AWQAF SA CEO, Zeinoul Abideen Cajee, and Awqaf ambassador, Sedick Isaacs, recently attended the Seventh Annual Global Waqf Conference held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Nearly 500 delegates from around the globe attended the annual event, which is hosted in a different country each year and focuses on issues surrounding waqf.
According to Cajee, this year’s conference entitled “Taking Waqf into the Future” looked at the role of technology and the function of digitalisation with regards to waqf in a changing world. This was a potential game-changer as more and more people in the post-colonial world became aware of the instrument of waqf, something that was systematically destroyed by colonialism.
Awqaf ambassador, Sedick Isaacs, said the conference had proved to be interesting, with lots of hard work ahead in South Africa.
Cajee said an interesting point had been raised that western universities, such as Oxford and Harvard, had been using endowments, based on the waqf model, for a long time. Oxford, he said, had learned from the Crusaders when they came back from the Muslim world in the 12th century.
The irony, he said, was that many Islamic countries and communities were not using the very same endowment waqf systems that the west had introduced from the east in the key area of education.
Cajee delivered an address at the conference. He focused on efficiency and governance within ISF operators and supervisors, and on organisational challenges in the developmental context. Several countries, he said, had shown an interest in the South African waqf model.
“It is an absolute imperative in this day and age that there is a revival of the waqf system, using contemporary technologies, to work towards societal upliftment and the eradication of poverty,” he said.
Awqaf SA also handed over copies of its latest publication “Awqaf of the Holy Prophet and some of his Noble Sahabah, a Juristic, Historical and Documented Study” to Dr. Sami Salahat, founder of the International Institute of Islamic Waqf Endowments (IIIWE), who introduced Cajee to the author and endorsed the book. Written by Saudi Awqaf scholar, Dr ‘Abd al-Hujaili, and translated by Prof Yousef Dadoo of UNISA, it is one of the few available texts in the English-speaking world on waqf.