As Waqf a unique feature of the socioeconomic system of Islam. It may be noted that Islam has not initiated any new economic system or social order. Whatever was prevalent in the society and universally accepted as good (maruf) was accepted and allowed to continue. This uniform approach is found in respect of food, dress, customs as well as economic institutions. However, Islam has provided some basic principles and criteria through which the then prevailing customs were substantially improved.
These basic principles in the field of economics are:
- Promotion of fellow feeling and generosity. The affluent should be generous to the poor. The indigent and the ‘have-no’s’ have a right to a share in the wealth of the affluent.
- One should avoid indolence, should follow the occupations of business and trade, cultivation and gardening. That skilled laborer and the craftsman are dear to Allah
- In trade it should be meticulously observed that the weights and measures are accurate.
- It was enjoined to establish a bait-ul-ma’al for the common good. Its heads of account and relevant regulations were prescribed (At-Tauba; Verse 60).
- The affluent should avoid Isra’af (spending more than is necessary).
At the same time, Islam has given guidelines and directions through the principles of fi’qah, and has identified the wajiba’t (obligations), wo ‘harrama’t (prohibitions) and mak’ruha’at (objectionable practices);
Islam strongly supports the idea of mutual help, coordinated and . collective efforts and efficient management for the same of the common good.
Islam has permitted the transfer of property under an individual’s possession, to other person through sale, gift or inheritance. At the same time utilization of the property by an individual to his own benefit has also been accepted in principle. However, a person can impose restrictions on the transfer of property both movable and immovable by declaring it as Waqf’ (in etymological sense Waqf means to stop or to hold or to detain). Thus, one can transfer the profits accruing from such property from the sphere of limited individual’s benefit, to the benefit of a much larger number of people comprising the weaker elections of not only the Muslim Ummah but the entire humanity. The ownership of the property so declared as Waqf vests in Allah.
Although the word Waqf is not used in the Qur’an, the very essence of it is found in several verses of the Qur’an dealing with charity, (Sadaqah). Moreover, the following verses of/the Qur’an among others are relevant. They ask you what they should give in charity. Tell them: “What you can spare of your wealth as should benefit the parents, the relatives, the orphans, the needy, the wayfarers for Allah is not unaware of the good deeds that you do”. (2:215).
“And In their wealth (of those who fear Allah and follow the straight path) there is a due share for the beggar and the deprived” (51:19).
The origin of the Waqf is traced to the Prophet (PBUH). The Waqf which directly fulfills the objects of Waqf were created by the Prophet (PBUH) himself’ in the form of the Quba mosque and the mosque of the Prophet (Masjid-e-Nabav/ at Madina. The Waqf which fulfills the object.