Ministry of Awqaf & Islamic Affairs :: Dr. Al-Kathiri: Islamic Waqf is the key tool to achieve structural and preventive development
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Dr. Al-Kathiri: Islamic Waqf is the key tool to achieve structural and preventive development

·         Recent decades have witnessed apparent renaissance waqf. It started in the form of repeated calls from scholars to revive waqf.
·         Our current status witnesses a major trend for the businessmen to establish charitable bodies concerned with managing the charitable aspect in their properties.

·         Donating charitable donation societies possess outstanding financial potentials that can manage waqf work and disseminate its culture.
General Manager of Islamic Waqf Foundation Dr. Mohammed Nasser Dr. Al-Kathiri continues his dialogue in the second part  assuring that Islamic Religion came for the sake of Man and the Holy Quran was revealed for his guidance, because Allah the Almighty has honored and excelled him over many creatures and granted him great status.
He stressed that the objective that the waq
f seeks to achieve is the same target Allah's prophets and apostles called for and the Holy Quran urged for caring to build a good Man and working to rehabilitate him to be an effective element within his society and  country. The advanced nations have realized that the greatest component for progress and prosperity is the human being and that the strength of society depends on what's invested in Man's building. Many countries that have preceded the others despite they do not have the resources of wealth and geographical location as components of renaissance. Those countries achieved this through their care of Man's building.

As we have indicated in the first part of this dialogue, waqf foundation is considered educational Da'awi institution that was founded in 1408 AH. Its Board of Trustees comprises of an elite scholars and leaders, some of them are Sheikh Saleh Bin Abdurrahman Al-Haseen and Sheikh Abdullah Bin Suleiman Al Manee .
In the second part of this dialogue, we deal with Dr. Al-Kathiri how far the donors and financiers support waqf work, the forms of support, the role of waqf work in the developmental march as a true partner, his view of waqf future and the size of waqf work in the charitable map. The following is the text of the dialogue conducted with him:

Developmental partnership
Q- Your Excellency, to what extent waqf work contributes in the developmental march as a true partner?
It is no secret that Awqafs were the key tool to achieve development in the previous several centuries in our Arab and Islamic worlds. Awqaf presented an active role in fulfilling the needs of the society, despite being small ones, scattered bodies, that are not joined by a link. History recorded that Awqaf spent on education, health, industry, building bridges, digging canals, paving the roads, as well as spending on sponsoring the orphans, caring the widows, the poor and the needy. Moreover, it spent upon the Islamic armies in many cases.


This behavior reinforces the dominant perception that waqf foundations were the key active in the developmental march in both structural and preventive sides over the centuries and in the highest prosperity of the Islamic civilization and its dominance.
In the context of the Human Development, the Foundation seeks to construct the human being as the goal that Allah's prophets and apostles called for and the Holy Quran urged to build a good Man and rehabilitate him to be an effective element in his society and country. The developed nations realized that the greatest component of progress and prosperity is the human being and that the strength of society depends on what's invested in Man's building. Many countries that preceded the others despite their lacking the renaissance components from resources, wealth and geographical location, achieved this through their care of Man's building.


Waqf's role globally
Q- How farYou view the role of waqf globally?


Despite the retreat of the Islamic Waqf Foundations role in leading the developmental march, the world proves that waqf is still maintaining its position as a strong partner in the development. If we take into account the highest spread of waqf foundations in the Western world, such as (welcome) waqf foundation , the biggest charitable foundations working in the health sector globally, established in Britain in 1936. It depends in its funding upon the outputs and outcomes of the researches to benefit in the expansion of the foundation's assets which foundation reached 10 billion pound sterling. Its expenditure size upon charitable activities per year reached up to 400 million pound sterling.


Some studies indicate the existence of approximately six million non-profit foundations in the United States registered of which are approximately one million and six hundred thousand non-profit organization in 2004. These foundations are either charitable, religious, labor, union, party and others, most notably of which are Bill and Melinda Gates waqf Foundation. Its owner is Microsoft owner (Bill Gates) and its capital is more than $ 42 million. American well known billionaire Warren Buffett has allocated 83% of his fortune to this foundation in 2006. The total donation reached in that time (30.7) billion dollars. This sum was dedicated to support medical researches, helping the poor and the sick and encourage education in the poor countries. Buffett also announced his joining to the "Gates Foundation." Board. There is also Lily An daovi foundation with a capital $ 13 billion and Ford Foundation with a capital $11 billion.
In terms of numbers we can say that one of these institutions is larger than all foundations in the Islamic world! Donations within one year reached $ 212 billion. We wonder if we knew that the number of waqf foundations in America alone are more than 32 thousand ones.


