Fatwas on Conditions Concerning Endowed Properties
Q1997: A group of people raised a sum of money with a view to buying some property and using it as a ḥusayniyyah. Should their work in raising the money entitle them to set up the endowment under the title of ḥusayniyyah or do they have to take a power of attorney from the donors?
A: If they were acting as agents for the donors in preparing the property to be used as a ḥusayniyyah after they had bought it, setting up the endowment deed in their capacity as agents of the donors would be valid.
Q1998: Can natural forests and public grazing lands — that no one did anything to bring them into existence — be designated as endowment trusts, especially when they are enshrined in Article 45 of the Constitution of Islamic Republic as anfāl?
A: For the endowment to be valid, the property has to be lawfully owned by the would-be donor. Since natural forests and public grazing lands, that constitute anfāl and public property, i.e. not private property, no one has jurisdiction over designating them as endowments.
Q1999: A person bought a share of arable land and registered it in the name of his son. Is it permissible for him to set the land aside for charitable purposes?
A: Registering the property in the name of someone is not a criterion for shar‘ī ownership of the person in whose name the property was registered.
Should the father, having bought the land and registered it in the name of his son, have granted the land to his son whereby the latter actually took possession of it, he has no right to set it aside as endowment because he is no longer the owner of the land. Yet, if he had transferred the title deed to the name of his son and remained the de facto owner of the land, he would still be its shar‘ī owner. He should, therefore, have the right to assign it as an endowment.
Q2000: Is it permissible for the Municipality to endow its land for public establishments?
A: This is subject to the remit of the authority of the municipality and the nature of the property. Should it be among the properties which can be endowed by shar‘ for public establishments, such as dispensary, hospital, masjid, etc., there is no objection to that. However, the municipality should have no jurisdiction over the lands earmarked for its sole purposes.
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