In a well-known saying Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) advised Muslims to tie their camels before placing trust in God for its protection. This concept has some very important lessons for Muslim charities:
1. Charities should recognise their risks like the risk of losing the Camel. Charities face the risk of fraud, loss of reputation; loss of income; loss of key staff, fines and penalties, litigation and most importantly the risk of not achieving the charity or fund objectives… to help those in need. The impact of these risks will depend on the nature and size of a charity; they nevertheless apply to all.
2. Recognised risks should be controlled. God will not protect the Camel unless it’s properly tied up. Trustees and Directors of Muslim charities should ensure that adequate and effective controls are introduced to mitigate risks. Application of these controls should be in the context of risk, for example, the Camel can be tied up with a metal chain (expensive and excessive) or a weak rope (camel will break free). Moderation and proportionate risk control is therefore the way forward, and those charged with governance should put in place the capability to allow them to exercise this role effectively.
3. Place your trust in God. No control is perfect to eliminate risks. According to the values of Islam, it is because of God’s mercy and blessings that charities are often protected and make a difference to their beneficiaries. It is important however not to abuse this beautiful concept by leaving risks unattended… like that Camel.
By Nasir Rafiq (Founder and Principal Dua Governance)
An Expert in Governance and Internal Control