Historical Development of Waqf Governance in Bangladesh: Challenges and Prospects


  • Mohammad Thowhidul Islam


Waqf is “the permanent endowment by a Muslim of any of his
property for a purpose recognized by the Muslim Law as religious, pious or
charitable.” It played a prominent role in the socio-economic and cultural
development of the Muslim society in Bengal. Although Waqf governance
could not develop into an institutional shape during the Muslim rule in
Bengal (1204-1757), yet, Waqf contribution was the driving force behind the
enlightened educational and cultural development of the then Muslim society.
Waqf governance started to be formulated legally in Bengal during the colonial
era (1757-1947). The first laws were enforced in 1894 through the declaration
of the Privy Council, in which family Waqf was made invalid. It was repealed
by “The Mussalman Waqf Validating Act 1913”, which was the first formal
legal formulation to Waqf governance in British India including Bengal. Some
changes were incorporated into it with ‘the Bengal Waqf Act 1934’. After 1947,
it was amended in Pakistan and renamed as “the East Pakistan Waqf Ordinance
1962”. Since the independence of Bangladesh in 1971, the ordinance was still
governing Waqf administration of Bangladesh with some amendments made
in it by the several Ordinances and Acts of 1988, 1998 and 2013. Thus, Waqf
governance in Bangladesh has gone through different phases. This paper aims
at understanding different stages of the development of Waqf governance in
Bangladesh with a view to identify its basic challenges and then recommend
further development to get the best results from Waqf in the country for the
development of the community and society at large.


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How to Cite

Islam, M. T. (2018). Historical Development of Waqf Governance in Bangladesh: Challenges and Prospects. Intellectual Discourse, 26(2), 1129–1165. Retrieved from https://journals.iium.edu.my/intdiscourse/index.php/id/article/view/1261