Journal of Muslim Philanthropy & Civil Society 2022-12-01T03:51:07+00:00 JMPCS Editors Open Journal Systems <p>The<em> Journal of Muslim Philanthropy &amp; Civil Society</em> (<em>JMPCS</em>), is a bi-annual, peer reviewed, open access journal published by the Center on Muslim Philanthropy in partnership with Indiana University Press, Lake Institute on Faith &amp; Giving, World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists, International Institute of Islamic Thought, and the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University. <em>JMPCS</em> seeks original academic research examining the broad scope of Muslim philanthropy and civil society. This peer reviewed online academic journal will publish research related to Muslim nonprofit, philanthropic and voluntary action. The terms “Muslim” and “philanthropy” are defined broadly to be inclusive of cutting-edge research from across the world and disciplines. <em>JMPCS</em> is intended to shed light on the dynamic practice and understanding of Muslim Philanthropy.&nbsp;</p> Acknowledgement 2022-12-01T03:13:58+00:00 Katherine Bullock <p>This special issue would not have been possible without the help and support of my colleagues and co-authors. Special thanks goes to co-editors-in-chief of the Journal of Muslim Philanthropy &amp; Civil Society, Shariq Siddiqui and Scott C. Alexander, in addition to associate editors, Micah A. Hughes and Zeeshan Noor, and assistant managing editor, Kristine Ouano. I am profoundly grateful for their constant support as we put this special issue together. I would also like to thank our anonymous reviewers who thoroughly reviewed every article along the way and provided with valuable feedback and Molly Reinhoudt for the copy-editing process. I am very grateful to every single one of you.</p> 2022-12-01T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2022 Kristine Ouano Trends in the Canadian Muslim Civil Society Ecosystem 2021-06-02T12:08:44+00:00 Sanaa Ali-Mohammed Ruby Latif <div><em><span lang="EN">This paper will analyze trends within the Canadian Muslim charitable organization ecosystem by reviewing publicly available data on fifty of the largest Canadian Muslim charities. It will utilize a combination of CRA data, online sources, and existing academic literature on Muslim communities and organizations in Canada to answer the question: How do Canadian Muslims invest in mosques and Islamic associations, Islamic schools, arts and culture, social services, international development, public affairs and research organizations, and are their philanthropic investments meeting the needs of Muslim communities in Canada? This research finds that Muslim philanthropic investments in Muslim charitable organizations are not necessarily made based on the evolving needs of Canadian Muslim populations. The paper finds that funds are overinvested internationally, and the social service, research and public affairs needs of Muslim communities require more consideration by Canadian Muslim philanthropy.</span></em></div> 2022-12-01T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2022 Sanaa Ali-Mohammed, Ruby Latif Exploring the Muslim Canadian Environmental Philanthropy Narrative 2021-06-02T12:32:22+00:00 Memona Hossain <p>Climate changes are happening at an unprecedented rate, as identified in the 2021 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Environmental philanthropy, those acts of contributions toward the conservation and preservation of the environment, need to be better understood, as research suggests there is insufficient literature in this area. For Muslims living in Canada, the concept of charity, khalifa (a sacred entrustment whereby Muslims strive to support and preserve all of the Earth and what is in it), and worship take root and have developed within a context of immigration, identity formation, and broader Canadian contexts. The Muslim Canadian identity is informed by the social, political, economic, and historical elements of the Muslim Canadian experience. In turn, this informs the Muslim Canadian environmental philanthropy narrative. This paper explores the<br />relationship between Islam, eco-consciousness, and its manifestations in environmental philanthropy in Canada and how this is informing the climate change crisis. Centered on the<br />narratives of ten Muslim Canadians currently leading and involved with environmental philanthropy, the paper also offers insight on future considerations for environmental philanthropy within the Muslim Canadian context.</p> 2022-12-01T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2022 Memona Hossain Four Decades of Determination 2021-04-13T11:39:36+00:00 Nuzhat Jafri <div>The Canadian Council of Muslim Women (CCMW) is one of the oldest national Muslim organizations in Canada.&nbsp; It was founded in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1982 by the late Dr. Lila Fahlman and a group of determined Muslim women who sought to channel their passion for faith-centred social justice work and create a more inclusive Canada for all.&nbsp; CCMW promotes Muslim women’s identity in the Canadian context and encourages mutual understanding between Canadian Muslim women and women of other faiths.&nbsp; CCMW is a national not-for-profit organization with 17 chapters across Canada comprised of Canadian Muslim women and girls of diverse race, age, ethnicity, sexuality and ability. &nbsp; This paper chronicles the experiences of CCMW to continue its work and thrive on the strengths of its volunteers and commitment to improve the lives of Canadian Muslim women and girls.