waqf under Sunni law

Under Sunni Islamic law, waqf refers to a charitable endowment or trust that is established by an individual during their lifetime or through their will, with the intention of dedicating certain assets or properties to religious, charitable, or philanthropic purposes. The waqf is a significant institution in Islamic legal and social systems, serving as a means to promote public welfare and support various causes.Here are some key aspects of waqf under Sunni law:1. Definition and Purpose: Waqf is defined as the permanent dedication of specific assets or properties for religious, charitable, or philanthropic purposes recognized by Islamic law. The purpose of a waqf can be broad and include activities such as supporting mosques, madrasas (Islamic schools), hospitals, orphanages, public infrastructure, or any other beneficial projects for society.2. Waqif: The person who establishes a waqf is known as the waqif or founder. The waqif transfers ownership of the dedicated assets to the waqf, which becomes a separate legal entity.3. Mutawalli: A mutawalli is an individual or group appointed to manage and administer the waqf properties and carry out the purposes specified by the waqif. The mutawalli has the responsibility to act in the best interest of the waqf and the beneficiaries.4. Permanence: One of the essential characteristics of a waqf is its permanent nature. Once a waqf is established, its assets become inalienable, meaning they cannot be sold, gifted, or transferred to anyone else. The waqf properties are meant to be preserved and utilized for the designated purposes indefinitely.5. Beneficiaries: The beneficiaries of a waqf can vary depending on the specific purposes mentioned by the waqif. They may include the general public, religious scholars, students, the poor, or any other individuals or groups intended to benefit from the waqf.6. Conditions and Terms: The waqif has the autonomy to specify the conditions, terms, and beneficiaries of the waqf in accordance with Islamic principles and legal requirements. The waqf document should clearly outline these details to ensure proper implementation and avoid any ambiguity.7. Compliance with Islamic Law: The establishment and management of waqf must adhere to Islamic legal principles, including the requirements of valid contracts, Shariah compliance, and ethical considerations. Consulting with scholars or experts in Islamic law is often recommended to ensure compliance.8. Supervision and Regulation: In many countries with a Sunni majority, there are regulatory bodies or religious authorities responsible for overseeing and supervising waqf activities, ensuring their proper management, and preventing any misuse of waqf assets.It is important to note that the details and practices related to waqf can vary across different Sunni jurisdictions and local customs. Consulting with qualified scholars or legal professionals familiar with the specific jurisdiction is advisable for precise guidance on waqf matters.

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