Wednesday, July 1, 2015

THE ISDEV - OXFORD CONNECTION

Dato' Dr. Afifi Al-Akiti's talk on "Islam and Philosophical Wisdom"
It truly was a warm get together again for ISDEV Director, Professor Dr. Muhammad Syukri Salleh and Dato' Dr. Afifi Al-Akiti. In addition to Dato' Dr. Afifi's appointment as ISDEV Visiting Fellow since 2013, both Dato' Dr. Afifi and Prof. Syukri Salleh hailed from the same prestigious academic background - Oxford University. Although Prof. Syukri graduated from Oxford with his PhD in 1991, he had the chance to be closely acquainted and sealed a special bond of brotherhood with Dato' Dr. Afifi when Prof. Syukri was back in Oxford as Oxford Visiting Fellow in 2010. Dato' Dr. Afifi was (and still is) a lecturer at the much revered university. It was then that the strong ukhuwwah between Prof. Syukri and Dato' Dr. Afifi was affectionately sealed.

Recently, Prof. Syukri attended the Universiti Islam Malaysia Wisdom Lecture Series (U-WISE) and coincidentally meet up with his friend Dato' Dr. Afifi once again. The U-WISE programme was held at Putrajaya Marriot Hotel, IOI Resort City, Sepang Utara on 17 June 2015 .
(L)- Prof. Syukri, UIM President Tan Sri Prof. Dr. Mohd Yusof Noor (white shirt), Dato' Dr. Afifi, UIM Senior Fellow Prof. Dr. Khalid Mohd Nor and UIM officer.
The participants of the programme consisted of academics from all over Malaysia. Being there on behalf of USM Vice Chancellor and as representative of USM, Prof. Syukri did not expect to be able to personally meet up with Dato' Dr. Afifi who was the main speaker for the inaugural U-WISE. Dato' Dr. Afifi delivered a lecture on "Islam and Philosophical Wisdom". However Dato' Dr. Afifi upon realizing that Prof. Syukri was there, took the opportunity to personally meet up and struck a conversation with him. One of the first things that Dato' Dr. Afifi asked from Prof. Syukri was to fill him in with the latest happenings on ISDEV.

Dato' Dr. Afifi takes his appointment as ISDEV Visiting Fellow seriously. He expressed his longing of coming back to ISDEV for a follow-up of the ISDEV Lecture Series that he delivered in 2010 on "Approaching Knowledge Secular and Religious". He is proud of his close association with ISDEV and unabashedly confess how closely attached he feels to ISDEV. Following updates from ISDEV's blog and website helped him to track ISDEV development. He also expressed his keenness and eagerly awaits for the appropriate time to be back at ISDEV in the very near future.
The close rapport and affiliation shared by these Oxford-don, Prof. Syukri with Dato' Dr. Afifi.
In the meantime, the U-WISE programme that Prof. Syukri attended was organized by University Islam Malaysia (UIM), which is the first university in Malaysia set up by the Conference of Rulers. UIM is a university founded through the activation of Kolej Islam Malaya (Malaya Islamic College) that was based on charitable funds and waqf , first introduced in 1955. The establishment of UIM is seen as a continuity to the traditions of charitable funds and waqf. UIM currently is offering short term courses in Islamic Studies and Islamic Banking for its December intake. Once its application to be registered as a public institution of higher learning is approved, UIM is poised to offer postgraduate courses at the Master and PhD levels.
UIM Mosque, Cyberjaya - with a capacity of 8000-strong congregation is designed to cater for the growing population of Cyberjaya. The 100 acre UIM campus is designed to be fully equipped with facilities such as the main Mosque building, Admininistration  office, VIP Lounge, Classrooms, Food preparation & dining area, ablution and toilets, travelator, multipurpose hall, staff quarters, indoor courtyard and an outdoor plaza.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

WIDENING THE ISDEV, USM REACH IN SUMATERA UTARA


Prof. Syukri with USM Vice Chancellor Prof. Dato' Dr. Omar Osman in flight.
ISDEV Director, Prof. Muhammad Syukri Salleh was recently flown to Medan, Indonesia with some of the top management officers of Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM). Among them were USM Vice Chancellor, Prof. Dato’ Dr. Omar Osman, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Student Affairs and Alumni) Professor Dato' Dr. Adnan Hussein as well as Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic and International Affairs) Professor Dato' Dr. Ahmad Shukri Mustapa Kamal. They were there on a three-day working visit to widen the USM academic network coverage in Medan scheduled from 4 June till 6 June 2015.

