Q: A cooperative society has a sum of money tied up in a bank and is not getting any benefit from it. After the society completed some of the services it was required to provide, the rest of the money has been deposited in a reserve fund for emergencies. As we want to get lawful returns, we are thinking of depositing the money in a financial institution or a business establishment to invest it in trading, especially trading in construction materials like cement and reinforced iron bars. We will be given a variable rate of profit and informed of the materials that are being sold and purchased over a defined period of time. The financial institution will take a commission in return for their work of selling and purchasing. Your Eminence, we hope that you will give us a ruling on the permissibility of doing this type of activity, as we want to make the money productive, for it is considered a trust in our hands that belongs to all Muslims. May Allah reward you with the best!
(Part No. 9; Page No. 404
If the money mentioned in the question is from Zakah, it is obligatory on the society to distribute it to its rightful recipients, after the money is received by the society. But if the money is not from Zakah, there is no prohibition on doing business with it for the benefit of the society; especially when the profits are used to boost the society's objectives and benefit its members.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.