The emergence of waqf in Serbia

Mlicka mosque

When it comes to the arrival of Islam in this area – the Balkan Peninsula, usually the first thing that comes to mind are the Ottoman Turks. However, one nišan plaque on the Mlika mosque (the village of Mlike – Gora, Dragash municipality) shows that there were Muslims in the Balkans even before the arrival of the Ottomans.
As a confirmation of this thesis, there is a document from Damascus from the Ministry of Waqf of the Syrian Arab Republic from 1995, which confirms the construction of a mosque in the village of Mlike by muhajirs (refugees), mostly craftsmen, from Aleppo. According to the document, several members of the Al-Aga family, which is strong and ancient, emigrated in 1095 and their emigration continued until 1291. They built a mosque in the village of Mlike, in order to have their place for performing religious rites. “
The mosque was burned and renovated twice, and the plaque was kept and hidden by the locals. When the mosque was last renovated, the plaque was built into the minaret wall.

Hadzi Huremova (Bor) Mosque

Evliya lebelebi, a Turkish travel writer, listed 23 mosques in Novi Pazar in the 17th century and mentioned the names of only Isa-beg’s, Altun-alem and Haji Hurem’s mosques. It is one of the largest and most important mosques in Novi Pazar, and it is also very old. It is the only mosque in Novi Pazar where an inscription about the time of its erection has been preserved – the middle of the 16th century. According to tradition, Haji Hurem built a mosque, and his brother built a hamam (public bath) – the Novi Pazar spa. An integral part of the mosque is the turbe in which Hajji Hurem is buried. It is not known exactly what the Bor mosque is called, as it is popularly known today. The Bor mosque is located in Lug, on the right side of Raška, right next to the bridge.

Altun - alem mosque

The mosque with a golden alem – a precious stone, is one of the most famous sandžak mosques. It is located in the central part of the former Istanbul Road (today’s Prvomajska Street) in Novi Pazar. In the first half of the 16th century, it was built by Muslihedin Abdulgani, also known as Mujezin Hodja Al Medini, the builder of Kursumli Khan and the mosque in Skopje, the masjid and caravanserai in Mazici near Zvecan and other important buildings of that time.

Melajska (Iskender - Celebijina) mosque

Iskender – Celebija’s mosque popularly known as Melajska is located practically in the city center. Its construction probably dates from the beginning of the 16th century. It is known as Melajska in recent times, after Mustafa Melajac, who took the greatest care of maintaining the mosque. Iskender – Celebija’s mosque is almost 500 years old, and it was first mentioned in written documents as an existing building in 1528. The mosque had a larger courtyard and a mekteb in it, which was the rule in the construction of such buildings, ie the obligation to build a mekteb building next to the mosque. The Mela mosque was destroyed several times. Only the minaret has been preserved from its original appearance.

Lejlek Mosque

One of the oldest mosques in Novi Pazar is located in the settlement of Ćukovac. It is popularly known as the Lejlek mosque (after the Lejlek bird). The real name of the mosque is preserved only in documents – Ahmed-beg or Ahmed-beg silhadar mosque – after its builder Ahmed-beg Silhadar. According to tradition, Sultan Mehmed Fatih during his campaign in Bosnia offered prayers in the Lejlek mosque in Novi Pazar in 1459. The Laylek mosque was demolished and set on fire several times. The mosque was built for the second time in the first half of the 18th century, and in 1891 the mosque was rebuilt by a certain Salih-beg Begović, son of Hadži Ali-beg. He added and closed the former porch, and in the yard he built a small but new mekteb building and renovated the fountain.

Bajrakli Mosque

One of the oldest buildings in the capital. It is located in Gospodar Jevremova Street, number 11. It was built in the period between 1570 and 1688, although there are legends about its construction in 1521, immediately after the Ottomans entered Belgrade. According to some sources, it was built by Suleiman II in 1690. In the eighties of the 18th century, it became the Bajrakli-mosque because it had a mutevekila who was an expert in determining the time of prayers, and the time for the call to prayer for all other mosques in Belgrade was signaled by the flag. By the decree of Karadjordj himself, the mosque was preserved in 1813, and in 1868, Prince Mihailo restored it, so that Muslims could pray in it, and so that the Islamic Community of Serbia would be established around it.

By the decision of Prince Mihailo Obrenović and the State Council of May 18, 1868, in the Principality of Serbia, Islam was recognized as a religion. The state then undertook to bear the costs of supporting the imam and muezzin and maintaining the Bajrakli mosque in Belgrade. The Law on the Organization of Liberated Territories of January 3, 1879, states that “citizens of the Mohammedan as well as citizens of the Christian and any other legally recognized faith have the right and freedom to publicly perform the religious rites of their religion.” After the First World War, Muslims entered the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes from three separate religious communities: in Serbia, headed by the Supreme Mufti, whose headquarters were moved from Nis to Belgrade; In Montenegro, headed by the Chief Mufti based in Bar and in Bosnia and Herzegovina with a reis-l-ulema based in Sarajevo. In the first decade, the organization and organization of the mentioned Islamic religious communities did not change significantly. In order to eliminate the differences in terms of state management and supervision, on September 12, 1919, the Provisional Decree on the Administration of Waqfs in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was passed, which was replaced by law on February 28, 1922. Since then, the Muslims of Serbia-Montenegro have formed one religious community under the administration of the supreme mufti in Belgrade. Muslims in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Slavonia, Slovenia, and Dalmatia continued to live in a separate Islamic religious community under the supreme administration headed by the reis-ul-ulema and based in Sarajevo. According to the decree and the law on the administration of endowments, the supervision of endowments and the administration of the Central Endowment Fund for the territory of Serbia and Montenegro was led by the Ministry of Religion, and the administration of endowments in Bosnia and Herzegovina was left to the endowment authorities.

In Art. 12 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes from 1921, the principle of freedom of religion and equality of all adopted religions was set. In accordance with that, Islam is included in the list of adopted and equal religions.

The unity of the Islamic religious community in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia was established on the basis of the Law on the Islamic Religious Community of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia of January 30, 1930. Article 1 of this law stipulates that “all Muslims in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia constitute an independent Islamic religious community as the supreme religious elder ”. Its headquarters were in Belgrade. Muslims continued to elect their representatives self-governingly. The Islamic religious community, like all other religious organizations, was under the administration and supervision of the state government (until 1929 under the Ministry of Religion, and since then under the Ministry of Justice), and received its material assistance. According to this law, the Islamic religious community could maintain spiritual relations with Islamic religious representatives abroad.

At the proposal of the relevant Minister of Justice and with the consent of the Council of Ministers, the king appointed by decree: the reis-ul-ulema, members of the ulema-majlis and the mufti. In accordance with the law and the Constitution, the Islamic religious community independently managed and disposed of property and endowments (endowments), with the financial supervision of state
authorities, as well as all other institutions. The Islamic religious community and some of its institutions were legal entities.

The first Constitution of the Islamic Religious Community of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia was adopted on July 9, 1930. According to this act, the Islamic Religious Community recognized the religion of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and was equal to other religious communities. The organization of the Islamic religious community is based on religious-educational and waqf-property organization. This community was governed by: Sharia regulations, law and the constitution of the Islamic religious community.