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Home » Social Dealings

Endowments Are Not Inherited
Question:

A person says that his grandfather donated land as an endowment which was twelve and a half Maad[1] by one eighth of a Ma'ad and the endowment was for a well. Before him his grandfather and his father (donated the same endowment) and he did not leave anything else besides this. Now the well has ceased working and is no longer required, because the water flows from artesian pipes, while we desperately need this endowment. Is it permissible for us to use this endowment or not?
Answer:

If the situation is as described regarding the endowment on the well, and it is no longer required, the piece of land must remain as an endowment and its yield must be spent on facilities for the people of the area where the well is situated. Examples of which include building a mosque, or its renovation, or building a centre for Qur'an memorization, or helping the poor and needy of the town and the needy kin of the donor. These have more right than others to take from the yield of this endowment.

If the lawful benefits required that the land be sold, due to it no longer being useful or being of little use, and its price is used to buy some other piece of land which provides a greater revenue, then there is no objection to that. This is the case, after obtaining the permission of the judge in that town, then spending the income from the purchased land on what we have mentioned above. As for the heirs of the donor, they have no right upon it since they are his heirs, for endowments are not inherited. But there is no objection to them being given assistance from its revenue if they are poor, as was mentioned earlier. And Allah is the Granter of success. And may peace and blessings be upon our Prophet, Muhammad and upon his family and friends.

[1]Ma'ad: A Measurement

Permanent Committee for Research and Verdicts
Fatawa Islamiyah, volume 5 / page 36-37
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