The Accounting Historians Journal Vol. 8, No. 1 Spring 1981
SIMON FRASER UNIVERSITY
INTERNAL CONTROL FOR OTTOMAN FOUNDATIONS
Abstract: The objective of this paper is to analyze Ottoman waqfs (foundations) to determine the internal control principles followed. In order to achieve this task, extensive references have been made to an actual waqf deed, The Waqfiyah of Ahmed Pasa. The original copy of this document is in the Free Library of Philadelphia and it was written December 1511. It is hoped that this research would lead to further research dealing with early accounting thought and practices in the Middle East.
Waqf (or Wakf, Turkish version vakif) has been one of the most important institutions in Islam from the earliest time. In The Ency-clopaedia of Islam, waqf is defined as a "thing which while retain-ing its substance yields a usufruct and on which the owner has sur-rendered his power of disposal with the stipulation that the yield is used for permitted good purposes."1 The word is derived from the Arabic verb waqafa, which means "to stop, to hold, to restrain, and to prevent." Generally it is a religious term denoting an act by which the income of any property is devoted irrevocably to the ben-efit of individuals or to religious or charitable purposes. As an Is-lamic institution it has received considerable attention in both Mus-lim and non-Muslim countries (as in the case of British and Muslim legislation in India and North Africa before independence).2
There are several sects of Islam but in this paper the focus will be on Ottoman waqfs which have been governed by Hanafi rules. Many Hanafi jurists regard waqfs as the property of Allah, from whom they had originated and to whom they finally revert by the act of the giver of the waqf.3 According to Abu Hanifah, the founder of the sect, the legal meaning of waqf is the placing in permanent trust of specific profits of properties in such a way that the founders own-
The author wishes to thank Daniel L. McDonald and Irene M. Gordon for their valuable criticism.