Basically, waqf refers to the endowment of an asset or property by a Muslim for charitable, religious and pious purposes. But Waqf is inalienable or made in perpetuity. When the dedication is made, all rights of the property are passed from the Waqf and rest with Allah absolutely.
To be more specific, the asset that has been made as the subject of waqf cannot be sold, mortgaged, donated or otherwise transferred even by inheritance. Whoever the owner of the endowed property is but he surrenders his power of disposal over specific asset with stipulation that its benefits or income is to be utilized for permitted good purposes. Some of these purposes are charitable, religious, family or pious reasons.
Remember, it’s only the benefit or income produced by the waqf asset or property endowed may be consumed but the Waqf asset itself cannot be consumed.
Aim of Waqf
Well, a Waqf should be created for charitable purposes recognized by the Shariah. These purposes may involve waqf for schools, hospitals, universities, mosques or the public utility or public interest including general welfare of the poor. Remember, man’s duty towards his family is also a valid purpose as recognized by Islam.
When the purpose of the waqf is religious and charitable but is not realized or ceased to exist. The waqf will still be valid. To be more specific, perpetuity principle continues as there is an implied term in the waqf to benefit the poor as and when the purpose of waqf is not realized.
The income of such a property can be utilized:
- With the consent of court or religious authority
- Upkeep or renovation of any waqf asset and waqf technology
- Benefit of poor in general
- Purpose of promotion of beneficial knowledge
In a nutshell, Waqf works with a redistributive function because the main aim of waqf is to help the poor or intended beneficiaries.
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