Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Waqf - Endowments


1. There is great reward in endowing one's building, property, orchard, etc. in the name of Allah Ta'ala. This is referred to as waqf. Such possessions should be made waqf for the benefit of the poor and needy. For example, a person could stipulate that all the income of a particular building should be distributed among the poor. Or all the fruit that is produced from a particular orchard should be given to the poor. He could also stipulate that a certain house of his be used by the poor. This act of endowing a particular property or building is such that the person will continue reaping the rewards as long as that property or building is in use. This could continue until qiyaamah. As long as the poor and needy are benefiting from it, the rewards for this act will continue to be written in this person's book of deeds.

2. When endowing anything, one should ensure that he appoints a pious and religious person to oversee all the affairs of that property or building. This person should ensure that all the income of that property or building is spent as stipulated by the person who had made it waqf. It should not be spent in the wrong avenues.

3. Once a particular thing has been made waqf, it no longer remains in the ownership of that person. Ownership of that thing is now transferred to Allah Ta'ala. It cannot be sold nor given to anyone. No one can interfere with it. It will have to be used for the purpose for which it was made waqf and cannot be used in any other manner.

4. It is not permissible to use anything that belongs to the musjid for one's personal use. For example, one cannot use its bricks, clay, lime, timber, stones, etc. for one's personal use. This is irrespective of how old and valueless it may have become. However, it could be sold and the money could be used for the musjid.

5. When endowing anything, it is permissible to make the following condition: "As long as I am alive, I will use a portion of the income or the entire income for my personal use. After my death, it must be given in such and such good and noble cause." If a person makes a condition of this nature, it will be permissible and halaal for him to use the income of that thing for his personal purposes and needs. This is also a good method of securing oneself from any future difficulties or financial problems and at the same time receiving the reward for endowing his property. Similarly, a person could make the following condition: "Whatever income is derived from this property, a certain percentage of it should be given to my children first. Whatever remains, should be given in such and such good and noble cause." Such a condition is valid, and the children will receive whatever has been stipulated for them.