CAIRO - The Singaporean government is planning an endowment fund to promote Islamic education in the south-eastern Asian country, TheStraits Times newspaper reported.
I am confident that MUIS's move to create new waqf will pave the way to revive the philanthropic spirit in our community, Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs, told parliament on Thursday, March 8.
It is a progressive move to keep pace with evolving giving trends and the growing complexity of our financial environment.
The three-million-dollar fund will be created by the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS).
It will be used to promote Islamic education in the south-eastern Asian country.
Waqf is a permanent dedication of movable or immovable properties by a Muslim for purposes recognized by Islamic Shari`ah.
MUIS handles and develops 200 waqfs properties in Singapore, with a total asset value of S$250 million.
These properties, held in trust, yield an annual rental income of millions of dollars, makes Singapore the region's most advanced country in the development of waqfs.
MUIS is the largest body that caters for the needs of Muslims, who are estimated at between 450,000 to 500,000, making around 15 percent of Singapore's population.
Yaacob said that he hopes the new waqf fund will revive the philanthropic spirit among Singaporean Muslims.
Over the past years, Muslim philanthropists have created waqfs, whose annual funds are used in funding religious and charitable programs.
He expressed pleasure that more Muslims nowadays are doing financial planning and drawing up wills in accordance with Islamic inheritance law.
As a form of "planned giving", he suggested that Muslims can pledge up to one third of their estates for the new waqf fund.
The minister gave tribute to the role played by waqfs in Singapore.
He cited the example of a mosque which created a new waqf through the purchase of two properties to sustain the mosque operations.
The minister also called on MUIS to find an appropriate way to promote and adapt waqfs to the modern context.He said he expects many well-to-do Muslims would like to contribute to the community.