Mutawalli are waqf trustees. Islamic law considers trustees strictly as managers to whom the waqf is entrusted. While these individuals were the ones who actually preserved the magnificent Islamic heritage through the centuries and enabled many waqfs to survive for centuries, it was also they who ended up being accused ruthlessly and held responsible for the demise of the system. It can be argued that all the major changes in the administration of the waqf system throughout history were undertaken in order to put these trustees under stricter control and end their opportunities for misuse and embezzlement. Sometimes accusations against them were justified, after all the trustees were only humans, but sometimes they were simply used as scapegoats and served the more sinister schemes of the state. The details of how the trustees fared as individuals crucial for the survival of the waqf system and as culprits, will be presented below.
Source: Murat Cizakca, A History of Philanthropic Foundations: The Islamic World From the Seventh Century to the Present. Republished with permission.
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