Mutawalli under Muslim Law

Concept of Mutawalli under Muslim Law

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Under Muslim Law, as soon as a wakf is created, all rights of property pass out of the wakif and vest in God. But there is a need for a person who can look after the property and manage it. Mutawalli under Muslim Law is that person who supervises or take over the management of a wakf. Before we move further, knowledge of wakf is a pre-requisite.

To know about wakf, click here.


Mutawalli is the person who takes over the management of wakf. Appointment of Mutawalli is a compulsion in Shia Law. However, there is no compulsion in Sunni Law. Mutawalli under Muslim Law has no right in the property belonging to the wakf. The property is not vested in him. Technically, the position of Mutawalli under Muslim Law is different from that of a trustee. He is merely a manager or supervisor.

Who can be a Mutawalli under Muslim Law

Any person of sound mind and of majority age and is capable of performing the functions to be discharged under a particular wakf can be appointed as mutawalli. However, a minor can also be a mutawalli where the office is hereditary or where the line of succession is laid down in the wakf-nama and office falls on a minor.

Generally, a woman can be appointed as mutawalli but where the Mutawalli is required to discharge also religious function, a female, as well as a non-muslim, cannot be appointed as a Mutawalli.

Who can appoint Mutawalli

  1. Founder: Founder of a wakf enjoys the full power of appointment. Moreover, he can appoint himself as the first mutawalli. He can also lay down the rules for the further appointment of mutawallis. On his deathbed, he can appoint even a stranger as mutawalli.
  2. Mutawalli: In case, where founder and wakif are dead and there is no laid out scheme of succession, the ongoing mutawalli may appoint his successor on his deathbed. But he has no such power in health. On the death of one of joint mutawallis and the wakf is silent on what to be done in the event of one of them, the office will pass on by survivorship.
  3. Court: In all those cases where the founder has not appointed a mutawalli or he cant be appointed as mutawalli, the court can appoint a mutawalli. The power of appointment is vested in District Court. Few rules are followed by the court as follows:-
    1. The court disregards the direction of the settler.
    2. Preference should be given to a member of settler over a stranger.
  4. Congregation: Where a wakf is purely local like a graveyard or a mosque, then the mutawalli can be appointed by collective decision of locality.

Power of Mutawalli under Muslim Law

A mutawalli has the power of management and administration of wakf properties. He has the full power of utilising of wakf property for the purpose for which the wakf has been created. He can alienate property with the prior sanction of the court. Even without prior permission of the court, it is merely voidable. Before the coming into force of Wakf 1954, mutawalli could file a suit relating to a wakf. But now this power is with Wakf Board.

Wakf under Muslim Law

Removal of Mutawalli

After Mutawalli has been appointed, the founder can’t remove him unless such power has been provided under wakf-nama. The court has the power to remove a mutawalli. A court may remove mutawalli on the ground of misfeasance, breach of trust or his unfitness or any other valid reason.

Written By Anki Rautri, University School of Law and Legal Studies


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