The Waqf Boards and their stance on the Ayodhya dispute awaiting Supreme Court verdict


A Waqf is a body recognized by Muslim Law, the Sharia, which owns and manages properties donated for a religious purpose. They are regulated earlier under the Waqf Act of 1954, and now under the Waqf Act of 1995, approved by the Indian Parliament.

Waqf Boards have perpetual succession and they have power to acquire and hold property. In the Ayodhya title dispute⁠— Ram temple versus Babri Masjid⁠— there are two Waqf Boards involved. One of them represents the Sunni sect and the other represents the Shia sect.

The Sunni Waqf Board has spearheaded the claims of the Muslim community’s appeal from 1960s.

In 1961, the state government had seized control of the disputed site through the Faizabad court verdict. The Sunni Waqf Board wanted control over the mosque and the removal of the idols inside, which were reportedly placed under the mosque’s dome in on December 22, 1949.

The Allahabad High Court ordered in 2010 that the disputed land should be divided into three parts and one part should go to the Sunni Waqf Board⁠— the other two parts must go to the Hindu sides represented by Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla Virajman (the deity).

But the Waqf Board wants the entire land and the mosque to be restored as it was before its demolition in 1992.

Shia vs Sunni

The Shia Waqf Board has claimed ownership of the disputed land, not the Sunni Waqf Board. Babur, who is said to have built a mosque in the disputed site, was from the Shia sect among Muslims.

However, the Shia WAQF Board has supported the construction of Ram temple at the site where the mosque (Babri Masjid) stood earlier.

In return, the Shia Waqf Board has demanded that the government must give an alternative site for the mosque construction.