mihrab detail


The term waqf (plural awqaf) linguistically means “stands still, holds still”. It is established by dedicating an asset of benefit for a defined group. The waqf deed determines the objectives for which it is created, the ways in which its revenues can be used and the management process and procedures of the asset.


There are many hadith detailing the concept of waqf within Islam. One of the most famous is reported by Ibn ‘Umar: ”Umar acquired land in Khaibar. He came to Allah’s Apostle (saw) and sought his advice in regard to it. He said: “Allah’s Messenger, I have acquired land in Khaibar. I have never acquired more valuable for me than this, so what do you command I do with it?  Thereupon the Prophet (pbuh) said:  If you like, you may keep the corpus intact and give its produce as Sadaqah. So ‘Umar gave it as Sadaqah declaring that the property must not be sold or inherited or given away as a gift. And ‘Umar devoted it to the poor, to the nearest of kin, to the emancipation of slaves, to wayfarers/guests, and in the way of Allah”[1]


Thus the precedent was set for the companions of the Prophet and Muslims over the centuries, to popularize the waqf system for sharia compliant purposes.  This command of the Prophet (pbuh) set into motion the first Social Development Waqf by means of an income producing economic asset. The first waqf was created by the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) when he constructed his masjid in Madinah. Funds were obtained in this case for a religious reason, but thereafter many different kinds of waqf were created including public utilities, education, healthcare etc. At the dissolution of Ottoman empire it is estimated ¾ of the land and buildings in some Turkish towns were awqaf.


Waqf can be created for various objectives, private or family, philanthropic or public, a mix of the two, or for a religious and social advantage.


Once a waqf is established, despite not being an intelligent being, it itself owns property. For example, if a mosque is established as a result of waqf, any further donations to the mosque do not contribute to the mosque, but rather are under the ownership of the mosque. This can be applied to other services and institutions waqf is used for.[2]


Cash Waqf is the adaptation of the concept of Waqf in the Islamic financial system. This means the dedication of some money from one’s possessions in order to establish a Waqf asset based on that amount, and offering its income to the benefit of people in general or allocating it for some segments of the community in particular.[3]


[1] Sahih Muslim

[2] Usmani, M. T. (1998) “An Introduction to Islamic Finance”

[3] M. A. Hamid, (2012) “The role of Waqf in Islamic financial system

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