&nbsp; The need for an organization like CCMW continues to grow as Islamophobia and gender-based violence become more pronounced. Raising funds for causes that focus on issues facing Muslim women has been challenging, yet CCMW has survived while many other Muslim organizations have come and gone. The paper will share CCMW’s experiences in seeking and acquiring grants to carry out projects without charitable status and plans for long-term sustainability. Through the case study of CCMW’s Lila Fahlman Scholarships as a philanthropic endeavour, the paper will illustrate successes and struggles to raise funds specifically for Muslim women and girls.&nbsp; The paper will share CCMW’s journey in applying for charitable status and insights on the application process.</div> 2022-12-01T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2022 Nuzhat Jafri Muslim Philanthropy in a Canadian Context 2021-04-12T16:28:46+00:00 Syed Rizvi <p><em>Two recurring themes of the Qur’ān are ṣalāt and zakāt. Ṣalāt, the ritual prayer, symbolizes the vertical relationship of humans to God while zakāt, the general charity, symbolizes the horizontal inter-personal relationships.</em></p> <p><em>The horizontal human-to-human relationship places the tradition of charity at the centre of a Muslim’s personal and communal life.</em></p> <p><em>This paper focuses on charitable activities as it pertains to the Shī‘a Ithnā-‘Ashari Muslim community of Canada. </em></p> <p><em>It took Canadian Muslims (including the Shī‘a Muslims) some time to plant their roots as a community in this new land but once they were settled, the human and Islamic impulse moved them to contribute to the well-being of the society at large.</em></p> <p><em>The sense of gratitude towards Canada and the spirit of charitable giving ingrained in their Islamic values encouraged the Shī‘a Muslims to help not only their fellow Muslims but also the less fortunate members of society regardless of race or religion.</em></p> <p><em>Although humanitarian causes in third world countries have strong appeal among the children and grandchildren of the Muslim immigrants and they indeed give in big numbers, they have not been oblivious to the local needs of society. Using the concept of ṣadaqah, rather than the technical zakāt which is limited in its application among Shī‘a Muslims in Canada, the community has participated in various charitable causes beyond the bounds of its own religious members</em></p> 2022-12-01T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2022 Syed Rizvi The UNHCR Refugee Zakat Fund within Canadian Islamic Philanthropy 2021-04-13T16:43:51+00:00 Mohammed Asaker <p><em>Abstract: Since 2019, the UNHCR launched the Refugee Zakat Fund through its Islamic Philanthropy program to help the most vulnerable refugees and internally displaced people globally. Zakat, being one of the pillars of Islam is an obligation imposed among Muslims, which requires them to give a percentage of their wealth to charity, and is allocated to specific categories and recipients. &nbsp;UNHCR utilizes Islamic Finance tools like Zakat and Sadaqah to meet the humanitarian needs of forcibly displaced people. UNHCR has launched the program in Canada and has connected Muslim Canadians with refugee brothers and sisters globally, by acting as a medium for collecting Zakat. This methodology proofed to be an efficient way to maximize the impact of the Refugee Zakat Fund, by which UNHCR supports the distribution of Zakat in the most challenging places around the world. </em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> 2022-12-01T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2022 Mohammed Asaker Fatwa Pluralism on Zakat in Indonesia 2021-09-21T17:17:20+00:00 Hilman Latief <p>This paper examines the production of fatwas and pluralism of Islamic legal perspectives&nbsp; on almsgiving (<em>zakat</em>) issued by Muslim civil society organizations in Indonesia and analyses the goals, methods, and logics of Islamic scholars in formulating their religious judgments (<em>fatwa</em>). Religious teachings have been instrumental in underpinning the spirit of giving and volunteering. Yet, questions about how religious teachings are interpreted through various Islamic legal examination &nbsp;remain interesting to discuss, partly because the nuances of fatwa on zakat in the Indonesian context indicate Indonesian Muslims' pluralistic and dynamics receptions towards Islamic teachings. Some Muslim civil society organizations have produced hundreeds of <em>fatwas</em> on zakat in response to Muslim communities' questions. This paper argues that while fatwas have been created to solve Muslim society's recent problems, the processes involved in the production of <em>fatwa </em>on philanthropy in the Indonesia context has led to plurality and fragmentation of zakat practices in Indonesia.&nbsp;</p> 2022-12-01T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2022 Hilman Latief Technologizing Islamic Philanthropy During The Covid-19 Pandemic in Indonesia 2022-03-08T21:59:37+00:00 indah piliyanti Hilman Latief Syamsul Anwar <p>The Covid-19 pandemic has caused an economic downturn, bring about the emergence of new forms of poverty in society. This study examines how Islamic philanthropy organizations in Indonesia that collect, manage, and distribute&nbsp;<em>zakat, sedekah, and waqf</em> have adapted to the global pandemic to continue serving people in need in urban areas by using digital platforms. The use of technology has accelerated philanthropic practices, ranging from fundraising, distributing, and delivering services to coordinating duties and responsibilities during the pandemic, especially in an urban area such as Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia. By focusing on the experiences of two leading Islamic philanthropy organizations, <em>Badan Amil Zakat Nasional</em> and <em>Dompet Dhuafa,</em> in response to the Covid-19 pandemic in Indonesia, this study reveals that Islamic philanthropic organizations have adopted several changes and innovations during the pandemic by embracing technology. The article also argues that Islamic philanthropy has had a significant role in mitigating the impact of the worldwide pandemic on society’s vulnerabilities and economic problems through technological support.