Prophet Muhammad (prayers and blessing on him) and the waqf
In Medina, charitable endowments were a feature of civic life even before Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) arrived.
A certain Al Bar died a few months before the installation of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) in Medina and granted part of his estate for charity. The Prophet Muhammad not only raised no objection; but on the contrary, he approved this legacy. Thus Al Bar was « the first to yield a third of his wealth and the Messenger of God allowed him » (Ibn S’ad 2013, 482).
Then Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) himself received a good waqf which shows us the management of donations. Shortly after the battle of Uhud (in 625) when Muqairiq, a Jewish confessor, rookie of the Prophet’s army, was mortally wounded during this battle, bequeathed to the Prophet seven properties, on condition that he use them for the expansion of Islam.
The Muslim scholar Ibn S’ad gives us an example of how the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessing on him) considered this donation. The Prophet saw his grandson Hassan eating a fruit from a tree that was intended to provide food for the poor (as no other donation from Medina has ever been mentioned, this orchard should certainly have been part of Muqairiq’s legacy ). Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) took the fruit out of the boy’s mouth and scolded him, « Do not you know that you are eating a sadaqa? (Ibn S’ad 2012, 122, Gil 1998, 128).
Thus, this legacy of Muqairiq was a highlight in the evolution of awqaf: The Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessing on him) was henceforth able to create a Zakat fund through the imputation of the lease on a fixed asset, and the mechanism of administering a waqf has been put in place.
Two aspects of this hadith stand out:
first, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) knew that an orchard could bring a sense of well-being to the community,
Secondly, he used the term sadaqa for what was actually a waqf. He saw no need for a new nomenclature to distinguish Zakat or Sadaqa from Waqf.
The legacy of Muqairiq allowed the Prophet to develop a method for the administration of a waqf, and his next step was to intensify the way this concept was applied. This took place after the conquest of Khaybar in 628 (four years before the death of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).) Previously, the revenues were derived exclusively from alms, hence, He was in possession of vast agricultural domains generators The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) simultaneously granted several land grants to his companions, but on the condition that they give back the product of the land to the public welfare.
The narrative of events by Ibn S’ad shows that the term « sadaqa » was still used interchangeably with waqf: Omar ibn al Khatab (may Allah be pleased with him) obtained land from Khaybar and went to the Prophet and said to him, « I have a So, what do you tell me to do with it? « Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) replied, » If you wish, make a waqf and give it as sadaqa … »
The first sadaqa given in Islam is the fruits of the sadaqa of Umar ibn al Khattab. (Ibn S’ad 2013, 280) A distinction was made between property rights in a capital asset and property rights in the return on that asset. Tangible assets were owned by a waqf, but the revenue streams were due to the beneficiaries.
Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) had thus respected the Koranic injunction to provide charity, but he did it in a new way, namely by naming the beneficiaries of the income and leaving the management to an authority other than lay or religious. In the past, social welfare assets had always been in the hands of a secular or religious authority, but now they belonged to an independent body.
Omar and other companions had the title of material goods, but the beneficiaries had the claims on the returns of the assets: thus, at that very moment the concept of the property as a bundle of rights came into being. A multi-step transition conferred by the case law was ongoing. Muqairiq, who had blessed Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as head of the community, had put traditional philanthropy into practice since he had not imposed legal constraints on the Prophet; but after Khaybar, the Prophet instituted a law granting his companions legal titles on the land while limiting the way in which they could use the revenues derived from it and distributing it.