Waqf (endowment) plays a significant role in developing human beings, and it falls within the category of infaq (spending) and sadaqah jariyah (continuous charity). A person who gives waqf from his wealth that he loves will nurture his soul unto becoming one that is successful in scraping off stinginess and miserliness. Then, such deed will nurture compassion, strengthen the brotherhood, inculcate the understanding of utilizing wealth as the bridge that leads one to the pleasure of Allah. Allah mentions in verse 92 of surah Al-‘Imran:
“Never will you attain the good [reward] until you spend [in the way of Allah] from that which you love. And whatever you spend – indeed, Allah is Knowing of it.” [Al-Quran, surah Al-‘Imran, verse 92].
This verse explains that a person will attain the pleasure and reward of Allah if he is willing to spend from the wealth that is beloved to him, for such charity will attain the reward of Allah based on the intention and purpose that is embedded in his heart.
One form of waqf that is truly needed in these times is the waqf of cash, which is making waqf in the form of cash or money. It is something that is not widely known, for many of us have the understanding that waqf is typically done by giving away real estate and property only. From the juristic ruling, it is permissible to make waqf in the form of cash.
The main objective in making waqf with cash is to facilitate for the waqif (endower) to spend from his wealth according to his ability. It can instil the cooperative attitude that conceptualizes the spirit of mutual aid and helping one another. With the collection of cash waqf, it makes it easier to be channelled for the sake of Islam, the welfare and socio-economic development of the Muslim ummah. Cash is also needed in developing lands that have been endowed so that the endower can reap its reward sooner and the recipients will enjoy its benefit.
Allah has promised tremendous reward for those that spend from their wealth, as the Prophet had stated that the rewards for those making waqf will not discontinue even after their demise. In the hadith of Abu Hurayrah, Rasulullah said:
“When a man dies, his deeds come to an end, but three, recurring charity, or knowledge (by which people) benefit, or a pious son, who prays for him.” (Hadith narrated by Muslim)
As such, Jabir, a Companion of Rasulullah, stated that the practice of making waqf became the part of the culture of the Companions of Rasulullah. Therefore, we as the Ummah of Prophet Muhammad that have been bestowed with the rizq (provision) from Allah, it is only befitting that we follow the footsteps of the Companions in making waqf as a manifestation of our shukur (gratefulness) upon the ni‘mah (bounties) bestowed by Allah upon all of us.
This coincides with the reminder from Allah that we are to always make infaq of our property through waqf, charity, and many more, for as long as we are still alive, as He mentions in verse 10 of surah al-Munafiqun:
“And spend [in the way of Allah] from what We have provided you before death approaches one of you and he says, “My Lord, if only You would delay me for a brief term so I would give charity and be among the righteous.”” [Al-Quran, surah Al-Munafiqun, verse 10].
Indeed, an endowment in the form of cash or money has been long implemented in several Muslim countries throughout the world. For example, in 1533, waqf of cash became very popular and widely accepted by Muslim communities in Istanbul, Turkey. It was not only for religious purposes but also utilized to finance municipal infrastructure for the ‘Uthmaniyah administration such as constructing roads, bridges, commerce centres, and others.
In the United States, the trust foundation that administers the wealth of the Muslims has implemented cash endowment since 1971. In result, they were able to purchase buildings to be converted into masjid, schools, colleges, and others.
In Singapore, cash waqf was introduced in 1972. More than 200,000 Muslim employees have made contributions via salary deductions through their employers, channelled to the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS). Hence, more than 7 million dollars are accumulated annually for the building of mosques and religious activities.
History has recorded that when the Islamic College of Malaya (Malaysia) was established in Klang, aside from the palace that was given as waqf by the late Sultan Hishamuddin Alam Shah, cash contributions were also received from several philanthropists including the governments of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Egypt, Brunei, and private individuals, that this prestigious Islamic education was able to run its operations successfully. Such was the very role of endowment including the cash form, all of which plays a significant role in human development.
Verily, the wealth that we give away as waqf will increase our deeds when facing the misery of the Hereafter. It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah that Rasulullah said:
“The rewards of the good deeds that will reach a believer after his death are: Knowledge which he taught and spread; a righteous son whom he leaves behind; a copy of the Qur’an that he leaves as a legacy; a mosque that he built; a house that he built for wayfarers; a canal that he dug; or charity that he gave during his lifetime when he was in good health. These deeds will reach him after his death.” (Hadith narrated by Ibn Maajah)
To end, let us altogether ponder upon the following recommendations:
- The Muslim Ummah must have certainty that waqf is a practice that is highly recommended in Islam and it will be tremendously rewarded in the Hereafter.
- The Muslim Ummah must comprehend that waqf is not only confined to cemeteries, masjid, and Islamic schools but all types of wealth that benefits the religion and ummah.
- The Muslim Ummah must altogether empower the waqf of cash continuously, which includes salary deduction to the Selangor Waqf Corporation.
“And whatever good they do – never will it be removed from them. And Allah is Knowing of the righteous.” (Al-Quran, surah Al-‘Imran, verse 115)