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Search Fatawaa

Subject : Ruling when some of the Waqf Beneficiaries are Unknown

Fatwa Number : 3677

Date : 23-01-2022

Classified : "Waqf "Property Endowed for Charitable Causes

Fatwa Type : Search Fatawaa

Question :

What is the ruling of Sharia in case some of the Waqf beneficiaries were unknown? Should their shares be kept until they appear or be divided amongst the rest of the beneficiaries?

The Answer :

All perfect praise be to Allah the Lord of the Worlds. May His peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Mohammad and upon all his family and companions.

If the owner of the Waqf property made a particular condition, then it must be executed because the Sharia maxim in, this regard, states: "The conditions laid down by the Waqif (Donor) are like the words of the Lawgiver." Accordingly, when the owner of Waqf property dedicates its revenues to his children, grandchildren, then the poor people of Makkah, then this is valid. Therefore, in case he died, the revenues of the Waqf property are divided amongst his children. If his children died, they are divided amongst his grandchildren. If the latter died, then the revenues are divided amongst the poor people of Makkah.

However, if one of the beneficiaries is unknown, but it was found out that he/she had passed away, then his/her share must be divided amongst the other beneficiaries. An-Nawawi (May Allah have mercy on him) said: "If the Waqf beneficiaries were two individuals, then the poor, and one of these two passed away, then his/her share is given to the other beneficiary"{Menhaj At-Talibeen, Page 321}. Nonetheless, if one of the beneficiaries was never heard from, then his/her share must be kept for him/her. If it wasn`t possible to know where he/she is, then his/her share must be given to the Waqf owner`s closest of kin. For more details, kindly check {Tohfat Al-Mohtaaj Bishareh Al-Minhaaj, Vol.6:P.259}.

In conclusion, the benefits of the Waqf must be divided amongst all the beneficiaries and in case one of them passes away, his/her share must be divided amongst the rest of beneficiaries. If one of them wasn`t heard from, then they have to look for him/her and if he/she was impossible to find, then his/her share is given to the Waqf owner`s closest of kin. And Allah the Almighty knows best.



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