The World Federation One Stop Fiqh

Ruling 2694

It is not necessary for the formula (ṣīghah) of an endowment to be said in Arabic; rather, if a person says [in English], for example, ‘I endow this book to students of the religious sciences’, the endowment is valid (ṣaḥīḥ). In fact, an endowment can also be realised by an act. For example, an endowment is realised if a person places a haṣīr1 in a mosque with the intention (qaṣd) of making an endowment to the mosque, or if he builds a building in the way that mosques are built with the intention of making a mosque. However, an endowment is not realised by only making an intention. Also, acceptance is not necessary in an endowment, be it a public charitable endowment (al‐waqf al‐ʿāmm) or a private charitable endowment (al‐waqf al‐khāṣṣ).2 Furthermore, an intention to attain proximity to Allah (qaṣd al‐qurbah) is not necessary.

1 A ḥaṣīr is mat that is made by plaiting or weaving straw, reed, or similar materials of plant origin.

2 A ‘public’ charitable endowment is one that is made for a public interest – such as an endowment to a school – or to a general category of people, such as the poor. A ‘private’ charitable endowment, on the other hand, is one that is made to a particular individual or individuals, such as an endowment to one’s children.