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Does Endowment Include In Cash, Zakah and Voluntary Charity

Answered according to Shafi'i Fiqh by Darul Iftaa Jordan
What is the definition of endowment’s funds? Does it include Zakah, Fitr charity, voluntary charities, in cash and in kind assets given to the poor and needy? What is the legal party authorized for the disbursement of endowment? 

Answer:

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of The Worlds, and may His peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all of his family and companions.

Endowment:  an irrevocable dedication of one's wealth or a portion of it – in cash or kind, on a specific lawful disbursement channel determined by the endower and in accordance to Sharia.” [Mughni Al-Muhtaj vol.3 pp.522]. As soon as a person gives an endowments whether in cash or in kind, it is no longer belongs to anyone; rather the endowment executor becomes the one who oversees it completely and in our country the party oversees endowments is the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs.

In principle, endowing money is impermissible according to majority of Muslim jurists while others permitted it according to Hanafi jurists and to one Hanbali’s opinion.

In this regard, Al-Imam Ibn Abdeen stated in his commentary: "When people dealt in endowing dirhams and dinars, at our time, it was based on Mohammad`s opinion, which we adopt."{Rad Al-Mohtar vol.6 pp.434)."It was reported that Al-Imam Ahmad said: "It is permissible to endow dirhams"{Al-Ensaf vol.7 pp.11), Al-Merdawi}.

Moreover, endowment is considered ongoing charity with a great reward for the Prophet (PBUH) said (What means):” "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." [Related by Moslim] in addition, Scholars considered ongoing charity part of the endowment since its benefit is continuous.

Yet, endowment doesn’t include Zakah funds and Fitr charity; rather each one of those has its own disbursement channels as mentioned in the Holy Quran and Prophetic Sunnah. And Allah knows best.

   

This answer was collected from the official government Iftaa Department of Jordan.

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