By Mohammed Issa
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
The Centre for Islamic Finance, Compliance and Advice (CIFCA), an Islamic Finance watchdog in Tanzania, recently conducted a one day seminar under a theme “Waqf Management, Its prospects and challenges in Tanzania”.
The seminar which attracted a number of Muslim organizations that own and manage Awqaaf properties ranging from Mosques, Schools, tracts of land and other movable and immovable properties, was the first of its kind in Tanzania.
It was blessed with attendance, among other participants, of high ranking Muslim leaders including but not limited to Sheikh Zubeir Noor who is the Chairman of Waqf Commission from Kenya, Muslim Ulamaa, Directors of local banks offering Islamic banking, lawyers and other dignitaries.
Others in attendance included Accountants, financial and investment advisors, Businessmen/women, Waqf Owners, Islamic Schools Owners and potential Waqf owners.
The seminar which took place Saturday 4th August 2018, covered the following presentations with presenters in brackets; – Crowd funding Platforms for Awqaf Development: Towards Ummah empowerment. (Yassir Salim -Secretary General, CIFCA).
Awqaf Management: Its Prospects and Challenges in Tanzania. (Sheikh Shams Elmi – Secretary General, Dhy Nurein Foundation. Cash Waqf and It’s significance in building the Ummah towards prosperity (Sheikh Mohamed Issa – Deputy Secretary General BASUTA).
Others included Cash Waqf Deposit: an Innovative Product for Islamic Banks. (Khalfan Abdallah, Head Shariah Dept. Gulf African Bank).
The last presentation in the seminar was The role of Islamic philanthropy and portrait of Waqf in Tanzania (Suleiman Lenga, Founder Trustee, Mtwara Islamic Dev. Center).
Experience from Kenya Waqf Commission
Speaking at the seminar, The Chairman of Kenya Commissioners of Waqf, Sheikh Zubeir Noor, told seminar participants that Kenya has accumulated an experience on Waqf spanning from colonial era to date.
“In Kenya we have been dealing with Waqf issues for more than one hundred years. We have our own challenges and bottlenecks and currently we are reviewing our Waqf laws to bring them at par with the new country’s constitution”, said sheikh Noor.
He further shared information that Morocco has seventy thousand mosques under Awqaaf Commission of that country and there are more than eighty thousand acres of land registered as Waqf.
Morocco Awqaafs bring in an income almost 150 USD per month and their cash balance is 550 Million USD while in Kenya income from Waqf properties and the Commission is only Kshs 2 Millions per month, he added.
He asked all institutions that own and run Waqf properties to emulate the success of countries which have made strides in management of Awqaaf properties.
“Islamic institutions in Africa ought to look afresh matters pertaining to Waqf management and how these Awqaafs can contribute in poverty alleviation of African Muslims”, Sheikh Noor told seminar attendees.
Earlier while explaining seminar goals, CIFCA Secretary General, Brother Yassir Salim said, the seminar was geared at equipping the attendees with a wider understanding on Waqf and Waqf related matters, the importance of donating Waqf properties, Waqf management skills and how to harness Waqf potential as a tool to eradicate poverty and bring prosperity to Muslims in Tanzania.
The seminar was expected to shed light on finding out new Waqf ventures, preparations needed to start a Waqf property and a way forward for Waqf management in Tanzania.
As a way forward, the following seminar resolutions were reached which were read by Dr. Maulana Ayoub. It was resolved that knowledge about Waqf should be spread to as many Muslims as possible so that they understand it.
It was also resolved that Islamic banks or banks providing Islamic banking services to bring innovations by starting Waqf products in their services. It was agreed that Muslims in Tanzania should struggle for bringing about a national commission for Waqf and Waqf fund.
Furthermore, it was also agreed to spearhead training on Waqf properties in order to increase Waqf management efficiency and minimize errors in order to benefit the society at large.