The role of women in the waqf : a historical perspective
By Abdul Azim Islahi*
This article explores the role of Muslim women in the creation and management of awqaf, an area generally ignored by authors on the history of waqf.
Inspired by Koranic teaching: “You will reach (true) piety only if you make largesse of what you cherish. Whatever you do, Allah surely knows “(Koran 3, verse 92) and” … so compete in good works … “(Quran 5, verse 48). Muslim women did not stay in acts of piety, including the creation of awqaf. An exploration of the history of Waqf institutions reveals many examples from the early days of Islam to the present day.
This article also examines various types of objects donated by women and the purposes for which they were dedicated. An example of awqaf supervision and management by women can also be traced back to the century of the apogee of Islam. Evidence that the creation and management of awqaf by Muslim women for various purposes has spread throughout the history of Islam.
The waqfiyyat records  in the Ottoman archives and preserved waqf records are primary sources of great value to the women who preceded us. In historical works, there is a shortage of writings on women. The waqfiyyat left by women partly fill this gap.
This present study is a modest effort in this direction. By presenting examples of women exercising control and administration of business and finance in the current era, the paper attempts to clarify in the concluding notes how women are fully competent to manage awqaf. Also, since Muslim women have many sources of income without financial obligations, it is argued that they have a more exceptional ability to create a waqf if they have been educated and motivated.
The religiosity spirit created by Islam among its faithful touches men and women. Inspired by Koranic teaching: “You will reach (true) piety, only if you make largesse of what you cherish …. (Quran 3, verse 92) and “… Compete in good works …” (Quran 5, verse 48), Muslim women are not left behind in acts of piety, including the creation of awqaf. In some verses of the Quran, women are particularly mentioned: “And whoever, man or woman, does good works while being a believer … these are the ones who will enter Paradise, and no injustice shall be done to them, even of a hollow of a date-stone “(Koran 4, verse 124). Muslim men and Muslim women, believing men and believing women, obedient men and obedient women, truthful men and truthful women, patient men and patient women, humble men and humble women, charitable men and charitable women, fasting men and fasting women, who guard, men who remember God frequently and women who remember—God has prepared for them a pardon, and an immense reward. (Quran 33, verse 35)
On several occasions, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) encouraged women to do good deeds and to spend for the poor and loved ones. It was reported that Zaynab, the wife of Abdullah bin Mas’ūd, went to see the Prophet and told him that his husband was a poor man but that she was fulfilling with him: “Is this an act of spiritual merit? To help her husband on her own? She asked. Prophet Muhammad (prayers and blessings on him) replied: “Spending for her husband would be doubly meritorious because it would be charity and benevolence.”  From this, it is clear that if a rich woman creates a waqf for her parents and friends, she will be doubly rewarded.
An exploration of the history of the waqf reveals that women were not only supporters of awqaf, but they also benefited from awqaf set up for themselves. When awqaf were created, the needs of individuals and society were primarily determined. There are also examples of women assigned to the work of guardian and supervisor (mutawallīyah or nāẓirah) of the waqf, and they have managed it successfully. The waqfiyyat (acts of waqf) of women has been a rich source of history on the various aspects of women: economic, financial, social, political, etc. The waqf institution offers women a vast arena to demonstrate their talents and use their resources for themselves, for society, and posterity throughout the ages.
It often complains that very little research has been conducted on the role of women in Islamic history . Their role in the waqf is a theme even less discussed. Waqf writers have only recently paid attention to this aspect of women. We did not find any research on this subject until 1983. In a literature review on the waqf in English conducted by Abdul Azim Islahi in 2003, that only three articles under the theme “woman and waqf” been written during the last century , in addition to two other papers, one of the theme “family and waqf” and the other under “individual and specific awqaf”. These studies focused on specific cases. They are preserved in some centers of Islamic history such as Istanbul, Cairo, Damascus, Aleppo, etc. where there are notes on awqaf of notable women, such as those belonging to the Ottoman court and women in Mamluk weddings . There is virtually no book on the role of women in the waqf in general.
