Introduction: Islam, waqf and modernity
DOI link for Introduction: Islam, waqf and modernity
Introduction: Islam, waqf and modernity book
The Islamic history of Thailand has either been an ideological history or a history of terrorism. Few have ventured into any analysis of Islamic institutions and in particular of Islamic charities, the waqf. The exceptions are Preeda Prapertchob’s “Mobilization of Resources through Waqf in Thailand” and Wisoot Binlateh’s unpublished paper “An Islamic Grassroots Approach to Asset Management: The Ban Nua Experience”.1 While Tamara Loos’ work covered Thai legal systems, colonial modernity, sex and the limits of individual liberty, the works of Duncan McCargo and Joseph Liow are substantial studies on resistance movements in the south.2 However, both works give little attention to the Thai economy or to legal issues pertinent to a study of Islam and Islamic philanthropy, both indigenous and from abroad, and their impact on Thai forms of resistance. Existing studies on economic or foreign influences on Thai resistance can descend into a rude caricature of Islam in the south, with its false and sensational allusions to the collection, and use of zakat and foreign funds for training of a loose coterie of jihadists.3 This is wholly untrue. There are also highly innovative books and theses on Islamic thought and ideology, but again, these are focused principally on the south.4 This book crosses that barrier and focuses on Islamic charities and institutions affiliated to the mosque. It addresses the historicity and complexity of Islam in Thailand, and the highly diverse ethnic adherents – the Malay Muslims in the south, the Indians and Malay Thai Muslims in the centre and northeast, the Hui (Yunnanese) Muslims, Pakistanis and Afghans in the north and the Chams in the centre, along with South Asians, Arabs and Afghans. Their allegiances to the Shafii, Hanafi, Hanbali or Maliki schools (madhahib) of Islam add to this pluralism. The whole panorama of heterogeneous believers and their history and change is captured through the waqf. A waqf is an unincorporated trust, an endowment that is established under Islamic law and holds land and real estate in perpetuity for the benefit of family and descendants, while maintaining social provisions for the poor. The public aims included religion and education as well as welfare of the poor and economic empowerment of the local community. The income derived from donations to the mosque, zakat and sadaqqa, and the usufruct derived from land and property were directed to charity.