In Islamic jurisprudence, a waqf is the dedication of a specified asset (mawquf) by a settlor (waqif) into the administration of a custodian (mutawalli) through a legal instrument such that the income or usufruct of that asset benefits a stated beneficiary (mawquf alaih) or is used for a stated purpose.
A waqf is comparable to an endowment, trust or foundation except that it must comply with the Shariah rules and principles. Some of the differences are:
- A waqf is usually perpetual but an endowment, trust or foundation may be finite or may have a provision for winding-up or termination.
- There are limited circumstances for reversion of a waqf asset but the settlor or founder of an endowment, trust or foundation can stipulate conditions for reversion.
- The activities of a waqf must comply with Shariah, which may not apply to an endowment, trust or foundation.