Home » Author Archives: admin (page 111)

Author Archives: admin

Waqf: Its basic operational structure

Murat Çizakça studies waqfs evolution and economic contribution, one of the foremost institutional contributions of Muslims to humanity. by Prof. Dr Murat Çizakça[1] The waqf, its basic operational structure, development and contribution As its name suggests, this article deals with the modus operandi, evolution and economic contribution of waqfs, one of the foremost institutional contributions of Muslims to humanity. It is hoped that after reading this article, Muslims will be inspired to modernise and then re-apply this institution in their own countries. In Islam, accumulation of wealth and its redistribution are closely related. Once wealth is accumulated, Muslims are ordained to redistribute their wealth voluntarily. Income redistribution by resorting to taxation is not the preferred method; instead, helping the poor voluntarily, primarily through the waqfs, is definitively preferred (Cizakca, 2011). Charitable or philanthropic foundations are known in the Islamic world as waqf or habs. For westerners, not familiar with Islamic institutions, the traditional waqf can also be described, notwithstanding some differences, as a non-profit trust.[2] ‘When a person dies, all his/her acts come to an end, but three: recurring (ongoing) charity, or knowledge from which people benefit, or a pious offspring, who prays for him/her’ (Muslim, 1992) Recommended and encouraged by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), waqfs eventually became very popular. Indeed, Islamic economic history indicates that waqf, not zekat, was the most important institution for redistribution of wealth (Hodgson, 1974, II: 124). We have substantial historical evidence for this. For instance, during the 18th century, total revenue of waqfs in the Ottoman Empire equalled one-third to half of the total state revenues (Yediyildiz, 2003). Although some pre-Islamic civilisations were aware of waqf-like structures, for instance, the Roman fideicommissum, Islamic waqfs differed substantially from their predecessors.[3] The origins of Islamic waqfs as we know them today are traced back to a statement by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) known as Thawab ba’d al Wafah (reward after death). Abu Hurairah reported Allah’s messenger as saying: ‘When a person dies, all his/her acts come to an end, but three: recurring (ongoing) charity, or knowledge from which people benefit, or a pious offspring, who prays for him/her'(Muslim, 1992) Thus, a Muslim can continue earning rewards even after death. Waqf is the best instrument for facilitating this. Indeed, a waqf established as a kulliyah, a complete system, can combine all these three acts mentioned by the Prophet (PBUH): a mosque stands at the centre of a waqf-kulliyah and ...

Read More »