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Potential of Waqf to Finance the Social Development Projects.

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Ministry of Islamic Affairs is the executive body responsible in Maldives to carry out religious tasks and waqf is also regulated by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs. The concept of immovable waqf is not common in Male’ as land is a scarce resource and further, the Land Act prohibits land in Male’, to be declared as waqf. In this regard, it is observed that Section 37 of the Land Act states: (a) any land in the Maldives or any fixed assets on such a land can be declared to be a religious endowment only if declaring it to be a religious endowment does not conflict with government policies on land use for the particular island and this shall further be subjected to the attainment of a written approval from the Ministry of Home Affairs, Housing and Environment; (b) land or fixed assets on a land in Male’ cannot be declared as religious endowments. However, it is imperative to note that waqf is an Islamic social finance institution and a tool that could be utilized for the social developments of islands without relying on the government budget to support such causes.

What is Waqf?

Waqf (Islamic endowment) is an Islamic social financial institution which is also considered as a redistributive institution. Though the term “waqf” is not found in Quran, Muslim jurists have derived its legitimacy from various sources of Islamic law including Quran and Sunnah. There are two kinds of waqf: immovable waqf and movable waqf which is cash waqf that has been approved by the Islamic scholars.  Irrevocability, perpetuity and inalienability are essential conditions to create a waqf. The purpose in which waqf has been utilized is not limited only to religious matters; but it can be used for any purpose which is beneficial to the society that does not contradict with the tenets of Islamic law. Waqf is known as a sadaqat jariyah (on-going charity) while sadaqat is known as a one-time charity that could be given to any type of beneficiary identified by the giver at any time. Waqf is also different from zakat. Zakat is the third pillar of Islam which is compulsory for all eligible Muslims to pay to the legal beneficiaries mentioned in Quran. As such, zakat is a due right on specific items of assets/properties, in specific percentages with consideration of the passage of a year (hawl) and the satisfaction of nisab.

Awqaf Sector of Maldives

There are only two cash waqf funds established by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs. They are the Religious Awareness Waqf Fund and the Mosque Waqf fund. These two funds are maintained in a Public Trust Account formed under the Public Finance Act 2006. There is a Trust Committee set up to specifically deal with the funds and the ultimate supervisor of the fund in the Ministry of Finance & Treasury. Dharul Eeman Waqf project is an innovative waqf project successfully implemented by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs where the Ministry has developed a building on a land and has dedicated all the revenue received from renting of the building to Mosque waqf fund. By doing this, the Ministry intends to have enough financial capability to renovate mosques every year without waiting the government to approve funding for the purpose. Due to weak governance, though the project faced issued in implementing it as anticipated, it is hoped that the Ministry would be able to resolve governance issued and implement the project in a sustainable manner.

 Sustainable Waqf Models for Island Councils to finance Social Development Projects

Island councils can play a leading role in reviving waqf in the country for social development activities. Below are some successful ways in which other countries in the world has implemented waqf for the purpose and the same approach could be customized and replicated in Maldives.

  • Waqf Share Scheme (successfully practiced in Malaysia, Indonesia, Kuwait and the UK): In waqf share scheme, any specified institutions appointed by the government may establish this scheme and become the mutawalli (trustee). The appointed trustee will issue waqf shares in different values and sell the shares to donors for a specific project. The donors can buy the shares according to their affordability. The donors will receive cash waqf certificates as evidence of purchasing the waqf shares of the specified amount for the specified project. The amount collected from the sale of waqf shares will be managed by the trustee in terms of investment of the funds. The revenue generated from the investment will be used for financing the specified projects.
  • Waqf Share Scheme (successfully practiced in Singapore): In this scheme, Muslim employees’ salaries are deducted through the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board, i.e. Singapore’s national social security organisation. Monthly contributions of between USD$1 and USD$7 are made by Muslim employees. The amount of deduction depends on the Muslim employee’s monthly gross salary. The salaries of the Muslim employees are automatically deducted through an automatic check-off system whereby the salary is deducted by their employer and channelled through the CPF with Majlis Ugama Islam Singapore (MUIS) as the collecting agent. The collected amount is to finance charitable purposes such as building and maintaining mosques, funding educational programmes and building da’wah centres.
  • Corporate Waqf Scheme (successfully practiced in Malaysia, Turkey, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh): In this scheme, first founder, either a private or public corporation known as the mother corporation/main founder, will establish an associated waqf institution as the trustee. The main founder will ask all its subsidiaries to contribute part of their profits or dividends to the corporate waqf on a regular basis, besides calling other donors such as individuals, companies and institutions to contribute cash waqf to this associated waqf institution. The associated waqf institution, in its role as the trustee, will manage and invest the accumulated cash waqf from the different contributors. The revenue generated is then channelled to the specific project after operational expenses have been deducted
  • Waqf Takaful Model (successfully practiced in in South Africa and Pakistan): In this model, Takaful operator donates a seed fund to establish a Waqf fund for the product/policy. On a monthly basis, premium contributions made by participants are split into two portions – a portion for tabarru’ contribution to Waqf fund and a portion to participants’ risk account. The appropriation (based on percentage of premium contributed) shall be decided and agreed upfront between the takaful operator and participants. Any takaful claims will only be paid/deducted from the participants’ risk account while any surpluses will be credited back into the same account. Both Waqf fund and participants’ risk account will be invested in Shariah compliant instruments to generate returns where the return from the participants’ risk accounts will be credited back to the account. Returns from the waqf fund however, will be channelled to the waqf beneficiaries as approved by the takaful operator’s Shariah Committee. In the event of death, the deceased’s beneficiaries will be compensated with the takaful benefit from the participants’ risk account. No further amount is paid on behalf of the deceased to the Waqf fund (hence, the contribution to waqf fund is limited to the amount contributed while the participant is alive).

