A. For guidance in this matter, we turn to the Seerah of Nabi (sallallahu-alayhi-wasallam) for answers. We find that fund-raising for a valid Islamic cause is a thing which was practiced in the very era and times of Rasulullah (sallallahu-alayhi-wasallam). On the occasion of the Battle of Tabuk, a general appeal for contributions to the cause of Allah's mission (Jihad) was undertaken. It is on this occasion that Hazrat Abu Bakr (RA) outstripped Hazrat Umar (RA) by giving away all of his possessions for Islam. On another occasion, some poor persons came to Madinah Shareef in a very poverty stricken condition. Nabi (sallallahu- alayhi-wasallam) was visibly moved by their condition and ordered the Sahabah (RA) to render them assistance by making generous contributions to towards their needs.
From the above, it is amply clear that the concept of contribution to the cause of Islam is not something new. It has existed from the very early days of Islam and is established from the Sunnah of Nabi (sallallahu-alayhi-wasallam). As such, we have a beautiful example to follow and emulate in the way of Rasulullah (sallallahu-alayhi-wasallam) even as far as this aspect of our Deen is concerned.
From the seerah of Nabi (sallallahu-alayhi-wasallam) it is clear that fund-raising for Allah's work was done in the most practical and sincere manner, and there is nothing to match the Sunnah way! The approach was simple and straight- forward; Nabi (sallallahu-alayhi-wasallam) would gather the Sahabah (RA) in the Masjid, address them, motivate them, recite the verses of the Qur'an to them regarding spending in the path of Allah and exhort them with various virtues. He would also lead by his own blessed example by contributing generously. This would spur the Sahabah on, young and old, men and women, who would vie with each other in contributing to Allah's cause and reaping the rewards of the Hereafter. In this simple but effective way, Allah Ta'ala would fulfil the needs of all the missions undertaken.
This traditional Sunnah method is the way that Muslims ought to follow and emulate when raising funds for a worthy Islamic cause. The Sunnah method of fund raising will certainly carry the greatest amount of blessing - Barakah. This in turn will cause those funds to 's-t-r-e-t-c-h' so that all the needs could easily be fulfilled. Other forms of fund-raising are found, but these are generally shorn of blessing - Barakah because of not conforming to the Sunnah example and very little work is achieved with such funds.
Furthermore, it also has to be understood that donations to the cause of Allah must be motivated solely by the pleasure of Allah and for 'investment' in one's 'bank account' of the Hereafter. There must be absolutely no other motive at all. Any other motive or intention will destroy the rewards, nullifying it. If the contribution is given in lieu of any worldly 'benefits' such as a ticket for participation in some show or sporting/fun activity, or for a plate of food at some dinner function, then it is not motivated solely by the pure and selfless intention of rewards - Thawaab, but some 'other reward' in material form, no matter how small, is also being sought. Sadly, this mentality seems to be more prevalent by the day. The test of this is when such 'donors' or people are requested to give donations for a worthy Islamic cause, without any material 'benefit' or 'pleasurable activity', they are reluctant to fork out even a few notes. Yet when it entails buying a ticket for 'a dinner' or a 'fun-filled event', in the name of charity, they are willing to pay the price. Why the difference in attitude? This is a clear barometer to gauge the level of sincerity of the intention. A Mu'min is supposed to give only for the pleasure of Allah. He needs no other motivation of food, pleasure or prestige to motivate him to give. When the contribution is motivated by material gains, it is shorn of blessings. Little is achieved with such funds. In essence, the Ummah must go back to the original, the traditional or Sunnah way of fund-raising (as explained earlier). This is the tried and tested method. Other forms of fund-raising contain the dangers of insincerity and being motivated by certain 'benefits' rather than for the pleasure of Allah and for the nobility of the cause itself. May Allah Ta'ala grant a clear and true understanding of Islamic ways at all times.
Q2: Fund-raising via a 'fishing day'? Is it permissible?
A2. The above response more or less covers this question as well.
And Allah knows best
by Mufti Zubair Bayat