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Waqf – a national people-centric drive

June 2, 2017
June 2, 2017 June 2, 2017

Adv AB MAHOMED SC

MUSLIMS constitute 25% of the world’s population, endowed with 60% of the world’s natural resources but tragically constitute 80% of the world’s poor, deprived, subjugated and oppressed. As a balance sheet for the world of Islam, this state of affairs cannot be illustrated more eloquently.

The situation today is even worse.

What were once former great cities and centres of learning, such as Baghdad, Damascus, Fallujah, Aleppo, Mosul, Kabul, Tripoli and Sanaa, are bombed and razed to the ground.

It is impossible to conceive how such cities can ever be restored without help from the people themselves, unlike the fake Western nation-state model, which indulges more in the looting and plundering of other nation’s resources with institutionalised violence to sustain its corrupt political and economic systems.

Islam has given us the financial models and instruments of economic distributive justice such as zakaah, sadaqah, fitrah and waqf to achieve these developments, of which instruments, waqf is the principal objective of our current national sustainable development drive.

The Waqf system has enabled Islamic countries to survive and overcome great devastation and destruction, beginning with the invasions by the Mongol barbarians of the 13th century, the heavily weaponised colonising criminal acts of Europe in the 16th century and the nuclear-armed barbaric acts of the Zionist captured US and European Union of the 21st century.

No other civilisation would have survived such brutal onslaught repeatedly had it not been for Islam’s inherent strength and its moral and ethical basis of self-help and compassion.

This appears clear in the maqasid of the shariah, whose prime objective is the goodness and wellbeing of humans.

Allah has created man and the world for a purpose. That purpose is the doing of good deeds to actualise Allah’s Will, which is the realisation of goodness, truth, justice and beauty. This is what gives meaning to a Muslim’s life. There can be no greater meaning than to be the actualiser of Allah’s Will on earth.

It is against this geopolitical background that we in South Africa need to embark on the Road Map to enlightened self-reliance.

In South Africa, we too, went through onslaughts, first through enforced slavery in the 17th century then through a racially profiled programme of repatriation in the first half of the 19th century. We then went through enforced apartheid segregation and discrimination. We survived those turbulent times with our values intact.

Under the new constitutional dispensation, we have the freedom to choose. We have, as every human being has, only one of two paths. Either we are dependent or we become self-reliant. There is no middle ground.

To be dependent is morally untenable. To be self-reliant and a productive help to fellow citizens is a supreme Islamic duty. Waqf is the mechanism for the fulfilment of that duty. It is both institutional as well as people-driven.

Waqf as institutions, already exist in the traditional sense. In South Africa, we have more than a thousand mosques and about half of that number of madrasahs and recently scores of mussallas. All require funding for their maintenance and upkeep.

In addition, there are darul ulooms and some 80 private and semi-private schools. There are also the well-known family waqf trusts.

Sadly, none of these valuable hardware collaborate and co-ordinate with each other to maximise for the common good. At best, they constitute pockets of excellence in an otherwise vast space of fragmentation.

It is hoped that there will come a time soon that in unity lies strength and more can be recovered of lost ground if such traditional waqfs with similar objectives share the workload.

However, what is more important for the purpose of this national drive is that the culture of waqf should be people-centric and people-driven. Every person, a housewife or a breadwinner, should have the opportunity to have a waqf of his or her own.

Anything and everything that serves the common good and welfare of the human being, whether it is the provision of a bench in a park for the elderly, shade for the infirm, water for stray animals or a book in the library for a student accords completely with the maqasid of the shariah.

This is waqf

In the same way that the tree provides a nest for birds, flowers for bees, fruit for animals and humans, and a shade for all, all of these beneficiaries are attracted to it as a common meeting place. Likewise, a Waqf serves to connect. When we connect, we collaborate; when we collaborate, we comprehend; when we comprehend, we contribute. In this road map of contribution, our society starts transforming from a society of imitation to a society of innovation.

The essential message and objective of Waqf

Each student starting young as a wakif realises his or her own dignity and self-esteem as a giver.

The transformational effect this has between mother and son, father and daughter is incalculable.

Self-reliance is ingrained early in every child. As a giver, his or her waqf is working for them all the time.

There is blessing in his studies, in his exams, in his health, in his future vocation, in marriage, in the wellbeing of his parents, family, neighborhood and society.

Remember, whatever a person gives in charity for the sake of Allah abides for him and benefits him not only in this world but in the hereafter as well.

Such a person gets the best of both worlds.

Charity, which benefits others after death, not only brings happiness to the wakif but also happiness to the beneficiaries.

It also reminds us that wealth sharing is a duty, a bond of humanity, of fellowship, of brotherhood that binds the wealthy and the poor together.

The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: ‘Men are like the organs of a body. When the organ suffers, the whole body responds to repel the cause of suffering.’

He (SAW) also said: ‘Whoever introduces a good practice will receive its reward and a reward equivalent to those who follow it,’ (Sahih Muslim)

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