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Awqaf affairs in Jordan and Palestine were formerly organized through the administration of the Ottoman Agreement issued on 19 Jumada II, 1280 Hijri. This remained in force until it was cancelled by Article (10) of Islamic Awqaf Law of the year 1946.

It is noteworthy that the First Fundamental Law of Trans Jordan, (30 Shawal, 1346 Hijri corresponding to 19/4/1928) took special interest in the Islamic Awqaf, Article (61): (Islamic Awqaf affairs and administration of Waqf financial affairs are managed by a special law. Waqf affairs are governmental issues.)

Upon the declaration of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in 1946, the Constitution emphasized the aforesaid as stated in Article (63): (Islamic Awqaf affairs and administration of Waqf financial and other affairs are managed by law.) After the declaration of the Kingdom, the Law of Islamic Awqaf No. (25) of the year 1946 was issued. The same law had previously been issued as a temporary one under Article (4) of the same year and was endorsed by the Legislative Council with some amendments and additions on 21/ 11/1946. The Law of Islamic Awqaf was ratified and issued by a Royal Decree on 2/12/1946. The Law was issued as temporary according to Article (61) of the Fundamental Law since the (Jordanian) Constitution was not yet declared. Upon presentation to the Legislative Council, it was re-issued as a permanent law and was enacted by reference to Article (61) of the Kingdom’s First Organic Law at the time of declaration of independence on 25/5/1946. No reference was made to Article (63) of the Constitution as the latter was only declared on 12/ 6/ 1946. Moreover, Awqaf Law No. (1) of the year 1946 issued by virtue of law had been issued on 12/6/1946 according to AwqafLaw No. (4) of the year 1946 and which later became permanently named Law No. (5) of the same year.

The First Organic Law of the Emirate of Trans Jordan and the Constitution of the Kingdom during the time of late King Abdullah I, founder of the Kingdom, stated that Awqaf affairs and financial matters are to be organized by a special law due to its distinguished status. Waqf has its own independent entity; its funds are not to be mixed with other public funds; it is totally independent of any other bodies whilst giving it and its funds all the privileges that public and government funds and interests enjoy. This came as early recognition of the importance of Waqf to guard and protect it from loss and aggression, enabling it to fulfill its mission while seeing to its total independence.

The Ministry of Awqaf was renamed on 16/1/1968 according to Law no. (4) of the year 1968 which stated that the Director of the Higher Council of Awqaf or the Supreme Judge assumes the cabinet of Ministry of Awqaf to be known from therein as Ministry of Awqaf, Islamic Affairs and Holy Places.

In Palestine, however, Awqaf affairs were managed through the Higher Islamic Council according to Islamic Council Regulation issued in Palestine on 20/12/1921 during the British Mandate. Following the declaration of unification of the two banks of Jordan at the Jericho Conference on 1/12/1948, the Lower House of the Parliament ratified the unification on 13/12/1948 and law no. (62) of the year 1951 was issued. Unification was announced after parliamentary elections (to include MPs from the two banks of Jordan) on 24/4/1950.

Law no. (62) stated the adoption of the provisions of Awqaf Law no. 25 of the year 1946 throughout the Kingdom as of 1/5/1951.

Jordanian laws for Awqaf affairs remained in force over the two banks even after the Israeli occupation. The Jordanian Ministry of Awqaf continued to directly manage the affairs in the West Bank and relations were not severed even after the legal and administrative disengagement with the West Bank in 7/8/1988 in order to allow the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) to regain the rights of the Palestinian people on their land. The Rabat Arab Summit Conference, in 1974, declared the (PLO) as the only legitimate representative of the Palestinian people as of that date. However, IslamicAwqaf affairs and the Eastern Courts were excluded (from the disengagement) due to their significance and lest they fall directly under the Israeli Ministry of Religious Affairs.

When the Palestinian National Authority assumed its responsibilities and requested to be entrusted with Awqaf affairs and the religious courts, the government in Jordan agreed to administrative and legal disengagement with religious courts and Islamic Awqaf in the West Bank. By this, the courts came under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian authority according to the laws and provisions in force at the time and before the agreement. Nevertheless, Jordan excluded eastern courts andAwqaf in Jerusalem from the disengagement agreement as the issue of Jerusalem was postponed until the time of the final negotiations. Up to this date, Jordanian laws regarding Islamic Awqaf in the holy city are still applied.

Objectives:

1.        Maintenance, development, preservation, and management of mosques and Awqaf funds.

2.        Development of mosques to deliver the message of Islamic education.

3.        Nourish the spirit of sacrifice, strife and stability in the nation and strengthen morals through the teachings of Islam and guidance of the faith.

4.        Nurture and solidify Islamic mannerisms in the private and public lives of all Muslims.

5.        Support public Islamic functions and the scriptures; call for the establishment of religious institutes and schools to teach recital of the Holy Koran.

6.        Spread Islamic culture and preserve Islamic heritage; reveal the role of Islam in the elevation of mankind and bring Muslims closer to their faith.

 

To achieve all the above-mentioned objectives, Article no. (3) of the Administrative Organization Law No. (16) of the year 1997 has defined the means by which the Ministry will realize its goals stating: For the Ministry to achieve its goals stated in Article (3) of Ministry Law of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs and the Holy Places no. (26) of the year 1955, the Ministry will:

1.        Maintain, preserve and manage the affairs of Islamic Holy places and maintain Islamic relics such as mosques and holy shrines.

2.        Oversee the construction, maintenance and financial management of mosques to enable them to carry their mission.

3.        Supervise and manage schools teaching the Holy Koran and establish others; organize Koran recital contests on the national and international levels.

4.        Supervise and manage Islamic Cultural Centers and help establish others.

5.        Print, sanction and edit new editions of the Holy Koran printed locally or abroad.

6.        Publish Islamic texts and books and in particular Islamic heritage texts and encourage research and Islamic studies.

7.        Promote and encourage Waqf philanthropist deeds; consolidate the true meanings of Islamic Waqf and its role in economic and social development and societal solidarity.

8.        Guide Muslims to virtuous ways and acquaint them with principles of their faith through sermons and preachings, lectures, seminars, publications and other methods that serve the purpose.

9.        Manage the affairs of Hajj and Omra to ensure the safety of pilgrims.