</p> 2022-12-01T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2022 indah piliyanti, Hilman Latief, Syamsul Anwar From the Editor's Desk 2022-12-01T02:38:43+00:00 Katherine Bullock <p>Muslim Philanthropy in Canada is a special issue of the Journal of Muslim Philanthropy and Civil Society (JMPCS) based on papers given at a symposium hosted in March 2021 (virtual due to the COVID lockdown) by the Centre for Religion and Its Contexts at Emmanuel College, of Victoria University in the University of Toronto. The symposium was jointly funded by JMPCS and Emmanuel College. A special issue and a symposium dedicated to the topic of Muslim philanthropy in Canada is pioneering in two ways. First, Canadian academia has not focused enough on charitable giving, despite it being a significant part of the Islamic tradition. Oral history testifies to its presence and importance in Canadian Muslim communities since the earliest Muslim settlements (Bullock, 2004, 2017; Hogben, 2021). Yet its academic study is negligible. Participants at a 2017 workshop in Ottawa studied a comprehensive bibliography about scholarly work on Muslims in Canada and identified that academia has focused on issues related to identity, integration, law, media, radicalization, and securitization (MUN). Arts, charitable work, business practices, economics, ethics, history, organizational behavior, and leadership are all important features of Muslim life in Canada that are barely studied. We hope the symposium and this special issue lay foundations for a new scholarly field that studies Muslim charitable life in Canada.</p> <p>Second, both the symposium and this issue bring together scholars and practitioners to illuminate the topic of Muslim philanthropy in Canada. Philanthropy is above all a field of action, so including practitioners’ voices is a crucial part of this pioneering issue on Muslim philanthropy in Canada. Mosque sermons remind congregations regularly that charity is part of faith, of the obligation of annual zakat, of the importance of serving the community and trying to alleviate poverty and suffering. Hundreds of Muslims in Canada heed this call and dedicate countless volunteer hours to charitable work, be it through formal associations or informal networks. It is only fitting that their voices be part of the symposium and this special issue. Pioneers have to tell foundational stories, so narrating the story of how we arrived at this special issue is an important part of understanding the topic itself.</p> <p>The account begins in 2017, when I volunteered with a multi-faith group to host a conference on faith and basic income at the University of St Michael’s College, Toronto. Although I had a cursory understanding of basic income, I knew how similar some of its concepts were to the Islamic institution of zakat and practices of the early Caliphs in distributing money from the public treasury to support the poor (Bullock &amp; Daimee, 2021a). And yet, there were less than a handful of Muslims participating in basic income advocacy, and even fewer able to present Islamic perspectives on basic income at that conference. Moreover, as a comment by one of the (non-Muslim) participants demonstrated, there was very little understanding by attendees of the differences between Islamic concepts of charity and justice and that of secularists or other faith groups: she suggested that basic income was about justice, that is addressing the political and economic structures that lead to and support poverty, whereas religious groups tended to focus on charity, which is more about “mercy”—helping the poor—than justice.<br>Even with my then perfunctory knowledge of a few scattered relevant Qur’anic verses and ahadith, I knew this did not describe the Islamic philanthropic tradition. There was the Qur’anic verse describing zakat as a “right” of the poor (70:24–25), and a hadith about the relationship between charity and justice that went like this: “Every joint of a person must perform a charity each day that the sun rises: to judge justly between two people is a charity. To help a man with his mount, lifting him onto it or hoisting up his belongings onto it, is a charity. And the good word is a charity. And every step that you take towards prayer is a charity and removing a harmful object from the road is a charity” (Bahi, 2002, p.128). In addition to showing that “charity” in Islam goes beyond a standard Western definition of “voluntary donations of money or goods” (Kymlicka, 2001, pp. 87–88; also Goodin, 2017), this hadith relates charity to justice. Indeed, it makes justice a subset of charity.</p> <p>Clearly scholars need to pursue these topics more. With the aid of a volunteer research assistant, whose thorough scan of the literature about charity and justice from the Muslim point of view, or the study of Muslim charity in Canada, revealed next to nothing, we learned that much contemporary Muslim scholarship on zakat is mostly theoretical—how zakat could or should work as a normative tool for distributive justice (Ahmad &amp; Hassan, 2000; Ahmad et al., 2006; Ahmad, 1991; Allheedan, 2016; Baidhawy, 2012; Siddiqui, 1988). Some work from the point of view of jurisprudence, covering the theoretical basics of what is zakat, how it should be calculated, who should pay it, and who should receive it (Dhar, 2013; Al-Qardawi, 1999). Others investigate its application in contemporary Muslim-majority societies (Davis &amp; Robinson, 2006; Retsikas, 2014; Powell, 2009). Retsikas (2014) found that for Indonesia, zakat studies have been undertaken mostly by historians, geographers, and anthropologists (the latter focused mainly on the politics of international Islamic aid organizations) with “very little sustained attention” (p. 341) by ethnographers. Many scholars lament that zakat is currently overlooked as a potential tool for poverty alleviation, so their scholarship also advocates for zakat as a new (revived) policy instrument (Ahmad &amp; Hassan, 2000, p. 169; Ahmad et al., 2006, p. 15; Al-Qardawi, 1999, p. 709; Chapra, 1992, p. 270). A few scholars conclude that where the state does administer zakat it is often marred by mismanagement, corruption, and dissension (Malik, 2016, p. 73; Powell, 2009, pp. 73–79).