Egypt’s religious authorities have banned direct donations in mosques across the country, ending a long practice of putting charity in donation boxes in houses of worship.
As an alternative, now residents can donate directly to two official accounts at the Egyptian Central Bank provided by the Ministry of Religious Endowments. One of the accounts will be dedicated to mosque maintenance and the other to social charities.
Muslim congregations usually like to donate in mosques, which are considered good deeds in Islam. This donation money is then allocated for mosque repairs and social services, such as holding recitation lessons or providing charitable services for the surrounding community.
The Minister of Religious Endowment, Muhammad Mukhtar Gomaa, gave mosques ten days, especially those not under its supervision, to comply with the ban that ended on November 11, 2021.
However, the decision does not apply to mosques run by Sufi orders due to the rejection from Egypt’s Sufi orders last week.
It is related to the “vows” donations boxes. “Vows” has the means that a Muslim vow to donate to a mosque or a shrine of a Sufi saint or sheik if God grants his wish.
Responding to the refusal, the Ministry of Religious Endowments also said that the “vows mosques” of the Sufi Order’ mosque would be exempted from the decision.
The ministry will also release a list of excluded mosques and the names and numbers of their “vows boxes.”
The decision of the Ministry of Religious Endowment to dispose of these donation boxes is influenced by direct economic and security reasons.
Mokhtar Gama, the Ministry of Religious Endowment, said that the new regulation aims to achieve transparency and ensure that donation money is used correctly, namely for mosque maintenance and social services.
He also added that the donation income before 2014 reached only EGP 6 Million. But once modern methods are put into operation, their revenues reached more than EGP 30 million annually right before the pandemic.
The ministry also hopes that this new regulation can reduce the risk of theft that has often occurred. For decades, Egypt has been trying to combat radical Islamic groups who frequently use donation box money as a source of income as there was no control or supervision on how these donations were used.