Answered by Shaykh Amjad Rasheed
Translated by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad
A person gave me charity money and said to me, "Buy books with it." Is it permissible for me to buy something else with it?
If you have reason to believe that the person who said this to you merely intended to give the money to you as charity and only mentioned buying books as an example, then it is permissible for you to buy other things with it. However, if you have no basis on which to believe this, then you may not buy anything other than books, as the scholars of sacred law have explicitly stated. This is because the wealth has been owned by you in a restricted manner and you must spend it in the way that the giver intended it.
Ibn Hajar says in the Tuhfa in the chapter of gifts:
"If someone gives a person money and says that it is to buy a turban, for example, and the context in which he gave the money does not indicate that he merely said this in order to make the recipient happy, then the recipient may only buy what the giver stipulated, even though the recipient owns the money that was given to him. This is because his ownership of the money is restricted to spending it in the manner stipulated by the giver."
السؤال: أعطاني شخص مالاً صدقة وقال لي : اشترِ به كُتباً، فهل يجوز لي أن أشتر به شيئاً آخر غير الكتب؟
الجواب: إن دلت قرينة على أن قصد ذلك الشخص مجرد الصدقة لكنه ذكر ذلك على سبيل المثال جاز لك شراء غير الكتب، أما إن لم تدل قرينة على ذلك فلا يجوز لك شراء غير الكتب كما صرحوا به؛ لأن هذا المال مُلِكَ ملكاً مقيداً فيُصرف فيما عيَّنه المعطي. قال ابنُ حجر في "التحفة" في كتاب الهبة :" ( فرعٌ ) أعطى آخرَ دراهمَ ليشتري بها عمامةً مثلاً ولم تدلَّ قرينةُ حالِهِ على أن قصدَهُ مجردُ التبسط المعتاد لزمه شراءُ ما ذُكر وإن ملكه؛ لأنه ملكٌ مقيدٌ يصرفه فيما عينه المعطي ". اهـ
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