Sometimes we ask some businessmen to donate to a particular project such as printing books and other projects. Can the money receive for a given project be used for another project? For example, one of the donors contributed to buying a computer for the office; can this contribution be used to print books instead?

Contributions to such projects are mostly given as Sadaqah (voluntary charity) and not as Zakah (obligatory charity), so they must be used for the purposes specified by the donor.

It is not permissible to use them for any alternative projects, unless with the permission of the donor. However, if it is difficult to get permission from the donor or it is not possible to spend these contributions for the purposes specified by the donor and there is extra money, then they should be spent on charitable activities similar to those which the donor has specified.

However, if donors pay such amounts of money as Zakah due on them, it is not permissible to spend them on the mentioned projects; rather, they must be given to the categories of Zakah recipients which are mentioned in the Saying of Allah:

“Zakah expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed to collect [zakah] and for bringing hearts together [for Islam] and for freeing captives [or slaves] and for those in debt and for the cause of Allah and for the [stranded] traveler – an obligation [imposed] by Allah . And Allah is Knowing and Wise.” [Al-Quran, surah at-Taubah (9), verse 60]

May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.

Source: http://www.alifta.net/Fatawa/FatawaChapters.aspx?languagename=en&View=Page&PageID=150&PageNo=1&BookID=24

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