Endowment is one of the paths which bring one closer to God!

With the waqf (an endowment) a man self-willingly renounces his property and endows for the common good and for all time. With an endowment the property is placed outside any turnover which could bring infringement upon it. In such a way Ghazi Husrev-bey endowed a great fortune in Bosnia and Rumelia for the maintenance of his hajrats. His three vaqufnamas (testaments), written in November of 1531, January of 1537 and November of 1537, bear witness to that fact. His fortune in Bosnia he acquired on his own, and that in Rumelia he inherited from his father Ferhat-bey. Reaffirming this Islamic principle which had been recommended by the last prophet Muhammad s.a.w.s., that it is best to endow one’s property so that it may become a lasting hajrat, Ghazi Husrev-bey wrote in his testament from 1531, among other things, the following:

“Every wise and rational man will come to understand that This World is transient and an abode of boredom and misfortunes. This World is neither a house nor a dwelling place, it is but a passage through which one enters the house of salvation or Hell, and wise is he who is not deceived by This World; who does not believe in it; who does not look upon it with amorous eyes and thus allows himself to be governed by It. Fortunate is he who learns from his example and applies it the next day and who, while waiting for death, errs not in his work. Good deeds chase away evil and the best of the good deeds is charity, and the most exalted act of charity is that which lasts forever, and from all the charitable deeds the best is that which forever repeats itself. It is obvious that from all the lasting charitable deeds the most enduring is waqf. For as long as This World is in existence the benefit of waqf will not cease nor will it stop to function until the Day of Judgement.”

( the First Testament, November 1531)


The first Ghazi Husrev-bey’s testament from 1531 was written for the mosque, imare (the soup kitchen) and the haniqah (the Dervish School). The second testament from 1537 was written for the Kurshumli Madrasa. From the amount that remained after the building of the madrasa, the best known books of that time were purchased, and with the third testament from 1537 additional property was endowed for the maintenance of the mosque.

These three testaments represent the documents that make up the legal basis for the formation of the Ghazi Husrev-bey’s Waqf as a meticulously organised and a complex institution. When viewed from the perspective of modern regulations, these testaments also represent all the necessary regulations needed for the functioning of any modern organisation. This is why Ghazi Husrev-bey’s Waqf is specific as an institution in which, during its formation, every job was described. At the time of the endowment 46 jobs, which included the maintenance of the waqf, the mosque, the haniqah, the madrasa, the maktab and imare, were planned. Obviously the number of workers changed with time and had to be adapted to the current situation. In the commemorative volume of 1932, marking 400 years of the waqf, the budget showed the number of services to be at 65 and the registers of those employed included 121 names, since at that time the waqf also owned a firm that engaged in the lumber industry.

In his testaments, Ghazi Husrev-bey described in detail all that was necessary for the permanent functioning of the Waqf. These waqfs established the hajrats (charitable institutions) which were to be his endowment for the future.

All the activities that were to be performed by the Waqf as well as the buildings in which certain activities were established are described, including:

–      The mosque and the related activities,

–      The madrasa and its activities in the field of education,

–      The Haniqah (the Dervish School) and the ibadahs that are performed in the haniqah,

–      Imare (the soup kitchen) and musafirhana (lodgings for the night or hostelry) and the manner in which it functioned.


All the services within the organised activities are described in detail and individual rewards for every job are expressed in dirhems (1 dirhem = 3,2 grams of silver). Conditions of employment for some of the jobs, as well as the educational requirements, are described to the last detail. Aside from the prescribed five daily prayers performed in the mosque, described are the additional rites and the manner in which they are performed.

Here, it is important to mention that the recital of hatmas (recital of the entire Qur’an) and tevhids for Ghazi Husrev-bey – are prayers that are performed in the mosque on a daily basis ever since he passed into the Hereafter in 1541. According to the regulations of the first testament the hatma is recited so that every day following the noon prayer 30 džuzhans (persons who recite their džuz, with one džuz being equal to 1/30th or 20 pages of the Qur’an) recite their džuz and dedicate it to Ghazi Husrev-bey’s soul.

The survival and the maintenance of the buildings and the prescribed activities within these buildings were to be realised from the revenue coming from other endowed property whose value was to be increased through good administration.

All endowed property is listed and described in detail. For the maintenance of waqf property Ghazi Husrev-bey endowed great personal wealth, and some of the government owned land that had been given to him for his own use by the mulknama (decree) of Sultan Suleyman, were registered as his own property so that he could endow them to be used for the maintenance of charitable institutions. In this way, huge expanses of land around the towns of Tešanj, Teslić, between Kljuć and Oštrovica, around Obrovac, the mills on the river of Zrmanja and other expanses of land “that were not in someone’s possession, but were deserted, conquered by the Sultan’s might, some of the land lying near the town of Kobaš and some of it bordering with the Croatian territory”, were added to the already huge property of the vaqif (endower). This is how the greatest waqf in our parts originated. Every one of Suleyman’s successors had confirmed this decision. One original mulknama of Sultan Osman II was to be found in the National Library in Dresden all the way until WWII. It had probably been taken to Dresden during the incursion of Prince Eugene Savoy’s forces into Sarajevo in 1697.

These and other waqfs suffered greatly from different fires, the most destructive one being that of 1697 when the invading Austrian army burned down the city of Sarajevo, and many of the original documents and other endowed valuables were taken away. The Waqf suffered in other fires as well: in 1724, 1759, 1765, 1769, 1776, 1778, 1831, 1842, 1852 and 1879, but every time this Waqf recovered, thanks to the strong foundations laid by Ghazi Husrev-bey’s testaments.

In a legal sense, the act of endowing, with which the property is placed outside any turnover that could bring infringement upon it, is very important, since it ensures that the waqf can never be transferred into someone’s ownership.

“Therefore, from this time forward it is not permitted to distort, change, corrupt or suspend the testament in such a way so that it comes into contradiction with the content of this document in any way or for any reason. It is not permitted to anyone who believes in God, His Prophet and the Day of Judgement, be it a disloyal Mutawalli or a tyrannical Sultan, or a vali who is corrupted or a qadi who accepts bribes, to destroy, corrupt or suspend this waqf, or to distort or change any of its regulations. He who commits such an evil deed or acts contrary to any of the regulations, or changes any of its institutions with his distorted interpretation, has committed an evil deed and has caused himself to sin.”      

(the Second Testament, 8 January 1537). 


The Waqf had lost the property that had been endowed in the region of today’s Greece long ago, as it did the land on the territory of today’s Croatia which was placed outside the present-day borders of Bosnia and Herzegovina, that were established after 1713. Due to some economic and political circumstances, much of the waqf property had been transformed into other institutions. For example, up to WWII, the collected waqf funds or the funds that were charged for the property which had been taken away by a foreign country, residential and commercial buildings, one hotel, a new building which housed the madrasa and the maktab were all built in the centre of Sarajevo. In those days, in the newly established social conditions, these waqf properties provided enough of revenue for the maintenance of all the waqf charitable institutions.

This Waqf, as was the case with the rest of them, received the biggest blow in the period following WWII when, through nationalisation and without compensation, almost all of its property that was realising a profit was taken away. Thanks to the organisation and the maintenance within the Islamic Community, this Waqf survived the most difficult period in its history. The property of this Waqf from which profits were realised for the maintenance of charitable institutions exists, for the most part, even today. Owing to the legal foundations of the endowment and the non-estrangement of waqf property, we hope that, following its restitution, we are going to be able to establish enough of revenue so that we would be able to restore all the functions of the Waqf which are regulated by the testaments.