</p> <p>We also found that zakat in Western countries is understudied, locating only two papers on the topic (May, 2019; Ndiaye, 2007). In 2019 the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, based in the USA, released a pioneering comparative study of Muslim, Jewish, Catholic, Protestant, and non-affiliated Americans’ giving, measured in dollar amounts, investigating why they donate, and who they donate to, with an age, gender, and race breakdown. But they did not break the dollar amounts down into zakat money versus other monies (Mahmood, 2019). Studies of Muslim communities do highlight social service practices, such as soup kitchens or food banks; such analyses mention zakat in passing in a routine way as an aspect of Muslim charity (Azmi, 1997; Bolognani &amp; Statham, 2013; Bramadat &amp; Seljak, 2009; Fridolfsson &amp; Elander, 2012; GhaneaBassiri, 2017; Nadir, 2013; Peucker, 2020; Peucker &amp; Kayikci, 2020; Qasqas &amp; Chowdhury, 2017). These kinds of community-based studies are empirically focused and are mostly descriptive. They might use substitute concepts such as social work, social services, or volunteerism for zakat (Borell &amp; Gerdner, 2011).</p> <p>So we decided to begin this pioneering research ourselves by doing a qualitative study of Muslim charities in Canada. In the absence of secondary literature, we needed to start at the source and ask the people doing zakat work what that means in a Canadian context. This resulted in two papers published by the Yaqeen Institute (Bullock &amp; Daimee, 2021a, 2021b). The Journal of Muslim Philanthropy and Civil Society grant opportunity arose during this time. Knowing from our literature review that there was little scholarship on this topic in Canada, I thought a symposium might be able to draw out hitherto unknown scholars working on the topic. An event would also serve as a networking and gathering moment for a fledgling field. Fortunately, Emmanuel College and JMPCS agreed.</p> <p>Yet the symposium itself revealed the innovative nature of studying Muslim charity in Canada: the first call for papers focused solely on zakat in Canada. Even though we knew that there were no scholars who had published on zakat in Canada, we hoped that scholars working in cognate areas might take up the topic, or that we would discover PhD students working on these topics. Titled “Muslim Charity in a Canadian Context,” we invited papers to consider the following questions:<br>● Why do Muslims give in the Canadian context? What causes do they give to?<br>● What kind of adaptations are necessary or observed in the fiqh of zakat in Canada? The definition of someone who is zakat eligible? The calculations of zakat-able goods and assets? The distribution, i.e., cash vs goods? Are there distinctions made between Muslims and non-Muslims for zakat distribution?<br>● What role does the regulatory environment of Canadian charity law play in zakat giving? In the foundation and development of zakat-focused organizations, especially post-9/11?<br>● What is the relationship between zakat and distributive justice in Canada?<br>● What role does zakat play in alleviating poverty?<br>● Do Muslims in Canada make a distinction between charity and justice? What relationships do zakat-focused organizations have with wider social justice and anti-poverty movements?<br>● The history and evolution of zakat-focused organizations in Canada<br>● The establishment of waqf institutions in Canada?</p> <p>Resounding silence led us to widen the scope of the symposium. JMPCS works from the expanded Islamic understanding of what counts as charity based on hadith, such as the one cited above. A revamped call for papers for the renamed “Muslim Philanthropy in a Canadian Context” invited submissions on the following topics:</p> <p>● The history and evolution of charitable organizations in Canada<br>● Muslim involvement in refugee resettlement in Canada<br>● Muslim volunteerism and civic engagement in Canada<br>● Muslim participation in wider anti-poverty and social justice movements<br>● Muslim social work and social services in Canada<br>● Muslim charitable giving in the Canadian context<br>● The establishment of waqf institutions in Canada<br>● The impact of the regulatory environment of Canadian charity law on Muslim charities in Canada, especially post-9/11<br>● The adaptations in the fiqh of zakat in Canada</p> <p>We accepted papers from a mix of junior and senior scholars, and, recognizing the pioneering nature of the event, included practitioners, based on the understanding, as mentioned, that with regard to charitable work, knowledge is contained and conveyed by people in the field. Senior scholars moderated the sessions.