Giving alms, donations and infaq are long practised among citizens and residents of Brunei Darussalam. This is encouraging and the practise has benefitted welfare and religious projects in the Sultanate and overseas.
When Brunei was affected by COVID-19 from March 2020, the people’s generosity in making continuous and consistent contributions helped ease the government’s and agencies’ burdens. The donations made were in the form of cash, equipment, food and drinks.
This was highlighted by Minister of Home Affairs Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar bin Haji Apong during his presentation of a paper titled ‘Waqaf and Socio-Economic Development’ at the opening of the International Waqaf Conference at the International Convention Centre (ICC), Berakas yesterday.
The event was part of the Brunei Mid-Year Conference and Exhibition 2022 (Brunei MYCE 2022).
The minister in his paper said waqaf is a system that combines spiritual and physical aspects aimed at seeking blessings of Allah the Almighty.
Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar added that since the beginning of Islam, waqaf played a vital role in the economic development of a country and it assures the well-being of the ummah, especially if waqaf is managed effectively.
The minister said the Sultanate has a society that loves to give alms and provide a helping hand by providing donations and other contributions.
However, a majority of the people do not truly understand the concept of waqaf as they have the perception it is only for religious purposes, and in the construction of mosques, schools and cemeteries.
Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar said Brunei has a conducive ecosystem for development as well as a firm embrace for Islam where a majority of the people are Muslims. The government also has an Islamic legislation, for over 50 years, that has provided for waqaf.
The minister also said the Sultanate is fortunate to have a leader that is caring and committed to the development of Islam and making the country an Islamic financial hub.
To strengthen and empower the implementation and management of waqaf, several initiatives and efforts were needed to realise the aspiration. Among them were enacting the Waqaf Act, establishing an authority in ensuring transparency, good governance and accountability towards Allah the Almighty.
Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar also urged the exploration for different forms of waqaf in the Islamic capital market system such as cash, sukuk and investment as well as the combination of waqaf and zakat and developing experts in the field.