From left: Umar Munshi (founder, Ethis Ventures), Dr Suhaili Alma’amun, Adi Rahman (Managing Partner, Waqf World), Tun Abdullah Badawi, Tan Sri Fuzi Abdul Razak, Secretary General of WIEF, Prof Dr Dato Mazlin Mokhtar Deputy Vice Chancellor of UKM.

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi has recently launched the world’s first waqf (Islamic endowment) crowdfunding platform at the 12th World Islamic Economic Foundation Forum (WIEF) in Jakarta called Waqf World.

Waqf World combines waqf with the dynamism of crowdfunding. Waqf is defined as ‘an endowment made by a Muslim to a religious, educational, social or charitable cause’. It is a permanent and institutionalised act of donation. Once a waqf is created, the property cannot be donated, bequeathed/inherited, or sold.

Historically, waqf has served many purposes including the construction and maintenance of Islamic religious, educational, scientific and social institutions.

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Waqf World is developed and operated by EthisVentures.com, which is active in building and running ethical Islamic crowdfunding platforms, as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) efforts.

 The Islamic crowdfunding platform does not charge beneficiaries or users any fees and is completely free for the initial phase. Operational costs are partially borne by voluntary contributions, and other resources are provided by Ethis Ventures.

The idea of establishing waqf-based crowdfunding was first proposed by the Research Centre for Islamic Economics and Finance (EKONIS) and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) in a roundtable discussion organised by the Islamic Development Bank’s Research and Training Institute (IRTI) in January 2016 in Jeddah.

Founding Patron Badawi saw the potential of waqf crowdfunding to develop the ummah (community). Waqf is a passion for him, who had implemented breakthrough waqf initiatives during his tenure as the 5th Prime Minister of Malaysia.

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Community development is the focus of Waqf World, which uses technology to improve Cash Waqf flows to partners called mutawallis (authorised or recognised waqf trustees or managers) and charities for their campaigns, including Islamic microfinance, education or human capital development, humanitarian relief, social enterprise or religious activities/assets.

“Waqf is an institution that can unite and bring socio-economic development to the Muslim World,” the ex-PM said in a press statement.

“We welcome all Waqf organisations from around the world to list their projects with us. At the same time, we also strictly uphold and develop strong corporate governance, so as to build trust and sustainability,” said Managing Partner of Waqf World, Adi Rahman.