The Free Registration of Islamic Waqfs in Palestine (1935-1944)

Suhayla Sulayman al-Shalabi


The law for the free registration of waqfs, issued by the Mandate Government in Palestine in 1935, provided for the exemption of waqfs from the payment of a registration fee. The law was among a series of laws aimed at establishing a national home for the Jews in Palestine and enabling them to obtain the greatest amount of Palestinian land possible, including waqf land for its religious and historical value.
That law could have been a golden opportunity to register the Islamic waqf lands and confirm Muslim rights. However, that was hindered by a series of obstacles, including the Mandate Government itself and the political turbulence in Palestine in 1936-1939. Also hindering registration was the negligence of those in charge of the Islamic waqfs, especially after the decline in the role of the Supreme Islamic Council in the wake of its dissolution on 2 November 1937 and its replacement by the poor management, negligence and inadequacy of the personnel entrusted by the waqfs to follow up on the registration procedures, as well as the large number of waqfs to be registered, especially after the Mandate Government stipulated the requirement that it register the legal documents that certify their validity.


Waqf, Palestine, British Mandate.

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