Baer  analyzed the role of women in the waqf in the light of Istanbul’s Taḥrīr (liberation) of 1546. Fay  studied the subject by referring to a re-examination of the place of women in the Mamluk home in the eighteenth century. Century in Ottoman Egypt. Petry  spoke about it in “Class Solidarity Against Gender Gain: Women as Owners of Property in Later Medieval Egypt.” Doumani’s research  is related to the family in the waqf, the devolution of property, and gender in Syria during the years 1800-1860. Abd al-Malik  and Crecelius  studied “An Egyptian waqf of the late eighteenth century made by the sister of Sheikh Abu al-Dhahab, who was Mamluk.” Whereas, during the last 15 years of the twentieth century, five books on women and waqf have been published, noted above. There is no research mentioned on this topic in English in the 21st century in the last 18 years
Unlike the Arabic language. We have found no study of Arab writers on “women and waqf” in the previous century. But the situation has changed in the 21st century.
Now, there are many PhDs and Masters dissertations related to the theme of women and waqf. Surprisingly, most of this research was done by the women themselves. Dalal al-Harbi  studied the contribution of women in book endowments in the Najd region. Riham Khafaji  explored women’s awqaf by referring to their contribution to cultural development. The study is limited to Egyptian awqaf created by women for charity and wellness programs. Majidah Makhluf has published a volume on the awqaf erected by the wives of the Ottoman sultans. Awdah al-Shir’ ah studied the waqf of a woman in Damascus during the Ayyubid period. Iman al-Humaidan  has written a study on the relationship between women and the waqf in Kuwait.
This article is not limited to a specific period or country. It studies the general role of women in the creation, continuity, and changes of waqf. He argues that women have more benefits to creating a waqf and that this institution has played an essential role in women’s economic empowerment. It also highlights the role of women as guardians and waqf managers. Finally, he visualizes the significance of waqfiyyat for various aspects of women’s studies in the past. Although it is a simple overview of the role of women in the creation and management of Waqf, this document will attract the attention of academics and researchers who will undertake detailed studies on the various aspects of this subject.
Women have more ability to create a waqf
In Islam, women have no obligation to spend on the family and earn money to maintain their homes. The man has to spend money on his wife and children. Before marriage, raising a daughter and spending money on her education and training is the sole responsibility of the father. In the absence of the father, his closest relative (brother, uncle, etc.) must assume this responsibility. After the wedding, her husband must support her financially. He has no right to take anything from his wife’s income without his consent. Even if the woman is rich, her husband is still obliged to bear all his financial expenses. She also has inheritance rights. The Quran says, “For men, it’s a part of what parents and their relatives leave; and for women, it is on the one hand that parents and close relatives leave, whether there are few or many, a definite share “(Quran 4, verse 7). Islam has freed women from all financial responsibilities while giving them various economic rights that effectively enhance their assets.
It should be noted that, for this reason, sons and some other male parents receive twice as much as the wife because only men have to support the family’s maintenance costs. Women are not subject to such an obligation. It is easy to assume that half of the money received by women will remain intact because they have no financial responsibility. On the contrary, they can increase by getting money from other sources, while the man’s share will start to decline because of his financial obligations.
According to Doumani : “At least in Tripoli, about half of the properties endowed by women have been acquired by inheritance.” Women are also allowed to engage in various economic activities and profit from their income. The Qur’an emphasized this point by mentioning separately that “… and to women the part they have acquired …”, as about men: “to men the part they have acquired” (Quran, 4, verse 33).
Among the companions of Prophet Muhammad (prayers and blessings upon him), there are several examples of women who were farming. Hadrat Jabir b. Abdullah reports that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) allowed his maternal aunt (khalah) to go to work in his date garden instead of staying at home after his divorce so that he could spend his income in acts of charitable . Asma bint Abu Bakr, sister of the mother of the Aisha believers, helped her husband Zubayr b. al-Awwam in agricultural work . They also participated in commercial and trading activities. The mother of the believers, Khadijah, had an international trade during the pre-Islamic period, which she pursued after the Avenue of Islam.  Qilah al-Anmariyyah was also a businesswoman. She asked Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) about the negotiations on sales and purchases. He advised her to avoid asking unrealistic prices.  Al-Rubayyi’bint al-Muawwadh was engaged in the perfume trade in Medina . Hawla owned a perfume business so reputed that it was known as al-aṭṭarah . Women have also adopted the profession of manufacturers and artisans. For example, the mother of the believers, Zaynab Bint Jahsh, was an expert in handicrafts. She made various items for sale; and spent the income in the way of Allah, because she did not need money for her expenses.  Zaynab, the wife of Abu Mas’ud Ansari, was an expert in the craft industry. She voluntarily spent money on her husband and children because he was unable to make money. 
