Pune, 26th November 2022: Former Union Minorities Minister K Rahman Khan today said that the dismal performance of the state waqf boards had become a cause of concern for the Muslim community and the purpose for which they were instituted was not being served.
Khan was delivering the inaugural address as the chief guest during a two-day national waqf conference entitled ‘Understanding True Nature and Management of Auqaf for better protection, Performance, and Development’ at Azam Campus in Camp, Pune.
Waqf is a permanent dedication of movable or immovable properties for religious, pious, or charitable purposes as recognized by Muslim Law.
Khan said “Illegal occupation of waqf land can be vacated and the law has given enough powers to the state boards to evict the encroachers but is the waqf board taking the necessary steps to remove them is a big question. It is seen that across the country, waqf boards have been showing dwindling and dismal performances. The board members including mutawallis (caretakers) are found fighting amongst themselves which in a big way has affected the functioning of the board and weakened them considerably.”
He further added that “The very purpose of waqf is being defeated as the properties are not being developed for the upliftment of the community as a whole. The duty to protect and develop the waqf property is the religious right of every Muslim and if they ignore and keep silent on ongoing encroachment of waqf properties, they are committing a crime. It is the responsibility of the community and every Muslim to rise to the occasion to protect the waqf properties.”
Former Chief Commissioner of Income Tax Akramul Jabbar Khan, advisor of Maharashtra Waqf Liberation and Protection and Task Force (MWLPT) lamented the lack of interest of the Muslim community in waqf matters and endorsed the development of universities, colleges, hospitals, schools, skill development centres, dispensaries for the empowerment of the community.
“It is a shame that thousands of acres of waqf land have been lost due to a lack of groundwork and interest by the Muslim community. Until the community turns out in substantial numbers, the waqf land liberation work will not gather momentum. Waqf resources through development can bring about a transformational change in the lives of Muslims in the country and lead to the development of the nation. Commercial development of waqf land is the need of the hour to alleviate the community’s plight,” he said.
He also demanded that the faulty numerical values attached to acres of waqf land must be immediately rectified by the government.
Mohammad Afzal Wani, Vice Chairman, Institute of Objective Studies (IOS), New Delhi said that the institution of the waqf developed from a situation and advise of the Holy Prophet Mohammad to Caliph Omar. “The waqf property has to be tied and it must get perpetuity and not get sold was the original philosophy of waqf. Every effort made in this regard by Muslims now is a knee-jerk reaction. During the Ottoman empire, 2/3 rd of the Muslim property was waqf and only 1/3rd was with the public as they believed in the institution and were not afraid of the property. We have to believe and trust in waqf and create the character and skill to manage it”, he informed.
Prof Z M Khan, Secretary General of IOS, in his address said that waqf was democratized by Islam and nobody else in the world. “Indian Muslims are realizing the reality on the ground and waking up to the changing times. They are rapidly adopting urbanization and womenfolk are making painstaking efforts to educate their children. If mothers are taking such major steps toward child education then a major change is on the anvil which will lead to the development of the nation. Waqf is one of the most important tools for national and social progress for the community,” he added.
Salim Mulla, president of MWLPT, said that the conference has been organised to create awareness about waqf. “About 40 intellectuals from various fields across India have gathered in Pune for the two-day national waqf conference to brainstorm about the utilisation of waqf properties for the betterment of the Muslim community”, he added.