Author: Mohamed Hamza Ghaouri
In the past few years, the implication of Waqf in the Muslim and non-Muslim societies has evolved tremendously exceeding the traditional management process (collection and deployment) that consisted of collecting Waqf tangible assets from the rich and deploying them into religious and philanthropic activities. Nowadays, Waqf is collected from different social classes, from small to huge amounts as Cash-Waqf, and deployed into profit-generating activities. A part of the profits generated will be channelled to a Waqf fund that will be used for charity. In this blog, we will shed light on five Waqf-based projects around the world that have revolutionized the way Waqf operates.
Makkah Clock Royal Tower – Saudi Arabia-
The Makkah Royal Clock Tower is made up of 662 metres of a concrete structure and a 155-metre crescent-topped metal spire. Combined, the two parts of the tower in Makkah is roughly 11 metres shorter than Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower at 828 metres. The clock is the largest in the world, with 45-metre wide and 43-metre-tall faces on all four sides of the tower. It is visible from 17 kilometres away at night and 12 kilometres away during the day. The complex is managed by Fairmont Hotels and its revenues are placed in a “Waqf,” or Islamic trust, devoted to the development and maintenance of Muslim holy sites.
Menara Bank Islam -Malaysia-
Menara Bank Islam is a towering monument to the achievement of today’s Muslim community. It showcases the capability of the nation’s various Muslim organisations in developing the Waqf land right in the midst of the vibrant “Golden Triangle” area of Kuala Lumpur. The construction of Menara Bank Islam is a milestone in the industry as it is the first commercially-developed Waqf land project.
Finterra Global Plantation (FGP) -Malaysia-
Finterra Global Plantations is an innovative initiative to help humans and the environment using the principles of Islamic finance. By mobilizing Waqf-linked-investments, it provides a platform for secure financial investment opportunities with consistent returns achieved through sustainable afforestation and ethical harvesting practices of the Finterra Paulownia tree, the fastest growing tree in the world. In this project, contributors (investors) join the project with the pre-knowledge that part of their investments will be channelled to a Waqf fund that will be used to support various Waqf causes. Furthermore, it is to be noted that Finterra is open to develop idle Waqf lands by leasing them and using them for the Finterra global plantations project.
The religious authority of the federal territory (MAIWP), as the sole trustee holder of the Waqf properties in Kuala Lumpur, has been instrumental in the development of the land in parallel with the commercial growth of the city-centre of Kuala Lumpur. A partnership has been developed between various organizations including MAIWP and Bank Islam to ensure that this Waqf land benefits the Muslim community in the surrounding region. The project is completed by the commitment of Bank Islam Malaysia Berhad (Bank Islam) to become the main tenant of the building. Bank Islam has agreed to have the building as its head office, in line with its status as a pioneer of Islamic banking in Malaysia.
Abdul Aziz Al Babtain Cultural WAQF – Kuwait-
With a commanding presence on the Kuwait City skyline and impressive views of the Gulf, the Abdul Aziz Al-Babtain Cultural Waqf is a symbol of Kuwait’s success and dynamism. The design concept of the 42-story tower is inspired by the curved, tapered shape of palm leaves as a symbol of Kuwaiti heritage, charity and hospitality.
Established by prominent Kuwaiti businessman and poet Abdul Aziz Al-Babtain, the mixed-use office and retail development stands in the centre of Kuwait City. Profits from the development contribute to a Waqf fund, which is a form of traditional Muslim trust used to fund social causes.
Waqf Al Qasimia University Tower – UAE-
Al Qasimia University’s Waqf Tower has been established with a donation from the Sharjah Islamic Bank and with a voluntary contribution from the Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (SEWA), which ensures free delivery of electricity and water services. The inauguration of the new Tower comes in line with the Bank’s social responsibility and its commitment to support several community-based initiatives and enhance various Waqf initiatives in the Emirate of Sharjah and the UAE.
To sum up, the Waqf initiatives discussed in this blog have been successful in deploying Waqf funds in real projects and / or in deploying the return of the project in Waqf causes. This revolution in the Waqf sector has a real impact on maximizing the benefit of society as well as the environment, in particular by launching ESG-compliant investments like FGP.
 (link to previous blog)