Also, Islam gave women the right to a financial payment called mahr or ṣidāq (dowry) from their husbands at the time of marriage. “And give the women (whom you marry) their dowry with a good heart, but if they, of their good pleasure, leave you a part, then take it and enjoy it with pleasure and benevolence” (Quran 4, verse 4).
Women can also receive assets as gifts and large sums of money in the form of donations. The Qur’an forbids taking back such tips in the event of a divorce: “Do not recover a divorced woman, even if you have given one of them a golden qinṭār. “(Quran 4, verse 20). According to Ibn Abi Hatim , there are different interpretations of the word qinṭar ranging from 1,000 dinars of gold to 80,000 dinars of gold. It is also said that qinṭar means here a mountain of gold.
As noted above, if a Muslim woman earns money, she is not responsible for the family’s support, and she can spend her income as she wishes. However, since women have independent property rights to their husbands, and have various sources of income, they are also required to perform various acts of piety and fulfill their monetary obligations such as the payment of zakat, aid to the weak, voluntary spending on charitable deeds and social welfare, including awqaf. So, women in Islam have many more resources available to create awqaf. It is therefore not surprising that Zaynab Khatun’s waqf is “one of the most important created by an elite woman in the eighteenth century” in Egypt. 
Women’s awqaf: continuity and change
The history of the waqf began at the time of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), and this institution has been established through all times. Almost all the companions of the Prophet who had possessions created endowments as Allah (Exalted be He) asked for it. It was reported by Jabir b. Abd-Allah.  Of course, the companions were men and women. Thus, there are stories about some “companion” women who have bequeathed property. The precedent was created by the Prophet Muhammad’s family (prayers and blessings upon him) himself.
Here are some names reported by al-Khassaf . He says that the mother of the believers, Aisha, bought a house and dedicated it. She wrote, “I bought a house, and it is dedicated to the use for which I bought it. It will be a place of residence for such and such and his offspring and a residence for such and such (not for his offspring), “and then he will be returned to the descendants of Abu Bakr (his father)” . The mother of the believers, Umm Salmah, also created a waqf with the condition that it be neither sold, nor given, nor inherited. The mother of the believers, Safiyyah bint Ḥuyayy has forever blessed a house of Bani’Abdan . In the same way, the mothers of the believers, Umm abībah and Ḥafṣah have also established awqaf (may the Almighty Allah be pleased with all) .
Affluent women participated in the establishment of awqaf throughout Islamic history. In this act of piety, women of the middle class and the elite also participated. But historians have paid little attention to women in the lower strata of the population. They generally noted awqaf of women belonging to royal families and the elite class. The history has been mainly the story of kings and their courts.
However, the trend is changing now. In the growing modern period, attention is paid to the history of the social and economic conditions of all members of society. That’s why we now have more information about women’s awqaf. Another possible reason for ignoring the awqaf of non-elite women may be the fact that their awqaf were not large enough to attract attention. 
Here are some examples of the long history of Islam.
Zubaydah (Dec. 216H / 831), wife of the Abbasid caliph Harun al-Rashid, built a watercourse for Mecca pilgrims and dedicated them to them. He served the pilgrims until other sources of water were discovered in our time .
One of the largest and oldest awqaf in North and West Africa was endowed by a wealthy woman known as Fatimah, daughter of Abdullah al-Fihri, charged with founding the University of Al-Qarāwīyīn in 245AH .
According to al-Maqrizi , Taghrīd, wife of the Fatimid caliph al-Muizz Billah, endowed many Awqaf with various mosques that were educational centers. His endowment at the Al-Qurafah Mosque was considered to be close to Jami al-Azhar.
Nur al-Din al-Zanki’s wife, Ismat al-Din, created a Hanafi school in the heart of Damascus known as Al-Madrasah al-Khatuniyyah in 570H / 1174. 
