A review on literature of Waqf for poverty alleviation between 2006-2016.

Author:Atan, Nur Atikah Binti


Poverty, inequality and well-being are related issues that have become a global phenomenon ranging from developed and developing countries especially among the Muslim nation. This issue has been a debate topic among the society, scholar, and economist and has become a part of the government's goal all over the world especially in alleviating the poverty. In Islam, the issues related to the poverty and inequality in the wealth distribution have always been arise by Allah s.w.t in the Al-Quran such as in the verses below:

"And in their wealth (there are portions determined to be given) to the poor who beg, and the poor yet who refrain (from begging)" (Adh-Dhariyat, (51):19)

The approaches in Islam for the poverty alleviation is multi-dimensional and comprehensive (Sadeq, 2002). Relying in Zakat alone is not enough in order to solve the issues of poverty. Therefore, Islam has put charity as one of the five pillars of faith and obligatory for Muslims and its role is to serve the purpose of narrowing the social distance and reduce inequality in the society (Alam, 2010) and one of the charities that have always been a purpose in Islam is Waqf. Besides that, the recent global financial crisis has not only effected the growth of government revenue, but also given an impact to the ability of the government in funding and provide additional resources to finance the social development for the society such as the basic infrastructure of public needs for health and education (Mohammad Haji Alias, Fuadah Johari & Asma Abdul Rahman, 2014) and in order to overcome this situation, the third sector including Waqf institution must be retrieved back by the government based on the potential and its role as a socio-economic enhancer during the past history in the society.

Waqf, since it was introduced by the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) in 622 Hijrah by giving away seven orchards that have been given by a man called Mukhairiq after his death to Rasullullah s.a.w for the purposed of Muslims society in Madinah (Khaf, 2003), the practices is still continuing and evolving with the times and across the Muslim country. Until today, the glorious of Waqf institution that have been achieved during the glory of the Ottoman Empire is still being spoken by the Muslims community all over the world. During that day, every society basic needs such as providing the health services, education, orphanage center, mosques, shelter and residences was provided by Waqf institutions. The practices of Waqf have been continued and followed by other Muslims country and one of it during the middle of the nineteenth century were a half size of land in Algeria has been donated as agricultural land while one-third in Tunisia in 1883 and one-eighth in Egypt in 1949 has been donated by the authority of the caliphate for the education and health purpose in order to fulfill needs of the society during that time (Cizakca, 1998). What have been written in history has showed that Waqf was not only seen as a mechanism in providing the basic needs to the needy but including in redressing socio-economic inequities and as one of the social security system which will help individuals and public to ease the financial burden of a country thus enhancing the quality of life among the society in accordance with the requirement of Shariah (Azlizah Azra Mohd Zakaria, Ros Ruziana Samad & Zurina Shafii, 2013).

Waqf institution need to play its role because the benefit of Waqf are not only limited to the Muslim poor and needy recipients, but it across the racial and economic background of the receiver. The following Hadith has emphasis on who is more deserving of Waqf benefit:

"Ibnu Umar r.a. Also reported a hadith on Waqf from Rasulullah S.A. W.: 'Umar Ibn al-Khattab gained possession of a piece of land in Khaibar; so he came to see the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, to consult him about it. He said, O Messenger of Allah! I have got a piece of land in Khaibar of which I have never obtained more valuable property than this; (Although I aspire to reach out to Allah AzzawaJalla) what is your advice or suggestion about it and the best course of action to take ? The Messenger of Allah p.b.u.h. said: "Ifyou wish, make the property itself to remain inalienable, and give (the profit from) it to charity." So 'Umar ibn al-Khattab made it a charity on the condition that it shall not be sold, nor given away as a gift, nor inherited, and made it a charity among the needy and the relatives and to set-free slaves and in the way of Allah and for the travelers and to entertain guests, there being no blame on him who managed it if he ate out of it and made (others) eat, not accumulating wealth thereby' (Sahih Muslim).

