Selling land endowed for a Masjid and spending the money on building a Masjid

Fatwa no. 1 All praise be to Allah Alone, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger, and his family and Companions.The Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta' reviewed the request submitted by His Excellence the Judge of Uhud Rufaydah Court in the letter Number (599), which he sent in 21/8/1391 AH to His Eminence the Chairman of the Departments of Scholarly Research, Ifta', Da`wah, and Guidance, which was referred to the Committee by (Part No. 16; Page No. 66) the General Secretariat of the Council of Senior Scholars under Number (98) in 18/1/1392 AH. After studying the matter, the Committee found that it included a Fatwa request submitted by Sa`id ibn Rakban and his family. The following is the wording of the request:We are the family of Al Humaydan, who live in Al-Samkhiyyah village in the region of Rufaydat Qahtan. There is a razed Masjid (mosque), which we cannot rebuild from our own pockets since we are poor. My name is Sa`id ibn Rakban and I am a member of the family of Al Humaydan. I would like to inform you that there is a Waqf (endowment) for the Masjid, which is a piece of land bequeathed by our grandfathers and remains until the present day. However, this land has neither been cultivated nor used for about fifty years. Due to our urgent need to rebuild the Masjid, we all agreed on selling the land and using the money to rebuild the Masjid. In case the Masjid needs repairs that are more than the value of the sold land, we are committed to pay for the remaining expenses from our own pockets to finish rebuilding the Masjid. Is it permissible to sell the land dedicated as Waqf for the reasons stated or should we leave the land and the Masjid as they are and offer Salah (Prayer) at home? (Part No. 16; Page No. 67) The Fatwa request was referred by His Eminence the Deputy Mufty (Islamic scholar qualified to issue legal opinions) under Number (1/1535) in 10/5/1391 AH to his Excellence the Judge of Uhud Rufaydah to investigate the matter and the statements of the inquirers. His Excellence replied in a letter Number (599) in 21/8/1391, and the following is the wording:The sub-headman of the village, Husayn ibn Mansur Abu Sab`ah, and two notables, `Aly ibn Ahmad Abu Mufayid and Mushabbab ibn Mansur Abu Mufayid, were summoned and asked about the land, its area, whether its neighbors are thinking of buying it, its value if it is offered for sale, and whether it will be of benefit for the Masjid if it is not sold.They answered that the land dedicated as Waqf for the Masjid of Humaydan's family has been barren for many years. It is thirty-seven meters long and seventeen meters wide. Its neighbors may desire to buy it, but not for the present time; and some of them are absent and have barren lands themselves. The land costs three thousand riyals, but we cannot estimate its cost if offered for sale in an auction. Remaining as it is, it will not avail the Masjid since it has been barren for almost sixty years. (Part No. 16; Page No. 68) In addition, it gives no benefit because of the barren adjacent lands.

After studying the matter and what the judge stated, the Committee gave the following answer: Since this land is dedicated as Waqf for the Masjid and it is useless, and since the Masjid needs reconstruction and none can afford its expenses, and since it is said in the letter signed by Sa`id ibn Rakban and his family that they are willing to reconstruct the Masjid from the value of the land, it is permissible to sell the land and use its value for the specified purpose. If the value of the land is not enough to complete the Masjid's reconstruction, then those committed to reconstruct it are obliged to carry out their duty. To protect the value of the land, his Excellence the Judge of Uhud Rufaydah Court is required to offer it for sale, receive its value, use it in reconstructing the Masjid, look after its reconstruction, and take the remaining expenses from the people committed to pay for this. This is to be signed accordingly. May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.