Endogenising TRUST for a Good ‘Waqf' Governance

Saturday, June 25, 2016: 2:30 PM-4:00 PM
87 Dwinelle (Dwinelle Hall)
Dian Masyita, Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Padjadjaran, Bandung, Indonesia
Mehmet Asutay, Durham University Business School, Durham, United Kingdom
Within the bounded rationality of religious domain, Islam teaches the importance of social justice and good with the objective of removing the perceived conflict between individual self-interest and social good. The ultimate goal for Muslims in doing altruism is Islamic divine incentive mechanism to achieve ihsan or beneficence with the objective of reaching falah or salvation in this world and in the hereafter. A unique aspect and institution of altruism in the Muslim societies has been the institution of waqf, or the pious foundation for welfare needs of the society by the rich people. Trust, emanating from the belief system in Islam, as a social capital has remained as an important working mechanism for waqf to work efficiently. Islam has rather important role to deplete trust in people’s attitude and mind, which also played an essential role in the effective running of waqf in history. The static perpetuity, rigidity, and the mismanagement of awqaf with the decline in trust between individuals and institutions in the recent past had created inefficiencies and ineffectiveness. However, with the rise of Islamic moral economy and its ethical norms these can be avoided by a good governance system based on the religiously enhanced notion of trust among all the stake holders of a waqf. For this, in addition to the form oriented understanding of fiqh, ethical norms of Islam should re-emerge to provide substance, such as through ethics, in making sure that the high objectives of Shari’ah is achieved through activities of waqf based on the articulation of trust and good governance. This study, hence, aims to propose such a model of good governance based on ihsani social capital as the main motivation of ensuring the efficient running of waqf as a result of altruistic behavior within the ‘trust’ paradigm.

Islamic moral economy aims to create a social economy based on the ethical values of Islam. The axioms of Islamic political economy aims to create the homoIslamicus with Islamic worldview as an individual who is rational but obeys the rules enshrined in the Qur’an and therefore is considered to be ‘obeying individual’. Such individual characteristics is expected to create an environment in which justice and beneficience along the lines of rububiyah and tazkiyah and uhkuwa will prevail to make sure that the social economy of Islam carries the values of Islamic moral. An essential outcome of such a process in such an environment is trust; trust between individuals and between individuals and institutions.

Considering the historical experience in the Muslim world, one sees the impact of trust in perpetuating the Islamic civilization. The very adjective given to Prophet Muhammad was Muhammad-ul Amin (the trustable Muhammad), which as an adjective is considered as the corner stone of the Muslim self. The principles of Islamic moral economy thus aimed to expand the trust in the society to make sure that the social economy of Islam works in the interest of all the stakeholders. This can be seen in the guild system in the Ottoman era, which is called Ahilik (brotherhood) system, and it benefited from the axioms and principles of Islamic moral economy in creating a society of trust; which paved the way for the development of Ottoman society from a small clan into an Empire.

Since Islam carries the notion of being an alternative system, essential part of this alternative system is the ethical and moral nature of social economy conducted within the Islamic paradigm. This goes beyond the current practice of Islamic finance, which has failed to work within such a paradigm. However, waqf being an essential; positive measure of Islamic moral economy can be configured to base on trust as a social capital to further the welfare of the society. The expansion of trust as a social capital between individuals and waqf institutions implies that the effectiveness and efficiency of waqf will increase but also waqf activity will increase in the society as fund will be directed to waqf to fulfill their expected activities in overcoming the welfare problems in the contemporary society.

The contemporary economy mainly has tow major issues: welfare and development needs in the Muslim society; however the mistrust which marks the market economy and the behavioural norms of individuals. The first problem can be alleviated by the regeneration of waqf system in the Muslim world in the case where the states have failed. This role historically played well by waqf, which they could repeat again. However, trust in the Muslim societies and communities are terribly low; as individuals do not trust each other nor do they trust the institutions and the state. With the rise of Islamic moral economy beyond the form oriented practice of Islamic banking and finance, provides the necessary tools to expand trust in the society and hence endogenise trust in good waqf governance system to produce an optimal outcome.

Thus, with the integration of trust into waqf management shortcomings in the welfare system can also be alleviated in the society, which rationalizes the importance of trust as a social capital in the society. Since transparency, reputation, accountability, credibility, good collaboration, productivity, risk management and Shari’ah-compliant are the key words for sustainability the waqf management, endogenising trust through the values and norms of Islamic moral economy can help to develop an optimal outcome. Considering that there is a clear relation among waqif, mutawalli, waqf board and maukuf’alaih as the stakeholders of waqf, through the development of trust by developing homoIslamicus good waqf governance can be established, as homoIslamicus works through the moral norms of Islam to create the trust based social economy.