Date of Award

Spring 2021

Thesis Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Honors Bachelor of Arts




Dr. Serina Al-Haddad

Committee Member

Dr. Hannah Ewing

Committee Member

Dr. Richard Lewin


Historically, various systems and institutions across diverse civilizations have been established to meet the many needs that interweave the fabric of society. One, and perhaps the most significant of these institutions is the waqf/hubus system. Characterized by the designation of a property or revenue stream as mortmain and the investment of the usufruct for the benefit of (often predetermined) beneficiaries, this form of charitable endowment is hailed as a cornerstone of Islamic civilization. The objectives of this paper are threefold. Primarily, it examines the historical role of awqāf, with focus on their social and economic significance in two distinct Islamic civilizations: Al-Andalus & the Ottoman Empire. Moreover, it seeks to understand the importance of the endowment system in the preservation and continual function of a healthy society. Finally, it evaluates the modern capacity of awqāf and considers the potential for their implementation in the Western world.

Rights Holder

Nuh Elalaoui

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