Sunday, February 28, 2016

A NAS A WEEK - 20 JAMADIL AWWAL 1437


Or do you think that you will enter Paradise while such [trial] has not yet come to you as came to those who passed on before you? They were touched by poverty and hardship and were shaken until (even their) messenger and those who believed with him said,"When is the help of Allah?" Unquestionably, the help of Allah is near [al-Baqarah, 2:214].

Friday, February 26, 2016

KUIM UNDERGRADS VISIT ISDEV AGAIN!

All smiles - a group photo between KUIM delegates and ISDEV members.
Centre for Islamic Development Management Studies (ISDEV), Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) is once again being honoured to play host to the staff and students of Kolej Universiti Islam Melaka (KUIM). The KUIM entourage consists of four lecturers and 46 undergraduate students who are taking a course of Islamic Development Management as one of their major subjects. 

The "Majlis Sambutan Lawatan KUIM” on 25 February 2016 was held at Balai Sri Pinang, Centre for Instructional Technology and Multimedia (PTPM) USM and was conducted by ISDEV Associate Members (ABI). 
Hard to tell the difference between an ISDEV student with the KUIM undergraduates.
As early as 8.30 am the KUIM entourage arrived at USM and was welcomed by ABI members. KUIM was led by Mr. Mohd Sabree Nasri while ISDEV Alumni, Cik Sofyatul Azlyn Shariffuddin who is currently a lecturer at Akademi Pengajian Islam KUIM was responsible in managing the visit to its fruition. The other two lecturers from KUIM that were part of the KUIM delegates were Ustaz Abdul Aziz Che Ibrahim and Ustaz Nor Azam Nordin.
Mohd Zulfakhairi Mokhtar, ABI representative, tells what it is like to be an ISDEV student.
This was the second visit for KUIM to ISDEV as the first visit was on February 2015. This signifies the close rapport that ISDEV has with KUIM. ISDEV had actively participated in developing the Islamic Development Management undergraduate programme at KUIM way back in 2010 when ISDEV Director, Professor Dr. Muhammad Syukri Salleh, was appointed by KUIM as an Advisory Panel to develop the program. To further strengthen the cooperation and ukhuwwah (brotherhood) formed, Prof. Syukri was also appointed as a Visiting Lecturer of KUIM for its inaugural programme on February 2014.
Dr. Fadzila Azni Ahmad giving her welcoming remarks.
As per previous visit, the event was divided into two sessions. ISDEV Deputy Director, Dr. Fadzila Azni Ahmad started the event with her welcoming remarks. It then continued with ABI representative, Mohd Zulfakhairi Mokhtar briefing the delegates on ISDEV as well as USM. In addition to the use of a static presentation, a simple video presentation on ISDEV activities was also aired to the entourage.
The open dialogue-session among ISDEV and KUIM students.
A formal discussion as well as an in-depth explanation on ISDEV and the various Islamic Development Management postgraduate programme offered were also given by RISDEV (ISDEV Postgraduate by Research) and MISDEV (ISDEV Postgraduate by Mixed-Mode) students. An open dialogue-session took place among students of ISDEV and KUIM before the end of the morning session.
Abang Mohd Razif Abang Muis (Left) presenting his PhD thesis proposal
in the ISDEV Graduate Discourse slot while Dr. Mohd Shukri Hanapi (Right) evaluated the proposal.
The afternoon session made way for the ISDEV Graduate Discourse slot. This slot was purposely held to give the KUIM entourage a hands-on experience on what it is like to study at ISDEV - defence of the research's proposal and final draft thesis as well as mock-viva - are some of the duties and learning traditions at ISDEV. These programme aim to train and expose ISDEV students to give ideas, input and comments for improvement as well as build the student's self-confidence. In addition, through such intellectual and academic programme students are given the exposure and experience an almost real atmosphere to the candidates before the actual viva. These methods and tradition may not be available at other institutions which is why such programme makes ISDEV unique in its own way as compared to other educational institutions.
The USM Hamzah Sendut Library tour.
Hopefully from this visit, KUIM entourage has gained various inputs, myriad of experience as well as a deeper understanding of the postgraduate programmes offered by ISDEV. Besides exploring and grasping ISDEV culture, this event hopefully helped to further promote ISDEV postgraduate programme to KUIM students. These would-be graduate students of KUIM would one day, in the very near future, be ISDEV potential postgraduate students. The programme ended with the KUIM entourage paying a visit to USM Hamzah Sendut Library accompanied by ABI members with the guidance from the librarians. 

