Sunday, March 18, 2018


In matters of faith, 1  He has ordained for you that which He had enjoined upon Noah - and into which We gave thee [O Muhammad] insight through revelation 2 - as well as that which We had enjoined upon Abraham, and Moses, and Jesus: Steadfastly uphold the [true] faith, and do not break up your unity therein. 3  [And even though] that [unity of faith] to which thou callest them appears oppressive to those who are wont to ascribe to other beings or forces a share in His divinity, God draws unto Himself everyone who is willing, and guides unto Himself everyone who turns unto Him [Translation of Surah al-Shura, 42 Ayah 13].


1: See first paragraph of note [249] on 2:256 of Asad Translation. Since, as the sequence shows, the term din cannot apply in this context to "religion" in its widest connotation, including religious laws - which, by their very nature, have been different in each successive dispensation (cf. note [66] on 5:48 of Asad Translation) - it obviously denotes here only the ethical and spiritual contents of religion, i.e., "faith" in its most general sense. With this verse, the discourse returns to the theme sounded at the beginning of this surah, namely, the unchanging sameness of the spiritual and moral principles underlying all revealed religions.

2: Lit., "which We have revealed unto thee", implying that it was only through revelation that the Prophet Muhammad came to know "that which God had enjoined upon Noah".

3: Cf. 3:19 - "the only [true] religion in the sight of God is [man's] self-surrender unto Him"; and 3:85 - "if one goes in search of a religion other than self-surrender unto God, it will never be accepted from him". Parallel with this principle, enunciated by all of God's apostles, is the categorical statement in 21:92 and 23:52 - "Verily, [O you who believe in Me,] this community of yours is one single community, since I am the Sustainer of you all". Most of the great commentators (e.g., Zamakhshari, Razi, Ibn Kathir) understand this as an unequivocal reference to the ecumenical unity of all religions based on belief in the One God, notwithstanding all the differences with regard to "the [specific] statutes and practices enjoined for the benefit of the various communities in accordance with their [time-bound] conditions ('ala hasab ahwaliha)", as expressed by Zamakhshari in his comments on the verse under discussion.


Wednesday, March 14, 2018


ISDEV with the cooperation of the Institute of Postgraduate Studies (IPS), recently co-organised the 12th International Graduate Workshop 2017 (INGRAW 2017). The 12th INGRAW was successfully held from 12th-13th December 2017 at the University's Conference Hall (DPU), Universiti Sains Malaysia with more than 100 participants attending. The two days conference was held with the focussed aim to provide the platform for research students at the Master or PhD levels to present and share their researches to fellow participants.

Among the presenters present their papers in two-days concurrent sessions
Chaired by Dr Murni Yusoff, the new appointed ISDEV lecturer, INGRAW 2017 was organised with two Keynote Addresses delivered at INGRAW 2017. The first Keynote Address was delivered by ISDEV Director, Associate Professor Dr. Zakaria Bahari on “Assessment on Viva Report” who had also officiated the opening of the International Workshop. The second keynote was delivered by Dr. Wan Norhaniza Wan Hasan on "Scholar's Ethics and Integrity".

The keynote speakers sharing their knowledge and experiences 
A total of 80 papers were presented throughout the one and half-day workshop divided into three segments of five concurrent sessions each ranging from topics on Development actor, waqf, Islamic development, Islamic asset management, Islamic economy, management of Islamic institution, Islamic worldview, Islamic political economy, Islamic leadership and Islamic human development management. Each presenter's working paper was evaluated by a panel Resource Persons who are experts in their field based on the subject matter of the research. All papers had undergone strict review by the 15 resource persons appointed for INGRAW 2017. The resource persons consisted of ISDEV lecturers and ISDEV Research Fellows from within USM as well as outside of USM. The presenters gained to benefit from the various feedback, input, comments and ideas given by those Resource Persons on how best they could improve the quality of their research and written thesis, wherever felt needed.

Among the moments captured during INGRAW with presenters, lecturers, and committee members
The curtain has now closed for INGRAW 2017. However, ISDEV is upbeat that the continuation of the 13th series of INGRAW 2018 which is scheduled to be held in August next year will see more presenters and participants congregating and networking for the benefit of Islam, Insya Allah.

