Some Farmans and Inscriptions: A source of study for waqf in Indian subcontinent




Auqaf, Suyurghal, Madad-i-ma’ash, Mazar, Mahsul, Urs, Bahluli


Waqf, also known as auqaf, becomes inalienable endowment under Islamic law. This institution is a permanent dedication of movable or immovable property for a specific religious or pious purpose, something sanctified by the Muslim law. The Sultans of Delhi and the Mughal rulers made religious grants by way of Inam, suyurghal and madad-i-m’aash. These grants were always conditional; to be renewed after the death of original grantees. Hence, they lacked permanence, an important ingredient for making of the waqf. However, these very grants led to the creation of the waqf subsequently. An analysis of the data provided by the public records of the pre-colonial times offers important clue to the nature of fiscal rights transferred by the pre-colonial state to the grantees.

There are several documents which reveals the nature and details of the waqf throughout the Indian history but I have confined my study of the Mughal period especially. A farman of Mughal Emperor Akbar is available in which he ordered to the officials of pargana Sambhar (Marwar, Rajputana) to provide oil for lighting the mazar of Khwaja Muinuddin of Ajmer. Another farman comes from the time of Mughal Emperor Jahangir in which he is ordering officials to assign 100 bigha land to Bibi Jan and other widows of saintly persons ofAjmer. 

Another document is of Emperor Farrukh Siyar in which he orders to pay Rs.1/ per day to a saint. There are two inscriptions available which refers to an endowment of the land revenue (mahsul) to a village for the expenses of the annual ‘Urs at the dargah of Shaikh Hamiduddin Mitha Shah of Gagraun, Malwa and the other of Aurangzeb's period inscription in which emperor is ordering to the governor of the place for maintenance of the Jami masjid of the place, a sum of five Bahluli per day to be paid for the said purpose.

The paper seeks to analyze the Persian archival records and some inscriptional data, where the original grants were temporary in nature, but subsequently they developed as fully waqf.

Author Biography

Yaqub Ali Khan, Aligarh Muslim University CAS, Department of History



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How to Cite

Khan, Y. A. (2019). Some Farmans and Inscriptions: A source of study for waqf in Indian subcontinent. Skhid, (6(158), 69–76.



World History