The Ayyubid dynasty is well known in history for creating awqaf for different purposes, such as education, health, drinking water, free meals for the poor, and travelers . As noted above, history typically records a group of royal family members. Such an example is that of Khadijah Khatun, daughter of Sultan Isa b. Al-Malik al-Adil, who endowed a magnificent waqf with a madrasa in Damascus.
The famous historian al-Dhahabite wrote about Zamurrad Khatun (died 599/1202), mother of the caliph Nasir li-Din-Allah, who has endowed many awqaf (schools, mosques, riba, s and other sources of piety ) .
In a study, Humphreys  notes that in Damascus, “the most intense and lasting patronage of religious architecture by women” was observed “in the eighty-five years preceding Saladin’s entrance to the city in 1174 and the Mongolian period. Occupation of 1260 “. The wife of the magnificent Ottoman Sultan Sulaymān, Haseki Hürrem, created a waqf to support the holy places of Islam: al-Quds, Mecca, and Medina. In Palestine, she gave villages, farmland, mills, and other properties for the creation and continued support of mosques, a soup kitchen, and an inn for Muslim pilgrims going to Mecca [ 41]. According to Afifi , the Ottoman history of waqf is full of examples of this type.
In India, the history of the waqf is as old as the Muslim domination. Many dynasties have ruled the country, and all have left thousands of awqaf in all parts of the country. Remarkable endowments of waqf by men and women continued even after the abolition of their rule. Begum Sawlatunnisa, an Indian woman, known for her generosity, went to Mecca in the last quarter of the 19th century to do hajj. She noticed a Madrasa at Masjid Haram led by Shaykh Rahmatullah Kayranwi (1818-1891), an Islamic scholar of Indian origin, best known for his magnum opus “Iẓhār al-Ḥaq or Truth Revealed.” She wanted to give a nice sum to the madrasa. The sheik suggested that he buy land near the Haram to move the madrasa there, and that’s what she did. Sheikh Kayranwi awarded him the school and named it “Madrasah Sawlatiyyah.” It was founded in 1875/1292 H. and still exists today. Once, the late King Abdulaziz reportedly said, “Madrasah Sawlatiyyah is the Jami ‘al-Azhar of my country.”
In Egypt, Zaynab Hanum Afendi (died 1302/1885), daughter of Muhammad Ali, provided 10299 feddan (about 4,200 m2 feddan) with land and several buildings for various purposes, such as education. , hospitals, mosques, Quran recitation, etc. 
Humphreys, in his article “Women as Patrons of Religious Architecture,” states that in Damascus, the patronage of women for religious architecture and learning institutions dates back to 1110-11. According to him, between 1174 and 1260, Damascus saw “an exceptionally high number of women entrepreneurs in this mid-sized city over a century. “. Berkey notes that this trend continued over the following centuries. For example, in the sixteenth century, religious schools and other institutions endowed by women in Damascus outnumbered those in Cairo. 
Over time, the number of awqaf filled by women has increased considerably. Fay reports  that according to a Creceliusin survey of three Cairo courts in five different periods between 1640 and 1802, it was found that “men and women have established the highest number of awqaf. “. Referring to the Awqaf ministry, Fay discovered an increase in the number of awqaf by women in the mid-eighteenth century. Thus, during the first half of the eighteenth century, only seven acts of waqf of female donors were recorded in the ministry index, while 106 were recorded for the period of the second half of the eighteenth century, 35 times more (Ibid.). According to Fay, “women accounted for 25% of the total number of donors whose waqfiyyat is in the ministry records. “.
Roded’s research has shown that from the 16th to the 20th century, “the percentage of women among the founders of waqf funds ranged from 17% to 50%, with a provisional average of about 35%” . Another figure for women’s endowments is that in the eighteenth century, women made up 40 to 50 percent of the founders of the waqf in Aleppo and, by one estimate, about 25 percent of those in Cairo at the same time. ]
Doumani, in his article “Family Donation: Waqf, Property Devolution and Gender in Greater Syria, 1800-1860”, found that in Nablus, only 11.6% of the total number of Awqaf was staffed by women. Still, in Tripoli, they accounted for more than 47% of the total. Studies in Istanbul, Cairo, Aleppo, and Jerusalem reveal that 25-40% of awqaf have been endowed by women, with Nablus and Tripoli at opposite ends .
