ICIT: As salaamu alaikum. Today, we are speaking with brother Hussein Muhammad. He is the program manager for Sakina medical outreach. This organization is located in Lagos state Nigeria, and it provides a variety of free eye care and other health care services for those in need.
Brother Muhammad, how did Sakina medical outreach get started? And what role does the Sakina Waqf foundation play?
Hussein Muhammad: Sakina Medical Outreach started like a project of impact to provide free health care services to the less privileged. And we did it back in 2009 when we had our first case. A medical doctor, Dr. Onkadeni, had an accident. He had a spinal cord injury and his fellow doctors came around to see how they can assist him.
So, from there Sakinah, after achieving our goal in terms of sponsoring his surgery, we thought to not stop the project, but let’s provide the platform where Muslims can benefit from these healthcare services. Because the healthcare services in Nigeria are in a miserable and deteriorated state.That was how the journey of Sakinah Medical Outreach started.
Around 2018, the management decided that to fund this program, we have to start Sakinah Waqf Foundation. So, most of the information you see on Sakinah Waqf Foundation website is also the information on Sakinah Medical Outreach website. To make the organization more sustainable is the reason why we started the Sakinah Waqf Foundation.
And so far on the aspect of waqf, we've not really implemented waqf activities. It's been a bit difficult in executing strategies that we are hoping to put in place. I hope this answers your question?
ICIT: Your answer is very much in line with what we think are the challenges. At least some of them are associated with setting up a waqf. So thank you very much. Let's move on to question number two please. What are some of the obstacles you've run into?
Hussein Muhammad: Okay. Number one, the major obstacles that so far we've faced is the fact that not everyone knows about waqf. Just like zakat, despite the fact that zakat is like one of the pillars of Islam. We found out that some individuals are not aware what's zakat is all about, that is, the essence and the importance of the zakat.
The same applies to waqf. Many people from where we are in Nigeria are not really aware about what's waqf is all about. So what we try to do is drive information through our social media. That is, we try to promote what's waqf is all about. So as to educate people around activities of the waqf. At the moment though there are other ways of promoting waqf, but we are yet to implement that.
ICIT: The funding needs that you have. How are you going about addressing them as you're working towards setting up the waqf in the way it should be set up?
Hussein Muhammad: So, at the moment the funds gathered at Sakinah Medical Outreach is used to start a corporate governance structure for Sakinah Waqf. One of the challenges we have is a low turnout of manpower. We do not have sufficient manpower to execute the objectives support our foundation.
ICIT: So, brother Muhammad, when you look at the situation, the way it stands today, what do you see as the way forward? How might you get the people to be more responsive? Are there certain key individuals that you think you need to work with first?
Hussein Muhammad: Okay. Number one to improve the situation, we are thinking of starting programs that will be educating people about waqf. That's number one.
Number two, we are trying to bring in prominent religious leaders to join the advisory board. If these prominent religious leaders can come onto our board of advisors, it will be easier to educate a larger Muslim audience about what waqf is all about.
And number three, the power of social media is something that we would continue to train ourselves on because it is one of the ways to reach a larger audience of Muslims. So I think those are the three basic things we are trying to do.
We are open to learning more. And I'm trying to get all possible means to make sure that we execute the waqf properly. Because there is so much we could really benefit from setting up a waqf in Nigeria, or let me say, West Africa.
As we do our research, we try to see how other organizations in Africa are executing their waqf. And so far, we have not found any. The only organization that I know that is a sustainable work foundation is Awqaf South Africa. So, I got to say, that's the only body that we can learn from at the moment in Africa. If we have opportunities to learn and grow more we do not mind. Thank you very much.
ICIT: Thank you brother Muhammad.