SDG Research Initiative

In our initial study on the Sustainable Development Goals from a Shariah Perspective we attempted to delineate the Shariah norms and prescriptions from the primary sources, i.e. the Qur’an and the Hadith that is related to each one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Recent scholars have also sought to map the Sustainable Development Goals against the Goals (Maqasid) of Shariah (MaS) as a framework. On the one hand, with MaS, we have goals that have divinity attached to them, derived from revealed moral principles that are based on faith and the religion of Islam. On the other hand, we have goals that are set by UN, a global body representing societies with diverse religions and cultures. There are, therefore, likely to be a few areas of misalignment. In a recent exercise we observed that the corollaries of the five fundamental goals in the framework of MaS (as developed by recent scholars e.g. Chapra, 2008 and others) that capture a clear spiritual and religious dimension could not be mapped to SDGs that are faith-neutral, rooted in materialistic as well as moral considerations. We also observed that most of the higher goals of Shariah – adl (justice and fairness), honor and dignity, freedom of enterprise, expression, and from fear, strife, corruption (good governance) are captured in just one SDG, i.e. SDG16, and to some extent in the SDG5 focusing on women empowerment. The alignment is better with a direct mapping between MaS and SDGs in the context of economic needs, such as, income and livelihoods, work, food, water and sanitation, shelter, healthcare, education. Education has a broader connotation in the context of MaS as it includes moral, spiritual and religious education in addition to education and skills to make an agent economically productive. (See below)


As noted above, Islamic scholars have expanded the framework to identify many sub-goals or corollaries under each of the five global goals and have also sought to underline their mutual interdependence. Similarly, there are a multitude of sub-objectives under each of the seventeen objectives in the SDG framework. It is therefore, important to examine the alignment or misalignment at the next level of both MaS and SDGs. More importantly, we examine how Islamic social finance in general and awqaf in particular can play a role in operationalizing the areas of alignment between the two. 

We are in the process of developing a global database of such awqaf initiatives. If you are associated with any such initiative, please do revert to us.



Awqaf Action Points


By 2030 eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere, currently measured as
people living on less than $1.25 a day

·  Waqf Fund for ultra poor, orphans, widows, elderly, sick and handicapped (safety nets, grants for
basic necessities)


By 2030 reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages
living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions

·  Waqf-based Qard Fund (non-profit micro-credit)


Implement nationally appropriate social protection systems and
measures for all, including floors, and by 2030 achieve substantial coverage
of the poor and the vulnerable

·  Waqf-based Insurance Fund (non-profit cooperative micro-takaful and guarantee)


By 2030 ensure that all men and women, particularly the poor and
the vulnerable, have equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to
basic services, ownership, and control over land and other forms of property,
inheritance, natural resources, appropriate new technology, and financial
services including microfinance

·  Waqf-based Microfinance Fund (for-profit Islamic finance for economically active poor)

·  Waqf-facility for livelihood
skills enhancement

·  Waqf Incubator Fund
for start-ups and microbusinesses


By 2030 build the resilience of the poor and those in
vulnerable situations, and reduce their exposure and vulnerability to climate-related
extreme events and other economic, social and environmental shocks and

·  Humanitarian Waqf for disaster relief or assistance to internally displaced persons

·  Waqf buildings and properties for temporary shelters during natural calamities


Ensure significant mobilization of resources from a variety of sources, including
through enhanced development cooperation to provide adequate and predictable
means for developing countries, in particular LDCs, to implement programmes and
policies to end poverty in all its dimensions

·  Waqf-based International Fund for poverty alleviation and livelihood generation


Create sound policy frameworks, at national, regional and

international levels, based on pro-poor and gender-sensitive development
strategies to support accelerated investments in poverty eradication actions

·  Waqf-funded institution for strategic and policy research, capacity building and advocacy



Awqaf Action Points


By 2030 end hunger and ensure access by all people, in particular the poor and people in vulnerable situations including infants, to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round

·  Food Waqf (food bank for ultra-poor, food coupons relief or assistance to internally displaced persons, create awareness about avoidance of food waste)



By 2030 end all forms of malnutrition, including achieving

by 2025 the internationally agreed targets on stunting and

wasting in children under five years of age, and address the

nutritional needs of adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating women, and older persons

·  Nutrition Waqf (provision of nutrition for mothers, children and old; education and advocacy against malnutrition)


