Many ask whether taking money for teaching the Holy Qu'ran is permissible? Is it lawful for the teachers to take money? Will they get a reward for passing the messages of Islam if they receive the money?
There are disagreements among the learned Islamic scholars about taking money in exchange for teaching the Holy Qur'an. Majority scholars said that it is permissible to receive payment for teaching Qur'an. Their arguments: According to a hadith that narrates that some of the companions of the Prophet (pbuh) passed by some people staying at a place where there was water and one of those people had been stung by a scorpion. A man from those staying near the water came and said to the companions of the Prophet (pbuh), "Is there anyone among you who can do Ruqya as near the water there is a person who has been stung by a scorpion." So, one of the Prophet's companions went to him and recited Sura Fatiha for a sheep as his fees. The patient got cured and the man brought the sheep to his companions and said, "You have taken wages for reciting Allah's Book." When they arrived at Medina, they said, "O Allah's Messenger (pbuh)! (This person) has taken wages for reciting Allah's Book." On that Allah's Messenger (pbuh) said, "The payment that you receive the most deservedly is what you are given for Allah's Book." (Sahih Bukhari, hadith 5737).
So, there is no harm if anyone from a madrasha or mosque take an amount of taka for teaching the children the Holy Qur'an and the hadith. Of course, if he teaches it for free, he would earn a bigger reward from Allah, the Most Gracious. But if someone makes a living by teaching others the Qur'an and the Hadith, there is absolutely no harm in such earnings and if Allah wills and pleases, he will also have his due reward from Allah (SWT) in the Hereafter.
There is nothing wrong for teaching the Qur'an and Hadith and that does not mean that one will not be rewarded for it if he receives any payment for that. If he does the task for free and intends thereby to benefit the Muslims and bring them closer to Qur'an and sunnah he will get a reward in the Hereafter.
Scholars were asked: What is the ruling on accepting payment for teaching young children to memorise Qur'an? If you say that it is permissible, will the teacher be rewarded by Allah (SWT) after taking a monthly salary?
They replied: Learning and teaching the Holy Qur'an is one of the best means of drawing closer to Allah (SWT) if one's intention is good. The Prophet (pbuh) encouraged learning and teaching of Qur'an as he said, "The best of you is the one who learns the Qur'an and teaches it." Accepting payment for teaching Qur'an does not deprive the Qur'an teacher of reward from Allah (SWT) if his intention is good. And Allah (SWT) is the source of strength. May Allah (SWT) send blessings and peace upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon his family and companions!" (Fatawa al-Lajnah ad Daaimah 15/99).
Sheikh bin Baz said about this matter: ''There is no harm in that, what is most correct is that there's nothing wrong with that. Because taking this payment means that this will help him (the teacher) to continue teaching and to be patient upon that and since many people might not be able to teach without it (payment) as he has no other income hence be free to teach. Therefore when he is given a payment for this he devotes himself to teach as well as benefit people."
In response to another question regarding receiving payment in exchange for teaching the Holy Qur'an scholars also opined: "Yes, it is permissible to accept payment for teaching Qur'an according to the two scholarly views. According to another hadith, "The thing for which you deserve most to take payment is the Book of Allah (SWT)" (Sahih Bukhari) because there is a real need for that. And Allah (SWT) is the source of strength."
But one should also remember that some scholars said it is not allowed and permissible to take money for teaching the Holy Qur'an and hadith. They presented the evidence by a hadith which was narrated by Abu Dawud from ‘Ubadah ibn Samit (Ra) that states: "I taught writing and the Qur'an to some of Ahl al-suffah, and one of them gave me a bow. I said: 'It is not money, and I will shoot with it (in jihad) for the sake of Allah. I will go to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and ask him about it.' So I went to him and said, 'O Messenger of Allah, one of the men to whom I taught writing and Qur'an has given me a bow. It is not money, and I will shoot with it (in jihad) for the sake of Allah.' He said, 'If you would like to be given a necklace of fire, then accept it.'"
They interpreted the hadith of ‘Ubadah which is quoted above (the Hadith of the bow) at a time when the people were in need of those who could teach them Qur'an, so this was a measure aimed at preventing people from putting a price on the teaching of Qur'an, lest the poor among the Muslims be deprived of it. This may be supported by the fact that is mentioned in the Hadith itself that the people who were taught were Ahle suffah, and Ahle suffah were poor people who lived on people's charity and they deserved to be given money.
The writer is the Editor of monthly Al-Hera (An Arabic Magazine) and Assistant Mufti at Jamia Rahmania Sautul Hira, Tongi, Gazipur.