International Centre for Waqf Research (ICWR)
In the Islamic history of social welfare schemes, waqf is acknowledged as the most prominent expression of Muslim philanthropy. It financed education, social welfare schemes and nearly every conceivable object of pro-poor initiatives. For reasons embedded in the colonial subjugation of Muslim lands, waqf went into a kind of recession during the last two centuries. In recent years, however, it is showing signs of revival, which needs to be sustained by every means, including theoretical and empirical research into its economic potentiality, effective management and development. An improvement in these key sectors would provide us the key to that treasure trove which is lying scattered everywhere in the whole of the Muslim world and which could only be unlocked through good governance and economic development. The economic potential of awqaf is beyond our wildest imagination. It is capable of generating annual income worth billions of dollars through development of waqf properties now lying neglected.
Serious research in every aspect of waqf is needed. Unfortunately, there is no research centre anywhere in the world for conducting such research exclusively on waqf. This urgent and apparent need of a centre prompted the IIUM (International Islamic University Malaysia) to establish ICWR (International Centre for Waqf Research) on November 21, 2013 at IIUM with some logistic support from MCCM (Malay Chamber of Commerce Malaysia).
ICWR is an international research centre at International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) focusing on research activities relating to waqf and endowment. Since its establishment in 2013, and together with its strategic partners, it has organized 5 Global Waqf Conferences in Kuala Lumpur (2013), Istanbul (2014), Moscow (2015), Swansea (2016) and Pekanbaru (2017). Through organising these series, ICWR has stimulated global discussions on all issues relating to waqf and has propelled waqf as the most feasible alternative to replace the modern capitalist system that has failed to alleviate poverty and ensure economic and social justice. The strength of ICWR lies in the fact that it is an international research centre, focusing particularly on issues relating to waqf governance and it works with many strategic partners including other universities, NGOs and government agencies in Malaysia and abroad. ICWR operates on the belief that waqf is not only about fiqh or the Islamic economy but more importantly, requires capacity building in all professional spheres, requiring effective and dynamic implementation through synergy, interface, innovation and co-creation of Shariah-compliant concepts to enable it to operate within all legal and economic systems in the world today.
ICWR is manned by a director, a centre coordinator and a number of associate researchers and input specialists from within and outside IIUM. It has an office at the ground level of Ahmad Ibrahim Kulliyyah of Laws, IIUM which contains a resource centre that houses a good collection of books, articles and reports on waqf, endowment and Islamic finance which is often visited and referred to by waqf scholars in Malaysia and from abroad. ICWR also organizes a regular monthly talk series on waqf where speakers from among scholars and practitioners are invited to share their thoughts and ideas on waqf, its management and development.