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Leverhulme Emeritus Fellowship for Prof. Raj Brown

Posted on 01/06/2011
Professor Emerita Raj Brown

Professor Emerita Raj Brown

Islamic philanthropy in Thailand, Bahrain and Lebanon

Emeritus Professor Raj Brown recently secured a Leverhulme Emeritus Fellowship to study Islamic philanthropy. The 12-month study starts in August 2011, is entitled 'Networks of Islamic philanthropy as a corollary to state-led economic development among Muslim communities in Thailand, Bahrain, and Lebanon, 1826-2006' and is worth £12,680.

Background: Islamic charitable organisations

This research will focus on the organisation of Islamic charities, their role in economic development both local and global, and how they differ in these different regions. One especially powerful and long-standing Islamic charitable institution is the waqf, a legal arrangement under which an owner permanently settles property and other assets for the use of beneficiaries for specific purposes. Different waqf collect, hold, and distribute economic assets (notably property and real estate), absorb and coordinate capital flows, and create vibrant sub-economies linking diasporic Muslim networks with global markets.

In parts of South East Asia in particular, waqf have harnessed international flows of Islamic assets and deployed them to promote grass-roots entrepreneurship and empowerment. Could this model of Islamic charitable development work in a diverse political, financial, and religious context? There are major waqf known to be operating in the region, yet their potential for facilitating job creation and social and economic inclusion has never been effectively explored.

What this hopes to demonstrate is the potential and capacity of Islamic charitable organisations in community economic development and their growing impact on the evolution of an international centre of Islamic finance. The development of Islamic microfinance initiatives, within the waqf, offers the prospect of an innovative, community centred financial initiative with the increasing participation of the poor.

Project aims

  • Evaluate the material and developmental impacts of the waqf in the different regions and appraise their ability to support the creation of employment opportunities, access to credit, microfinance in particular and the accumulation of other economic and social assets.
  • Explore the opportunities and challenges facing Islamic institutions like the waqf operating in the legal, regulatory, economic and demographic contexts of these separate regions.
  • Advance theoretical and policy understanding of Islamic charitable institutions involved in economic development.


Raj Brown, Emeritus Professor in International Business


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