An exploration of the role of women in the creation of the waqf would show that women possessed various types of goods, as well as the composition of their endowments. They have also become aware of the diverse needs of society and, as a result, have devoted awqaf to these ends. Thus, the women’s waqf was the object of both continuity and change according to the imperatives of the time, which was reflected in the composition and the objectives of their awqaf.
Composition and purpose of women’s awqaf
In the society of Medina, water and a roof were the most basic needs. As noted above, the mothers of the believers, Aisha and Ṣafiyyah, provided homes to house homeless people. The mother of the believers, Ḥafṣah, felt that poor women were unable to buy ornaments to use for their wedding and other occasions. She, therefore, bought jewelry valued at twenty thousand dirhams, which she lent for these purposes.  As Muslim society progressed, other basic needs, as well as secondary and tertiary needs, were covered. The history of waqf gives us examples of such endowments. As members of their society, women created awqaf for a variety of class reasons and actively responded to the social and economic needs of their time.
According to Hallaq  and Humphreys , the waqfiyyat left by women reveals that they have devoted urban commercial, residential, and agricultural units to the promotion of religion, education and training, health and supporting children, with various charities working with the poor and feeding them.
Humphreys  studied 26 institutions in Ayyubid Damascus and discovered that 15 of them were educational institutions, six khanqahs , and ribaṭs ; and five tombs. In his opinion, despite some small differences, “the institutions favored by women do not differ clearly from those sponsored by men” . Fay gave a detailed account of the types of properties dedicated by women in Cairo in the 18th century: “The various kinds of goods included makān (plā Amākin), multiple types of shops, workshops, warehouses in apartment buildings. , commercial buildings and rabs, as well as mills, water wheels, drinking troughs, springs, courtyards, gardens, cafes, public baths, and productive farmland. In short, women-owned and endowed all kinds of income-generating assets, including a business in which the bodies of dead Muslims were prepared for burial. “
At the beginning of the 20th century, when the British administration in Egypt introduced a policy aimed at reducing educational expenditure and public services, Egyptian women, as well as men, “reacted by creating schools, hospitals, and orphanages. … New European-style buildings have emerged, and women have supported them with endowments, such as girls’ schools, orphanages, and new schools. “
Al-Humaidan provided a detailed account of women’s awqaf for health, education and training services, libraries and books, orphanages, social services, awqaf for girls’ wedding, etc… 
Waqf as a source of women’s economic empowerment
The waqf is considered, among other things, as a beneficial source of empowerment of women. Women have created awqaf for themselves, for their posterity and other women. Men also endowed awqaf for the welfare of women. In the history of Islam, there have been exclusively dedicated to helping women. Zubayr ibn al-Awwam has dedicated homes to his unmarried daughters.  Ibn Battutah said he found awqaf in Tunis and Syria for the marriage of poor girls . We have many cases of this type recorded throughout Islamic history.
It should be noted that in the inheritance of a deceased person, the man obtains the double of a woman, but that if he creates a family waqf, he is authorized to stipulate equal advantages for his male or female descent [ 63]. The lawyers also said that if someone creates a waqf for his children, his female offspring will be included without discrimination. Everyone will be paid equally . Thus, the waqf institution offers women great opportunities to support themselves financially and to contribute to the economic emancipation of other women.
According to Hallaq, the waqf was more often used as a means “not only to give the heiresses larger shares than they inherited by the Qur’anic rules but also to create a kind of matrilineal system of ownership devolution” [ 65]. According to Fay , the waqf system could provide some degree of “protection to an elite concerned with preserving and transmitting its property.”
Family awqaf enable a person “to adapt the design of a long-term social safety net in anticipation of overly common family crises, such as those caused by death or divorce.”  This is the same reason why grandchildren, nephews, and orphan nieces who were not entitled to inheritance actions were the most frequently mentioned beneficiaries of family awqaf. Referring to documents from the Islamic Court of Tripoli ((CIRR), 42:40, 154), Doumani  states that “The same motivation has led some remarried women to confer on their children a property derived from a previous marriage, because, supposedly, they were convinced that they could not count on the new husband or the father of the children to provide for their needs “.
A woman “could be one of the beneficiaries of a waqf entitling her to a share of her income. Besides, if she were named naẓira of a waqf, a woman could control a sometimes considerable good, property, and income, as well as the salary assigned to the naẓira post .
