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Islamic finance expert proposes 'Sadaqah House' to help poor and needy
Friday January 2, 2015 12:18 PM, News Network

Stating that Islamic banking and finance are not yet complete in terms of answering the duties Muslims are called upon to fulfil, award winning expert of the field, Abdul Halim bin Ismail, proposed establishment of a 'Sadaqah House' to help the poor and needy.


"My proposal is to set up an new institution, I call it the Sadaqah House. This new institution – an Islamic bank or better still an Islamic banking group – will be licensed and supervised by the central bank of each country. Its task is to collect funds from the private sector and use these funds to help the poor and the needy", Abdul Halim, the first Malaysian to receive the 2014 Royal Award for Islamic Finance, said while talking to The National.

Muslims are encouraged to give charitably and there are two types. Zakat is an obligation and is compulsory whereas Sadaqah is the voluntary charitable donations Muslims make. It amounts to trillions of dollars world wide.

Sadaqah, though used for the same tasks Abdul Halim is advocating, is normally spent in an unorganised way. There has always been a feeling that if the huge amount is used in an organised way, the Muslims would not depend on anyone for their empowerment.

"In my proposal, I am focusing on Sadaqah Jariyah, or continuous charity. The task of collecting funds is already the work of a bank. Under my proposal, the bank would collect those funds and invest them over a long period of time. The annual profit would be distributed. So the capital builds up year over year and the profits are channelled out in perpetuity. A lot of charity is done at the moment but is not really organised in the sense that the banking system is organised", Abdul Halim said.

"My feeling is that Islamic banking and finance are not yet complete in terms of answering the duties Muslims are called upon to fulfil. There is a void because the whole Ummah, the whole population of a country, is one unit; we have Islamic banking and finance for the government sector and for the private sector but there are no facilities for the social welfare sector.

"The proposal is really to make Islamic banking and finance more complete in the sense that it should be inclusive and cover all the Islamic population or all the population of a country", he added.


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