Waqf-Based Islamic Philanthropic Instruments for Micro-Funding of Micro-Finance
Posted: 22 Jan 2009
Date Written: January 21, 2009
Islamic Finance is based on the philosophy of social justice by sharing risk and rewards. It prohibits interest payments, short-selling and contracts considered excessively risky. Islamic finance is based on Shariah, or Islamic law. It requires that gains be derived from ethical and socially responsible investments and discourages interest-based banking and investments in sectors like pork, gambling and pornography and other immoral activities. Investments in long term projects considered to benefit society are held in high regard.
Islamic microfinance which is a part of Islamic Finance blends well with the goal of microfinance as both Islamic finance and traditional micro-finance institutions are aimed at achieving economic justice. Islamic microfinance contributes toward uplifting the poor with funding based on profit and loss sharing instead of the high-interest bearing credits offered by traditional microfinance institutions. It has the potential to address the ultra-poor who lack collateral owing to its profit-loss sharing mechanism.
This paper shall explore an area of Islamic Finance that deals with one of the two major sectors of Islamic endowments, zakat and waqf. It will elaborate the concept of implementing specialized financial instruments, Cash Waqf to deal with the long mismanaged charitable fund of waqf. It will discuss opportunities for enhancing participation, provide efficient and improved management of endowments, ensure selective investments to maximize the socio-economic benefit and most importantly invest the scattered funds in a productive usage as opposed to current practice of consumerism through the mechanism of micro funding of Islamic microfinance institutions.
Keywords: Waqf, Islamic Finance, Microfinance, Philanthropy
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