Paolo Sartori

Waqf in Russian Turkestan: Between Colonial Legislation and Administrative Practice

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This paper describes how substantive laws on "waqf" were implemented in Russian Turkestan, placing the process within the colonial legislative framework and the legal context of the Islamic courts. It is a case study of Tashkent in the years between 1867 and 1910 in which two lines of research are followed. After examining the legislative process that led to the introduction of laws concerning "waqf" in the 1867 and 1886 statutes for administering Turkestan, the focus shifts to how these norms were applied in the context of day-to-day colonial administrative and legal practice. The hypothesis set forth in the paper is that the effect of the laws was twofold. On the one hand, the Russian legislation both severely limited the establishment of new pious endowments and led to the dismemberment or the annulment of existing "awqaf". On the other hand, a loophole in relation to appointing trustees ("mutawalli") increased factionalism among agnatic groups ("awlad") competing to enjoy the usufruct of the revenues produced by the pious endowments established to provide for the maintenance of Islamic shrines ("mazar").


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