Monday, February 22, 2016

MAJLIS RESTU ILMU FOR MISDEV14


The strong bond built between a student and ISDEV lecturer - his teacher
35 MISDEV14 (ISDEV Master Mixed-Mode) students who have successfully completed their Master in Social Science (Islamic Development Management) this February 2016 were honoured in a simple yet meaningful ceremony called “Majlis Restu Ilmu” (Knowledge Blessing Ceremony). 
Siti Maryam Idris - Master of Ceremony of the day
It has become a tradition in ISDEV that newly enrolled MISDEV students organize a simple yet memorable program which is part of ISDEV culture. The significance of such program is to enable ISDEV lecturers to bestow their blessings to all MISDEV14 students the knowledge that has been shared and imparted to the students who have just completed their studies.
The sisters of MISDEV14
The event took place at the Dewan Muzakarah, Pusat Islam, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) on the blessed afternoon of Friday, 19 February 2016. The programme started at 2.30 pm and was divided into three sessions. The first session was the opening remarks from the representative of MISDEV15.1 who was the Master of Ceremony of the day. A simple video specially dedicated for MISDEV14 was also aired to the audience followed by a poetry recital by Ustaz Afnan Hamimi Taib Azamudden (MISDEV14) on “ Semusim di ISDEV”. 
All full of sentiments as it is time to bid adieu to ISDEV
The second session continued with a video show by ISDEV lecturers. This time, MISDEV14 who will have their convocation ceremony soon, were touched by the advice and valuable reminders addressed especially for them. Some of them even shed tears and from the look of their faces, had made a resolve to hold dearly that speech and advice from the heart dedicated to them as providence for their life 's journey from now onwards.
Dr. Fadzila addressing the students
The last session then continued just after ISDEV Deputy Director, Dr. Fadzila Azni Ahmad delivered her simple and brief speech to MISDEV14. The culmination session of the day, namely 'Sesi Merestui Ilmu’ (Knowledge Blessing Session) took place followed by a "Symbolic Gesture" time. The students went to each lecturer, shook hands, asked for forgiveness, blessings and permission to practice, utilize and disseminate the knowledge they had received from the lecturers. It was indeed an emotional-filled, but on the face of each student was a glimpse of glowing contentment - a happiness that contains hundreds of fond memories. The ceremony ended with a group photo session and a simple tea time.
Taking turns during the Symbolic Gesture session

Sunday, February 21, 2016

A NAS A WEEK - 13 JAMADIL AWWAL 1437H

Abu Huraira reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Give each other gifts and you will love each other.” [Source: Al-Adab Al-Mufrad 594 Grade: Hasan (fair) according to Ibn Hajar]

Friday, February 19, 2016

ISDEV WELCOMES NEW MISDEV15.2 STUDENTS

For the very first time since ISDEV offered its Master in Social Science (Islamic Development Management) programme in 2008, ISDEV accepted a second batch of intake for the academic semester of 2015/2016 following the high demand received annually. A positive indication that this three semesters' mixed-mode course work programme is well known and well received. Thus, ISDEV welcomes the new batch of students on 12 February 2016 at the C06, Social Science Conference Room, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM).

13 new students have been accepted to pursue their Masters (Mixed-Mode) for the academic year 2015/2016 Semester II. In continuation of ISDEV tradition, this new batch of students is collectively known as MISDEV15.2.
RISDEV students with the juniors - MISDEV15.1 and MISDEV15.2 students.
The Ta'aruf Session (or Orientation Programme) for MISDEV15.2 started at 9.00 am with a welcoming speech and briefing by the representative of ISDEV Director, Dr. Mohd Shukri Hanapi. He started by introducing the students on what ISDEV is all about. Then he gave a brief general overview of the structure of ISDEV, the courses to be attended to by the students, introduced ISDEV lecturers and administrative staff as well as the manners and conduct that should be adhered to whilst studying at ISDEV.

The second session continued with multimedia presentation prepared by ISDEV Associate Members (ABI) focusing on ISDEV activities that are to be participated by the MISDEV15.2 students throughout their studies at ISDEV. In this session, Mohammad Zulfakhairi Mokhtar as ABI representative played his role to explain further about ISDEV activities to share with them the thrill and excitement felt by being actively involved in the activities undertaken.
ABI representative (right) and Dr. Shukri Hanapi in action.
After the multimedia presentation, current RISDEV (ISDEV Postgraduate by Research) students and MISDEV (ISDEV Mixed-Mode) students who are supervised by ISDEV lecturers were called to briefly introduce their respective lecturers from their point of view in terms of each of the lecturers' individual personality and their experiences as to how they are supervised. This is the time that everyone had a chance to know each ISDEV lecturer inside out. A question and answer session that came after that allowed MISDEV15.2 to seek more information and better understanding of what they can expect as well as what is expected of them.
All eyes on the power point presentation to provide a holistic picture of being a
postgraduate student of ISDEV is all about.
Meanwhile, in the spirit of ukhuwwah as exemplified by our beloved Rasulullah SAW, the current MISDEV15.1 are regraded as the Ansar community while the new batch of MISDEV15.2 are regarded as the Muhajirin community. The seniors as well as RISDEV students (consisting of PhD students and fully research mode Masters students) were also present to witness the seal of the brotherhood in ISDEV that day.

