Development and Underdevelopment in the History of Economic Thought

Effects of Cash Waqfs on Sustainable Economic Development in the Balkans during the Early Modern Period

Korkut Cem, Ankara Yildirim Beyazit University
Bulut Mehmet, Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University

There are many components of economic development. The sustainability of development can only be mentioned when these components come together. Otherwise, although economic growth has been achieved, this does not turn into development. One of the institutions that combine these components is the waqfs. The waqfs appear in history as institutions that fulfill the responsibilities of today’s modern states. The waqfs, which are intermediary institutions for transferring resources from more able (rich) to less able (poor), has become the main locomotive of development. The cash waqfs is one kind of waqfs that benefit people both charity and financial purposes. The Ottomans are civilization that uses the waqf institution most widely. Until the most remote villages, the waqfs surrounded the Ottoman geography like a web. One of these geographies is the Rumelia province of the Ottoman Empire. The cash. waqfs established in this region have operated for 500 years. Throughout this period, the cash waqfs were also financial intermediary institutions, with priority being charity services. Thanks to the cash waqfs, education, religion and infrastructure services have been carried out without any problems. All these serviced provided the development of the region. Moreover, the entrepreneurs in need of cash also had the opportunity to finance from the cash waqfs. Thus, the cash waqfs both contributed to total development and ensured the healthy functioning of the financial ecosystem. In this paper, the cash waqfs established in Rumelia during the Ottoman period will be analyzed from archive sources. The mental structure that makes up the cash waqfs will also be explored. The basic principles and mentality in the functioning of the cash waqfs, which are one of the cornerstones of the long-term development of the region, will be drawn from the sample cash waqfs.


Keywords: cash waqfs, economic development in Islamic economics, development of Rumelia during the Ottoman period