Why do muslims spend millions of dollars to build a mosque?
Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,
As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)
One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:
Why do muslims today build mosques costing millions of dollars when smaller and more cost effective mosques would suffice? What are the rewards for building a mosque?
(There may be some grammatical and spelling errors in the above statement. The forum does not change anything from questions, comments and statements received from our readers for circulation in confidentiality.)
Why do muslims spend millions of dollars to build a mosque?
In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and who-ever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person, no grave, no prophet, no imam, no dai, nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.
Today there is indeed a competition amongst Muslims to built the most expensive mosques, and takes anywhere between 5-8 years to build "a" mosque, whereas more mosques could be built for the convenience of the Muslims. Now this is a valid observation and deserves due thought.
True, there are some muslims who compete against each other and outdo each other in building grander and grander mosques, which literally cost millions of dollars!!!! This money could have been spent in building a huge number of smaller mosques, which would be then more utilized in the worship of Allah, or the money could be used for other Islamic causes for the pleasure of Allah Subhanah. I absolutely agree with you here.
The Prophet (saws) said in an authentic narration which is basically a "usool" or foundation of the Muslim belief: Each act of yours, will be judged by Allah, according to your intention.
So if the intention of the muslims who build these mosques is for the pleasure of Allah, they shall get their due reward. But Allah forbid, if these people build these grand mosques in competition with each other and to outdo each other so that their names can be bigger than his brother, he will not get a due reward from Allah.... as Allah only accepts good deeds if the prime objective in the deed is the pleasure of Allah. Then Allah takes it upon himself to reward His slave, in this world and in the hereafter.
In Surah Taubah, Allah states unequivocally what is required to build the house of Allah. Chapter 9, Surah Taubah, aayats 108-109: .... the mosque which has been founded on piety from the very first day is the proper place for you to stand for prayer.......Why, is he better who founded his building upon Allah's fear and for His approval, or he, who founded his building on the brink of an under-mined bank that tumbled with him down into the fire of Hell?
Thus, the first and foremost requirement to build a house of Allah is "Taqwa" or God-consciousness. If that is not the foundation of the mosque, then the reward of the person is wasted in Allah's court, even though he might have spent millions on its construction and millions of people might have benefited from the building. What reaches Allah is not the grand mosques and the marble floorings, but Taqwa .... and that Taqwa is more valuable in the court of Allah than all the gold and wealth of the earth. Subhan Allah!!!! Allah is Great!!!!
The Prophet (saws) also prophesied that there will come a time when my ummah will have a lot a wealth and the muslims will compete with each other in building grand mosques, searching for honor in this world.... but will have no honor in the eyes of Allah on the Day of Judgement.
How true were the prophecies of our holy Prophet (saws) ... today, we live in those times!!!! May Allah have mercy on us and the ummah of Islam.
Regarding the Prophet's (saws) direction in building mosques, in terms of shapes, size and décor, as mentioned earlier in the commandment of the Quran, the first and foremost intention must be for the pleasure of Allah Subhanah Alone, and the foundation of the mosque must be built on Taqwa.
The Prophet (saws) directed in one of his narrations, to build mosques which were simple and effective, and showed unhappiness in building grand mosques. There is no direct commandment in terms of shapes, sizes and decor ... thus we are allowed to build mosques in any shape or size needed for the community, as long as the intention is Allah's pleasure and the mosque is established on Taqwa.
The fact of the matter is that there is a small minority of people and leaders and kings who are engrossed in building these huge grand mosques in competition to one another. Alhamdolillah, that is good, because otherwise if these people do not fear Allah and the Last Day, they would not spend this money in the cause of Allah ... so at least, they built these mosques which are beneficial to the Ummah of Muslims.
But the large majority of good common muslims and muslim organizations are building thousands of mosques everywhere all over the world. These mosques are extremely simple and effective and are made in villages where there are no mosques for the muslims to pray in. These mosques normally have a small Islamic school attached to it, for the children to learn the Quran, etc. These mosques cost anywhere between US$4,000.00 to US$10,000.00 for a Jamea mosque ( a big central mosque of the village), depending on the size and the need of the community. May Allah bless these brothers who spend time, effort and money for His pleasure alone. Nobody knows who they are and they ask of for no reward from the communities the mosques are built in or anybody else ... their reward is with Allah Subhanah.
