One of the key elements of the corporate waqf is the Mutawalli, the waqf manager, and his responsibility is to administer it in the best interests of the beneficiaries. The mutawalli appropriately monitors a waqf property to ensure its continued existence and allows beneficiaries to continue to benefit from said property. He may only be a waqf keeper and responsible for increasing the value of assets and improving the institution’s cash flow, thereby maximizing beneficiaries’ income.
In Islam, the function and position of Mutawalli are clearly defined. His role as manager of waqf properties is crystal clear. The mutawallis have truly preserved Islamic architectural heritage through the centuries and have allowed many awqaf to survive. In other words, they are the core of the waqf system, and the system’s success is partly attributed to them.
Typically, a religious body comprises parties with a meticulous understanding of the Muslim religion, but it may lack business and administration skills. This is reflected directly in the performance of waqf assets. There is evidence that waqf assets’ continuity and permanence are real, but not at the level of the growth and development of said assets to increase the waqf value and increase the dividends distributable to the beneficiaries.
At present, therefore, it is important that the mutawalli not only be a guardian of awqaf but become a catalyst for creativity to generate more dividends to be paid out. A business that is mutawalli should be made up of competent people with good business acumen and a good understanding of Islamic principles. She must understand the local fabric and customs and have a good relationship with local institutions and waqf related parties.