Asking for a fee to teach the Qurʾān or the Dīn

Question #318:

What is the ruling of one teaching the Qurʾān, Arabic or the Dīn and asking people for a fee for teaching? Also is it permissible to accept money for teaching, if the teacher is being given without asking for it?

Answer :

Shaykh Ibn Ḥizām says in his book Fatḥ-ul-ʿAllām (3/844) : under the topic of “Taking wages for teaching the Qurʾān”, the summary of what he says is:

There are two sayings in this matter:

First saying:

Some scholars prohibited that if the teacher makes it as a condition, from them Al-Ḥasan, Ibn Sīrīn, Ṭāwūs, Ash-Shabi, An-Nakhaʾī and Aḥmad in one of his sayings and Abū Ḥanīfah.

Their proof is the following Ḥadīth:

It was narrated from Al-Aswad bin Thaʿlabah, from ʿUbādah bin aṣ-Ṣāmit, who said: “I taught some of Ahl-uṣ-Ṣuffah the Qurʾān and to write, and one of them gave me a bow. I said: ‘It is not (a great amount of) wealth, and I may shoot with it in the cause of Allah. I shall go to the Messenger of Allāh (Ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) and ask him.’ So I went to him and said: ‘O Messenger of Allāh, one of the men whom I taught Qurʾān and to write has given me a bow, and it is not (a great amount of) wealth, and I may shoot with it in the cause of Allāh, the Most High. He said: ‘If you would like to have a collar of fire tied to your neck then accept it.’Abu Dawood – 3416

Similar ḥadīth was reported from ʿUbay bin Kaʿab and Abū Dardāʾ also. All these narrations have some weakness in their Sanad (chain of narration).

And they also used as proof the verse:

“Whosoever desires the life of the world and its glitter; to them We shall pay in full (the wages of) their deeds therein, and they will have no diminution therein. “ Surah Hūd :15

Second saying:

Some scholars said that it is permissible to take wages for teaching the Quran. This is the saying of Abu Qilābah, Maalik, As Shāfiʿī, Aḥmad in one of his sayings, Abu Thawr, Ibn al-Mundhir. And this is the opinion of ʿAllāmah Ibn Bāz and ʿAllāmah Ibn al-ʿUthaymīn, ʿAllāmah As-Saʿdī. And the author of “Tawdīḥ al-Aḥkām” reported this from Shaykh-ul-Islām for a person who is in need.

Their proof is:

Ḥadīth of Ibn ʿAbbās, that Allāh’s Messenger (Ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said, “You are most entitled to take wages for (doing a Ruqya with) Allāh’s Book.”

Ḥadīth of Sahl bin Saʿad, that a lady came to the Prophet (Ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) and declared that she had decided to offer herself to Allah and His Messenger (Ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) . The Prophet (Ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said, “I am not in need of women.” A man said (to the Prophet (Ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam)): “Please marry her to me.” The Prophet (Ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said (to him), “Give her a garment (as Mahr).” The man said, “I cannot afford it.” The Prophet (Ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said, “Give her anything, even if it were an iron ring.” The man apologized again. The Prophet (Ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) then asked him, “What do you know by heart of the Qurʾān?” He replied, “I know such and such portion of the Qurʾān (by heart).” The Prophet (Ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said, “Then I marry her to you for that much of the Qurʾān which you know by heart.” Al-Bukhārī – 5029

They said, so the Prophet (Ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) has kept teaching of Qurʾān as Mahr. And they also said, the wages are not on recitation of Qurʾān and teaching, but on his effort and getting occupied with that.

The First saying has two weaknesses :

  1. The ḥadīth mentioned by the people of first saying has weakness in its Sanad and it contradicts the saying of prophet (Ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam), “Whoever did to you good then repay it”. (Reported by Al-Baihaqī and the ḥadīth is Ṣahīh)
  2. And in that ḥadīth it was not mentioned that the Ṣahābī made it as condition, but they use this ḥadīth as a proof that making condition for wages is prohibited. (So the ḥadīth is not proof for their saying as there was no mention of condition in Ḥadīth).

Then Shaykh said, whoever teaches and because of that he cannot find time to earn his livelihood, then it is permissible to take wages for teaching (the Qurʾān) for his effort and his occupation with that. And it is preferred to leave that. And whoever is not occupied with teaching (and finds enough time to work and earn) or not in need of money, then it is Makrūh for him (to take wages for teaching the Quran) and it is feared upon him the falling into prohibition.

And Allāh knows the best.

Translated by : Abdun-Nūr al-Hindī