</p> <p>As symposium participant Shaykh Rizvi, current Imam of the Jaffari Community Centre in Thornhill, Ontario, points out in his article, the Qur’an teaches us that “[they] will not attain righteousness till [they] spend in charity of the things [they] love” (3:82). Not only is charity more than justice, not only is it more than donating money or goods, but charity is also an act of worship for Muslims. Zakat is a spiritual practice with a secular element. That is why al-Qardawi (1999) called it a “tax-worship or a worship-tax” (p. 502). Our Yaqeen papers show that for those who work at or volunteer at Muslim charitable organizations, those who donate to them, and those who are clients, charity is a central element of being Muslim in Canada. Zakat, sadaqa, and waqf are all essential characteristics of Muslim communities in Canada. We must draw attention to them. Our Yaqeen studies, the symposium presentations, and this special issue show how traditional Muslim institutions adapt on migration to minority status in Western countries. They draw attention to Muslim civic engagement and integration into the fabric of Western societies. They serve as meeting points for interfaith dialogue on service to the poor and secular commitments to social justice. They take us beyond identity politics and security and radicalization studies. They are a corrective to stereotypes of Muslims as haters of Western society, self-imposed ghettoization, people who take but do not contribute, or Muslim women as oppressed and men as terrorists. They draw attention to the material struggles facing Muslims in these societies. They are an insight into ethical life for Muslims in Canada. Fortunately, the Journal of Muslim Philanthropy and Civil Society takes a leadership role by highlighting Muslim philanthropy in its publications.</p> <p>The issue opens with Sanaa Ali-Muhammad and Ruby Latif’s paper that examines where Canadian Muslim’s philanthropic dollars are spent—at least those that are captured through a data analysis of the top 50 Muslim charities. It is the perfect piece to inaugurate this special issue, as it provides an overview of the landscape of Muslim charities in Canada. The paper begins with a demographic profile of Muslim communities in Canada. The authors use Nimer’s (2014) eight-part typology of Muslim communities in North America to search publicly available data on the 50 largest Muslim-serving, Muslim-led, and Muslim-focused charities. They build on Qasqas and Chowdhury’s (2017) analysis of Islamic religious groups in Canada to ask the questions, how much money is being raised, and where is it being spent? They want to do this to assess the efficacy of Canadian Muslims’ charitable dollars. They make recommendations about this in their concluding section.</p> <p>Echoing Ali-Muhammad’s and Latif’s literature review that it is “challenging” to locate scholarly work on Canadian Muslim charities, the next paper by Memona Hossain contributes a pioneering study of the environmental behaviors of Muslims in Canada. She found no work on this topic. Her paper is part of her larger study of environmental activism focused on over 60 Muslim women globally. She used semi-structured interviews to talk to 10 Canadian Muslims, men and women, exploring their environmental activism. Her paper begins with a brief discussion of the meaning of environmental philanthropy and then introduces Islamic perspectives on four key concepts related to environmental philanthropy. A series of recommendations follow her data results. Hossain makes a perceptive insight that Muslim integration and identity is related to their involvement in environmental activism, which is a movement not always inclusive of marginalized communities.</p> <p>Next comes the three practitioner’s reports, which together capture a diverse snapshot of on the ground activism in different Muslim communities. Nuzhat Jafri charts the story of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women (CCMW). It was founded in 1982 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Jafri recounts the struggles of managing a volunteer-run organization. She discusses their fundraising techniques and strategies. The Canadian Revenue Agency restricts an organization’s activities in order to be eligible for charitable status (which allows the organization to give tax-receipts). Jafri’s discussion of the internal debate among CCMW members as to whether or not go that route is germane to all Muslim nonprofit organizations in Canada.</p> <p>Sheikh Sayyid Muhammad Rizvi’s paper looks at Muslim charitable giving from the perspective of the Shī‘a Ithnā-‘Ashari Muslims in Canada. He outlines the theory of zakāt before turning to case studies of his organization, the Islamic Shi‘a Ithnā-‘Ashari Jamaat of Toronto (ISIJ). Noting Shī‘ī jurisprudential rules of zakāt do not include banknotes, he concludes that the “the scope of zakāt, especially for Shī‘as in the West, is limited.” Rizvi details how the obligation of khums (one-fifth or 20% of the annual profit or savings of a person) is important both to poverty alleviation and to the financial upkeep of their religious institutions, along with other kinds of donations and fundraising. He argues for the importance of charity toward non-Muslims. He discusses various fundraising models, including income generating activities. He details the pioneering social services of the Islamic Shi‘a Ithnā-‘Ashari Jamaat of Toronto. He finishes with a brief survey of notable donations and charitable services by local Shi‘a community members.</p> <p>The final practitioner report widens the lens to an international level. Mohammed Abu Asaker’s paper looks at the founding and development of the United Nations High Commission on Refugees Zakat Fund. Asaker discusses the rationale behind founding the dedicated fund, their activities, and disbursements. He highlights the fatawa received from scholars around the world supporting the fund as zakat eligible. He details the fund’s transparency and governance policies—a crucial aspect of due diligence for those entrusted with zakat distribution. He finishes with a look at Canadian Muslim contributions to the fund, noting that Canada is the ninth largest donor. Abu Asaker’s presentation in March 2021 was before the Ukraine crisis changed the face of worldwide refugees, but Muslims are, unfortunately, still among the top refugee producing countries (UNHCR).