This article focuses on the history of the development of waqf (endowment) in the Middle East and its role in pioneering contemporary Islamic civilization. Waqf has been a supporting pillar for the upholding of the social-religious institutions of society for centuries. The method taken in this research is the historical-phenomenological approach. The result shows that waqf began to be known and practiced since the Prophet Muhammad built the Quba and the Nabawi Mosque. The same was further promoted by the Righteous Caliphs (Khulafa al-Rashidin) and the caliphs afterward. In the next period, waqf became rapidly developing in the Middle Eastern countries, such as Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Sudan, Kuwait, and Syria. The development of waqf is not only in religious facilities but also in agricultural land, plantations, educational institutions, apartments, money, and shares. All of them are managed productively, and their use varies greatly. Waqf played an urgent role even in pioneering contemporary Islamic civilization. There are two patterns of management of waqf assets for the development of Islamic civilization: first, the development of waqf for social activities, such as waqf for social justice, people's welfare, education development, health facilities, public policy advocacy, legal assistance, environmental preservation, the development of arts and culture and other programs; second, development of economic value, such as for the development of trade, industry, property purchase, and other economic activities.
Keywords: Endowments, Development of Waqf, Social Activities, Contemporary Islamic Civilization
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