Working Papers

Reviving and Improving the System of Waqfs (Endowments) in Egypt

Publication Number: ECESWP144-A

February, 2009

Author : Ibrahim El-Bayoumy Ghanem

Type : Working Papers

This study discusses ways of reviving and improving the system of waqfs (endowments) in Egypt, a longtime source of sustainable development in Arab and Muslim communities and a forerunner of what are contemporarily known as civil society organizations. Historical experience also shows that this system once played a vital role in such areas as science, education, health, services and even entertainment. With this in mind, the study sets out to explore ways of bringing the system of waqfs to its past glory in an attempt to once again make it a main pillar of public interest and development. Specifically, the study addresses the following questions: Does the current waqf law, association law or other laws, allow the establishment of charity organizations for public interest? If yes, what are the required procedures and to what extent these organizations are afforded legal and judicial protection during establishment, operation and closure? To answer these questions, the study reviews the legal framework regulating these organizations in Egypt, drawing a comparison with the cases of Turkey and Iran, as well as the laws applied in the UK and the US.