Wealthy women used the waqf institution for the benefit of other women by declaring beneficiaries of their awqaf. Fay notes many examples of this kind among the Mameluke leaders of Egypt in the eighteenth century. For example, a woman named Zulaykha Khatun Bint Abd Allah al-Bayda appointed two women: Madina and Zabiba, among the beneficiaries of the income of her waqf. It specified that both parties should receive equal shares of waqf.  The waqf having a sort of sacredness around it, many wealthy women used it as a means to protect their real estate or commercial and residential urban to earn income by declaring themselves beneficiaries of waqf.
Waqf management by women
A woman may be responsible or supervisor of a waqf . The mother of the believers, Ḥafṣah bint Umar, is his best example. She took care of the waqf of her father, Umar . In the course of Muslim history, women have been eligible to serve as awqaf controllers. There has been no impediment to the assignment of women to this responsibility. Many were those who exercised this function in the sixteenth century . It can be noted that women can name themselves beneficiaries of income during their lifetime and take on the task of managing and supervising waqf. Mary Fay studied women’s waqfiyyat written during Ottoman Egypt in the eighteenth century and discovered a pattern in which “most women found ahlī awqaf (private waqf or family waqf) in their awqaf. They named beneficiaries of income during their lifetime and also designated themselves as the nāẓira of their own awqaf “. She also supports her conclusion on Baers’ analysis of Istanbul’s ta’rir, which revealed similar reasons for the creation of awqaf by women and “the designation of the donor as an administrator of her waqf during her lifetime.” donation of the waqf’s income for herself, then for her children and the release of her slaves after her death .
In the eighteenth century, a woman nāẓirah had considerable power. She could choose secretaries who assisted her in many ways in the management of waqf. Bahalwan reports on women’s duty as custodian and administrator of waqf. During the Ottoman period, women fulfilled the functions of tax collector of waqf, paying the salaries of those who were employed as imams, muezzins, Quran reciters, teachers as well as those used for the maintenance of awqaf, their supervision, and their preservation. They distributed the net income of awqaf to their beneficiaries. If a recipient died, his heir would receive the payment according to the conditions of waqf .
One study found that about 14% of awqaf wardens at different times were women, and 25 significant awqaf were dedicated to them . At present, many Muslim women have shown remarkable ability and ability to manage financial institutions. Take an example Zeti Akhtar Aziz, former governor of the Negara Bank in Malaysia, Shamshad Akhtar, former governor of the State Bank of Pakistan. In its April 28, 2018 issue, Arab News has published a list of the six most significant Arab women entrepreneurs who run businesses at millions of dollars. This reinforces the idea that women have the talent to manage the awqaf entrusted to them. And it is not surprising that Ḥadrat Umar appointed his daughter as guardian of his waqf despite the presence of his sons.
Women’s waqf documents, a valuable source of women’s history
Before concluding, it seems useful to visualize the importance of waqfiyyat in the study of the past socio-economic and political situations of Muslim societies and the role played by women. It can be noted that a waqf can be created orally, especially in communities with low literacy, and few people can read and write. So this was the case at the beginning of Islam. Thus, the first awqaf were pronounced orally and were reported generation orally after generation. As there were more and more possibilities to have disputes with the waqfiyyat oral reports, the waqfiyyat writings were finally put in place and were successful.
Improving literacy has also facilitated the keeping of written records of awqaf. These documents were generally kept by mutawallis (waqf keepers) or maintained by beneficiaries for future generations. Later, these documents were registered in court for security reasons. During the Ottoman period, any new waqf creation was made mandatory by the court. Thus, the Ottoman archives retain hundreds of thousands of waqf acts performed by men and women. Currently, in most countries, awqaf registration – whether male or female – has become mandatory. These archives are a source of precious history. Women’s waqfiyyat are, to no small extent, a substitute for the lack of sources left by women themselves for the study of their economic, social, and religious roles in the history of Islam.
