When Food Waqf Helps Fulfill State Facilities

In addition to meeting food needs, history records that the existence of food waqf can help a government provide the best services for its people.

Waqf literacy
Illustration. Agriculture tends to be the main sector to support various facilities in various countries. (ACTNews)

ACTNews, JAKARTA – The King of Egypt had a dream in which he saw seven lean cows attacked and devoured seven fat ones and seven green ears of corn with seven dry and withered ones spiraling around the former made them useless. The Prophet Yusuf was then asked to interpret the king’s dream. The Prophet had indicated that the country would experience a period of prosperity for seven years and followed famine in the next seven years.

“Joseph (Prophet Yusuf) replied, "You will plant for seven years consecutively; and what you harvest leave in its spikes, except a little from which you will eat. Then will come after that seven difficult [years] which will consume what you advanced [i.e., saved] for them, except a little from which you will store,”” (Surah Yusuf, Verse: 47-48)

Ustaz Abdulkadir Baraja explains that from the verses it can be seen how Prophet Yusuf introduced the concept of waqf. "From the interpretation of the Surah Yusuf, Prophet Yusuf’s story has two periods; prosperous and famine periods. In the prosperous period, he encouraged his people to eat a little and save a little. Then, during the famine period, the prophet also told to eat a little and save a little. So, the question is, where do the many amounts of crops go? Most of them would be managed as productive waqf," said Ustaz Abdulkadir in mid-October 2020. It was these grains that were managed then supported the Egyptian people after the famine period ended.

This spirit of waqf to fulfill the community’s food needs is maintained continuously by Muslims. The productive sector doesn’t only aim to fulfill food needs but also extends to meet other needs.

This story is in accordance with what was explained by Imam Teguh Saptono who currently serves as one of the leaders in the Indonesian Waqf Board (BWI). Imam recounted that agricultural land could fund a hospital named Al-Adudi which was established in Baghdad in 981 AD.

“The hospital was backed up by one village land of agriculture. What could the hospital do at that time? First, the patient didn’t need to have a membership. Second, the patient could receive treatment free of charge regardless of nationality and status. Then, if they recovered and it’s known that they were poor, they would receive business capital assistance,” said Imam.

Another example is the agricultural sector that becomes the main waqf in Jordan. Its people choose olive, date palm, and almond trees to be one of the economic support for the community through waqf management.

The results that have been achieved from the waqf management carried out by the Wizaratul Auqaf (Department of Waqf) of the Kingdom of Jordan are used for the benefits of education, health, and underprivileged citizens. In addition, they also established two essential institutions namely the Islamic Archeology Institute and the Islamic Relics Institute.

The waqf management result was also allocated to renovate the residents’ settlement in several cities including a 79 dunam wide (900 square meters) city.[]