Journey Of Akhuwat-From Ten Thousand to One Billion
After the success of Akhuwat, what with its use of mosques for disbursement of loans, some people believe that this use of religious places itself has lead to the organization’s phenomenal success simply owing to the fact that a promise made in a mosque is sacred and more likely to be kept by the borrowers than one made in a conventional office environment. This is not entirely true, says Dr. Amjad Saqib in an interview. [link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zt67R3jfNFg&NR=1] A promise made in Islam is a promise, equally sacred whether it is made inside or outside the mosque. However, the use of mosque does indeed bring its advantages. The most obvious is the significant decrease in operational expenses, which is crucial for an interest free organization’s financial sustainability. However, that is not all, or even the most important reason for the significance of religious places to Akhuwat.
The biggest advantage is the sense of stability that the mosque environment brings – when the loan cheque is handed to the borrower, the presence of the donors, staff and community, gathered in the place of worship, as well as the detailed explanation of the organization and its procedures brings a need of accountability to the borrowers – they want to pay the loan back, as it’s the sacred Qard-e-Hasna , available to them today because the previous borrower repaid it in time, and a loan that will only be available to help others tomorrow if every penny is promptly paid back by them. Also, borrowers are found to be more attentive and honest during the disbursement sessions at the mosques, many of which are headed by Dr Amjad himself.
Also, the mosque helps a long way in creating a much needed air of positivity and discipline. As Dr. Amjad explains, poverty itself has many dimensions, and economic poverty is just one of them. What Pakistan is facing, however, is not just economic poverty, but its social, spiritual, political as well as poverty of character. The best example is perhaps of the Muslims in Madina at the time of the Holy Prophet (SA), who were very poor economically, but were able to overcome it as they were not engulfed in these other dimensions of poverty. The Masjid environment, indeed, helps in bringing a spiritual feeling of well being and opportunity. It helps in making the desperately poor boldly and positively feel that there is a way out of their poverty cycle.
It should be noted again that though Akhuwat is largely faith inspired, it is not faith based. Loans are extended to Hindus, Christians and Muslims alike, and on a need basis, the loan officers sometimes also go to Churches for disbursements. Contrary to a common belief that mosques are only for worship, it is established from the Sunnah itself that the mosque was used as a centre to discuss social and economic issues by the Prophet (SA)himself. As such, the use of religious places Is one of the core principles of the whole operational structure of Akhuwat.