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Adaptation to Changing Circumstances: Perpetual Leases and Exchange Transactions in Waqf Property in Ottoman Algiers

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Islamic law allows for perpetual leases and exchange transactions of endowed property as an exceptional means to deal with the inalienability of Waqf assets in cases in which Waqf-property has become dilapidated. In this article I examine the use of these two transactions in connection with the largest public foundation in Ottoman Algiers — the Waqf al-ḥaramayn. These two transactions proliferated during the last few decades of Ottoman rule and were extended to assets which were fully intact, on the condition that the transaction was of material advantage to the Waqf. This policy was conditioned by a number of socio-economic factors particular to Algiers and its important public foundations.

Affiliations: 1: The Hebrew University of Jerusalem


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