#428: Intention of Receiving Wakaf (Endowment)

Question:

Assalamualaikum ustaz. Is it obligatory for wakaf recipient to set the intention of receiving wakaf just like a person who gives zakat has to set the intention to do so? Hope for an explanation.

Answer:

Waalaikumussalam wrt. wbt.,

Alhamdulillah, praise and gratitude to Allah SWT for His countless blessings for us all. Praise and salutations to our beloved Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his family, companions, and all those who follow his footsteps until the Final day.

Basically, intention means remembering the purpose of a certain act when one is starting to do it. According to the author of the book Fath al-Qarib, the intention is defined as:

قَصْدُ الشَيْءِ مُقْتَرِنًا بِفِعْلِهِ ، وَمَحَلُّهَا القَلْبُ

“Intending to do something followed by the action. And the place for intention is in one’s heart.” [1]

Intention is one of the valid conditions for a certain act of worship. This is in accordance with a hadith from Umar al-Khattab RA, the Prophet PBUH said:

إِنَّمَا الأَعْمَالُ بِالنِّيَّاتِ

(The value of) an action depends on the intention behind it.” [2]

Imam al-Suyuti stated a general Islamic legal maxim that states:

الْأُمُور بِمَقَاصِدِهَا

“The rulings of certain matters depend on their purposes.” [3]

In the fiqh of worship, the function of intention is to act as tamyiz (differentiating) between worship and custom. For example, fasting. A person may be fasting due to his obedience to the commandment of Allah SWT, however, he may also fast because of its medicinal benefits. The same goes for when a person is purifying himself, such as by performing ablution and taking a bath as a preparation for prayer and following the commandment of Allah, but it may also be done just so he can cool and clean himself.

Giving in charity in the form of wakaf is among the most encouraged in Islam. The reason is the rewards are continuous for those who perform it sincerely for Allah SWT. This is based on the statement of Allah SWT:

لَن تَنَالُوا الْبِرَّ حَتَّىٰ تُنفِقُوا مِمَّا تُحِبُّونَ ۚ وَمَا تُنفِقُوا مِن شَيْءٍ فَإِنَّ اللَّـهَ بِهِ عَلِيمٌ

“Never will you attain the good [reward] until you spend [in the way of Allah] from that which you love. And whatever you spend – indeed, Allah is Knowing of it.” [4]

There is a very interesting story regarding the reaction of the companions when the above verse was revealed. In a hadith from Anas bin Malik RA, Abu Talha had the greatest amount of property in palm trees among the Ansar in Madina. The dearest of his properties to him was Bayruha which was in front of the mosque. When this ayat was sent down, Abu Talha went to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and said, ‘Messenger of Allah! Allah, the Blessed, the Exalted, has said, “You will not obtain until you expend of what you love.” The property which I love the best is Bayruha. It is sadaqa for Allah. I hope for its good and for it to be stored up with Allah. Place it wherever you wish, Messenger of Allah.”

بَخٍ، ذَلِكَ مَالٌ رَابِحٌ، ذَلِكَ مَالٌ رَابِحٌ، وَقَدْ سَمِعْتُ مَا قُلْتَ، وَإِنِّي أَرَى أَنْ تَجْعَلَهَا فِي الأَقْرَبِينَ

“The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘Well done! That is property which profits! That is property which profits. I have heard what you have said about it and I think that you should give it to your relatives.”

Abu Talha said, ‘I will do it, Messenger of Allah!’ Abu Talha, therefore, divided it among his relatives and the children of his paternal uncle.” The narrators stated that among them were Ubay and Hassan. [5]

Likewise, in a hadith narrated from Abu Hurairah RA, the Prophet PBUH said:

‏ إِذَا مَاتَ الإِنْسَانُ انْقَطَعَ عَمَلُهُ إِلاَّ مِنْ ثَلاَثَةٍ مِنْ صَدَقَةٍ جَارِيَةٍ وَعِلْمٍ يُنْتَفَعُ بِهِ وَوَلَدٍ صَالِحٍ يَدْعُو لَهُ

“When a man dies all his good deeds come to an end except three: Ongoing charity (Sadaqah Jariyah), beneficial knowledge and a righteous son who prays for him.” [6]

Wakaf itself means withholding a property that doesn’t depreciate in value and can be utilized or benefitted from by handing over its ownership to a user who exists and is permissible. [7]

In the issue of wakaf, the requisites are divided into four:

  1. The person giving the wakaf – endower (waqif)
  2. The property to be given as wakaf (mauquf)
  3. The wakaf recipient (wakaf ‘alaih)
  4. The sighah pronouncement (ijab wa al-qabul)

Syeikh Muhammad al-Zuhaili stated that the right to manage the wakaf property is originally under the endower himself. However, it is permissible in syarak to appoint a nazir to manage it on behalf of the endower. For Khairi wakaf (general welfare), other than special wakaf, it isn’t conditioned for the qabul (pronouncement of receiving) from the nazir of the mosque, for it is a burden. [8]

Thus, according to the above question, it isn’t necessary for the recipient or manager of the wakaf to set the intention of receiving the wakaf. Moreover, the wakaf endowed by the giver is valid. May Allah SWT accepts it as beneficial charity and the rewards are continuous until the Day of Judgement.

Wallahu a’lam.

[1] See Fath al-Qarib, pg. 75

[2] Narrated by al-Bukhari (1) and Muslim (1907)

[3] See al-Asybah wa al-Naza’ir, 1/8

[4] Surah Ali-Imran : 92

[5] Narrated by al-Bukhari (2769)

[6] Narrated by Muslim (1631) and al-Nasai’e (3651)

[7] See Mughni al-Muhtaj, 2/376

[8] See al-Mu’tamad fi al-Fiqh al-Syafie, 3/614

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