Fatwas on Endowment Terminology
Q2003: Has the public at large who take part in commemorative assemblies, and in whose interests the ḥusayniyyah was established, the right to interfere and come up with certain interpretations to the clauses of the endowment deed?
A: In trying to understand the provisions laid down in the endowment deed, should they be of a opaque nature or an ambiguous one, reference has to be made to the context and common view. Therefore, no one has the right to interpret them according to their opinion.
Q2004: A building was endowed for the use of theology students. Is it permissible for the public at large to make use of it?
A: If the place was endowed for the exclusive use of theology students or for theology studies, it is not permissible for others to make use of the place.
Q2005: In an endowment deed, the following provision was made, "There should be an elected board of trustees from the people". Does this phrase indicate who the electors should be? However, assuming that this is not the case, who should be eligible to elect the trustees?
A: Apparently the said phrase means that the public must take part in the election of the board of trustees.
Q2006: The description of "The senior and most suitable" could be a prerequisite to making the eldest among the beneficiaries take overall charge of an endowment. Is it obligatory to prove such seniority and suitability, or does the mere fact of being the eldest allow us to suppose that both the qualities do exist?
A: All requirements for becoming a trustee should be assured.
Q2007: A person endowed all his property for holding assemblies commemorating the martyrdom of Imam Ḥusayn. In the event of his death, he directed that his sons, and their descendants after them, should be the trustees of the endowment. He further instructed that one third of the profit of the property be allocated to the trustee of the endowment. If, at any stage, there were children, male and female, of the first, second, and third generations, can they
collectively be deemed trustees? Assuming that the trusteeship of the endowment is vested in them, should the distribution be equal among both the sexes?
A: In the absence of any indication in the context that the pecking order among the inheritors be respected, i.e. the older generation should take precedence over the younger one, all the generations, at any given time, should collectively and equally be trustees, and one third of the profit is divided among them equally irrespective of whether they are male or female.
Q2008: If the donor directed that the trusteeship of the endowment, after his death, be vested in the Islamic scholars and mujtahids, has anyone among the Islamic scholars, who has not attained the level of ijtihād, the right to be trustee?
A: If there is no evidence that the donor has confined the meaning of "Islamic scholars" to the mujtahids among them, there is no objection to anyone of the Islamic scholars to be the trustee, even though they might not have attained the level of ijtihād.
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