Upon arrival, the delegates hosted a sumptuous dinner at Restoren Lembur Kuring, Medan specially for invited guests of honours from the Universitas Medan Area (UMA), Universitas Sumatera Utara (USU), Universitas Muhammadiyah Sumatera Utara (UMSU), Institut Agama Islam Negeri Sumatera Utara (IAIN) as well as Universitas Pembangunan Panca Budi Medan (UNPAB). Each of these universities sent three representatives for the dinner. ISDEV Alumni members for the Medan Chapter were also among the invited guests for the dinner.
A photo session with the invited guests.
The next day saw the USM delegates attending the MoA Signing Ceremony between the School of Distance Education (PJJ), USM  and UNPAB. Amongst the contents of the sealed MoA would see USM increasing the enrolment of its offshore undergraduate students to 2,000 through collaborations with universities in North Sumatera. This is part of USM efforts to reach a target of 10,000 students registered for distance learning courses by 2020.
Taking a moment off fr a photo sesseion during the "Perjumpaan Kolaborator ISDEV, USM -Medan" 
Meanwhile, for the afternoon session, the Vice Chancellor, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Student Affairs and Alumni) and ISDEV Director attended the “Perjumpaan Kolaborator ISDEV, USM-Medan" (ISDEV, USM-Medan Collaborators Meeting) at Hotel Madani, Medan. In this meeting, the Rector as well as representatives from six universities collaborating with ISDEV namely UMA, USU, UMSU, Universitas Islam Negeri (UIN), Universitas Nahadlatul Ulama Sumatera Utara (UNUSU) and Universitas Pembangunan Masyarakat Indonesia (UPMI) were also present. 
Dinner with USM-Medan Alumni.
The meeting was hosted by ISDEV Director and aided by students and ISDEV Alumni members for the Medan Chapter. The main aim of the meet was to discuss further cooperation between USM and these six universities in Medan. One of the outcomes of the meet was the establishment of the Majlis Kolaborator (Perundingan) Pembangunan Berteraskan Islam (The Islamic-based Development Collaborative (Consultative) Council) which combines all the universities in North Sumatera that are collaborating with ISDEV specifically and USM in general. 

Among the main functions of the Collaborative Council is to arrange for a few programme such as lecturers and students exchange programme between USM and the Universities in Medan and joint publication whether in journal or book form that is related to Islamic-based Development. In addition, offer of academic programmes, research and alumni would also be strengthened through this Collaborative Council as a forum for the ongoing development of Islam. The Council is also willing to accept universities from other countries to collaborate with ISDEV and USM in the near future.
Not a moment to lose. The ever diligent Prof. Syukri took time to supervise his student, Kasyful Mahali.
At the end of the meet, all delegates attended a dinner with the USM Alumni members in Medan. Meanwhile, Prof. Syukri took this opportunity to meet up and had a chance to supervise his student, Kasyful Mahali before all of them were flown home to Pulau Pinang on the next day, 6 June 2015.

Below is a brief footage on the Collaborator Council established.


Saturday, June 27, 2015

A NAS A WEEK - 12 RAMADHAN 1436

Aisha reported: I have never known the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, to read the entire Quran in a single night, or to spend the whole night in prayer up until the morning, or to spend a whole month in fasting, except that he did so during the month of Ramadan [Source: Sunan An-Nasa’i 1641; Grade: Sahih (authentic) according to Al-Albani].

Monday, June 22, 2015

PROF. SYUKRI DELIVERS KEYNOTE ADDRESS AT NCOZ 2015

Prof. Syukri (R) with Deputy Mufti of Brunei Darussalam, YM Pehin Dato' Suhaili (L) at Kuantan Airport.
Three ISDEV members, ISDEV Director, Professor Muhammad Syukri Salleh with ISDEV lecturers, Dr Zahri Hamat and Dr Mohd Shukri Hanapi participated at the National Conference On Zakat and Economic Development 2015 (NCOZ 2015). With the theme on "Zakat Pemacu Ekonomi Ummah” (Zakat: The Driving Force of the Muslims Economy) the conference organized by Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP) was held at Hotel MS Garden, Kuantan, Pahang on 1 June 2015. 