</p> <p>We hope readers are inspired to begin their own studies of Muslim philanthropy in Canada.</p> 2022-12-01T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2022 Katherine Bullock Commentary on Philanthropy in Indonesia 2022-12-01T03:03:20+00:00 Jonathan Benthall <p>Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world: estimated in 2018 at about 231 million, or 86.7% of the total (Republic of Indonesia, n.d.). It has also been hailed as the most generous country in the world, in a survey carried out recently by the British-based Charities Aid Foundation (2021). So it is eminently appropriate that this journal should devote space to the traditions and practices of Indonesian philanthropy.</p> <p>In this issue, Hilman Latief, an experienced scholar and administrator, draws attention to the diversity of Islamic authorities in Indonesia, as expressed in the publication of fatwas relating to zakat, issued by Islamic civil society organizations of different complexions that never cite one another’s rulings. Questions addressed by him include whether automatic deduction for zakat from civil servants’ salaries accords with Islamic law and whether zakat funds can be spent on the construction of mosques. From Hilman Latief’s article we learn that, whereas the lack of a central religious authority leaves space for individuals to make their own free choices in charitable giving, “fatwa pluralism” inhibits the adaptation of zakat toward coordinated goals such as sustainable development.</p> <p>In a well-documented article, Indah Pilyanti focuses on two important Indonesian charities to show how the exigencies of the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the impact on the sector of new communications technologies. Badan Amil Zakat Nasional (BAZNAS) was founded by the government in 2001 as a nationwide organization to collect and disburse zakat and sedekah and is bureaucratic in character, tending to follow official policy. Dompet Dhuafa (DD) was launched in 1993 by journalists and as a community-owned organization it is more flexible, able both to tap into the Indonesian diaspora for donations and also to provide services for needy recipients who are far from large centers of population. A class divide has sharpened between cities and rural areas where access to the Internet is limited.</p> <p>My assigned task here is more general: to draw attention briefly to the breadth and depth of Islamic philanthropy in Indonesia, while also taking note of some political dangers that may inhibit its future. An indispensable historical reference is Amelia Fauzia’s (2013) Faith and the State: A History of Islamic Philanthropy in Indonesia (reviewed by Khader, 2013). Written with the encouragement of the late M. C. Ricklefs, the leading historian of Indonesia, its core theme is the shifting relations between the state and civil society, going back to the period under Dutch colonial rule and earlier. Amelia Fauzia has turned her attention to the current challenge of making a reality of “social justice philanthropy” in the Islamic context (Philanthropy for Social Justice and Peace, 2013; Fauzia, 2017; Fauzia et al., 2022), whereby long-term development objectives/goals would be set.</p> <p>To indicate the strength of Islamic civil society throughout Indonesia, it is only necessary to record that the Muhammadiyah, founded in 1912 by Kyai Hajji Ahmad Dahlan, is now one of the two largest Muslim social welfare and educational organizations in the world. It celebrated its centenary in 2012 with an international research conference at Malang in east Java devoted to its “search for a renewed identity of Muhammadiyah for its post-centennial era” (Hefner, 2013). The conference was especially notable for a spirit of self-reflexivity and proactive debate. An impressive number of highly qualified Indonesian women had<br>achieved leadership roles.</p> <p>Muhammadiyah was estimated at that time to administer 10,000 schools, 172 institutes of higher education, over 450 hospitals and clinics, and over 11,000 mosques and prayer halls across the archipelago (Hefner, 2013). Its humanitarian activities date back to 1919, when it founded a subsidiary organization to provide emergency services for victims of the eruption of Mount Kelud (Latief, 2012, p. 160). Its disaster relief operations gained prominence after the 2004 tsunami and<br>were brought together in 2007 as the Muhammadiyah Disaster Management Centre. As early as 1917, Ahmad Dahlan had founded an affiliated organization for women titled Aisyiyah, named after the Prophet Muhammad’s wife Aishah, which has grown to be a major force for women’s education and economic improvement. Muhammadiyah encouraged women to have access to religious training from the early years of the twentieth century, though at times tensions have arisen between Aisyiyah and its parent organization (Hefner, 2016). Recently Muhammadiyah has extended its international activities, including relief aid for Rohingya refugees and reconciliation projects in Mindanao (Philippines) and southern Thailand (Latief &amp; Nashir, 2020).</p> <p>Muhammadiyah’s even larger sister organization, the Nahdlatul Ulama or “Awakening of the Religious Scholars” (NU), was founded in 1926 and at times in its history (unlike the Muhammadiyah) became a political party, though since 1984 it returned to its original role focused on education, community welfare, and socioeconomic development (Parray, 2014).