 Conclusion

Apart from the above described waqf models, there are many other successful waqf models practiced in the world as well. The other successful waqf models that could be considered are: cash Waqf-linked Sukuk; Cash Waqf Deposit Product; MyWakaf Initiative; Waqf Fund Model for Education; Waqf Unit Trust Fund; and Waqf Using Blockchain Technology. It is anticipated that the stakeholders of waqf in Maldives will try to revive waqf in the country by adopting the contemporary application of it.

Dr. Aishath Muneeza is an Associate Professor at the International Center for Education in Islamic Finance. 

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Indian police arrest Kashmiris protesting against Malik’s sentencing

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At least 10 youths were arrested for protesting against a court’s decision to sentence Mohammed Yasin Malik, a prominent Kashmiri pro-independence leader, to life in prison.

Police in India-administered Kashmir have arrested at least 10 people during overnight raids following an anti-India protest that erupted as a court sentenced a prominent Kashmiri pro-independence leader to life in prison.

Thursday’s protest was followed by a clash between dozens of youths and government forces that broke out after the sentencing on Wednesday of Mohammed Yasin Malik.

Malik, 56, is the chief of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), which advocates independence on both sides of Kashmir.

Malik was arrested in 2019 and was convicted last week on charges of committing “terrorist acts”, illegally raising funds, and criminal conspiracy and sedition.

The youths were arrested for “anti-national sloganeering & stone pelting outside home of Yasin Malik,” police wrote in a tweet. They said more people were being identified and would be arrested soon.

Police also tweeted a picture of the arrested standing in a row holding their ears with both hands, in an act that is seen as a form of public humiliation and a way of expressing remorse.

READ MORE: India jails Kashmir independence leader for life in ‘terror funding’ case

Growing tensions

Making Kashmiri residents hold their earlobes or do sit-ups on the roadside was common in the 1990s, when Indian government forces sought to humiliate people and dissuade them from supporting armed rebels fighting Indian rule in the Himalayan territory.

However, in recent years such practices have largely stopped as a form of punishment.

“The main instigators of this hooliganism will be booked under PSA,” the police tweet said, referring to the Public Safety Act, a harsh law that allows officials to imprison anyone for up to two years without trial.

Muslim-majority Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since British colonialists granted it independence in 1947.

Both countries claim the region in its entirety and have fought two wars over its control.

READ MORE: Pakistan says India implementing ‘racist policy’ in Kashmir

Source: TRT World 

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President presents warrants of appointment to new Scout Council members

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President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has met with the members of the Scout Association of the Maldives and presented the Warrant of Appointment to the newly appointed members of the National Scout Council. The meeting was held at the President’s Office.

After presenting the credentials to the new members, President Solih congratulated them and inquired about their plans to further the scout movement in the Maldives. The members briefed the president on their programmes and shared concerns that curtail their activities. They also informed the president of the details of the scout jamboree planned for the year.

The president assured the association members that the administration would take the necessary steps to address their concerns and affirmed his commitment to support the movement.

Source: psmnews

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MSWC carrying out highest number of projects this year

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Managing Director Hassan Shah has revealed the Male’ Water and Sewerage Company Limited (MWSC) is carrying out the highest number of water and sewerage projects this year.

Speaking at the ceremony held to celebrate the 27th anniversary of MWSC, Managing Director Shah said that the company is carrying out 31 water and sewerage projects this year, including projects that began last year. He said that four projects have been completed and 20 projects will be completed this year.

Furthermore, Managing Director Shah highlighted that MWSC was established 27 years ago to provide services in Male’ City but that it has expanded to the Greater Male’ Region and the atolls due to the hard work of its employees. As such, he said that 2022 will be the year MSWC carried out the highest number of water and sewerage projects.

Additionally, Shah said that MWSC was successful in providing its services despite the challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. He also described the current situation in Male’ and said that the water storage system in the city needs to be expanded. He noted the government allocated a land plot for the project in 2020 and said MWSC is now working to establish two containers with 13,000cbm of water storage capacity. He added that MWSC is working to solve the overloading issues in the sewerage network in Male’ and also replace the 10-year-old water metres.

The government has been working to establish water and sewerage networks in all inhabited islands by 2024 to fulfill the pledge made by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.

 

Source: psmnews

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