It is impermissible to buy books

Q : It is well known to Your Eminence that it is obligatory, on those who are able and qualified, to call both Muslims and non-Muslims to Allah and support the immigrant Muslims to maintain their Din (religion), urging them to be steadfast and warning them against the traps of Christianization and libertinism. Allah has willed that a group of Muslim youth study in America, who know first hand the real conditions of Muslim students emigrating to America and the schemes of Satan and his supporters. The trials they face resemble pieces of a dark night. Allah has blessed a group of these Muslim youth to come together and dedicate themselves to calling to Allah in America and to do their utmost to enlighten Muslim youth and students about their Din; whether those whose stay is temporary, such as the students or those who live and work in America. (Part No. 10; Page No. 46) They agreed to establish a society called "The Muslim Students Association" in the United States and Canada, because any activity in America must go through a frame acknowledged by the government. The association was established in 1962 A.D. by five students and teachers. It has so expanded now that its membership has grown to over five thousand Muslim Arab and non-Arab students. It also has one hundred and fifty branches in the institutions of higher learning and universities. The association finances their activities through the subscriptions of its members and the donations offered by beneficiaries and subscribers. Yet, these donations are very little when compared to the demands of calling to Islam in America because there are no fixed resources for the expenditures of the association in calling to Allah and the amounts of Zakah (obligatory charity) offered by Muslims in America are too small to meet the numerous demands. They include publishing Islamic books, sending Islamic publications to members and others, visiting prisoners and inviting them to Islam which results in a great number of them embracing Islam, correcting their behavior and their turning to Allah in repentance. This has amazed the American officials. About one hundred persons embrace Allah's religion every month. There are conferences for calling to Islam and debates with those who oppose Islam, such as Christian and Jewish clergymen, etc. That speak out on TV, radio, and newspapers. There are also public meetings and similar activities. The main obstacle, which faces Islamic efforts in America and Canada, is the financial supply, which enables (Part No. 10; Page No. 47) the association to expand its activities to include great numbers of these emigrants of Muslim origin whom non-Muslims want to corrupt and separate them from their Ummah and Din. They hope that when they return to their Muslim countries after studying, they will be appointed to leadership positions bearing Muslim names; whereas their way of thinking is westernized. What makes the mission of the association really difficult is that the number of Muslim students studying in America has reached one hundred and fifty thousand. Based on this, on behalf of the Muslim Students Association in the United States and Canada, I hope that you will kindly answer the following question:Is it permissible to give Zakat to the Muslim Students Association in order for it to finance its activities of calling to Allah? Please reply to this Istifta' (request for a fatwa), may Allah reward and guide you! As-salamu `alaikum (May Allah's Peace be upon you!)

A: The Council of Senior Scholars in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has investigated this issue before and has issued its resolution wherein it explained the ruling. Thus, the Committee finds it sufficient to just mention its content in what follows since it adequately answers this Istifta' (request for a fatwa):After reviewing the statements of the scholars reviewed by the Permanent Committee to discuss the meaning of: ...and for Allâh’s Cause which is a part of the Ayah (Qur'anic verse) specifying the channels of Zakat, and after studying the proofs and discussing the view maintaining that "for Allah's Cause" refers to Mujahids (those fighting in the Cause of Allah); especially the equipment they need, similarly, reviewing the interpretation of those who expanded the Ayah and did not confine its meaning to (Part No. 10; Page No. 48) the Mujahids, thus they include building Masjids and infrastructure, improving education, Da`wah activities carried out by Du`ah (callers to Islam), etc. The members of the Council have considered adopting the views of the Mufassirs (exegetes of the Qur'an), scholars of Hadith, and Fuqaha' (Muslim jurists). According to these views, the meaning of Allah's statement: ...and for Allâh’s Cause in the Ayah that clarifies Zakah channels refers to the Mujahids and the equipment they require. If there are no Mujahids, Zakah should be spent on its other channels. It is not permissible to be spent on public facilities such as building Masjids, infrastructure, etc., unless there is no channel available of the eight types stated in the Ayah.May Allah grant us success. May Allah's Peace and Blessings be upon our Prophet and his family and Companions!