With our goal of becoming the best managed microfinance institution in the Philippines, ASA Philippines (the Foundation) introducing Islamic microfinancing products widen our services to cater to all women of different faith including our Muslim sisters. Through our collective efforts, the Foundation envisions Islamic financing to be embraced openly by Muslim women all over the Philippines who are hesitant to approach a financial institution due to their religious constraints. Our Islamic financing program takes into account not only their need for capital but also contemplates that one’s need for financing can be addressed within the bounds of Islamic principles.
Islamic financing was introduced by the Foundation as part of its microfinance services in Taguig City on July 4, 2014. This pilot area was selected, specifically in Barangay Maharlika due to its high Muslim population. The first program was conceptualized to accommodate Muslim women who deemed interest paid in loans is contrary to their Islamic faith, where twelve (12) clients joined in its first financing release where they received Qard Hassan as Islamic financing contract. Two years later, in late 2016, Islamic financing implementation was rolled out to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (now Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao). To complement this operational direction as well as the increasing demand from the pre-dominantly Muslim communities served, ASA Philippines sent a team to visit and study Islamic Finance in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Bangladesh. In 2018, management decided to expand the program and offer to all our Muslim sisters across the country. The Foundation offered Murabahah, Ijarah and Qard Hassan. Islamic Law views payment and receipt of interest (Riba or what is commonly known as usury) as prohibited (haram). This understanding is what drives our institution to further our services not only to the entrepreneurial women but also to our Muslim Nanay Traders.
In keeping with this theory of change, we aim to give underprivileged communities access to financing. We aim to serve as many clients as possible by offering high-quality, low-cost services. In particular, such access will help our deprived Muslim Nanays to pursue productive and profitable ventures that will make them economically self-sufficient. We anticipate that our clients will be able to use these services to improve their businesses and their socioeconomic standing.