Munich Personal RePEc Archive

A Look to The Ottoman Cash Waqfs As Altruistic Finance Model

Bulut, Mehmet and Korkut, Cem (2017): A Look to The Ottoman Cash Waqfs As Altruistic Finance Model. Published in: E-Proceedings of Conference on Philanthropy for Humanitarian Aid (CONPHA) 2017 (May 2017): pp. 1-14.

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Abstract

Although the waqfs have existed with the history of humanity and are useful in all societies, they had different role and place in Islamic societies. The waqfs have made institutionalized cooperation and solidarity among people. Especially in Islamic societies, great importance has been attached to waqfs. The waqfs that helped institutionalize the concept of infaq met many needs of the community. One of the Islamic states where the foundations are very active was the Ottoman Empire. The size of the waqf services in the Ottoman Empire expanded so much that, besides the human services, waqfs for injured birds and sick animals were established. The fact that the waqfs are so widespread in the state has made it possible to refer to the Ottoman Empire as a waqf civilization. One of the waqf types operating in the Ottoman Empire was the cash waqfs (CWs) which were made up of cash in the capital. The CWs operated the cash that made up its capital with various Islamic finance methods. Revenues from the operating money were used in the direction of waqf purpose. The CWs provided the vital necessities of the society such as education and religion in the period they were active in the Ottoman Empire. Another function of these waqfs was to operate as a micro-credit mechanism. Through these waqfs, the surplus and the accumulated savings in the hands of the asset owners were made available to merchants, farmers, craftsmen, and artisans. Hence, these waqfs have served as resource transfer channels as well as functioning as a charity in the society. The ultimate goal of CWs, which is the pioneer of modern interest-free financial institutions today, is different from these institutions. The CWs did not transfer the profits they got to the waqf founder or owner. The income obtained has been spent to fulfill the charitable services in the direction of the waqf purposes. Therefore, these institutions created Altruistic Finance Model operating within the borders of Islamic prohibitions and orders. In our study, the financial mentality of the Ottoman society in the context of the CWs and how this mentality shaped the CWs will be discussed.

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