By Warda Krimi
FAQ: Can you please show me some references from hadith or the Quran that show that it’s fine to collect payments to support one’s teaching of the Quran?
Why would anyone ask such a question? Isn’t the answer obvious? Did Angel Jibriel charge a fee to Prophet Mohamed (saws)? Did the prophet himself charge a fee to recite the message to his followers?
Clearly the Quran is a free gift from Allah (swt) to peoples of all cultures, genders, ages, and political beliefs. How dare we charge money to teach it?
Let’s Think About That for a Moment . . .
Well, let’s reflect for a moment. Teachers, like all humans, need food, shelter, and clothing, as well as educational resources like books, computers, software, and internet expenses. They they also may be making loan payments on their own educations, undertaken to bring the words of Allah (swt) closer to you.
Our prophet (saws) didn’t collect fees to teach the Quran, but he was often financially supported by those who benefitted from his teachings, and this support enabled him to devote his life to the ummah and to spreading the message of the Quran, alhamdulillah. Think of how much poorer the world would be had he been forced to live out his days slaving away at a trade!
Our Mission— and We’ve Chosen to Accept it
Understand Quran Academy’s mission, inshaa Allah, is to make it possible for anyone, anywhere, to be able to read, recite, and understand the words of the Quran in its original Arabic language. In the beginning we tried to rely entirely on charitable donations. Alhamdulillah for the help we received, but we needed to move to the next level— which meant hiring more people and expending more time and effort, all of which required a budget that couldn’t be covered by donations alone.
Yes, it’s halal to ask for money in exchange for Quran lessons. But don’t just take our word for it.
Praise be to Allaah.
The Standing Committee was asked about whether it is permissible to accept payment for teaching Qur’aan. They replied: ‘Yes, it is permissible to accept payment for teaching Qur’aan according to the more correct of the two scholarly views, because of the general meaning of the hadeeth:
‘The thing for which you most deserve to take payment is the Book of Allaah,’ (narrated by al-Bukhaari),* and because there is a real need for that. And Allaah is the Source of strength. May Allah bless our Prophet Muhammad. [Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, vol. 4, p. 91]
Okay, But How Much?
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s add a caveat: It’s permissable to accept wages for teaching or reciting the Quran, but how much should be demanded?
Answer: Just enough— and no more.
If we’re to look at Islam as a whole and to understand the spirit of The Message on issues where The Message itself is not clearly explicit, we must conclude that it’s halal only to collect enough wages to allow us to continue to teach. Any temptation or attempt to profit from the Quran must be strictly avoided.
If we live in accordance with the Quran’s teachings, our lawful desire will be not only for the bounty of Allah (swt) but also for the full spectrum of that bounty, which includes frugality, simplicity, generousity, humility, wisdom, and kindness. These things are to be desired more than gold, and will far outlast it!
And what better way to develop these wonderful traits than to study— and teach— the Quran?
* On the authority of ibn ‘Abbaass: ‘Some of the companions of the Prophet passed by some people staying at a place where there was water, and one of those people had been stung by a scorpion. A man from those staying near the water, came and said to the companions of the Prophet, “Is there anyone among you who can do Ruqya as near the water there is a person who has been stung by a scorpion.” So one of the Prophet’s companions went to him and recited Surat-al-Fatiha for a sheep as his fees. The patient got cured and the man brought the sheep to his companions who disliked that and said, “You have taken wages for reciting Allah’s Book.” When they arrived at Medina, they said, ‘ O Allah’s Apostle! (This person) has taken wages for reciting Allah’s Book” On that Allah’s Apostle said, “You are most entitled to take wages for doing a Ruqya with Allah’s Book.”’ [Bukhari]