Although, the history of Waqf dates back to the time of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), it is only popular and well-known in Muslim-majority countries and regions of the world. This form of charitable donation is still misunderstood today. So, here are eight things you need to know about Waqf:
- The word ‘Waqf’ literally means ‘to stop’
Waqf originates from the word ‘waqafa’, which means to stop or halt. Some even go as far as defining it as “to hold”, “to confine” or “to prohibit. Waqf means the property detained stands still, is held still and not to let go “al-habs” or is blocked “al-mana”, by preventing it from becoming the property of a third person. Waqf is regarded as the practice of dedicating buildings, lands or other assets for the use or benefit of the people. In Islam, a property from a waqif (donor) will be endowed from the beginning to the end, in the name of God.
2. Waqf is 1 of the 3 things benefitting you even after your death
Waqf or Sadaqah Jariyah is one of the most rewarding acts a person can do in his or her lifetime. A person can reap the benefits of this act of charity when he or she is alive and also long after his or her passing. According to a famous Hadith, “When a person dies, his deeds come to an end except for three: Sadaqah Jariyah (ongoing charity), a beneficial knowledge, or a righteous child who prays for him.”
3. Umar Ibn Al-Khattab deeded lands as endowment
The earliest stories about Islamic Waqf highlight the importance of providing services and charity to the poor and the needy in Medina. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) advised Umar Ibn Al-Khattab to give away his land in Khaybar as Waqf. Umar gave it away as alms, declared that the land must not be sold, inherited or donated. He gave it away for the poor and those in need. It will not be held against him who administers it if he consumes some of its yields in an appropriate manner or feeds a friend who does not enrich himself by means of it.
4. The Well of Uthman is one of the oldest Waqfs in history
During the early migration of Muslims to Madinah, there was a well owned by a man who charged people to drink from it. A Muslim man by the name of Uthman ibn Affan offered to pay the man in return for the well to be used by the Muslim community free of charge. The man declined, so Uthman asked if he would rent the well for one day for the Muslims and the next day to him and so on. The man agreed and noticed that the Muslim community were only using the well on the day Uthman owned the well. The owner felt at a loss and quickly rushed to Uthman, asking him to buy the well from him. Uthman agreed and it was sold for 20,000 dirhams, which he assigned for all Muslims to drink from.
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