The importance of education and the position of learning in Islam cannot be overemphasized, in fact, the first verses that were revealed to Prophet Muhammed(SAW) talks about reading and knowledge as explicitly stated in Quran 96 verses 1 to 5 thus: “Read: In the Name of your Lord who created. Created man from a clot. Read: And your Lord is the Most Generous. He who taught by the pen. Taught man what he never knew”
There is no gainsaying that we are in the era of knowledge economy, where those that controlled the economic base of the nation are the ones with the requisite knowledge and skills. The days of the old are gone by where rulership of the world and control of the economic affairs are based on family lineage, kingship or control of natural resources. What and who control the world today are those with the requisite skill sets. It’s a knowledge economy.
The foundation of any intellectual breakthrough is natured at the nursery and primary school stages, once the foundation is weak nothing can be built on it or it will only seem so. Then it means we must get it right at these stages if we must progress as a people and be the movers and shakers of the knowledge economy.
The question is where are we as a ummah on the development of the future minds. The state of Muslims private schools is nothing to write home about in terms of quality and quantity. Yes, we can lament over this but that will not wish away the problem overnight. What practical steps do we have in place to solve these issues?
From our findings, the greatest challenge the operators of private schools owned by Muslim are having is lack of access to halal funds to finance the operation of their schools. All the options available to them are tangled up with riba provided by the conventional banking institutions. Of course, this is not allowed for Muslims to partake in. Is there any alternative for them? How do we maneuver our ways out of this entangled system?
The viable alternative we have collectively as a ummah is to raise funds communally by having a SPV – Special Purpose Vehicle company that is dedicated to funding the Muslim schools. Below are the highlights of our proposal which is working but needs more collaboration from the concerned members of the ummah to make it work better and spread this initiative to cover a wider audience.
1. The SPV will be tasked with the aim of raising funds from the Muslim ummah for the sole purpose of investing in Muslim schools.
2. The SPV will identify Muslim schools that require funds for operational or infrastructural needs.
3. The funds will be used to service the needs of the school after evaluation by the SPV – using any of the allowed Islamic finance instruments such as Murabaha, Ijarah and others.
4. No funds will be handed over directly to the school as the funds will be used for specific purposes and such purpose would have been identified and funds disbursed to the supplier or contractor as the case may be.
5. The school will be required to repay back the funds invested with a markup profit at the beginning of every term (over an agreed period) since the school is expected to make money around this time from the payment of school fees.
6. The returns from the school will be paid to the SPV which will, in turn, pay the investors their capital and profit.
7. The SPV will not in any way be involved in the day-to-day activities of the schools that they fund nor will they attempt to be part-owner of the school but their purpose will be strictly for short-term financial support.
At TijarahHub we have financed many Muslim schools on different projects such as the purchase of school bus, books, classroom items and construction of a block of classrooms. The return on investment has been very fantastic within a short period and above all, we have contributed to the growth of knowledge, the Muslim schools, and Muslims in general.
Now, we have several requests from different Muslim schools which we cannot finance due to lack of funds. Hence the reasons we are throwing the idea to the generality of ummah and we believe we can do it together. If you subscribe to this idea and would like to be a part of the change in creating a brighter future for the ummah – you may reach us at email@example.com for more details on how you can be part of this initiative.