UAE: First Islamic endowments masters

Zayed University has launched the world's first masters in charitable endowments, the centuries-old Islamic form of philanthropy, writes Haneen Dajani for The National. As the university launched the Institute for Islamic Higher Studies last week, religious and education officials said the degree was timely, as misconceptions were dogging Islamic transactions and procedures.

"People nowadays think that an endowment is only for building mosques," said Dr Nasr Aref, executive director of the institute. "It is whenever a social foundation creates an infrastructure that is not part of what a country's government does.

"The West took the concept of endowments from us centuries ago but we are 1,000 years behind them in terms of developing and executing it."

The institute provides four programmes of study: Islamic economy, endowments, contemporary Islamic studies and managing resources. It has already accepted 130 students, which officials said is more than they expected. That number includes 20 students in the endowment programme.
Full report on The National site