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Friday Sermon Text: Waqf As Catalyst For A Successful Afterlife

Friday Sermon Text Special Sermon on Waqf (Religious Endowments) 19 August 2016AD / 16 Zulkaedah 1437H JAWI

Waqf As Catalyst For A Successful Afterlife

Waqf, or endowment, is a spiritual tradition that has always been synonymous with the religious practice of Muslims in Malaysia. For a long time, the endowing of property has been an important approach that contributes to stable social development.

jawi_logo.jpgIn many instances, the construction of mosques, religious schools (madrasah) and Muslim cemeteries were the result of donations and contributions that utilized endowed land

Waqf, from linguistic standpoint, comes from the Arabic word ‘Wa Qa Fa’ (ف ق و (which means to stop, contain or preserve, while in Islamic terms, it refers to a religious endowment that denotes “any property attached to the endower, of which further transaction, inheritance, grants and wills on such property are prevented, with its physical attributes kept intact, given for charity, the intent of such act is to enable the endower to be closer to Allah SWT". It is a good charitable deed that is performed with the intention of receiving continuous rewards and blessings from Allah SWT.

Allah SWT declared in Surah al-Hadid verse 11: Which means: “Who is he that will Loan to Allah a beautiful loan? For (Allah) will increase it manifold to his credit, and he will have (besides) a liberal Reward.”

As recounted by Imam Ibn Kathir RH, when interpreting the verse, Ibn Mas'ud RA narrated that Abu ad-Dahdaah al-Ansari asked Rasulullah SAW: "O, Rasulullah! Does God need a 'loan' from us?" Rasulullah SAW answered, "True, O Abu ad-Dahdaah". Then Abu ad-Dahdaah RA said, "Give me your hand, O, Allah's Messenger!” As he held the hand of the Holy Prophet, he said, "I grant my garden as 'loan' to the Lord".

Indeed, Abu ad-Dahdaah RA showed his great love towards Allah SWT and Rasulullah SAW, to the point that it did not matter to him that the property he bequeathed had about 600 palm trees. From the endowment, Rasulullah SAW was able to divide the garden among several orphans.

Looking at the life story of Rasulullah SAW and his Companions RA, we witness that many among Rasulullah SAW’s Companions practiced Waqf, including Saidina Umar al-Khattab RA who endowed his most prized land in Khaibar, Abu Talhah endowed his favourite garden, Saidina Abu Bakr as-Siddiq RA endowed a piece of land in Makkah for his descendants who arrive into the Holy City, Saidina Uthman bin 'Affan RA also endowed his property in Khaibar, Saidina Ali bin Abi Talib RA endowed his fertile land, while Muadh ibn Jabal endowed his house known as "Dar Al-Ansar". Similarly, there were other endowments conducted by Anas bin Malik, Abdullah bin Umar, Zubayr ibn al-Awam and Saidatina Aisyah, the wife of Rasulullah SAW

Looking at the history of Islam, the practice of Waqf was more widespread during the time of the Umayyad and the 'Abbasid governments. During those times, many Muslims performed the Waqf. Endowment was the main instrument for generating economic strength of the Ummah during those times. Waqf did not only help the poor in those days, but it was also a source of capital to promote the development of education, payment of salaries of teachers, and to build libraries, schools and mosques for the benefit of the public. At the outset, Waqf was considered an act of worship for those who wish to perform religious endowment. Over time, due to the thoughtfulness of the Muslim population during the period, and realising the importance of an organization to manage Waqf at that time, an authority, or foundation, was set up to ensure the affairs of Waqf would become more structured and organized.

