The Foundations of Waqf Institutions: A Historical Perspective


  • Irfan Ahmed Shaikh


The Islamic waqf system is an institution that provides property
owners guaranteed financial security as a reward for their societal services.
For this reason it became an effective mechanism for the distribution of social
services in the Muslim World, and continued to be so for a long time. According
to the Islāmic rules governing waqf, the administrator of the waqf, known as
the mutawallī, is obliged to follow the conditions of the endowment laid down
by its creator, the waqif. However, in reality, the instructions of the wāqif were
thwarted or could not be followed, which often resulted in the mismanagement
or destruction of the waqf. It was therefore becoming imperative to bring
contemporary changes to the waqf system in order to facilitate better
management of waqf resources. Governments, however, found it less tedious
to seize these resources rather than introducing new waqf governance rules. In
the 19th century, with the founding of European-inspired municipalities waqfbased
public services were almost completely rejected in favor of state-funded
public services. The present study seeks to examine the motives behind the
foundation of waqf institutions in the Muslim world and explore its importance
for the welfare and development of an Islāmic state and its subjects.


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How to Cite

Shaikh, I. A. (2018). The Foundations of Waqf Institutions: A Historical Perspective. Intellectual Discourse, 26(2), 1213–1228. Retrieved from