Sunday, March 11, 2018


Ibn Abbas reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Know that there is much good in being patient with what you detest, that victory will come with patience, affliction will come with relief, and hardship will come with ease.” [Source: Musnad Aḥmad 2800
Grade: Sahih (fair) according to Ahmad Shakir]

عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَاعْلَمْ أَنَّ فِي الصَّبْرِ عَلَى مَا تَكْرَهُ خَيْرًا كَثِيرًا وَأَنَّ النَّصْرَ مَعَ الصَّبْرِ وَأَنَّ الْفَرَجَ مَعَ الْكَرْبِ وَأَنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُسْرًا
2800 مسند أحمد ومن مسند بني هاشم
4/287 المحدث أحمد شاكر خلاصة حكم المحدث إسناده صحيح في مسند أحمد

Friday, March 9, 2018


A group photo - ISDEV members with the Norwegian Undergraduate Students from Agder University 
On 30 January, 2018, 25 undergraduate students from Agder University, Norway were at ISDEV to participate in the 10th Annual Lecture Series on Contemporary Islam in Malaysia. They were led by Professor Dr. Levi Geir Eidhamar. It was an annual occasion resulting from the signing of an MoU between ISDEV and the Agder University. ISDEV Director, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Zakaria Bahari with Dr. Shahir Akram Hassan served as Chairman of the programme. The programme took place at Lecture Hall A (DKA), USM. 

Dr. Shaik Abdullah Hassan Mydin and En Noor Muhamed Mohd Yousuf in action for the talk
The session was divided into two parts. The first session started with the topic on "Life After Death" delivered by Dr. Shaik Abdullah Hassan Mydin from the School of Distance Education, USM while the second session was delivered by Encik Noor Muhamed Mohd Yousuf, a member of IPSI (Islamic Propagation Society International) on "The Allah's Name Controversy and Bumiputera Privilege"

(Left) Prof. Levi presenting his view point during the Q&A session, (Right) Prof Levi received a small 'keris' from En Noor Muhamed
The Q & A session was a truly lively and vibrant. Almost all the undergraduate Norwegian students at DKA were keen to get more details on the points shared by the two speakers. Coming from a well-developed country with a conventional development paradigm, where Muslims are a minority, these students really took the opportunity to clear the air about their views on Islam and the Muslims.
The Arrival of the 25 undergraduate students from Agder University, Norway

Happy faces of friendship bond between ISDEV students and Agder University students
Overall, the programme had indeed provided satisfactory information to their queries and apprehensiveness pertaining to the two issues tackled by both speakers. Prof. Levi expressed his ardent hopes that he is able to return to USM with a new batch of students from Adger University next year!
Ukhuwwah and networking session between ISDEV and Agder University Lectures 

Sunday, March 4, 2018


And of the people is he whose speech pleases you in worldly life, and he calls Allah to witness as to what is in his heart, yet he is the fiercest of opponents. [Translation of al-Baqarah, 2:204]

Monday, February 26, 2018


Banner for The 1st KAPPI
On 15 January 2019, 50 delegates from ISDEV left for an academic trip to Medan, Indonesia. They were there to participate in an academic gathering as well as make a visit to several interesting places nearby. The academic trip was led by ISDEV Director, Associate Professor Dr. Zakaria Bahari with the programme chairman Dr. Azreen Hamiza Abdul Aziz with another four ISDEV lecturers, Dr. Shahir Akram Hassan, Dr. Mohd Syakir Mohd Rosdi, Dr. Azrin Ibrahim and Dr. Murni yusoff. The five days academic trip included a two days academic gatherings jointly organized by ISDEV, Universitas Sumatera Utara (USU) and Universitas Medan Area (UMA).

Upon arrival: Lunch at the Restaurant Telaga Ikan, Kualanamu, Medan
ISDEV trip to Medan is an annual academic trip but this time around, this academic trip has been given a special face lift with the introduction on the 1st International Conference on Politic of Islamic Development (KAPPI). The international conference was held on 16-17 January 2018. It took place at the post-graduate campus 1 of Universitas Medan Area (UMA) located in Jalan Kolam, Medan, Indonesia. With the theme on The Rule of Human Rights and Norm in Politic of Islamic Development, a total number of 70 participants (44 participants from Malaysia and 26 participants from Indonesia) presented their working papers in the 1st KAPPI.