In addition, Al-Azhar University, the oldest university in the world, is the best example of Waqf practice which can be used as a model. From its founding until today, its finances, administration and educational funding is derived from its wealthy Waqf fund. Even during the economic downturn, the Al-Azhar University Waqf fund was able to contribute directly to the Egyptian government to stabilize the country's economy

Religious endowments is also considered a form of charitable deed, because its rewards and blessings are continuous. Scholars have collectively agreed to accept Waqf, or endowments, as a charitable act endorsed by Islam. It is also a practice that is always preferred by Rasulullah SAW and his Companions RA. Allah SWT decreed ک گ گ in Surah al-Baqarah verse 272:  Which means: “It is not required of you (O Messenger), to set them on the right path, but Allah sets on the right path whom He pleases. Whatever of good you give benefits your own souls, and you shall only do so seeking the "Face" of Allah. Whatever good you give, shall be rendered back to you, and you shall not be dealt with unjustly”.

Rasulullah SAW also stated in a hadith recorded by Imam Muslim as narrated by Abu Hurairah RA: : ِإَّل ا مِ ْن ٍ ُِإَّل ا مِ ْن ثَلَاثَة ه ُ عَمَل ُ انْقَطَ َع عَنْه ُ ِإنْسَان ع بِهِ َأوْ نْتَفَ ُ ُ ي ٍ َأ ْو عِلْمٍ جَارِيَة ٍ ِإذَا مَا َت اْل َصدَقَة .ُ و لَه ُ يَْدع ٍ ٍ َصا ِلح )رواه مسلم( وَلَد Which means: “When a man dies, his deeds come to an end except for three: ongoing charity, beneficial knowledge, or a righteous child who prays for him.”

In the practice of Waqf, there are three rules which must be observed by the endower or the person who manages the endowed property; first; it cannot be sold, second; it cannot be given as a gift or given to someone else, and third; it cannot be inherited. In order to develop and promote the Waqf to achieve the objective set by the endower, all three of these principles must be adhered to, so that the person or institution that manages the endowments does not violate the rules. However, they can receive a reasonable wage when managing Waqf properties, at rates that are appropriate and not as if they owned the property themselves

It should also be noted that Waqf is divided into two categories, namely general and specific. General Waqf is any form of contribution or donation made and applied for the purposes of public welfare or charitable purposes, without defining specific goals.

While a Special Waqf is when the endower determines specific purposes of the endowment. This occurs when the endower has determined from the outset to whom the endowment will be made to, or for what purpose his endowment must be applied for

The mimbar would like to take this opportunity to invite all within this congregation to have the determination to provide Waqf. Let it be known that endowments does not necessarily have to be in the form of land, buildings or other assets that are deemed fixed. Islam also encourages cash endowments that can be collected, and which may later be exchanged with fixed assets. During the 77th Conference of the Malaysia National Fatwa Council for Islamic Religious Affairs convened from 10 to 12 April 2007, it was concluded that the concept of cash endowment is allowed in Islam.

The importance of cash Waqf as an instrument for sustainable welfare of a society has opened the eyes of many to expand the practice of cash Waqf in Malaysia. This agenda also attracted some public universities in Malaysia to launch cash Waqf funds to finance the education of underprivileged students. A variety of products based on cash Waqf has also been introduced such as stocks and shares Waqf, introduced by a majority of the country’s Islamic Religious Councils. These initiatives also involve strategic cooperation between each state’s Religious Councils with Islamic financial institutions. These strategic cooperation has resulted in high-impact cash Waqf programs that target groups in need

The mimbar would like to take this opportunity to remind members of the congregation today to be wary of the abuse and misuse of Waqf. If there ever were misuse of Waqf, do return it, or pay compensation based on an appropriate rate. Remember, Allah SWT is not pleased with acts of dishonesty or the taking of what does not belong to us. It is an unjust act.

To end the sermon today, here are some conclusions which may be derived from it:

First: The act of Waqf, or religious endowment, is part of a practice, or good deed, which ensures continuous rewards and blessings even after the endower has passed away.

Second: Cash Waqf is the best option for those who are not financially strong to contribute fixed assets.

Third: Perform Waqf as preparation for our journey in the afterlife, even if it is only with a small amount of money

Allah SWT declared in Surah al-Baqarah, verse 254:  Which means: “O you who believe! Spend out of (the bounties) We have provided for you before the day comes when no bargaining (will avail) nor friendship nor intercession. Those who reject faith they are the wrong-doers.”
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