By the grace of Allah, we are the World’s Largest Islamic Microfinance Organization.
Akhuwat aims to alleviate poverty by creating a bond of solidarity between the affluent and the marginalized. Our goal is to develop and sustain a social system based on mutual support. We extend a helping hand to the poverty-stricken by providing interest-free loans so they can start a business and become self-reliant.
We are a non-profit company, established in 2001, and registered with the Securities & Exchange Commission of Pakistan under section 42.
Journey of Akhuwat
Working as GM at the Punjab Rural Support Program (PRSP) in 2001, Dr. Amjad Saqib strongly condemned the 20 percent interest charged on loan distribution. One reason was that the policy was in direct conflict with the teachings of Islam. The other was that in the formal banking sector the interest was much lower and available to ‘creditworthy’ affluent individuals, only.
Inspired to make a change, Dr. Saqib wanted to start a Microfinance program where the loans were in the form of Qarz-e-Hasna and the benevolent loans. He took his big idea to a small gathering of friends and won over their support. With an initial donation of a humble 10,000 rupees from Mr. Saleem Ranjha and the undying support of Dr. Kamran Shams, Dr. Izhar Ul Haq and Mr. Humayon Ehsan, Akhuwat was formed. The first loan was given out to a woman.
For its initial years, Akhuwat was simply a philanthropic venture to see how interest free microfinance would do. However, by 2003, the donations had increased to a whopping Rs. 1.5 Million and the loan recovery rate was 100 percent. Consequently, it was decided to initiate Akhuwat as a proper and registered organization under the Societies Registration Act of 1860.
From 2001 to 2003, Akhuwat had managed to receive donations at an exceptional scale. The work that was once handled by Dr Saqib and another employees were delegated. These two years became the “action research”, laying the foundation of a great movement and an unmatchable institution to date. The investments made by the small team eventually lead to the establishment of Akhuwat’s first branch in Township, Lahore. The same branch now serves as the Head Office.
Akhuwat – literal translation ‘brotherhood’ or solidarity derives its name from the Islamic concept of ‘mawakhat’. The term was coined in 622 A.D. when immigrants from Mecca fled persecution at the time of migration by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Muwahat was the result of the citizens of Medina sharing their wealth and establishing a bond of brotherhood with the migrants of Mecca.
We see Akhuwat not only as a religious obligation, but also a social contract – it is pact between the privileged and the underprivileged, a duty of those who have resource towards those who do not. Today Akhuwat’s operations reflect strengthening of its original philosophy, coupled with inspiring new initiatives.