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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Two alternatives to state-sponsored welfare programs

Here are two alternatives to official state welfare programs. The first was practiced in ancient Greece, Rome, and the Hellenistic kingdoms, and the second is an Islamic concept still in use today.
euergetism:
neologism of French scholarship (évergétisme, from euergetēs, ‘benefactor’) to describe the socio-political phenomenon of voluntary gift-giving to the ancient community. Embracing the beneficence of Hellenistic kings and Roman emperors, whose subjects saw such philanthropy as a cardinal virtue of rulers (see kingship), it has been studied in recent years above all in relation to the polis, of which benefaction by wealthy citizens (including women) becomes a defining characteristic from the 3rd cent. bc until late antiquity, as is attested by thousands of honorific inscriptions memorializing donors; it is also a feature of republican Rome, where the liberalities of senators in kind at least (public building, spectacle) resemble that of their humbler Greek contemporaries, and of the (Mediterranean) Roman city in general.

Source: http://www.enotes.com/occc-encyclopedia/euergetism

Waqf refers to the gift of money, property or other items to charity. The original gift is used to bring a return, but cannot be sold. For example, if a field is given as a Waqf, the crops and benefits derived from it can be used by the charity, while the field is held intact as the original investment.
Waqf is a form of continuous charity (sadaqah jariyah), and the rewards for this type of charity continue even after the donor's death - for as long as people continue to benefit from the Waqf.
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used to establish Waqf himself, and he regarded Waqf as one of the best forms of charity.

source: http://www.islamic-relief.com/submenu/waqf/Waqf.htm






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