From these waqf acts left by women, we can know different reasons why they created awqaf. In general, they endowed awqaf to perfect themselves spiritually. But sometimes they intended to maintain a social position or support state policy. An act of waqf shows different degrees of spiritual and pious motives. There are various forms of waqf documents, at the top of which are waqfiyyat acts that provide “basic and additional information informing about details such as the donor, all witnesses, the description of the endowed property such as real estate, agricultural land. , money, the conditions of the staffing, the supervisor and his functions, the beneficiaries and the amounts allocated, their duration, their maintenance, their daily functioning, etc.  They also provide information on prominent women and middle-class women, the family interests involved in some awqaf, the social class of donors by their titles or places of residence, marital history, amount of wealth and size of their political affinities and relationships within their family and household. The court records concerning waqf documents are similar to those of waqfiyyat. They provide the same information, such as details about the name of the donor, the assets endowed, the purpose of the endowment, the date, and sometimes the name of the judge and witnesses. The periodic reports and balance sheets of mutawallis and nāẓirs constitute the third form of waqf documents. One can also know from them the names of the creator of the waqf, its purpose, and objectives, the beneficiaries, their actions, etc.
According to Zeinab Abul-Magd, in recent decades, researchers and academics have paid increasing attention to waqf documents, the main primary sources of the socio-economic and political history of Muslim women. They also use them “to dismiss the Orientalist assumption of marginal positions and passive roles of women in Islamic history. They show how women’s economic rights have enabled them to endow different types of goods to support various charitable institutions throughout the history of Islamism. “
The institution of waqf started in Islam with an elementary instruction: to preserve the corpus of an intact asset, that the property is not sold, inherited, or given as a gift. The waqf was dedicated to the poor, to the nearest relatives, to the emancipation of slaves, and on the path of Allah (Exalted be He), as well as to the guests, provided that it was not to be bequeathed and that his usufruct was used wisely, or for his descendants  These brief instructions on the waqf proved to be the beginning of a magnificent development of the literature in various fields of knowledge: the jurisprudence of the waqf, its right, the economics, sociology, politics, history, etc. Men and women of all classes participated in the waqf endowment. However, since history is mainly a political history in which the main actor has been the man, less attention has been given to the role of women in different areas of life, especially the role of women in the creation of waqf. But now the trend is changing. And women themselves are paying more and more attention to the discovery of various aspects of the waqf.
Endowment in waqf can be pronounced orally and must also be enforceable. The first practice was the verbal dedication that was reported by the witnesses, the beneficiaries, and their heirs. But later, written documents became the norm. In the Ottoman era, the registration of waqf (waqfiyyah) documents with the qāḍī (judge) were mandatory.
Gradually, these documents formed a mountain of registers (sijillāt). The Ottoman archives have a vast treasure of waqfiyyat that can be explored for the role of Muslim women in the socio-economic and political affairs of their time. In history, there is a lack of writing for women and women. The waqfiyyat left by women partly fill this gap.
Thus, they are the primary source of the history of women’s studies because they provide complete personal information about them.
Studies have shown that women’s role in creating waqf is lower than that of men. Still, theoretically, women have more capacity than men to develop awqaf because they enjoy all income rights so that they had no obligation to spend them for their children or even themselves. Their awqaf could exceed many awqaf created by men when they were managed correctly.
The history of the waqf tells us that women have created awqaf since the earliest days of Islam and that this trend continues even today. They have been both donors and recipients. They have always considered the need for society to create a waqf. In the community of Medina, they took care of their essential needs. They provided dedicated objects that could provide shelter, food, and drinking water, as well as the special needs of women in wedding clothes and jewelry. As society progressed and the population grew, mosques, madrassas, libraries, hospitals, and income-generating business complexes were dedicated to meeting the growing needs of the poor. They also used the institution of waqf to protect their property for themselves and their posterity. In this way, waqf was an essential source of women’s economic empowerment. Unlike the inheritance system of Islam in which heirs have fixed shares in the assets of the deceased, the waqf institution provides a flexible tool for those wishing to adapt their property transfer plans. Under the family Waqf laws, a donor can dedicate all his estate and choose people – men or women and lineage – who can benefit from the use of the donated property and its income. The Waqf is also very different from the waṣiyyah (testament), where only one-third of the maximum is allowed to be inherited and where the heirs who get a share of the property are excluded from the will.
The women also served as administrators and guardians of awqaf. They have demonstrated the ability to manage awqaf at different stages of history. The administration of financial enterprises by some women in the contemporary world has proven beyond doubt that they are fully competent to assume this responsibility even today. Waqf has provided a broad scope for women to demonstrate their power, talents, and skills, and it still has the potential to do so. We must encourage them.
