Waqf is a sustainable, ongoing charitable endowment (such as Sadaqah Jariyah). In other words, it is widely used throughout Islamic history to develop and support communities.
A Waqf endowment usually benefits the community as a whole by offering a service that is useful to society. For example: a hospital or a university.
In Arabic, Waqf, or the plural ‘Awqaf’ means ‘restriction’ because it acknowledges that all properties belong to God. To illustrate, a donation – be it a library or a cash sum – cannot ever be owned by any person. Instead, its possession is transferred to God. However, the benefits are reaped by man. The original donor no longer owns the endowment. In conclusion, Waqf is known in some Arabic countries as ‘hibss’ or in plural ‘hubouss’.
In other words, imagine a field is donated as Waqf. The community may use the field in a way that is beneficial – by planting fruits and vegetables. For instance, when ripe, the harvest will benefit the whole community. However, because nobody owns the field itself, the donation is ongoing and will support generation after generation. Take a look at some famous examples of Waqf.