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Promising to give charity does not make it obligatory


Assalaamu alaykum. My question is the following: I have promised to pay 10,000 Swedish kroner at a fundraiser to build a mosque. Praise be to Allaah, the mosque has been completed thanks to a brother from Middle East. I have not yet finished paying the money. I instead started giving money to other mosques under construction in Spain, France and Kenya. Do I have to complete the payment of the first mosque, or is helping other mosques alright given that all are God's houses? Thank you.


All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

Charity does not become obligatory by just having the intention to give charity or promising to do so. Hence, it is permissible for a person who intended to give charity to a certain person or a certain entity to give it to other than them, and it is permissible for him to not give it at all as long as it has not been taken into possession by the beneficiary.

Ibn Qudaamah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said, “The scholars reached a consensus on the fact that if a person intended to give a specified amount of money in charity and he started giving out some of it, he is not obliged to give the rest of that amount in charity.

Besides, Kash-shaaf Al-Qinaa’ reads, “If a person prepared something to give out in charity or entrusted someone else to give the charity on his behalf and afterwards changed his mind and did not want to give it in charity, then it is desirable for him to proceed with giving it in charity, but it is not an obligation on him because the beneficiary does not come into its possession except once he actually receives it.

Based on this, your mere promise to contribute with a given amount in the construction of a particular mosque does not oblige you to do anything, and you may give this amount for the construction of another mosque.

Allah knows best.

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