The concept of waqf (assets) or awaqf (endowment) has been widely used in the past and has benefited Muslim and other communities over the centuries.
Muslim communities in Europe have realised the usefulness of waqf for community development activities, including the funding of education and social welfare initiatives. These communities have actively participated in the economic and social life of their societies while trying to preserve their identity, culture and traditions. They have organised themselves into community groups and set up facilities such as schools, colleges, clubs and community centres to cater for the welfare, cultural and social needs of their members.
These facilities, whether gifted by donors to the Trust or purchased with the Trust’s funds, will be kept as charitable assets, known as waqf. This means that the original gift cannot be disposed of and any returns or profit generated are used to fund projects to benefit the community.
There are different types of awqaf:
- One common example is waqf facilities (donated or acquired) which are used directly and mainly for community activities. For example schools, centres, clinics or clubs because they are used to provide services and they do not generate significant revenue.
- Acquired waqf assets donated to charitable institutions are used commercially to generate income. This revenue is used for charitable purposes and community projects according to the wish of the donor.
- There are also instances of a mix of waqf, where the returns (profit) is used for the running costs of a facility. For example a mosque, college or orphanage and, or the provision of subsidised services.
In all these cases, the generated resources are used to fund projects and activities that benefit communities and society.
The Europe Trust and Awaqf
Thanks to the generous support of donors and benefactors, the Europe Trust has managed to build a portfolio of assets, which it holds in trust to generate income for charitable projects.
Returns from both investment and rental income were quite modest at £170,000 for 2008 and although the Trust often acts as a broker, raising additional funds for other organisations, it is committed to expanding its own assets to create a long-term, sustainable fund to help communities for generations to come.