A waqf (Arabic: وَقْف‎; [ˈwɑqf]), also known as hubous (حُبوس)[1] or mortmain property, is an inalienable charitable endowment under Islamic law, which typically involves donating a building, plot of land or other assets for Muslim religious or charitable purposes with no intention of reclaiming the assets.[2] The donated assets may be held by a charitable trust. The person making such dedication is known as waqif, a donor. In Ottoman Turkish law, and later under the British Mandate of Palestine, the waqf was defined as usufruct State land (or property) of which the State revenues are assured to pious foundations.[3] Although based on several hadiths and presenting elements similar to practices from pre-Islamic cultures, it seems that the specific full-fledged Islamic legal form of endowment called waqf dates from the 9th century AD (see paragraph "History and location").


In Sunni jurisprudence, waqf, also spelled wakf (Arabic: وَقْف‎; plural أَوْقاف, awqāf; Turkish: vakıf [4]) is synonymous with ḥabs (حَبْس, also called ḥubs حُبْس or ḥubus حُبْوس and commonly rendered habous in French).[5] Habs and similar terms are used mainly by Maliki jurists.[5] In Twelver Shiism, ḥabs is a particular type of waqf, in which the founder reserves the right to dispose of the waqf property.[5] The person making the grant is called al-waqif (or al-muhabbis) while the endowed assets are called al-mawquf (or al-muhabbas).[5]

In older English-language law-related works in the late 19th/early 20th centuries, the word used for waqf was vakouf;[6] The word, also present in such French works, was used during the time of the Ottoman Empire, and is from the Turkish vakıf.[7]