One of the major projects, my brainchild, is Bayt-ul-Maal (house of money) to help Muslims (and non-Muslims in some cases) enjoy the luxuries of life without having to pay interest. The importance of this project is closely related with the Islamic faith and the fact that God Almighty forbade dealing in usury or interest (called riba in Arabic) at any level. However, today’s infrastructure is built upon it and it can become very difficult for a practicing Muslim to buy a car or a house and to do business without taking an interest infested loan or installment plan.
Bayt-ul-Maal is a non-profit business model designed for Muslims (and non-Muslims in some cases) to stay interest-free but also to enjoy the luxuries of life. The foundation and aim of this project is that we want to provide a permitted (halal) way or method of lending money in large and small amounts to Muslim families and individuals who are in need, without breaking or infringing any provincial or federal laws of Australia or any other country we may operate in.
This model focuses on Islamic faith and the people who follow it. There is no discrimination involved and non-Muslims are welcome to use our services if they can prove to us that they don’t deal with interest and they intend to stay interest-free.
Legality of lending money will be ensured through proper and solid documentation between the lender (the organisation) and the borrower. However, there are no surcharges for late payments, no administration fees, no account keeping fees or any other charges. The documentation will be used against the borrower in adverse circumstances and may be charged with criminal offence.
This business is not designed to avoid the conventional banking and taxation system and it is not a competitor in anyway of financial institutes. All transactions will be recorded and would go through legal banking system and since according to law we require a bank account with one of the conventional banks, we can opt for Islamic bank accounts that will be introduced sometime later this year or the next by National Australian Bank (NAB), according to one article in the news.
The money will come from personal savings and donations. There are people who understand that there is life after death including myself, and we want to earn maximum reward from our actions in this world. Helping another Muslim or even a non-Muslim financially, physically or mentally are all part of good actions. Hence, personal savings will create a large portion of it.
Difference between donation and personal savings is that the donations are payments that are given to the organisation in the name of God Almighty and they don’t expect a return in this life. Whereas, personal savings are payments given to the organisation in the name of God Almighty but they still own that amount and they can withdraw the same amount due to personal reasons/circumstances upon request.
The services will include microfinancing, meaning interest-free loans up to $3000 AUD with maximum repayment period of 60 months. Repayment periods are non-negotiable and will be decided by the panel and it will be dependent upon borrower’s income and financial commitments.
Macro-financing services will include interest-free loans for cars, houses and businesses but the amount borrowed and repayment period is subject to how much money is available in the organisation’s account.
Types of people required for voluntary work/consultation:
- Lawyers: professionals who understand financial sector (in legal sense) to give us legal advice on how to conduct such business without breaking any laws and help us produce agreements and contracts for lending and investing.
- Macro-finance investors: people who have enough personal savings to give this business model a kick start.
- Micro-finance investors: people who have small amounts they want to put in for good use.
- Donaters: people who want to donate any amount of money to the organisation. We can have a one-off option where a person donates any amount and that’s it or we can have a direct debit system where a person can donate a set amount every fortnight/month.
- Business consultants: people who can help setup the business and get it registered.
- Graphic designers: people who can help us setup a professional brand.
- Marketing professionals: people who can fund-raise and generate awareness of such service available to Muslim individuals and families.
- Web designers: people who can design and setup website.
- Social media enthusiasts: people who can spread awareness, market and publish posts about our aims and goals around various social media platforms.
- Islamic scholars: professionals who can provide consultation on faith related queries/issues with this business.
- Accountants: people who can manage the accounts and financial side of things.
- Communication specialists: people who can communicate effectively and have strong negotiation skills.
- Translators: people who can help translate for ESL individuals and families.
*For investors: any person who takes or gives interest in his personal or business life or the person who operates and owns a casino, bank, alcohol shop and the likes or a person who played and won the lottery, their money is NOT NEEDED. Thank you.
Other projects in the pipeline are:
Mobile Sanitary Units
When visiting a third world country, one thing which is evident is the insensitivity to sanitation, especially among the poor and needy community. This comes as no surprise since we can deduce from their condition of living that they are struggling to meet their basic needs, let alone cleaning and personal hygiene.
All faiths of the world give utmost importance to personal hygiene and grooming, especially the Islamic faith. There are several charities working to fulfill the basic needs of the poor and the needy in third world countries. So I want to tackle personal hygiene problem of the poor and the needy people.
The way I conceptualize the solution to this problem is a full length bus which is converted to accommodate toilets and showers. All necessary things like clean water, shampoo, soap, shaving blades, clean clothes and towels will be provided free of charge. The poor and the needy or the homeless people in the west can use this service free of charge.
Manual Appliances (open source)
Another problem in third world countries is no electricity. Therefore, they are unaware of machines or are unable to use conventional machines that can help them in their daily lives. Few examples are washing machines, toasters, ovens, etc.
Technically sound students and professionals in the west can put their head together and come up with the same machines that requires manual labor instead of electricity such as pedal-powered washing machine.
MIT has a dedicated group who is doing such a thing but their inventions, designs and knowledge are not publicly available. Our purpose would be to design and manufacture these machines and also place their blueprints online as ‘open source’ machines for the world to get benefit.