SINGAPORE - The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) will be disbursing more than $4 million from its wakaf-generated income this year, it said in a statement on Wednesday (Aug 4).
A total of $4,018,273 from the Muis-managed wakaf will be dispensed to various beneficiaries.
Of this, $2,936,016 will be channelled to local beneficiaries, while the balance of $1,082,257 will be channelled to foreign beneficiaries.
Muis did not specify who these foreign beneficiaries are.
A wakaf is traditionally defined as the permanent dedication by a Muslim of any property for any purpose defined by Muslim law as religious and charitable.
The concept has now evolved to be similar to a trust fund, where money is invested and the returns used to help the community.
Muis is the administrator of all wakaf in Singapore, under the Administration of Muslim Law Act.
On Wednesday, it broke down how it would be channelling funds to local beneficiaries:
- $1,458,104 will be disbursed to the mosque sector. This will go to efforts such as funding mosques' operational needs as well as upgrading and renovation works. Muis said that among those receiving such support are Masjid Jamae Chulia near Chinatown and Masjid Khalid in Joo Chiat Road.
- $464,884 will be given to the six full-time madrasahs, or religious Islamic schools, and part-time madrasahs at mosques here, to support their programmes to develop future religious leaders.
- $285,826 will go to Muslim organisations to support various needs of the community, including the Malay Youth Literary Association (4PM) and Muslim welfare group PPIS.
- $431,049 will go to poor or distressed people.
- $296,153 will go to other purposes, such as funding religious rites, including burials.
Commenting on the disbursement, Muis chief executive Esa Masood said that the council has managed to grow its wakaf from $150 million in 2000 to more than $900 million in 2020.
"This is testament to the foresight of our religious and community leaders over the years in developing the necessary religious guidance, as well as coming up with plans to ensure that our wakaf continue to benefit the community and be developed to honour the noble intent of philanthropists and donors who had set up the wakaf," he said.
Mr Esa added that the council will continue to work hard to ensure that the wakaf is managed and governed soundly, based on Muis' statutory and religious obligations.
In its statement, Muis pointed out that while the wakaf in the community continues to support a range of beneficiaries today, more needs to be done to ensure the long-term sustainability of community institutions such as mosques and madrasahs.
This is so that the community remains resilient in fulfilling its religious needs even in times of crisis.
The Wakaf Masyarakat Singapura advisory committee has provided its recommendations on strategies to support religious institutions, asatizah (religious Islamic teachers) development and community programmes, said Muis.
"Muis is currently studying the recommendations and will be providing more information in due course," it said.