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Overview of Wakaf

What is Wakaf?

Wakaf is when you donate your cash or property as charity for pious and religious causes. The ownership of the asset that you donate is transferred to Allah s.w.t., and cannot be sold, given away or inherited by anyone until the end of time.

This form of ongoing and recurring charity is known as sadaqah jariyah. You will continue receiving rewards and blessings even after you have passed on, as long as the asset that you have donated continues to exist.

If you contribute Wakaf, you are the wakif.

The party managing your Wakaf assets is the mutawalli.

Differences between Wakaf, Zakat and Infak

In Islam, Wakaf, Zakat and Infak are different forms of giving.

Wakaf Zakat Infak
Purpose To benefit from sadaqah jariyah (ongoing charity that allows you to reap its rewards even after your death). To fulfil your religious obligation and purify your wealth, as commanded in the Holy Quran. For the pleasure of Allah s.w.t and the welfare of those in need; should not be given for the purpose of showing off.
Religious ruling Not obligatory. Obligatory (wajib) – all Muslims whose wealth meet the nisab value within the haul is obligated to pay Zakat. Not obligatory.
Amount payable Unspecified – you can donate based on your goodwill and ability. Calculated based on 2.5% of your wealth. Unspecified – you can donate based on your goodwill and ability.
Fund usage Managed like an investment asset – your donation is used to generate returns which are then channelled to beneficiaries. Your Zakat is disbursed to all 8 asnaf as stated in the Holy Quran to meet their needs. Your beneficiary can spend your infak donation as they wish once they receive it.
Most common misconception Wakaf can not only be created with fixed assets (properties) but also with financial assets (cash). As specified in the Holy Quran, Zakat must be disbursed to the 8 asnaf. Zakat (obligatory giving) and infak (voluntary giving) are not interchangeable. When you are donating for infak, you are not paying for your Zakat, and vice versa.
For more information on Zakat, visit www.zakat.sg.

One of the key characteristics of Wakaf is that it is managed like an investment. The asset that you donate is used to generate income which is channelled towards your intended beneficiaries. Your mutawalli is obliged to keep your capital (the original asset or sum of money that you donated) intact.

For example, a house that you donate for Wakaf cannot be sold and the proceeds given away. Instead, the house could be rented out to provide continuous and self-sustaining passive income to your beneficiaries.

Similarly, money that you donate can be invested by your mutawalli so that it continuously generates returns to support your beneficiaries over the long-term.

Why contribute Wakaf?

Wakaf allows you to support our Muslim community in the spirit of fardhu kifayah (communal obligations). It is also one of the deeds that will continue being recorded for our souls even after death. 

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. Prophet Muhammad s.a.w as narrated by Abu Hurairah r.a. (Riwayat Imam Muslim)

How are Wakaf proceeds used?

Income generated from Wakaf assets are generally used for the following causes depending on instructions from the wakif.

  • Development and welfare of the Muslim community
  • Building and maintenance of mosques and madrasahs
  • Contributions to the poor and needy
  • Provision of education, health and social services
  • Financing socio-religious activities of the Muslim community

Conditions of Wakaf

Your Wakaf is valid when you:

  • State your intentions to Wakaf
  • Make it eternal and not for a limited period only
  • Accept that it is irreversible, which means that you cannot ask for its ownership back

Pillars of Wakaf

A Wakaf consists of:

  1. You, the donor (Al-Wakif)
  2. Your asset (Al-Mauquf)
  3. A declaration (Al-Sighah)
  4. Beneficiaries (Al-Mauquf'alaih)

1. As a donor, you must be:

  • Willing, not forced, to contribute Wakaf
  • A Muslim (in accordance with the Administration of Muslim Law Act) who is:
    • Independent
    • Mature (baligh)
    • Mentally sound

2. Your asset that you intend to donate must be:

  • Physical, in the form of property or cash
  • Owned by you
  • Perpetual and can be used forever
  • Permissible in Islamic law

3. Your declaration can be:

  • Verbal (a voice recording is required) or written
  • Specific or general
    • Specific: A clear pronouncement such as “I intend to Wakaf my house for the poor.
    • General: A general pronouncement such as “My assets are for charity to the poor.

4. The beneficiaries of your Wakaf can include:

  • Specific recipients
  • General groups, such as orphans, mosques, madrasahs, and the poor

Types of Wakaf

Wakaf can be broadly divided into two categories:

  1. Family Wakaf (Wakaf Al-Ahli or Wakaf Khas): Earnings go towards members of the wakif’s family for their own benefit.
  2. Public Wakaf (Wakaf Al-Khairi or Wakaf Am): Earnings go towards members of the public as charity.

Types of Wakaf