Who is a Mutawalli and explain who can be a Mutawalli under Muslim law?

Under Muslim law, if a person transfers the ownership of his property to the Almighty God i.e. Allah and uses the income of that property for the welfare of human beings, that is known as Waqf under Muslim law. Basically, in this, Muslim person transfers the ownership to God and uses the income for religious or charitable purposes. When a person transfers the ownership then he appoints another person for the management of the abovesaid property and that appointed person is known as Mutawalli. So, under Muslim law, a Mutawalli is a person who manages the property of the waqf. He is basically manager or superintendent of the waqf.

Under Muslim law, all rights of ownerships transfers to the God. Mutawalli has no right in the property. He just manages the property. He is not a trustee of the property but he ascertains that the beneficiaries are getting the advantages of the waqf. Under Muslim law, Mutawalli has control over the property and he ascertains that the property is used for the objects of the waqf in accordance with the desire of waqif.

In the leading case of Ahmad Arif vs. Wealth Tax Commissioner, Calcutta, AIR 1971 SC 1961, The Honโ€™ble Supreme Court held that, โ€œA Mutawalli has no power, without the permission of the court to mortgage, sell or exchange waqf property or any part thereof unless he is expressly empowered by the deed of the waqf to do so.โ€

According to Muslim law, any person who is of sound mind and has attained the age of majority and is capable of performing the functions of the waqf can be appointed as Mutawalli of the waqf. According to Muslim law, any person whether male or female can be appointed as Mutawalli. Even non- Muslim can also be appointed as a Mutawalli.

But if religious or spiritual functions are part of the duties of a Mutawalli then in such a case according to Muslim law, a female or non- Muslim cannot be appointed as a Mutawalli. In this case, only a Muslim male will be appointed as a Mutawalli.

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