Problem Regarding the Use of a Waqf Property

By Mufti Ebrahim Desai
Posted: 17 Zul-Qa'dah 1424, 10 January 2004

Q.) We are writing to you from Reunion Island to expose a problem that we face here at present; we would humbly request you for your opinion on the question, may Allah reward you. Here is the situation:

A wealthy person donated (waqf) a property more than 10 years ago to the Muslim community of the city so they could use it as Eidgah. His donation consisted in two separate pieces of land: The first one -which we will call "A"-, has always been used for Eid sal‚t, and the second one -which we call "B"- has been used by the mussalis to park their cars. Nevertheless, if it happens one day that "A" is not big enough to contain all the mussalis, the sal‚t space is extend to "B" also.

Anyway, the donator says that his initial intention was to use this whole land ("A" and "B") exclusively for idegah, and not for a commercial object, since he, himself, had enough money to use it commercially if he wanted so.

Some times ago, the committee in charge of the waqf land asked him the permission for renting away the "B" part of the property to a car dealer: He refused, since, for him, this use was not in accordance with his initial intention.

Today, the association managing the mosque affairs (which has also received the responsibility of the Eidgah) has decided to rent "B" away to the car dealer, on the condition that the latter will empty the land on the Eid occasions and give it away back to the Muslims so they use it to park their cars for Eid prayer, as usual.

The w‚qif (donor) is very upset at this decision and wants to know if it is permissible, in Islam, for the moutawwali of a waqf property to act against the will of the w‚qif when he is still alive?

Besides that, the w‚qif feels that the price on which the land has been rented away does not correspond to its real value: He maintains that the land has been bargained away for at least half of its normal price.

Could you please give us your precious opinion on this problem.

A.) If the Waaqif put the condition, when making it Waqf, that it cannot be used except for Eid-Gah, or that it cannot be rented out, then it would not be permissible for the Mutawalli to act against this condition. (Raddul Muhtaar vol.4 pg.400).

Similarly, if the Waaqif intended it to be used only as an Eid Gah, then too it will not be permissible to act against his wishes. (Raddul Muhtaar vol.4 pg.445)

It is also not permissible for the Mutawalli to rent out Waqf land for a rental, much lower than the normal rental. (Raddul Muhtaar vol.4 pg.402)

And Allah Ta'ala Knows Best