Waqf is an islamic endowment of property to be held in trust and used for a charitable or religious purpose.
Origins of Waqf
“Ibn ‘Umar reported: ‘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 (saw) 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. - Sahih Muslim
The above hadith set the precedent for our honorable Sahaba (r) and Muslims from all walks of life, over the centuries, to popularise the waqf system for any imaginable shari’ah compliant purpose. This command of the Prophet (s) and the action of ‘Umar (r) set into motion the first Social Development Waqf by means of an income producing economic asset.
Forms of Waqf
Economic Assets: These are generally fixed assets, income producing, include rentable shops, houses, farms, shares in companies or businesses; function facilities e.g. halls; etc
Social Assets: These are also generally fixed or capital assets and include schools; masjids; madressahs; hospitals & clinics; boreholes, water & sanitation facilities; libraries; cemetaries; community centres; hostels etc.
Land & Buildings: Cash is provided by one or more persons as waqf to purchase land and buildings, e.g. a small shopping complex. Once the complex is purchased, the property may be classified as a waqf property and waqf rules apply. The property may not be sold (except to replace), be gifted, or inherited. The property remains intact and may not be spent. The rental income that is produced by the complex may be used for any shari’ah compliant purpose.