Prof Syukri was given the honour to address the participants at the conference. He took the opportunity to address the participants by posing a question which was evident in the title “Krisis Ekonomi Kontemporari: Bolehkah diatasi dengan Zakat?’ (Contemporary Economic Crisis: Can it be Solved with Zakat?) before the concurrent sessions began after the tea break. Meanwhile, Dr. Mohd Shukri Hanapi was one the first presenters in one of the concurrent sessions with the title “Perakaunan Zakat Hasil Pertanian Di Malaysia” (Zakat Accounting on Agriculture Produce in Malaysia). Dr. Zahri presented on “Agihan Dana Zakat Kepada Usahawan Asnaf Melalui Pembiayaan Kredit di Baitul Mal Acheh” (Distribution of Zakat to the Asnaf Entrepreneur Through Credit Financing in Baitul Mal Acheh). 
Prof Syukri addressing the participants in his Keynote Address.
The participants of this conference included academics and students as well as practitioners of zakat institutions from inside and outside Malaysia in line with the conference background as a discourse platform to dissect the Islamic economic system especially zakat as a solution mechanism on the economic challenges and issues faced by the Muslim society.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

A NAS A WEEK - 5 RAMADHAN 1436H

So remember Me; I will remember you. And be grateful to Me and do not deny Me [al-Baqarah, 2:152].

Friday, June 19, 2015

TAKING THE ISDEV-UNISSA TIES TO THE NEXT LEVEL

Arrived at Brunei Darussalam and welcomed by Dr. Hjh Rasinah (right) and Dr. Siti Sara (2nd from right).
ISDEV Drector, Professor Muhammad Syukri Salleh and ISDEV Deputy Director, Dr. Zakaria Bahari were at Brunei Darussalam from 19 till 22 May 2015 to further the research agenda through various means of collaborations and academic co-operations between ISDEV and Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali (UNISSA).
Book editing in process - reciting the do'a before commencing the session.
Among such cooperation is the publishing of a book from the results of ten papers presented in the ISDEV- 5th Research University Team (ISDEV-RUT) Workshop that was held last March under the 'Negara Zikir' cluster. The editing process was jointly led by ISDEV Director, Prof. Syukri. The group agreed to have the book published with the title ‘Dasar dan Strategi Negara Zikir’, scheduled to be published this coming October in conjunction with UNISSA’s Convocation Ceremony.
Full of concentration as a focus mind and hard work are needed to discuss future ISDEV-UNISSA collobaration. On the right with balck 'songkok' is the Rector of UNISSA, Dr Norarfan Zainal
There were also discussions on the future collaborations with UNISSA. One such result is the publication of a forthcoming book entitled ‘Visualisasi Pembangunan Negara Zikir Brunei Darussalam’. In addition, the application of new projects and grants were discussed. Two new projects have been identified - the 'Brunei Vision 2035 Revisited' and 'Debt Culture in Brunei Darussalam’.

In the meantime, Dr. Zakaria Bahari had the opportunity to meet up and collect further data for his ‘Istibdal Waqf Project’ with team members from UNISSA,  Dr. Kamaru Salam Yusof, Dr. Fadzliwati Mohiddin and Dr. Hjh Rose Abdullah. A book with the proposed  title on 'Istibdal Wakaf di Brunei dan Malaysia’ is in the pipeline once the research is completed.
Discussing on the possibility of getting research grants from Brunei Research Council with Tuan Haji Amin, Deputy Director of Brunei's Department of Economic Development (JKPE)  who is in-charge of the grants.
Meanwhile, the Rector of UNISSA, Dr. Hj Norarfan Hj Zainal had also agreed and approved the First ISDEV-UNISSA Socio-Academic Laboratory (MASA) to be held for a month at UNISSA, from 27th July to 28th August 2015. During the duration, ISDEV students are scheduled to stay in Brunei Darussalam led by ISDEV lecturer Dr. Wan Norhaniza Wan Hasan. The program will be filled with activities such as learning Arabic, recreational activities involving friendly matches between ISDEV and UNISSA, study visits to learn and know more about the culture in Brunei including the way of life and customs of the local people, community service, and academic colloqium.