</p> <p>Muhammadiyah and NU have been called “the stable centre of Indonesian Muslim community” (van Bruinessen, 2004, p. 61). After a history of ideological disagreement between them, they were formally reconciled in the early 1980s in the cause of ukhuwwah islamiyyah, brotherhood within the various currents of Islam (van Bruinessen, 1996, p. 187). In retrospect the two mass organizations seem to have performed an intricate pas de deux, complicated by their internal tensions. The explanatory terms “reformist,” “conservative,” “modernist,” and “traditionalist” are all highly equivocal and to be deployed with due circumspection.</p> <p>The Muhammadiyah was founded partly to provide a counterbalance to Christian missionary activity under Dutch colonial rule (which ended in 1945), but also to purge the worldview and practice of Javanese Muslims from indigenous and Hindu–Buddhist elements. Hence, for example, traditional funerary practices and the use of amulets were condemned as bid`ah (innovation). But the movement has also included a strong modernizing and outward-looking tendency (Nakamura, 1996). There is recent evidence of splits between a conservative backlash, especially with regard to women, and projects for revitalization (Shepard, 2014; Burhani, 2013).</p> <p>As for NU, it has consistently favored what it calls traditionalism, by which is meant a reliance on doctrinal precedent. Originally—while having no problem in accepting accommodation to indigenous customs—NU stated its opposition to the failure of “reformists” to acknowledge the authority of the ulama, which it criticized the reformists for replacing with a complete reliance on<br>individual interpretation of the Qur’an and hadiths (sayings and actions of the Prophet Muhammad). But van Bruinessen (1996), recalling a famous book published in 1984, The Invention of Tradition (Hobsbawm &amp; Ranger), argued in 1996 that “there is no a priori reason to presume that a self-consciously traditionalist organisation (such as the Nahdlatul Ulama) is less dynamic or less<br>prone to change than a self-proclaimed anti-traditional one” (p. 164). Recent evidence suggests that NU, under the leadership of the chairman of its executive council, Yahya Cholil Staquf, has taken an important step toward building an Indonesia-based “humanitarian Islam” consistent with universal human rights and independent of theological authorities in the Middle East (Dorsey, 2022). This doctrine is adapted for the contemporary world and provides a potentially compelling alternative both to the ostensible reformism of the Saudi and Emirati autocracies and to the various politicized versions of Islam associated with Turkey, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Iran. As this December issue of the Journal of Muslim Philanthropy and Civil Society went to press, the Indonesian government, over which NU currently has considerable influence, was preparing to hold a two-day interfaith conference in Bali, titled “Religion 20 Forum” (R20), two weeks before the G20 summit November on 15–16, 2022. A senior NU<br>official who was spokesperson for R20 explained: “The G20 Religion Forum constitutes a natural outcome of NU’s efforts over the past decade to prevent the political weaponisation of identity, curtail the spread of communal hatred, and promote solidarity and respect among the diverse peoples, cultures and nations of the world” (Das, 2022; see also Mulia, 2022).</p> <p>In the effort to understand such a large and pluralistic country asIndonesia, generalizations are hazardous. One phenomenon that has caught the attention of social scientists is the growth of religious entrepreneurship, especially as promoted by popular preachers such as Abdullah Gymnastiar (b. 1962), widely known as Aa (elder brother) Gym. In his spectacular though turbulent career, he has combined a self-help business ethic with injunctions to voluntarism and charitable giving, all framed in an Islamic idiom independent of an orthodox education and with Sufi leanings (Kailani &amp; Slama, 2020; Hoesterey, 2016; Watson, 2005). Another important national figure is Yusuf Mansur (b. 1976), whose popular preaching also emphasizes sedakah. If we accept the analysis by Kailani and Slama (2019), Yusuf Mansur’s injunctions to voluntary giving could be compared to the Prosperity Gospel promoted by some Christian evangelists. Closer ethnographic research would be necessary to evaluate how much the prospect of material recompense for sedakah—as opposed to gaining spiritual merit—has contributed to Indonesians’ reputation for generosity. Studies carried out in other social contexts, such as Bornstein (2012) and Derbal (2022), suggest that the motivations for charitable giving are often elusive and defy overgeneralization.</p> <p>The archipelago is not cut off from foreign influences. For instance, the ESQ (Emotional and Spiritual Quotient) training program, which had some currency in Indonesian management circles in the 2000s, is a descendant from the Human Potential Movement that began in the USA in the 1960s. According to ESQ, the institution of zakat is a divine sanction for “strategic collaboration” and “exercising a win-win approach in both business transactions and relations with co-workers.” Participants in ESQ sessions paired up to perform mutual services such as shoeshining, pay each other for the services, and donate the proceeds as zakat. Disparaged in more orthodox circles as “Islam lite,” this was an eccentric case of adapting the principles of Islamic charity to free market ideology (Rudnyckyj, 2010, pp. 8, 91, 112).