The Prophet (saws) said in one of his narrations, that no sooner than a servant of Allah builds a house of Allah on this earth, but Allah builds for him a mansion in Paradise.
What a bargain!!!! Subhan Allah!!!!
One cannot even get a parking space for your car for the above price in any of the big cities of the world today!!!!!! And what is more valuable than a mansion in Paradise?; ….it is the pleasure, mercy and forgiveness of Allah Subhanah on His slave servant on the Day of Qiyamah!!!! But as with all deals and bargains, there is a catch to this........... one has to build this House of Allah with his legally earned money and before his own death.... after one dies, his wealth no longer belongs to him, but to his heirs!!!! There-in is the catch.... are we willing to part with our hard-earned money in this life to gain the pleasure of Allah Subhanah and let go some mere luxuries that could be bought with this paltry amount?
It is not the money that reaches Allah, but the taqwa which is appreciated by the Ash-Shukoor (the One Who Appreciates or The One Who Knows How to Appreciate!!!).
Allah says in the Glorious Quran, Chapter 2, Surah Baqarah, verse 254: O Believers, spend of the wealth We have bestowed upon you (in Allah's way), before the Day comes when there shall be no buying and no selling; when neither friendship nor intercession will be of any avail.
In the above aayat, Allah is exhorting us to spend in His way before (your death or) the Day of Judgement arrives, where there will be no buying, no selling, no wealth, no children, and no helper: except for the good deeds one has done on this earth. And mark what is He exhorting us to spend ... He is exhorting us to spend the wealth which HE HAS BESTOWED UPON US!!! He has given us this wealth, and now He is asking for a little back so that He may reward us manifold on the Day of Judgement. How Gracious is Allah, and how ungrateful and niggardly is man indeed!!!!
Allah says in the Glorious Quran, Chapter 2, Surah Baqarah, verse 261: The charity of those who expend their wealth in the Way of Allah may be likened to a grain of corn, which produces seven ears and each ear yields a hundred grains.
Likewise Allah develops manifold the charity of anyone He pleases, for He is All-Embracing, All Wise.
Here Allah provides the formula for the minimum reward for the charity of a believer. If you spend $ 1.00 in the way of Allah, he has promised the return is 7x100 = 700 times; ie. $ 700.00 for a $1.00 investment!!!!! For those of you who are accountants and businessmen, can you even imagine a 70,000% guaranteed return on investment!!!! and maybe even more!!!! Allah is Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
Allah says in the Glorious Quran, Chapter 63, Surah Munafiqoon, verse 10: Spend from the provisions that We have given you before death should come to any of you and then he should say, "O my Lord, why did You not reprieve me awhile that I should have given in charity and become of the righteous." But Allah does not at all reprieve a person when his term comes to an end, and Allah is well aware of what you all do.
When death overtakes us, and we see the truth as told from the Quran about the Day of Judgement and its rewards and punishments with our very own eyes, we will beg Allah to give us some reprieve and a little more time, so that we can go back to the earth and spend in His way and do righteous deeds. But Allah will not give one time more than the appointed time of this life ... not even 1-second more!!!! And then we will be left with nothing but regret!!! And Allah is again exhorting us in the above aayat to spend before we are in that helpless position.
May Allah have mercy on all of us on the Day when nothing but His Mercy will prevail.
May Allah help us all to spend and do good deeds in His way as much as we can afford, before the appointment of death overtakes any of us. We have been given ample warnings in the Quran, now is there anyone of us who wants to listen to good caution!!! ... or are we all too busy with collecting wealth and position and other passing luxuries of this life.
Allah says in the Quran Chapter 103 Surah Al Asr, verse 1-3: By the Time! Man is surely in great loss, except those who believed and did good works, and exhorted one another to the Truth, and exhorted one another to patience.
May Allah guide you and us all to the Straight Path of Islam.
Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allah’s Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.
Your Brother in Islam,