Donation to Eternity: Cash Waqf Records in Balat Court Records (1555-1838)
Çiğdem Gürsoy1, Mehtap Özdeğer2
1İstinye Üniversitesi, İktisadi, İdari ve Sosyal Bilimler Fakültesi, Ekonomi Bölümü, İstanbul/TÜRKİYE
2İstanbul Üniversitesi, İktisat Fakültesi, İktisat Bölümü, İstanbul/TÜRKİYE
Keywords: Waqf, Cash Waqf, Endowment, Balat Court Records.
In the Ottoman State, also named as the Waqf Civilization, services like education, health, public works, municipality, religious affairs, and social security that are the sources of human and social capital and that need to be performed by a social state were supplied by the contribution of the waqf institution. The information related to the prevalence, comprehensiveness, and management procedures can be accessible by means of examining the content of the endowments that have survived until today. In these endowments, various types of information such as assets, architectural works of art, the related staff, legal transactions, and the family members of the waqf founder can be reached as well. Especially the architectural works which have gone missing make the analyses of endowments quite important. In the endowments belonging to cash waqfs, details regarding the endowed cash, management procedures, accretion rates, and use of revenues to be acquired are also available. The aim of this study is to put forth the operation principles of cash waqfs and study the socio-economic contributions of these waqfs to the Ottoman social life.
The İstanbul Balat Courd Records in which 55 cash waqfs were included between 1555-1838 have been assigned as the research topic of this study. Through the addition of three different court outputs analyzed in the same format for the purpose of comparing the obtained findings, 426 cash waqfs established between 1491-1911 have been evaluated once again. Thanks to the comparison of the cash waqf endowments by four courts, this study has provided an opportunity for a collective assessment that has not been performed up to now with regard to the number of endowments and the periods they extended in.
In consequence, the sort of efforts exerted by the cash waqfs in adapting to the changing socio-economic circumstances so as to sustain their services have been identified in this research study. In this context, while the changes and transformations that the cash waqfs underwent within themselves have been detected on the one hand, the donations made by the waqfs to eternity as part of a whole have been exemplified on the other.