Waqf demands a multidimensional approach that transcends the confines of economics and finance. It exists within a broader context, influenced by factors such as culture, institutional frameworks, and legal systems. Faith and religion stand as pivotal parameters, essential to understanding and harnessing the potential of waqf. Since the late 1970s, economists have embarked on a journey to rejuvenate waqf and reintroduce it into the discourse of the third sector of Islamic moral economy, with the intent of addressing critical issues facing the world.
Yet, it is imperative to recognise that the revitalisation of waqf and its broader impact on Muslim communities in the West hinge significantly on the availability of resources. Establishing waqf is a noble endeavour, but it requires financial support to grow into its potential as a way to make a positive impact on the world. Funding allows waqf initiatives to thrive and fulfil their developmentalist objectives.
Waqf isn’t merely a facet of Islamic charitable work; it serves as a cornerstone and a litmus test for the very fabric of an Islamic society . Across the globe, numerous ‘Islamic’ charitable organiszations profess to place faith- inspired waqf at their core. However, a pressing question arises: to what extent does this commitment manifest in their programmes and tangible outcomes for communities, beyond provision of aid? Arguably, the responses to the inquiry illuminate a limited Islamic influence in the output of Islamic charities, particularly when scrutinising the allocation of time, resources, and the nature of program implementation within the context of waqf.
Efforts to develop Islamic institutional economics, including the role of waqf as an authentic Islamic institution rooted in historical norms, values, and principles of Islamic ontology and epistemology, requires careful alignment of practitioners, Shariah scholars, economists, philanthropists, social entrepreneurs, and the business community etc. Although this endeavour remains a work in progress, the global surge in Islamic finance has underscored the significance of waqf. Islamic institutional economics, primarily ceantered on waqf, provides a framework imbued with developmentalist objectives. It possesses the latent strength to realise the developmentalist agenda within the framework of the Islamic moral economy.
It is with this backdrop that we invite you to our forthcoming conference, where we will delve deep into the multifaceted world of waqf, exploring its historical significance, contemporary relevance, and its role as a catalyst for development. Join us as we unravel the potential of waqf to reshape the landscape of Islamic charitable work and contribute to the broader framework of Islamic society. Together, we will dissect the challenges and opportunities, seeking to infuse the spirit of waqf into every facet of our charitable endeavours, recognising that the vital fuel for these endeavours is financial support and entrepreneurial mindsets.