Apart from the above, ISDEV Deputy Director Dr. Zakaria Bahari will also be in Brunei Darussalam from November 2015 to January 2016 for his proposed sabbatical.

Monday, June 15, 2015

A NAS A WEEK - 28 SHA'BAAN 1436

Abu Dharr reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said to me, “Fear Allah wherever you are, follow a bad deed with a good deed and it will erase it, and behave with good character toward the people.” [Source: Sunan At-Tirmidhi; No. 1987; Grade: Sahih (authentic) according to At-Tirmidhi].

LET ALLAH SWT WATCH OVER

One of the verses from the Qur'an that was referred to in the Tarbiyyah Pengarah ISDEV.

ISDEV Monthly Supervision for the month of May, was held at the University Conference Hall (DPU), Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) on Friday, 29 May 2015. Dr. Fadzila Azni Ahmad served as the Chairperson throughout the session.
Listening attentively with utmost concentration.

As usual, the programme started with the Tarbiyah Pengarah ISDEV delivered by ISDEV Director, Professor Dr. Muhammad Syukri Salleh. He addressed ISDEV members on how important it was to feel that at every single moment, every second, everywhere, no matter what we do, we are always being watched by Allah SWT. 
Evident in his humble and pious demeanour - the much respected and much loved Prof Syukri.

The title Prof. Syukri had chosen to specifically address ISDEV members that month was “Biar Allah yang Pantau” (Let Allah SWT Watch Over). According to him, ISDEV was formed in the name of Allah SWT by striving and proving to the world that Muslims are honest, trustworthy, of good heart and only do things for the sake of seeking Allah SWT countenance. As such, it is only befitting that ISDEV submits to Allah SWT in choosing the rightful candidates to strive in Allah SWT cause simultaneously declaring that ISDEV belongs to Allah SWT.
Ustaz Taha (left) posing a question on whether there is any specific deed, dzikir or supplication that needs
to be carried out to ensure this Rasa Bertuhan has taken root within our inner self.

But, to make all the above truly a reality, there are always challenges and afflictions that can make one feel betrayed, resisted, at wits' end, sad, vilified, maligned and others. However in each and every tribulations and problems there will surely be a way out. The most effective way is the strong innate feeling of godliness which he termed as "Rasa Bertuhan". One way of cultivating this Rasa Bertuhan is to be guided and be inspired by the history and of the Prophets as narrated by the Qur'an. As an example, when feeling betrayed, there is the story of Prophet Yusuf (Joseph) who was betrayed by his own elder brothers and the story of Prophet Musa (Moses) when he was betrayed by his followers who deviated from worshipping Allah SWT choosing to worship the dead cow instead. These true-to-account narrations could be used as a motivating factor to just keep striving in Allah SWT cause and to never give up. 
Not wanting to miss a single point - some students diligently jotted down the points from the Tarbiyyah.

In concluding the Tarbiyyah, Prof Syukri stressed the importance of each and every member of ISDEV in particular and the Muslim ummat in general to have imbued within them at all times this feeling of Rasa Bertuhan and realise that Allah SWT is ever watchful. He ardently believes that when this Rasa Bertuhan is fully embedded within man, all human beings will not commit any evil or crime as every deed and maliciousness perpetrated will surely and definitely receive the appropriate retribution from Allah SWT, if not in this tangible world then in the perpetual Hereafter.
Encik Ahmad Sofwan sharing his expertise on Critical Academic Writing.

The programme then continued with the Monthly Graduate Supervision on "Critical Academic Writing " by  Encik Ahmad Sofwan Nathan Abdullah, who is a Language Teacher at the School of Languages, Literacies and Translations, USM. He led this session by providing a detailed explanation on the technical aspects and terms that are required and should be borne in mind at all times for those who were keen to write academically in the English Language. To gauge the understanding of his lecture, he gave some on-the-spot exercises for ISDEV members to practice. ISDEV members showed great keenness and enthusiasm to ensure they grasp the concept and terms explained that day so that they could get a clearer picture. This was evident from the lively questions and answer sessions that transpired throughout his lecture.