Did you know that establishing a Waqf is one of the best ways to make a donation sustainable? A Waqf is essentially an endowment wherein your donation is invested, and the profits are used to fund the causes you care about (for more on waqf, check out our article here).
However, did you also know that there are many different uses of a Waqf? Awqaf (which is the plural of Waqf) have been around for centuries and have taken on different forms to play a vital role in supporting various charitable causes and community development.
This article will showcase 5 different ways a Waqf can be used to benefit society.
1. Family Waqf
A family Waqf is established by a donor to benefit their family members and descendants.
The assets endowed generate income to fund the welfare and sustenance of family members, including education, healthcare and financial support.
Family Waqf reflects the strong sense of kinship and responsibility for the well-being of one's own family, ensuring their long-term welfare through the perpetuity of the Waqf.
This type of act supports the Prophet ﷺ’s teaching on maintaining family ties as an act of high virtue in Islam. The Prophet ﷺ said:
“Whoever would like his rizq (provision) to be increased and his life to be extended, should uphold the ties of kinship.” (al-Bukhaari, 5986; Muslim, 2557)
2. Religious Institutions Waqf
A popular type of Waqf is to support religious institutions and activities.
These endowments are dedicated to the maintenance and development of mosques, madrasas, Islamic schools, libraries, and other religious centres.
Religious Waqf plays a pivotal role in ensuring the availability of religious resources and spaces for worship, fostering a strong, religious foundation within the community.
3. Cultural Waqf
You can also use a Waqf to focus on preserving and promoting cultural heritage, arts and literature.
These endowments support initiatives such as museums, libraries, cultural centres and theatres.
Cultural Waqf not only preserves the rich, historical and artistic traditions of a society but also enables the development and dissemination of cultural knowledge and artistic expression.
4. Charitable Waqf
Charitable Waqf is the most common and well-known type of waqf.
They are established to address humanitarian issues and help the less fortunate. They are used to support initiatives such as poverty alleviation, aid, and healthcare.
Charitable Waqf plays a crucial role in providing essential services to the less fortunate and fostering social welfare.
5. State Waqf
Rulers and states can also create Waqf to benefit their citizens. For example, libraries, hospitals or public utilities can be created through state Waqf for citizens to benefit from.
The Ottoman Empire was known for its use of the Waqf system to fund many public works like water systems and bridges.
As we have explored, Waqf represents a remarkable manifestation of Islamic philanthropy. In turn, this allows individuals and communities to contribute to noble causes in a sustainable way.
This highlights the need to revive the use of Waqf, in its many forms, including family, religious, cultural, charitable, and state Waqf, to create long-lasting solutions for the betterment of our societies.