CORE PRINCIPLES FOR EFFECTIVE WAQF OPERATION AND SUPERVISION
BI, BWI & IRTI-IsDB
1. In the Arabic language, the word waqf or habs means preventing something from movement. In Shari’ah terminology, waqf refers to making a property invulnerable to disposition that leads to a transfer of ownership, and donating the usufruct, or the fruit of the asset, to beneficiaries. Waqf is permissible in Shari’ah, as has been emphasized by the Sunnah (Prophetic traditions) and Ijma’ (consensus of Fuqaha). Waqf is also a binding commitment; therefore, the declaring of a property as waqf would simultaneously deprive its donating owner of the right of ownership.1
2. There are several types of waqf, the most important being charitable waqf (al-waqf al-khayri), family waqf (al-waqf al-ahli), joint waqf (al-waqf al-mushtarak), and self-dedicated waqf (al-waqf’ala al-nafs). The basic elements of waqf include: the form of the donation, the waqif (the donor), the beneficiary, and the donated property. Waqf is permissible in the form of real estate along with permanent furniture and fittings, movable assets, money, shariah compliant shares and sukuk. Regulators and Supervisors will observe all of the regulations, including Shari’ah-related regulation, to ensure the compliance of all related parties.
3. The core principles of waqf, as part of Islamic finance, embrace the principle of altruism, which promotes or maximizes the benefits to others, inclusively for all humans and living beings. The principles emphasize the importance of maintaining or keeping public confidence high since the system is fully dependent upon the public’s propensity to donate.
4. A well-organized waqf system supported by information technology and compatible with other programs can be expected to serve as an additional vehicle of fund mobilization to support and significantly contribute to government economic development programs, particularly to programs for poverty reduction and comprehensive human development.
5. The institution of waqf has evolved over time and across different regions. Most regions have legal systems that reflect a traditional concern for preservation as captured in the three principles of perpetuity (assets/purpose), inalienability, and irreversibility. Contemporary scholars take a lenient view and permit temporary awqaf as well as reversibility under certain conditions. This waqf core principles duly acknowledges that there are different school of thoughts related to the law and the implementation of awqaf. The Waqf Core Principles (WCP) have thus been
structured around certain basic building blocks focusing on “benevolence” and “mutual benefit” while also seeking to harmonize alternative viewpoints.
6. The Waqf Core Principles (WCP) provide a clear positioning of the awqaf sector within the economic structure, especially in terms of providing direct socio-economic benefits (utilization of the corpus of awqaf in the form of fixed or non-fixed assets) and the contribution of low-cost financing from the returns on investment of the corpus of awqaf.
7. The Waqf Core Principles (WCP) provide clear and standardized systematics on the supporting elements of the worldwide-applicable waqf system. This waqf core principles is also positioned so as to ensure compatibility with, and the mutual recognition of, other financial sector prudential standards, as well as the latest regulatory standards that promote governance aspects.
8. The Waqf Core Principles (WCP) place the operational standards and supervision of the waqf sector at the same prudential level as that of other financial sectors. Operational standards are prepared to consider the risk-adjusted measures based on managed asset classes and the optimization of benefits for the community.
9. The Waqf Core Principles (WCP) dissect the elements of supervision related to the operationalization of the waqf system into a systematic arrangement structure as follows:
a. Legal foundation;
b. Waqf supervision;
c. Good waqf governance;
d. Risk management;
e. Shari’ah governance.
10. This is the main reference document for the generation of various technical notes that cover specific technical aspects of waqf arrangement.
11. This is the main reference document for measuring the performance of waqf management while accommodating the technical and operational issues that different jurisdictions may involve.
12. This waqf core principles allows scope for the commingling of endowment funds with other philanthropy-driven funds while underlining the following:
a. divine motivation; and
b. the restriction of a portfolio only to halal businesses;
c. the underlying physical asset.
13. The core principles underscore the importance of financial technology applications in waqf management.
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