The history of waqf in Zanzibar is as old as the establishment of Islam in the Islands. At the beginning, the purposes of waqf were influenced by the emerging needs of the community, administration of mosques, learning Islamic Studies and neighborhoods. This shows that waqf was well known in Zanzibar as an Institution of the Islamic Shari’ah which allows for the dedication of property in support of welfare, wellbeing and charitable objects of the community.
Since 1905 the administration of Waqf Institution in Zanzibar has been through different experiences. The path of Waqf law as we have it today was not easy; it has been enacted, re – enacted and repealed as follows:
-Waqf Decree no. 2 of 1905
-New Waqf Decree no. 2 of 1907
-Waqf Decree no. 15 of 1909 (amendment)
-Waqf Property Decree no. 16 of 1916 which has changed the structure of the Commission where by two branches were merged and the number of administrators/commissioners has raised to 8 including Treasurer, the Provincial Commissioner, the Administrative General, the Assistant Administrator General and other four Islamic scholars/sheikhs or ulamaa who were appointed by the Sultan (Laws of Zanzibar 1934).
-Waqf Validating Decree no. 5 of 1946
-Waqf Validating Decree no. 6 of 1951(amendment)
-Waqf Property Decree of 1959 Cap. 103 of the Laws of Zanzibar
-Waqf Property Decree 1965 (amendment)
-Presidential Decree no. 12 of 1965
-Presidential Decree no. 12 of 1966
-Waqf Property Decree no. 7 of 1967 which repealed many provisions of the Waqf Property Decree and provisions of the Public Trustee Decree, Cap. 24.
-Administration of Waqf and Trust Property Decree no. 5 of 1980
-The Section 3 of the 1980 Decree was amended in 2001 and made the Mufti of Zanzibar the Chairperson of the Waqf Commission instead of Chief Kadhi and stated that some other members of the Commission should be appointed by the Minister of the respective Ministry instead of the President and Chairman of the Revolutionary Council of Zanzibar.
-New Commission of Waqf and Trust Commission Act, no 2 0f 2007.
In administrative development of waqf Zanzibar has passed into four main administrative authorities as follows:-
-The Sultans Administration of Waqf (1832 – 1890)
-In 1832 A.D Seyyid Said bin Sultan who was the ruler of Oman transferred his headquarters to Zanzibar. During the reign of Sultans, the supervision of waqf property was under the Minister “Wazir el Waqf”. This was the grand Sheikh of Zanzibar who enjoyed the confidence of his Highness the Sultan. The general objective was to protect the wealth and assets of the Muslim Community, to enhance the religious, cultural, social and educational institutions in Zanzibar and to alleviate poverty among Muslims.
-The British Administration of Waqf (1890-1963)
-After the death of Sultan Hamoud bin Mohammed (1896-1902), Prince Ali bin Hamoud (1902-11) who was under 14 years of age was nominated by the British to be the Sultan of Zanzibar. This was a predominate chance to British Resident in Zanzibar Mr. Rogers to be the Prime Minister and acted as the re-gent until Sayyid Ali bin Hamoud reached the age of 18 years in June 1905. As Mr. Rogers had the full authority of ruling Zanzibar around three years, he managed to make changes. It was during this period when Sultans lost all their powers to the British who his administrators were entrenched in the various government departments and led them.It seems that the establishment of the Commission of Waqf and Trust Property in 1905 by the British administration was the lay down of policies that would ensure control over the inheritance and all waqf properties donated or dedicated by Muslims. Since that time until 1963 they made Laws that ensured their full control over the Waqf Commission. The Awqaf Law gave the British Resident in Zanzibar the mandate of nominating Waqf Commissioners before the Sultan, who ceremonially appoints them. Among the interesting feature of this period is that there were trans-oceanic connections of Waqf between Zanzibar and other Islamic countries and cities, especially Oman, Mecca, Madina and Turkey.
Sometimes the Muslim Waqf Commissioners faced the British threats of stopping their allowance paid to them by the government and not to be allowed to serve as commissioners. Responding to the threat, two Waqf Commissioners resigned in protest and expressed their views to the government.
-The Administration of Waqf from the Revolution of 1964 to 2007
-Zanzibar got independency on 10th Dec .1963, Revolution took place on 12th Jan 1964 and it united with Tanganyika to form the United Republic of Tanzania with two government system on 26th April 1964. The need of Revolutionary Council to control all Waqf properties was clear in the early days of revolution and the Government issued many decrees. The ealier period witnessed mismanagement and collapse of a number of waqf assets and records. Some Mutawallis challenged the valid of the decree that nationalized many fertile waqf plantations and its distribution as three – acre plots to people. Many communities were forced to accept the guardianship of the Waqf Commission which centralized the income of the Waqf properties.
-In 1980 the Revolutionary Council Decree no. 5 of 1980 re-established Waqf and Trust Property Commission. Re-establishment of new Commission also aimed at handling issues of Islamic affairs which were also centralized by the government. The Administrators of the Commission consisted of the Chairperson who was the Chief Qadhi and not more than six members come from amongst Muslim Leaders, scholars and Qadhis appointed by the President and the Chairperson of the Revolutionary Council.. The Section 3 of the 1980 Decree was amended in 2001 and made the Mufti of Zanzibar the Chairperson of the Waqf Commission and stated that some other members of the Commission should be appointed by the Minister of the respective Ministry instead of the President and Chairman of the Revolutionary Council of Zanzibar.
-The Contemporary Waqf Commission. (2007 to date)
-The Waqf and Trust Commission was re- established by Act number 2 of 2007. It is a corporate body which has power to conduct, coordinate or regulate by using its name any of its function in accordance with the provisions of the Act, Islamic law, rules and good practice. It is also capable of acquiring, purchasing and alienating or disposing any property, movable or immovable and of entering into contract for any of the purposes for which is capable.
-Efficient & Effective Management of those functions need professional skills and experiences. It also needs to have critical and creative thinking in order to have the quality of being able to make correct planning, decisions and implementation according the needs of contemporary world.
Among the serious challenges facing the Zanzibar Waqf Commission are:-
-Inadequate education, awareness and proper human resources.
-Lack of involvement, support and participation of the concerned Muslims stakeholders.
-Inadequate record management system.
-Lack of sufficient accountability and transparency.
-Low public awareness on commission's responsibilities.
The impact of the previous socialist policies that placed everything in the hand of state.
In order to achieve the public confidence and better performance in accordance with the need of contemporary world there is a need of the following intervention:-
1.To improve efficiency and ensure accountability.
2.To improve professional skills and experiences.
3.To find the possibilities of networking and sharing experiences with other local, regional and international institutions with relevant responsibilities.
4.To create awareness among the public concerning the new and traditional practices of Wakf.
5.To improve investment system in collaboration with other Shariah compliant financial institutions.
6.To search for assistance regarding technical support and Shariah matters from International Islamic Organisations and Islamic countries.
7.To organize workshops and training programmes for stakeholders on regular basis in order to adopt more professional attitudes, basic skills in administration and management as well as Shariah rulings while dealing with issues of Waqf projects, trusts.
8.To establish a computerized central database.
9. Planning and Construction for new Waqf projects including Waqf commercial and residential complexes.
10.To share experiences and best examples.
For Extra Details please look at the below links.
Act no. 2 of 2007 (Part- III ADMINISTRATION OF WAKF AND TRUST PROPERTY Section 16 to 31)
The Wakf Regulations (Swahili Version)
WAKF Guideline (Swahili version)