Waqufnamas in Gazi Husrev - bey's library
They are documents about the bequeathal of some property by its owner to a certain noble and religious purposes. Bosnian and Herzegovinian Muslims were often bequeathing for such purposes in the past. The act of bequeathal is called Waqf (Arabic word) and thus is also called the deposited property as well as the endowment.
The term Waqf is usually pronounced Vakuf in Bosnia. The basis of this institution in Islam is Qur'an and Muhammad's tradition (hadis). Purposes which inspired people to invest a property were various and numerous, from the very religious to social ones. Waqf has always been a form of a special charitable activity. The man who invests a property i. e. founds a Waqf is called Waqif-benefactor. The act of bequeathal was legalized by Sheriyat law-qadi. The first Waqf institutions in Bosnia were founded in the 15th century. Several oldest Waqfnamas from the 15th and 16th century together with the shorter, extracts from them are here presented. Those are Waqfnamas of: Isabey Ishakovic, the founder of present-day Sarajevo, from 1462; Ayas-bey, son of Abdulhajj the third Bosnian Sandzak-bey, from 1477; and Waqfnamas of Gazi Husrev-bey, the greats benefactor of Bosnia, from 1537.
The role of Waqfs in the economic and cultural life, then in development of some pur places was great in the past. As a historical documents these Waqfnamas offer a valuable data about this. In addition, they point to high spiritual culture, sublime feelings of humanity of a large number of our men in the past. The greates number of Waqfs in Bosnia is founded during the 16th century and 19th c. Approximately two thousand (major and minor) Wakf institutions were founded in that period The documents about them are partly preserved, but in copies. The greatest collection, however, which counts over 1200 waqfnamas is kept in G. H. bey's Library. In closing, some works in Serbocroatian regarding these Waqfs are cited, too.