Through Waqf any member in the society can enjoy or satisfy their socio-economic needs in the shape and size at the minimum cost and it's equal to everyone (Hailani Muji Tahir, 1991). It's a prosperity transfer from an individual to the society where the sharing of revenue to the society is to reduce the income inequality and poverty by distribute back in the form of services and product and in this process, wealth transfer becomes only for one time, however revenue transfer still continues as long as the Waqf asset exist (Asmak Abd Rahman, 2009). In today new approach to the war against poverty several dimensions have been set which are: income approch such as resources and employment (Chepkwony, 2008); non-income approach such as education and health; and increasing access to physical facilities (Sadeq, 2002; Magda, 2015).

After mosque or religious endowment and education purpose, the third big beneficiary of Waqf is the category of the poor, needy, orphans, persons in prisons, etc (Kahf, Ahmed & Homoud, 1998). For this category of beneficiaries, some of the popular policies designed to reduce poverty include curbing income inequality and massive food production (Ravallion, 2005); supply of basic commodities by governments to the poor for self-sufficiency (Barrette and Beardmore, 2000); economic empowerment and social reforms strategies (Kar, 2007; Rao, 2010); and establishment of microfinance institution (MFIs) to provide micro-credits to poverty-stricken individuals with marketable skills (Morduch, Hashemi, Littlefield, 2003; Awojobi and Bein, 2011) have been planned and funded using the Waqf property. Moreover, the distribution of Waqf is more fair and equitable to all levels of the society and the role of Waqf as a social capital widen where the capital derived from a contributions of a members in the society who willingly to share the wealth that he or she have with others because of Allah s.w.t. should be beneficial to the well-being of the society at large (Mohammad Tahir Sabit Mohammad, Abdul Hamid Mar Iman, & Ismail Omar, 2005).

Today, the function of Waqf institutions not only limited to religious rituals but also important in the aspect of humanity to empower the potential of public welfare (Rusydiana & Al-Farisi, 2016). Based on the development of Waqf and the importance in solving the economic problems in Muslims country especially on the issues of poverty, many articles and research have been done by the researcher and academician focusing in this issues recently. Therefore, this article will highlight on the progress of Waqf research development and discussion on Waqf institutions for the current 10 years especially on the poverty alleviation.


An extensive search was conducted by using a Mendeley software in order to identify those journal articles that describe on Waqf topic for the latest period of 10 years ranging from 2006 until 2016. Mendeley is a free open-source tool that available at http://mendeley.com that used as a researcher's library by aggregates the articles that have been chosen by a researcher, counting the frequency of the reads articles and connects a researcher with compatible colleagues or additional articles based on key words and information about previous article usage (Zaugg, West, Tateishi & Randall, 2011). From Mandeley sources, a total of 356 citation were found under 'Waqf' keywords which including journal articles, books and conference paper. However, only 289 articles that were published under journals publications consists of national and international journals were selected and had been analyze. Each journal articles related to this field were collected and statistically analyzed using the Statistical Product & Service Solution (SPSS) software. This study used a descriptive analysis looking at several variables which including the year of publication, number of authors that contributes in the publish articles, the subject area of articles, the country that study Waqf research and the type of research method associated with the use of qualitative, quantitative and mixed method that used by the researcher.


This section will discuss on the result of a descriptive analysis of the article that have been published for the current 10 years retrieved by the Mendelay software and analyzed by SPSS software. The result will be discussed on i) the number of publications by year; ii) the country that study Waqf research; iii) the type of research methodology used by the researcher associated with the use of qualitative, quantitative and mixed method; iv) the number of authors that contributes in the publish articles; and v) the list by subject area of the articles.

i. Number of Publications by Year

For the current of this 10 years which is between 2006 until 2016, a total number of 289 articles related to Waqf have been published. Table 1 showed the distribution of articles that have been published by year. On average, there are about 29 articles were published in a year during for the current of 10 years where the highest number of articles that were publish is in 2015 which consists of 50 articles and the lowest number of articles that were published is on 2006 which is 10 articles.


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