The great and big numbers of foundations is a natural result of the trends that prevailed in Western societies to increase the social work in all its various aspects in the form of foundations and independent and professional bodies to contribute strongly in the governmental sectors to support the social progress. This presented the legal personality that manages non-profitable work.


Nationalization of Awqafs
Q- How far the donors and financiers are interested to support waqf work. What is the forms of waqf support?


Unfortunately the culture of waqf in the Islamic world has retreated for two centuries ago, where it (Waqf) was taken away from its administrative and legal form in the Arab world since 1224 AH at the era of Muhammad Ali Pasha through the enactment of legislation and laws that limited the civil administration of waqf. He nationalized the charitable work represented in Awqaf, mosques and their systems, with the advice of some French experts.  Thus, waqf sector with the absence of its administrative and institutional correct concepts that give it the proper legal status and autonomy is absent from the partnership in the development processes since that time.

Waqf nationalization and governments' restriction to it have been repeated in different parts of the Islamic world, which led to the reluctance of people to offer waqf  for fear of the governments. Therefore, the awareness of the importance of this vital sector deteriorated and the charitable work has represented in  the denotations of the well-off to the poor and the needy in the form of individual form.

However, recent decades have seen waqf renaissance, thanks to Allah. It started in the form of repeated calls from a number of researchers, scholars and officials to revive waqf, seminars and conferences in a number of countries where researches were performed and enriched  the culture of waqf boosted its position at the businessmen and those who are in charge of charitable Foundations. Trends of creating Awqaf, owning  them and depending upon them prevailed in charitable foundations and associations, so you can hardly hear about a charitable foundation unless it has a number of Awqaf and private charitable foundations have spread and they possess Awqaf that are managed by modern foundations.

Looking into the future
Q- What is your vision regarding the future of waqf?
The future that we hope for waqf is based upon two key factors: The first factor is to turn represents in the general public direction towards creating and allocation Awqaf. The second factor is connected to the governmental institutions and their role in enacting laws and regulations that govern this process, facilitating the registration procedures, demarcation, creating a fertile environment for the establishment of charitable institutions and public volunteer projects.


Our current status witnesses businessmen's great tendency for establishing charitable entities that manage the charitable aspect of their wealth. This produced a good number from private charitable foundations and it is expected this phenomenon grows in parallel with the progress of awareness with the importance of Waqf and its place in the sustainability tender and ensuring its permanence. On an other hand we also witness significant progress in the exerted official efforts for reviving this magnificent Sunnah.

Q- What about the size of waqf work in the map of charitable work?

We can not say that there is no almost one charitable foundation empties from one at least, some in the form of real-estate with revenues such as commercial exhibitions and residential towers, some others are in the form of institutions, companies, factories and other investments business.

This in addition to the charitable foundation donors which is characterized with possessing distinct financial capabilities leads waqf work and disseminate waqf culture in the society through its practical applications on the ground.


Building a conscious generation
Q- To what extent has waqf foundation succeeded in achieving its goals. What are  the reasons of its success?


We can answer this question in affirmative with regard to the reality of charitable and Da'awi work in the work areas. Sharia institutes, Islamic schools, homes, courses, scientific lessons and scholarship programs, Quranic memorization circles  that graduate thousands of students over the two decades since the foundation establishment.
These students are the ones who run the charitable and local foundations. They work in Da'awi work in their regions and their countries. In our view this represents a complete success, because the ultimate goal of Da'awi and educational efforts is building a conscious generation to complete the march and continue the effort.


Allah's successfulness is the reason behind the first and last of the fruits of what has been achieved. The next is the keen and awareness of those who are in charge of the institution to the need of their Islamic peoples who are eager to learn from this religion.
That eagerness is crystalized in the permanent and quick following-up from the foundation Board Trustees and its staff to the work process and moral, permanent and continuous support.

Q- is the establishment of the Waqf Foundation in Saudi Arabia has granted it a special incentives towards development and creativity?
Perhaps the most important incentives that pushed the foundation towards development and creativity is such high spirits displayed by the people of this country and their deep sense in connecting  with the Islamic peoples in every corner of the world, in addition to the great support that was granted by this environment to charitable foundation, charitable work and Da'awi in general.

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Ministry of Awqaf & Islamic Affairs - State of Kuwait