Using funds from Big Lottery Funding

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh

Question:

  1. Q1: Can Big Lottery funding be used to support community based activities like parent/toddler groups, parenting programmes [sic], within masaajid and Madaaris?
  2. Q2:  Can BLF be used to fund projects to go into Masaajid and madaaris to deliver these services to families?
  3. Q3: Can BLF be used for capital funding within masaajid or Madaaris like purchasing furniture or building a community room?

(Question published as received)

بسم الله الرحمان الرحيم
هو الموفق
حامدا ومصليا ومسلما
الجواب ومنه الصواب

The query was deliberated amongst the Scholars at Department of Darul-Iftaa (Wifaqul Ulama) and the conclusion reached after discussion was as follows:

In conclusion, Big Lottery Funding cannot be used to support community based activities like parent/toddler groups in the Masjid/Madrasa setting. Similarly it cannot be used to fund projects to go into the Masjid/Madrasa setting to deliver these services to families. With respect to using it for capital funding within the Masjid/Madrasa, setting like furniture or a community room, then likewise it is impermissible.

  1. (Mufti) Amjad Mohammed (HA)
  2. (Mufti) Bilal Issak (HA)
  3. (Mufti) Faisal al-Mahmudi (Canada)  (HA)
  4. (Qadhi) Imran Sayed Falahi (HA)
  5. (Mufti) Mohammed Ashfaq (HA)
  6. (Qari) Muhammad Shoyaib Nurgat (HA)
  7. (Mufti) Zakaria Akudi  (HA)
  8. (Mufti) Zubair Dudha (HA)

Disclaimer: Wifaqul Ulama provides answers as general guidelines based on known relevant matters at the time, and are not intended for use for any other purposes (legal or otherwise) without our specific written consent.

The National Lottery was set up in the mid-1990s by the then government; therefore, it is state controlled. It is regulated by the Gambling Commission under the auspices of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. The Gambling Commission describes itself as “an independent non-departmental public body (NDPB) sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).” The 12 Commissioners of the Board are selected by Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. They have a number of responsibilities; one of which is selecting the organisation that will operate the National Lottery license. Currently, and in fact since its inception, Camelot have the licence to operate the lottery within the UK.

Every £1 spent on the lottery is distributed in the following way:

  1. 50p paid to winners in prizes;
  2. 28p given to good causes;
  3. 12p to the Government in Lottery duty;
  4. 5p paid to National Lottery retailers on all National Lottery tickets sold;
  5. and 5p retained by the operator to meet costs and returns to shareholders

We will now look at each aspect from the breakdown of the ‘earnings’ from the Lottery.

50p paid to winners in prizes;

It is impermissible to partake in the Lottery as it is gambling and any earnings from gambling must be given to the poor and needy without the intention of reward.

5p paid to National Lottery retailers on all National Lottery tickets sold;

It is impermissible to assist in gambling. Therefore, a Muslim cannot be a National Lottery retailer; hypothetically if he was he would not be able to keep any earnings from the gambling process and must dispose of it in the manner described above.

5p retained by the operator to meet costs and returns to shareholders

It is impermissible to be an operator in order to facilitate gambling.

12p to the Government in Lottery duty;

It is permissible to ustilise this money when it eventually makes its way to the consumer in the form of direct benefits or benefits in kind. The government levies these charges and as a result become the owners of this money on behalf of the UK citizens..

28p given to good causes;

Camelot send the 28p part to the National Lottery Distribution Fund on behalf of the Culture Secretary of State, who oversees the fund. This fund is then distributed by twelve distribution bodies who describe themselves as bodies that “independently decide which projects have successfully applied for a grant. Each is independent of the government but has to follow guidelines when deciding who should receive National Lottery funding.” One of them is Big Lottery Fund which “is committed to improving communities and the lives of people most in need with money raised from the National Lottery.”

The 28p is transferred to deparments which are the apparatus of the government, however remain independent of it for the sake of transparency and fairness. As a result the money is the responsibility of the state and it ensures through its various bodies and mechanisms that ‘good causes’ receive this funding in order to improve communities.

These vehicles of the government and the government itself do not take ownership of this money; so at best they act as agents on behalf of the Lottery operator to ensure ‘good causes’ receive the money. As it continues to be gambling money then it is not permissibe for a Muslim to utilise it.

In conclusion, Big Lottery Funding cannot be used to support community based activities like parent/toddler groups in the Masjid/Madrasa setting. Similarly it cannot be used to fund projects to go into the Masjid/Madrasa setting to deliver these services to families. With respect to using it for capital funding within the Masjid/Madrasa, setting like furniture or a community room, then likewise it is impermissible

References

http://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/Home.aspx
http://www.natlotcomm.gov.uk/index.html
http://www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/funding