</p> <p>Everyday Islamic practices in Indonesia, of the kind well-documented in the Middle East (Atia, 2013; Mittermaier, 2019; Schaeublin, 2020, 2023; Derbal, 2022), also in India (Taylor, 2018) and China (Erie, 2016), have so far had less attention from social scientists. “Charitable giving,” writes Professor C. W. Watson, “is a regular feature of everyday life in Indonesia and takes several forms. Some examples. There is a regular Saturday column in one of the newspapers I read that describes a hardship case and requests help for individuals. In angkot—mini-buses, the cheap way to travel—passengers who don’t have much themselves give to people requesting alms. Whenever there is a misfortune (musibah) in a local context, be it in a neighborhood or in a workplace environment, there will always be a whip-round to collect money for the affected family: two major ones in the last three months in the business school in Bandung with which I am associated. This impulse to give is unrelated to any sense of expectation of a spiritual or material award; the preachers who do suggest there may be a material reward are simply uttering conventional phrases of the kind that it is better to give than receive” (Personal communication, September 3, 2022).</p> <p>Given that much of the attention given to Islamic charities by Western scholars and commentators has been focused on the hyperpoliticized Middle East and North Africa, it is tempting to see Indonesia as a country where the charitable impulse is articulated with much less contamination by propaganda. This impression has to be qualified by the realization that, like many other former colonized societies, Indonesia has known episodes of extreme political violence. Simmering tensions related to political Islam have an impact on the charitable sector today.</p> <p>In April 2022 a report was published by the Jakarta-based Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict (IPAC) titled “Extremist Charities and Terrorist Fund-Raising in Indonesia” (IPAC, 2022). At first sight this might seem to be of a piece with the reports on Islamic charities regularly published in the USA and Britain by think tanks that rely on the new profession of counterterrorism experts, who gain credibility more by appearance in law courts as expert witnesses than by joining in the cut and thrust of peer-reviewed academic debate (Benthall, 2017). However, the credentials of IPAC are impeccable, and its report contains no slurs against the Islamic charity sector as a whole: it is a reasoned plea for the Indonesian government to redouble its efforts at regulation and monitoring. The report focuses on a few specific organizations committed to violent extremism, including support for ISIS. Indonesia is the only G20 country that is not yet a full member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the intergovernmental body that sets standards for combating terrorist financing and money laundering: “The country has managed its terrorism threat reasonably well over the last two decade. Improving its management of extremist charities would close one of the remaining loopholes” (IPAC, 2022, p. 27).</p> <p>The cause of Islamic charities worldwide has, in my opinion, been setback by a cloud that has hung over them since the beginning of our century, andthe charges against them of supporting terrorism have been much exaggerated (Benthall, 2016, 2021; ACLU, 2009). They have been vulnerable to attack as “low hanging fruit” (FitzGibbon, 2015). Just as Muslim philanthropy is beginning to break free from this cloud in many countries (though it still hangs heavily over the Gulf States and Israel–Palestine), it would be tragic if the general reputation of Islamic civil society institutions in Indonesia were to be damaged by the misguided behavior of a few (cf. Fauzia et al., 2022, pp. 229–231). The organizations censured in the IPAC report referenced above should be seen as<br>injurious aberrations.</p> <p>The Social Trust Fund, based in Jakarta, has published an ambitious and detailed agenda for the future of Islamic social justice philanthropy: questioning the effectiveness of social services that fail to address causes rather than only symptoms, promoting the concept of sustainable development, and embracing the principle of non-discrimination (Fauzia et al., 2022). This brings Amelia Fauzia and her coauthors to call for revisiting strict interpretations of fiqh that inhibit giving assistance to ethnic and religious minorities—with special reference to the eight categories of zakat beneficiary set out by the Qur’an in Al-Tawbah (9:60). They recall that the Muhammadiyah’s early record during the Dutch colonial period provides a precedent for nondiscrimination and inclusion, anticipating the policy later adopted by aid agencies such as the UK-based Islamic Relief Worldwide. As well as analyzing the rich variety of zakat-based arrangements in the country, Fauzia and her coauthors explore the opportunities for some of the hundreds of thousands of Indonesian land waqfs to be transformed into modern charitable organizations, focused, for instance, on reforestation or adaptation to climate change. They also describe the use of funds raised from large Indonesian commercial companies through corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs, though regretting that at present these are mainly targeted to benefit Muslims exclusively and for short-term purposes such as breaking the fast at Ramadan.</p> <p>The richness of Islamic philanthropic traditions in Indonesia deserves to be much better known in the West. Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah in particular have acquired patina over a century but have also shown a flexibility to adapt and evolve. Insofar as they are taking steps to internationalize their activities this will add to their visibility worldwide, showing an audience in other countries what can be achieved by civil society institutions under the auspices of Islam, and encouraging further cooperation across national borders toward humanitarian and environmental goals.</p> 2022-12-01T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2022 Jonathan Benthall