A donor of an endowed land exchanging it for another with the same intention

Fatwa no. 11512 All praise be to Allah and peace and blessings be upon the one after whom there shall be no prophet.The Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta’ has examined the request for a Fatwa (legal opinion issued by a qualified Muslim scholar) that was submitted to His Eminence the President by Nassir ibn ‘Abdul-‘Aziz Al-‘Abdullah through the Tamir Court judge, and which was forwarded to the committee by the Department of Scholarly Research and Ifta’, no. 4241, dated 8/8/1408. The questioner asked the following:The Tamir Court questioned Nassir ibn ‘Abdul-‘Aziz Al-‘Abdullah who answered that he had bought a plot of land in Al-Khalidiyyah District of Tamir, subject to the document issued by the Tamir Court, no. 209 dated 26/5/1402 A.H. After buying it, he came to the court before His Eminence Shaykh Ibrahim ibn Muhammad Al-Humaydan to establish the transfer of (Part No. 16; Page No. 78) the abovementioned plot of land to the Waqf (endowments) Authority, for a Masjid (mosque) to be built on it at his expense. He then signed the transfer document. However, the neighbors objected to a Masjid being built there, so he bought another plot of land and gave it to the Waqf Authority to build a Masjid on it, and this was attested to by the Waqf Authority delegate. The second plot of land was a substitute for the first, but the Waqf delegate was not present when the first plot of land was signed over. The man now wants to dispose of the first plot of land and wants the land and its documentation to be returned to him. This is the description of the situation. We hope that Your Eminence will examine this matter and give us a Fatwa as to whether it is permissible for the man to repossess the land in question under these circumstances. May Allah protect you. As-salamu ‘alaykum warahmatullah wabarakatuh (May Allah’s Peace, Mercy, and Blessings be upon you!)

After studying the Fatwa request, the committee replied: The man has a right to the first plot of land, as he provided a substitute for fulfilling the endowment’s objective (i.e. Building a Masjid), unless the first plot of land is more valuable than the second. This can be decided by an authority authorized by Your Eminence (the Tamir Court judge) to value them both. If the value is greater, the excess difference should be spent on the construction of the new Masjid or another Masjid. (Part No. 16; Page No. 79) May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.