 Professeur et rédacteur en chef, Journal of King Abdulaziz University – Islāmic Économie, Jeddah, Arabie Saoudite.
 The waqfiyyāt, sing. waqfiyya are legal acts by which movable property, real estate or property is held in mortmain property for the benefit of designated persons or pious foundations such as hospitals, mosques, schools, etc. or for the benefit of the poor and the needy.
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 Doumani, Beshara (1998), Endowing Family: Waqf, Property Devolution, and Gender in Greater Syria, 1800 to 1860, Society for Comparative Study of Society and History, Volume 40 Issue 1. Also available at: el-Zawahreh,Taisir Khalil Muhammad (1995), Religious Endowments and Social Life in the Ottoman Province of Damascus in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, Karak (Jordan), Mutah University
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 Ibn Abi Hatim (nd., 3: 906-07)
 Baer, 1983, cité par Fay, 1997, p. 39
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 Fay, 1997, 41
 Al-Humaidan, Iman Muhammad (2016), Al-Mar’ah wa’l-waqf – al-’Ilaqah altabaduliyah (Woman and waqf – Mutual relation), Kuwait, al-Amanat al-Ammah li’l-Awqāf. p. 39
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 Al-Khitat (non daté), 2: 318
Arnawut, 2014, p. 62-9
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 Humphreys 1994: 48
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 Fay, 1997, p. 37
 Ibid., P. 38
 Roded, Ruth (1994), Women in Islāmic biographical collections: from Ibn Sad̀ to Who’s Who. Boulder, Colo and London, Lynne Rienner. 1994: p. 136
 Hallaq 2009, 194, cité dans Gray, 2010, p. 21
 Doumani, 1998, p. 19
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 Hallaq, W. (2009). Shari’a: Theory, Practice, Transformations, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. (2009, p. 194)
 Humphreys, Stephen (1994), “Women as Patrons of Religious Architecture.” In Muqarnas XI: An Annual on Islāmic Art and Architecture. Gülru Necipoglu (ed.). Leiden: E.J. Brill. (1994, p. 35)
 Humphreys, 1994, p. 37
 Khanqah (cf. persan khaneh : maison ; en arabe: خانقاه) was first a place to house Muslim religious scholars and scholars (‘ulamâ’), a kind of equivalent of Christian convents. These settlements were later reserved for Sufis.
The ribat was originally a small fortress built in the early days of the Muslim conquest of the Maghreb to protect the borders of Islam. With time, they become cottages for travelers but also refuges for mystics.
 Ibid. P. 37
 Fay, 1997, p. 38
 Abul-Magd, 2007, p. 4
 Al-Humaidan, 2016, p. 58-77
 Al-Darmi, Abd-Allah b. Abd al-Rahman (1407), Sunan al-Darmi, Beirut, Dar al-Kitab al-Arabi, 1404 H. 2: 518, Adid no 3300
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 Al-Mirdawi, Ali b. Sulaiman (1419 H), al-Inṣāf fi Maʿrifat al-Rājiḥ min al-Khilāf, Beirut, Dar Ihya’ al-Turath al-Arabi.
 Hallaq , W. (2009). Shari’a: Theory, Practice, Transformations, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.2009, pp. 194-195
 Fay, 1998, p. 37
 Doumani, 1998
 Doumani, 1998, p. 13
 Fay, P. 42
 Fay, 1997, p. 42
 Al-Tarabulusi, Burhan al-Din Ibrahim b. Musa (1902), Kitab al-Isʿāf fi Aḥkām al-Awqāf, Egypt, Matba`ah Hindiyah. Al-Tarabulusi, 1902, p.49)
 Abu Dawud, nd., 3:79, adīth no 2881
 El-Zawahreh, 1992, p. 118-19, 138; Afifi, p. 243
 Fay, 1997, p. 36
 Bahlawan Samar (2006), al-Mar’ah wa’l-waqf fi zill al-ḥukm al-Uthmani (Woman and Waqf under the Ottoman Rule), a paper presented in the 7th International Conference on Bilad al-Sham (Levant). Bahalwan 2006, 9
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