The Singaporean government is planning an endowment fund to
promote Islamic education in the south-eastern Asian country, The
Straits Times newspaper reported.
“I am confident that MUIS’s move to
create new waqf will pave the way to revive the philanthropic
spirit in the 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", he added.
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
Waqf is a permanent dedication of
movable or immovable properties by a Muslim for purposes
recognized by Islamic Sharia. 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
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 could 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
He said he expects many well-to-do
Muslims would like to contribute to the community.