Original Capital of Endowment (corpus)

The conditio sine qua non of any waqf is that it should be established with privately owned capital. Behind this simple statement, however, there are bitter debates and controversies. Consider, for instance, land as the corpus. Was land a privately owned commodity under Islamic law, and had the corpus to be restricted to land and other real estate? There are two huge controversies contained within this simple question. The one pertaining to the private ownership of land, led to an enormously complex relationship: the state vis- a- vis the waqfs. The other one pertaining to the type of the corpus, i.e., movables versus immovables, led to the cash waqf controversy.


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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