What is Waqf?
Waqf, in Arabic language, means hold, confinement or prohibition. The word waqf is used in Islam in the meaning of holding certain property and preserving it for the confined benefit of certain philanthropists and prohibiting any use or disposition of it outside that specific objectives. Therefore waqf widely relates to land and buildings. Moreover, there are waqf of books, agricultural machinery, cattle, shares and stocks and cash money. Simply Waqf means a permanent dedication by a person professing Islam of any movable or immovable property. Waqf is one of the sources of Islamic Economic system. It refers to the voluntary charity which has unique presence in Islam. Islamic law is the first law ever that defines and regulates Waqf as a civil societal institution. It started since the time of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) himself.
In Islamic tradition, titles to religious properties, including masjids, Islamic cultural sites, Educational centers are held by Waqf which is an Islamic Trust. Waqf properties in Muslim countries governments establish a separate ministry called Ministry of Awqaf to protect and perpetuate the Waqf properties. In other faith countries Muslims cultural Affairs Ministries maintain a Board to handle and maintain the Waqf properties. Also Public and specific Waqf properties held and maintained by various institutions which are organized or registered by religious authorities which probably registered as institutions in other faith governments.
Waqf properties or the value of these properties become restricted on a perpetual basis to serve the Islamic objectives prescribed at inception. According to the need of the community these institutions accept donations to perform this vital function, so theat the service is provided at no cost to the waqf property itself. It is vital to formalize and maintain the records of the Waqf properties so that the the committed successors who perpetuate them can keep these properties true to the Islamic purpose which they were established. In the early centuries of Islamic history, during times of territorial advances, waqfs were vital to the establishment of social structures in lands with weak state structures. In modern times, waqfs are merely financing structures, but can in many cases be of great importance.
Many Islamic Waqf properties established all over the world even in Muslim countries due to the lack of focus many of them have been lost through demographic changes, disrepair and property tax and by assigning them to different individuals. These agreements purposefully drawn to benefit the lessee and drastically collapse the value and benefit from reaching the rightful purpose and party from being benefitted. These cases have lots of examples all over the world. Both trustee and the lessee will be responsible for robbing and permitting to be misappropriation of public waqf property. Many of these kind properties have been recovered with high costs and many are still not brought to attention. Some are in state of recoverable by spending a fraction of the value which if left behind may totally go lost.
Importance of Waqf
In order a community to be served well with all the services sufficient resources shall be held as Waqf properties. In addition to Masjid, Educational Centers, Hospitals, Social Service sites are needed. In present, it has proved around the globe that Micro Credit are not successful in reducing poverty and income inequality. In this context, Waqf can be one of the vital alternatives alongside Zakah because early history indicates free education, scholarship, orphanage, free treatment etc as provided by Waqf based institutions. But current scenario shows that, Waqf based institutions are not growing at a considerable level. If we really want to do something for the needy and the poor, we have to revive this much needed institution. Also Waqf is the most durable rewarding worship. Even the prominent people of Islam has engaged their properties in this enormous worship. The inauguration of this worship is narrated in the Hadees when Umar Radhi
Management of Waqf properties.
To the waqf there are managers in charge of securing that all maintenance and profits are well taken care of. ACJU Waqf unit advises Baithul Maal Societies in regard the Management of Waqf properties. ACJU does not administer these institutions nor interferes with their activities. ans instead provide them with the necessary advises on request. The Baithul Maal shall have agreements with the Waqif. In this arrangement the local community conveys the title of the Waqf property to Waqf property administration, supervision and Monitory board which established under Baithul Maal Society. The society will be the trustee of the property. Waqf maintenance unit of the Baithul Maal will do the day to day utilization of the property and will direct the benefit to the beneficiary the successor with the approval of the approval committee. Approval committee shall need to approve only the unspecified beneficiary or the cases where the named beneficiary is absent temporarily or permanently.
The properties which are administrative rights are left for the Baithul Maal Society to discrete the beneficiary. Further the benefit of Baithul Maal Waqf Unit include that it will ensure that assets of Waqf and Baithul Maal are protected from liabilities arising from its service activities. Baithul Maal Waqf will also list out the Waqf and Public properties left for Muslim community and will leash recovery tracks.
Functions of the Waqf Administration.
- Investigating and determining the nature and extent of Waqfs properties, and calling from time to time for accounts, returns and information from Mutawallis.
- Ensuring Waqf properties and income arising there from, to be applied as per objectives and purpose for the benifit of any class or persons for such waqfs were created or intended;
- Giving directions for the proper administration of Waqfs.
- Managing himself, (Administrator) or through the employs employed under this ordinance or persons authorized by him, any waqf of which he may take or retain charge under this Ordinance and doing all such acts as may be necessary for the proper control, administration and management of any such property.
- Fixing the remuneration of a mutawally, where there is no provision for such remuneration in the Waqf deed.
- Investing of any money received as compensation for the acquision of Waqf properties under any law for the time being in force, by himself (Administrative) or by issuing directions for proper investment by the Mutawalli.
- Generally doing all such acts as may be necessary for the due control, maintenance and administration of Waqfs.