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What is Wakaf

What is Wakaf (Endowment)?


Literally Wakaf means to stop, contain or to preserve. In shariah, a Wakaf (plural: awqaf) is a sadaqah jariyyah (recurring / ongoing charity), a voluntary charitable endowment, from ones’ personal belongings or wealth in the form of cash / property for shariah compliant causes.

Its purposes must be:

  • Pious
  • Religious
  • Charitable

Once it is dedicated as a Wakaf, the ownership of the asset is transferred to Allah s.w.t allowing a perpetual use for charity.

Why Wakaf?

Wakaf has been, throughout centuries, one of the cornerstones of the Islamic economic system. It provided education, health services, water, travelers’ lodges, clinics and hospitals, environmental protection, mosques, madrasahs, universities, and several other public utilities.

It was in fact a decentralized privatization of public amenities that were run by the private sector rather than bureaucratic governments. Moreover, Wakaf provided for the needs of progenies and families by the creation of family Wakaf (Wakaf Ahli).

Indeed Wakaf was a major contributor to the Islamic gift economy promoted and propagated by the Prophet s.a.w. and to the growth and development of Islamic Civilisation which still benefits humanity to this day.

Syarat - Wakaf Conditions

  1. Should be made permanent without limitation to any particular period (perpetual)
  2. Wakaf intents / objectives should be clearly stated and is not valid if not (stated)
  3. The Wakaf property that has been intended (for Wakaf) is effective with immediate effect and cannot be withdrawn. Its objective is also not allowed change and shall not be subject to conditions except through implementation of istibdal.

Rukun - Pillars of Wakaf

  1. The donor (Al-Wakif / Pewakif)
    • A Muslim (in accordance with AMLA) who is independent, baligh, equipped with intellect understanding and is willingly pleased (redha) to Wakaf his/her property or properties.
    • Qualified financially to donate his property
    • Voluntary will and is not forced
  2. The Wakaf property/properties (Al-Mawquf)
    • Must be objectified i.e. in the form of a property or is not valid otherwise.
    • Property to be Wakaf is to be owned by the donor and that will be of benefit or serve an interest and shall be transferable.
    • Can be used forever.
    • The use of Wakaf properties must be permitted by Islamic law.
  3. The beneficiaries of the Wakaf (Al-Mawquf ‘alaih)
    • whether a specific recipient or more
    • For non-specific recipients i.e. endowed to specific groups such as the poor.
  4. Statement of Wakaf (Al-Sighah)
    • Akad is a word that can be understood or written for a particular purpose of Wakaf. Akad is required to confirm the Wakaf.
    • Utterances (lafaz) of akad are divided into two: -
    Soreh - a clear pronouncement with specific meanings such as "I intend to Wakaf my house for the poor."
    Kinayah - a pronouncement that brings many purposes such as, "My assets are for charity to the poor".

Hikmah - Wisdom of Wakaf

The yields from Wakaf serve as a continuous income (perpetuity) for the community and can be used to finance activities of the Muslim community in general.

The sole purpose for establishment of Wakaf is for the development and welfare of the Muslim community based on religious principles and the spirit of Fardhu Kifayah. Funds (as per written will of Wakif) from the Wakaf are generally used for:

  • the development and welfare of the Muslim community based on religious principles and the spirit of cooperation
  • building and maintenance of mosques, madrasahs, provision of burial grounds
  • and contributions to the poor and needy
  • the provision of education, health and social services
  • the financing of socio-religious activities of the Muslim community

Types of Wakaf

  1. Wakaf Al-Ahli (Wakaf Khas / Family Wakaf)
    • Beneficiaries - members of the family
    • Objective - to benefit Wakif’s family
  2. Wakaf Al-Khairi (Wakaf Am/ Public Wakaf)
    • Beneficiaries - members of public
    • Objective - charitable (sadaqah jariya)

Under Islamic law the beneficiaries of a Wakaf can be Wakif himself, family and descendants of the Wakif, mosques, institutions and organisations and general public.

Fatwa’s Opinion on Wakaf

MUIS as regulators of the Wakaf assets in Singapore are strongly obligated to develop and make good the Wakaf properties under MUIS’s care to enhance the socio-religious well-being of the Singapore Muslim community.

From an Islamic law perspective there is no objection to redevelop i.e. Wakaf Jabr, Wakaf Kassim and Wakaf Abdul Hamid and there is no breach of religiosity for MUIS to develop a company to redevelop Wakaf properties should there be no other better way. This is intended to save the Wakaf property from extinction.

Wakaf making was recommended, approved and practiced by Prophet s.a.w. and the noble Sahaba (companions) r.a. and the generations that followed.

The Prophet s.a.w. said; 
“When the son of Adam dies, his actions come to an end except for three; sadaqah jariyah (ongoing charity), knowledge which brought benefit and a pious child who makes supplication for him.” 

Hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah r.a. (Riwayat Imam Muslim)