The colours of KAPPI: The first day of KAPPI at the Universitas Medan Area, Campus 1, Medan, Indonesia
The 1st KAPPI started with the opening ceremony by the Rector of UMA, Prof. Dr. HA Yakub Matondang. Also at present was UMA Vice Rector I, Dr. Heri Kusmanto, UMA Vice Rector II, Dr. Hjh Siti Mardiana, UMA Vice Rector III, Ir. H. Zulheri Noer, UMA Vice Rector IV, Prof. H. Zulkarnain Lubis and Director of UMA Post Graduate Studies Prof. Dr. Retna Astuti Kuswardani. The session continues with two keynote speakers and discussion from invited speakers throughout the first day of the conference. The first keynote delivered by Dr. Ahmad Taufik Damanik, the commissioner of National Commision on Human Right (Komnas HAM) on Hak Asasi Manusia dan Posisi Masyarakat Islam while the second keynote was delivered by Dedi Iskandar Batubara, member of the regional representative council (DPD), North Sumatera on Eksistensi DPD dalam Meningkatkan Kualitas Pendidikan Ilmu Agama di Indonesia.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Zakaria and all the invited speakers received their token of appreciation after their presentations
The invited speakers were Assoc. Prof. Dr. Zakaria Bahari presented on the topic entitle Peranan Zakat dalam Pembangunan Islam di Malaysia, Dr. Heri Kusmanto on the topic of Peranan Masyarakat Sivil Islam dalam Politik Pembangunan Indonesia, Prof. Dr. Retna Astuti Kuswardani on Peranan dan Norma Pembangunan Islam di Indonesia dan Dr. Warjio on the topic title, Isu dan Peluang Politik Islam di Indonesia.

Presenters and participants of KAPPI 1
The academic gatherings continued on the second day of KAPPI where all ISDEV students have the chance to present their research papers. There were two concurrent session during morning and afternoon sessions. The presenters were divided into four seminar rooms with different themes. The conference was attended by 120 participants including both ISDEV, USU and UMA students and lecturers.

Group photo of the extended family of ISDEV, UMA and USU at KAPPI 1
In the fourth day, ISDEV delegates visited some famous tourist attractions such as Istana Maimun, Medan, Masjid Raya, the famous ‘Pasar Ikan’ or ‘Pajak Ikan’ and a few book stores to fulfil the enthusiasm of travelling in Medan. The trip was also packed with both intellectual and spiritual inputs. ISDEV members also performed the Subuh, Maghrib and Isya’ prayers congregationally followed by tazkirah session from ISDEV Alumni in Medan.

ISDEV delegates visited some famous tourist attractions in Medan
ISDEV delegates returned to their hometown on 19th January 2018 and touched down at Pulau Pinang International Airport at 8.45 pm. The five-day academic cum spiritual trip was a true success. Alhamdulillah, it allowed and enabled all the delegates to experience a whole new perspective on being a traveler (musafir) and the strong ukhuwwah felt among one another was sealed further during this academic trip.

 Dinner at Wang Solo with ISDEV Alumni

Dinner Invitation by Ikatan Mahasiswa MAP-UMA

Silaturrahmi at ISDEV Alumni house hosted by Dr. Heri Kusmanto

ISDEV Student at Universitas Medan Area (UMA)

KAPPI Committee members: Political Economy Students from Universitas Sumatera Utara (USU)

Memorable group photo of ISDEV extended family in Medan, Indonesia

Sunday, February 25, 2018


Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Shall I not tell you what distinguishes the best of you from the worst of you? The best of you are those from whom goodness is expected and people are safe from their evil. The worst of you are those from whom goodness is not expected and people are not safe from their evil.” [Source: Sunan al-Tirmidhī 2263; Grade: Sahih (authentic) according to At-Tirmidhi]

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ أَلَا أُخْبِرُكُمْ بِخَيْرِكُمْ مِنْ شَرِّكُمْ خَيْرُكُمْ مَنْ يُرْجَى خَيْرُهُ وَيُؤْمَنُ شَرُّهُ وَشَرُّكُمْ مَنْ لَا يُرْجَى خَيْرُهُ وَلَا يُؤْمَنُ شَرُّهُ
2263 سنن الترمذي كتاب الفتن باب ما جاء في النهي عن سب الرياح
قَالَ أَبُو عِيسَى هَذَا حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ صَحِيحٌ