Munich Personal RePEc Archive

A Look to Cash Waqfs as an Indicator of Ottoman Financial Mentality

Bulut, Mehmet and Korkut, Cem (2019): A Look to Cash Waqfs as an Indicator of Ottoman Financial Mentality. Published in: Vakıflar Dergisi No. Özel Sayı (2019): pp. 115-132.

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Abstract

In spite of the fact that the waqfs have existed with the history of humankind and are helpful in all social communities, they have a different and important place in Islamic societies. The waqfs have made assistance and solidarity between individuals organized and institutionalized. Especially in Islamic societies, a 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 waqfs are very active was the Ottoman Empire. The size of the waqf services in the Ottomans 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 the Ottoman Empire as a waqf civilization. One of the waqf types operating in the Ottoman Empire was the cash waqfs (CWs) which had cash money as capital. The CWs operated 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 main goal of CWs, which is the pioneer of modern Islamic financial institutions, is different from the goal of Islamic interest-free financial institutions. The CWs did not transfer the profits they got to the waqf founder or owner. The income obtained was spent to fulfill the charitable services. Therefore, these institutions created an altruistic finance model operating within the borders of Islamic prohibitions and orders. This model has its own principles. 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. The basic principles of this mentality and model will be emphasized.

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