The word wakf as per Islamic law has two meanings:
- inalienable lands belonging to the Government which are charitable.
- Pious endowments with reference to the subject matter of trusts the second meaning is relevant.
Essentials of wakf
- Wakf has to be a permanent endowment in perpetuity.
- It cannot be either contingent or revocable.
- No instrument in writing is required to create a wakf. An oral dedication can as well create a wakf.
- Neither delivery of possession nor appointment of mutawallis is required. But the subject of wakf must be clearly defined.
- A wakf can also be made by a will or by long user.
- Any Muslim who has attend majority and is of sound mind can make a wakf .A minor or his guardian as on behalf of the minor cannot make a wakf. Again, a wakf cannot be made for an illegal object.
- A wakf nama by which immovable property of value of Rs.100 as more is dedicated by way of wakf requires registration.
- The property which is either capable of being used without being consumed or which is though consumable in itself but is capable of being converted into property of a permanent nature can form the subject matter of a wakf.
- A wakf can be created for any purpose which is considered religious, pious, or charitable by the Mohammadan law.
- Any wakf created with the object of obtaining the approval of the almighty or a reward in the next world is pious as per Mohammadan law.
- Few instances of a pious or a religious purpose may be mosques, provisions for imams, colleges, bridges, assistance to poor people to perform pilgrimage to Mecca, and distribution of alms to the poor.
- Wakf may be made for the rich as well poor people alike or for the affluent and thereafter for the poor or for the poor people alone. All persons regardless of their financial status can be made beneficiaries of a wakf.
- Even family members and descendents of the wakif, that is the person creating the wakf, can be made beneficiaries. Under Hanafi law, the waki himself can also be a beneficiary.
- Under Muslim law, the administration of a wakf is vested in the Mutawallibut since 1923 a number of Central and State Acts, have restricted and regulated the administration powers of a mutawalli so as to ensure transparency and proper execution of a wakf. For instance the Wakf Act1954 makes registration of a wakf, whether created before or after the commencement of the Act, at the office of a wakf commissioner mandatory.
- Thereafter, the Mutawalli’s of these registered wakfs are required to prepare budget and accounts of the wakf for the appraisal of the wakf commissioner and the wakf board.
- In certain cases, the wakf board can assume direct Management of the wakf.