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Property and Philanthropy: The Waqf (Trust) in the Ottoman Empire

Questions for Seminar:
  • What was the role of the waqf in the provision of social services in Ottoman cities?
  • How did elite families use the waqf as a tool for managing their wealth?
  • To what extent did Islamic law change during the Ottoman period?

Assigned Reading:
Colin Imber, Ebu’s-su‘ud: The Islamic Legal Tradition (Stanford University Press, 2009), chapter 6, “Trusts in Mortmain.”
Amy Singer, Constructing Ottoman Beneficence: An Imperial Soup Kitchen in Jerusalem (State University of New York Press, 2002), chapter 2, “A Bowl of Soup and a Loaf of Bread.”
Jon Mandaville, “Usurious Piety: The Cash Waqf Controversy in the Ottoman Empire,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 10 (1979), 289-308.

Primary Source:

Endowment deed (waqfiyya) of Hürrem Sultan.

Further Reading:
Hamza Abd al-Aziz Badr and Daniel Crecelius. “The Waqfs of Shahin Ahmad Agha.” Annales Islamologiques 26 (1992): 79-114.
John Barnes, An Introduction to Religious Foundations in the Ottoman Empire (Brill, 1986).
Mary Ann Fay, "From Concubines to Capitalists: Women, Property and Power in Eighteenth-Century Cairo," Journal of Women's History 10 (1998), 118-140.
Robert McChesney, Waqf in Central Asia: Four Hundred Years in the History of a Muslim Shrine, 1480-1889 (Princeton University Press, 1991)
Amy Singer, Charity in Islamic Societies (Cambridge University Press, 2008).