The Code of “Ḥubūs” (or “Waqf”) According to Islamic Law


The author of this work on hubus, or hobous, the North African equivalent of the Arabic waqf (endowment), Ernest Mercier (1840‒1907), was for some years the mayor of Constantine, a city in northeast Algeria, then a French colony. Mercier also wrote several other works on North African subjects. The book, which is in French, first defines the Muslim obligation of charitable and pious endowment, its origins, and its legal status. It describes the rules, the essential religious or humanitarian purpose of waqf, designation of beneficiaries, management of the endowment, rights of beneficiaries, the role of the qadi (judge), and many other aspects of the practice, including the requirements of coexistence with the French judicial system. Matters addressed in the appendices include the application of the rules, the views of a mufti from Algiers, cancellation of an unregistered waqf, and other observations. The Library of Congress copy presented here has an ink stamp in Japanese: Minami Manshū Tetsudō Kabushiki Kaisha Tōa Keizai Chōsakyoku zōsho no in (Seal of collection at the South Manchuria Railway Company, East Asia Economic Research Bureau). During World War II, the South Manchuria Railway Company engaged in extensive intelligence gathering and operational activities on behalf of the Japanese Imperial Army, including efforts to agitate Muslims against Chinese and Russian rule. Most likely the book was confiscated by the U.S. armed forces at the end of the war and subsequently transferred to the Library of Congress.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

National Press, Constantine, Algeria

Title in Original Language

Le code du Hobous (ou Ouakf) selon la législation musulmane

Type of Item

Physical Description

175 pages ; 25 centimeters

Last updated: June 16, 2016