Almighty knows best.

About Prof. Dr. Monzer Kahf
Dr. Monzer Kahf is a professor and consultant/trainer on Islamic banking, finance, Zakah, Awqaf, Islamic Inheritance, Islamic estate planning, Islamic family law, and other aspects of Islamic economics, finance, Islamic transactions (Mu'amalat). Dr. Monzer Kahf is currently Professor of Islamic Finance & Economics at the Faculty of Economics and Management, Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University, Turkey