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Early Doctrines on Waqf Revisited: The Evolution of Islamic Endowment Law in the 2nd Century AH

This study examines the early development of waqf doctrine, based on sources  from the 2nd century  AH, the writer argues that the institution of waqf emerged from a fusion of two earlier institutions.

This study examines the early development of waqf doctrine. Based on sources  from the 2nd century  AH, I argue that the institution of waqf emerged from a fusion of two earlier institutions:  (1) the hubs fi sahil Allah,   a permanent  endowment  for  pious purposes that probably originated in voluntary contributions to jihad; and (2) the habs in favor of persons, originally a life estate, which probably had its roots in an earlier institution called ‘umra. Over the course of the  2nd  century AH, the legitimacy of life estates was increasingly challenged, and the doctrine on habs in  favor of persons was gradually  modified until the institution eventually lost its temporary character. By the end of the 2nd century, the habs in favor of persons had become a variation of the habs fi sabil Allah: It was accepted as valid only if the settlor stipulated that after the beneficiaries’ death the donation should become a permanent endowment for a pious purpose.

Bibliographic Information

Title: Early Doctrines on Waqf Revisited: The Evolution of Islamic Endowment Law in the 2nd Century AH

Author: Norbert Oberauer

Published in: Islamic Law and Society, Volume 20: Issue 1-2. 2013

 Language: English

Length: 48 pages

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