Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Lost Sunna of Waqaf and Men of Waqif

Excerpt from his Essay "WAQF" by Prof. Dr. Mehmet Maksudoglu

As an Islamic institution, the waqf is a property, an amount of wealth etc. dedicated to the benefit of the created to please the Creator. The dedicated assets are put in possession, ownership of Allah eternally, i.e. the establisher of a waqf no longer has any right of ownership regarding the said wealth or property. The motive for establishing a waqf is solely to obtain the pleasure and consent of the Creator, hoping only for His reward.

The one who establishes a waqf is called waqif. The waqif must have the following qualities:

1. He must be an adult, sane and free.

2. There must not be any compulsion: the waqif must dedicate his/her possession willingly.

3. The motive and intention must be to please the Creator. As for the dedicated wealth, it must satisfy these conditions: 1. The wealth dedicated must exclusively belong to the waqif at the time it is dedicated. 2. The wealth must not be obtained by loan. 3. The dedicated possession must be of a kind that brings revenue such as house, shop, field, orchard, etc.

4. The possessed trees, buildings etc. that the waqif intends to dedicate must not be under a demolition order.

5. Those who will benefit from the waqf must be clearly stated.

The deed of trust of the waqf is called a waqfiyye. The waqif stipulates his conditions in the waqfiyye. The waqfiyye becomes valid upon entry in the Sijill (Register) of the Qadi (judge). The waqfiyye contains praise to Allah, prayers and blessings on Rasulullah, ayats of Quran and noble Hadiths encouraging good deeds and as Sadaqatul Jariyah. Sometimes poems concerning good deeds are also included in the waqfiyye.

Then the waqfiyye states:

1. The wealth dedicated, with enumerated lists of the items.
2. How it is going to be administered.
3. How the revenue is going to be spent and who the beneficiaries are.
4. Who is going to administer the waqf (the trustees) How many people are going to work to run the waqf How much is going to be paid to these people Items allocated to pay these fees Kinds of materials that will be used, and so on.
5. Ratification by the Qadi, his stamp and his signature.

We know that Rasulullah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, made his date orchard in Madinah al-Munawwara into a waqf for the Hawadithu`d-Dahr, i.e. for the protection of Islam and other cases of urgency. He also made a date orchard in Fedek into a waqf for travellers.
Umar ibn al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, made a waqf for the mujahidun as well as for slaves to buy their freedom and for guests.

As for the Osmanlis, they made many properties into Awqaf beginning with the second ruler Orhan Gazi (1326-1362). We know for certain that he dedicated the Makaja sub-district with all its revenue for the hanikah, or zawiyya, in 724 H / 1324 CE. Sufis, the poor, and poor travellers would benefit from that waqf, receiving meals and staying there without any payment.

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