By 2030 double the agricultural productivity and the incomes of small-scale food producers, particularly women, indigenous peoples, family farmers, pastoralists and fishers, including through secure and equal access to land, other productive resources and inputs, knowledge, financial services, markets, and opportunities for value addition and non-farm employment

·  Waqf-based Agriculture Investment Fund (for-profit Islamic finance for small-holder-farmers)

·  Waqf-based Insurance Fund (non-profit cooperative micro-takaful and guarantee for small-holder farmers)

·  Waqf-based incubator for food processing units

·  Waqf-funded laboratories for halal food research and certification


By 2030 ensure sustainable food production systems and

implement resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production, that help maintain ecosystems, that strengthen capacity for adaptation to climate change, extreme weather, drought, flooding and other disasters, and that progressively improve land and soil quality

·  Agricultural Waqf Fund (large-scale development of farm land under waqf)

·  Waqf-facility for farming skills enhancement

·  Water Waqf for Irrigation Facility (e.g. leasing of pumps)


By 2020 maintain genetic diversity of seeds, cultivated plants, farmed and domesticated animals and their related wild species, including through soundly managed and diversified seed and plant banks at national, regional and international levels, and ensure access to and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge as internationally agreed

·  Waqf for Small Holder Farmers (seed bank, plant bank, fertilizer bank, leasing farm equipments)

·  Plantation Waqf ((upkeep and maintenance plantations and forests under waqf)



Increase investment, including through enhanced international cooperation, in rural infrastructure, agricultural research and extension services, technology development, and plant and livestock gene banks to enhance agricultural productive capacity in developing countries, in particular in least developed countries

·  Waqf based agriculture schools, colleges, universities and research centers


Correct and prevent trade restrictions and distortions in world agricultural markets including the parallel elimination of all forms of agricultural export subsidies and all export measures with equivalent effect, in accordance with the mandate of the Doha Development Round

·  Waqf for Advocacy


Adopt measures to ensure the proper functioning of food

commodity markets and their derivatives, and facilitate timely access to market information, including on food reserves, in order to help limit extreme food price volatility

·  Waqf-based Markets/ Exchanges/ Platforms for trading farmers’ produce



Awqaf Action Points


By 2030 reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less

than 70 per 100,000 live births

·  Waqf-based maternity clinics and hospitals


By 2030 end preventable deaths of newborns and under-five children

·  Waqf-based child care hospitals


By 2030 end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria,

and neglected tropical diseases and combat hepatitis, water-borne diseases, and other communicable diseases

·  Waqf-funded campaigns for epidemic/disease control


By 2030 reduce by one-third pre-mature mortality from

non-communicable diseases (NCDs) through prevention and treatment, and promote mental health and wellbeing

·  Waqf-funded campaigns for prevention of NCDs and Well-being Centers


Strengthen prevention and treatment of substance abuse, including narcotic drug abuse and harmful use of alcohol

·  Waqf funded public awareness campaigns against drug abuse and alcohol consumption


By 2020 halve global deaths and injuries from road traffic


·  Waqf funded public awareness campaigns on road safety


By 2030 ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health care services, including for family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes

·  Waqf funded public awareness campaigns on family and reproductive care


Achieve universal health coverage (UHC), including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health care services, and access to safe, effective, quality, and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all

·  Waqf-based takaful tawuni for health care

·  Pharma waqf for production and supply of halal and generic medicines

·  Waqf-funded laboratories and establishments for medical and vaccine research (free from pork and haram elements)


By 2030 substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water, and soil pollution and contamination

·  Waqf-funded laboratories and establishments for pollution research and control


Strengthen implementation of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in all countries as appropriate

·  Waqf funded public awareness campaigns against tobacco use


Support research and development of vaccines and medicines for the communicable and non-communicable diseases that primarily affect developing countries, provide access to affordable essential medicines and vaccines, in accordance with the Doha Declaration

·  Investment waqf for supporting disease control and vaccine research


Increase substantially health financing and the recruitment, development and training and retention of the health workforce in developing countries, especially in LDCs and SIDS

·  Waqf financed medical institutions for education and training of doctors and health workers


Strengthen the capacity of all countries, particularly developing countries, for early warning, risk reduction, and management of national and global health risks

·  Waqf financed institutes for public health management

Visit this space for further updates. We are in the process of developing a global database of waqf initiatives mapped to SDGs.
If you are associated with any Waqf project we invite you to share