Endowment, Fountainhead of Benevolence

Endowment, Fountainhead of Benevolence

Endowment is a social, cultural and economic movement which has focused on some problems of Muslim societies resolving them well. As well as, endowment is a medium which reflects the message of friendship, love, generosity, service, sacrifice and faith.
The history of Islam is full of various endowed objects and items such as mosques, schools, clinics, gardens, subterranean canals and etc. not only in Islam, but in some other religions endowment has been common. History is a witness that human beings have been meditating how to remain eternal. Wherever we travel, we see centers, buildings and edifices which have been built for poor people and for the sake promotion of knowledge, supporting religious institutes and advancement of public utility affairs. However, helping needy people and paying attention to Muslims to charity works have been important due to emphases in the Qur’an and Sunnah.
Būkhara is one of the important cities in the history of Islam which was one the outstanding scientific centers of Islam in the period of Samanid dynasty. Hundreds of Mūhadditheen, jurists and philosophers got education at schools of this city. The grand university of Qūrtūbah was active in the fourth Hijri century. The House of Wisdom was established in the era of Mamoun Abbāsi. Al-Azhar University is also one of the famous endowed centers. The Nizāmīyyah schools of Khwājah Nezām-ul-Mūlk in Baghdad, Herat, Marv, Esfahan and Balkh were also endowed which provided educational services.
Whoever studies on endowment, s/he will clearly witness social cooperation and benignity, sacrifice, benefaction and extension of the spirit of humanitarianism among Muslims. Even the circle of sympathy and benignity crosses humane relations to animals. These endowed items and charities generally conclude all honorable aims such as feeding hungers, dressing clothless ones, settling needy people, providing treatment to ills, educating illiterates, funeral and burial of dead people, giving all needs of orphans and supporting poor parts of society.
For further details look at different kinds of endowments carried out and implemented by those philanthropist and noble people who noticed exquisite points:

  • Endowment of breakables: an endowment by which crackleware vessels were used to be bought. If a servant broke any chinaware fearing his lord’s anger, s/he could go to the endowment office and exchange the broken vessel with an intact one.
  • Endowment of stray dogs: it was an endowed place to feed stray and ownerless dogs by the income of this endowment.
  • Endowment of marriages: an endowment for buying jewelries and giving them for borrow in marriages. Helpless women used to borrow jewelries they needed for festivals and marriage parties from this endowment returning them after the end of parties.
  • Endowment of angry wives: this endowment was providing a house with water, food and other facilities for women who had fought with their husbands; such women could stay at these homes, drink and eat and get shelter unless the pique between wife and husband removes. When everything used to be common, they could return home and resume their married life.
  • Endowment of patients’ associates and poor’s intimates: an endowment whose income was for employing sweet-singing singers to sit with patients or their poor associates in the whole night changing duty after hours. They used to sing religious odes to comfort and appease afflicted patients pulling away poor friendless people from loneliness.
  • Endowment of encouraging patients: an endowment to pay some parts of hospital charges facilitating treatment for poor patients.
    As we see, endowers paid attention to all tools of charity and benevolence. They did not neglect any angle of human life in their charities showing their profound human feelings in different fields and in all times and places. Of course these generosities and benevolences had root in the tenets and faith of those philanthropists. These faith and tenets which create smooth emotions making people understand not to be restricted only with charity works of their short lives, rather everlasting charity and any continuous benevolence should be adopted to extend rewards for good deeds unless this world exists and human beings live in the mortal world.

Translated into English and published by Neday Islam magazine

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