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Day One at 8th WIEF, Johor Bahru, Malaysia. (Afternoon)

Day One at 8th WIEF, Johor Bahru, Malaysia. (Afternoon)

Issue 99 December 2012

Following the second talk of the day entitled “Global Economic Outlook – World in Flux: Leadership in Changing times” in which technological advancements playing a key role, not just throughout the Muslim world, but universally, was discussed, the final talk of the day focused on the Islamic concept of ‘Waqf’.

 

Following the second talk of the day entitled “Global Economic Outlook – World in Flux: Leadership in Changing times” in which technological advancements playing a key role, not just throughout the Muslim world, but universally, was discussed, the final talk of the day focused on the Islamic concept of ‘Waqf’.

Waqf is seen as a sustainable solution, an on going charity that lasts in both this life and the next – the never-ending profit is given to the needy and the giving of this profit is materialised into a reward for the benefactors and donors in the afterlife. Waqf is referred to as sustainable because it goes beyond what the needy are in need of now, it is put into place to secure their futures; be it through a means of education or the learning of a skill, Waqf is an Islamic obligation that ultimately envisages the less fortunate moving away from relying on the good-will of others through betterment of themselves and the society in which they live. Today, it can be seen as a donation of an asset for a charitable cause.

People who manage Waqf do not own it, they are merely trustees. The last talk of the first day of the 8th World Islamic Economic Forum titled “Harnessing the Waqf Fund for the Muslim Ummah” discussed all of the above points in depth but also discussed the way in which that it can never be closed down because it belongs to a higher power – to Allah. It is wrong to compare Waqf to an investment because once it is in place, or is in a planning process, it is all being done to obtain Allah’s satisfaction.

As the Waqf Directorate from Sarajevo took to the floor as representative of the Islamic Community in Bosnia and Herzegovina, he spoke about the Bosnian Waqf assets that were established in the 5th Century by the Ottoman Empire today being used by the state following the unrest in Bosnia years ago. The concept of Waqf needs to be reinforced and improved and there are several levers of change that need to be implemented to enrich and secure Waqf in society today:

 

·         Strong legal framework

·         Pre-development policies

·         Progressive fatwa thinking

·         Innovative financing

·         Professionalism and expertise

·         Good governance

 

As the discussion continued, it became increasingly apparent that the concepts of Waqf need to be recreated; schemes like the Mosque Building Fund in Singapore (running since 1977) aid an Islamic system that will, in the future, benefit us all.

A sticking point of the talk emerged when it was said: “People think that ‘If we have money we have to make money’ but this can destroy the corpus of Waqf” – the Muslim world has the land and capital to fund various projects, there is no need for frugality. 




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