The new batch of students is rather a unique mix among them as there is an international student from Japan. At the end of the session, there was time and space for everyone to mingle around, all within the dictates of the Shariah. Even though most of ISDEV beloved lecturers, including Professor Dr. Muhammad Syukri Salleh who were not there due to his commitment as an Adjunct Professor at Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali (UNISSA) Brunei Darussalam, certainly MISDEV15.2 students are looking forward to meet and to get to know more closely all the lecturers at ISDEV.
Some of the MISDEV15.2 students with Dr. Azrin Ibrahim (seated right).
ISDEV members hope that MISDEV15.2 students would not only be able to continue the excellent achievements of the previous batch of ISDEV students but also to put it in their hearts to be a proactive part of ISDEV fraternity and thus move ISDEV further towards a more rapid progress, in shaa Allah.

Congratulations and welcome to ISDEV to all MISDEV15.2 students.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

SPREADING ISDEV IDEAS IN TURKEY

From 8 until 10 February 2016, ISDEV Deputy Director, Dr. Fadzila Azni Ahmad was flown to one of the most preferred cities in world tourism with its historical and cultural heritage dating back to thousands of years - Istanbul, Turkey.
Dr. Fadzila Azni Ahmad (right) with other presenters from
 Malaysia on the first day of INTCESS 2016
Dr. Fadzila was there to present her paper at the 3rd International Conference on Education and Social Sciences (INTCESS 2016) which was held at the Nippon Hotel, Istanbul. The three days conference was organised by International Organisation Center of Academic Research (OCERINT) which aims to bring together researchers, practitioners from academia and industry as well as institutions, bodies and organisations from countries around the globe to share ideas, problems and solutions relating to the multifaceted aspects of Academic Research.
Dr. Fadzila Azni presenting her research
Presenting her paper on “Strategic Human Management Practices in Islamic Development Institutions in Malaysia: An Islamic Worldview Analysis”, her presentation was well commented and accepted. She was also asked by the participant of INTCESS 2016 for further understanding of the topic she had presented. She felt that the positive feedback and comment received had immensely prodded her to spread the ideas on Islam in such conferences held in other countries in the future. 
Keen to know more - one of the participants seek further information from Dr. Fadzila (left)
Dr. Fadzila’s active involvement in writing and participation in international conferences is hoped to have spurred ISDEV members to pursue scholarly excellence and intellectualism through involvement in international conferences. Such exposure could not only increase one's experience and allow the discovery of new knowledge but also as a tool for the advancement of one's self, religion, race and foremost for Islam. It also signifies a step in the right direction in bringing ISDEV to be a Regional Reference Centre.
Dr. Fadzila taking a photo (fourth from right) with the other participants of INTCESS 2016
As part of the conference programme, the organisers of INTCESS 2016 brought the participants for a one-day tour of Istanbul on the last day of the conference. Dr. Fadzila had the opportunity to experience an invigorating cruise on the Bosphorus for a superb view of the magical city of Istanbul which included Turkey's monuments, villas and famous attractions.
Part of the conference programme - a cruise along the Bosphorus with other participants. 
Dr. Fadzila is seen here with her son

Sunday, February 14, 2016

A NAS A WEEK - 6 JAMADIL AWWAL 1437


And We did not send any messenger except (speaking) in the language of his people to state clearly for them, and Allah sends astray (thereby) whom He wills and guides whom He wills. And He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise [Ibrahim, 14:4].

Thursday, February 11, 2016

DIRECTORS'S TARBIYYAH ON 'RASA BERJEMAAH'

The monthly Director's Tarbiyyah for the month of January was held on 20 January, 2016 at C06, Social Science Conference Room, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM). This time around, ISDEV Director, Professor Dr. Muhammad Syukri Salleh chose to address ISDEV fraternity on "Rasa Berjemaah”  (to feel as a congregation).

He started the Tarbiyyah by giving the characteristics of a Jema'ah (congregation). According to him, a good Jema'ah can only be formed when there is a good leader and good followers. In ISDEV context, the leader referred to the director whilst the followers consist of lecturers, administrative staff as well as students.
ISDEV Director, Prof. Syukri at the helm for the monthly Director's Tarbiyyah
The Jema'ah must feel each other's needs as a good Jema'ah move collectively to achieve success in both worlds. However, every effort and success derived could not mean individual success alone, but to be considered as the success of the Jema'ah. For example, the recent win by an ISDEV student for the best thesis award at the national level. Definitely the success resulted from student's hard work, but without the help of lecturers, administrative staff and other students whether directly or indirectly, the student may not have won the award. Thus, Prof. Syukri stressed a point that for one to feel as a Jema'ah, the success of the student is the success of all not only for ISDEV but also a success for Islam.
Absorbing all that is said - ISDEV students listen attentively to what is delivered
But in the effort to attain the success, it is not impossible that in a Jema'ah rivalry among one another exist. This can make the Jema'ah weak if viewed from a negative angle. In ISDEV, being competitive is not meant to bring down one another, but being competitive is for the sake of attaining the pleasures of Allah SWT. Thus, all members of the Jema'ah need to cooperate and compete for success and reaping the pleasures of Allah SWT.
An solemn atmosphere as everyone absorbs the points on the need to feel as part of a jema'ah
Furthermore, ISDEV is now gaining ground in being known by many which is in line with the university's expectations for ISDEV to be a Regional Reference Center in the near future, the current Jema'ah must start the preparations from now. This means this Jema'ah can no longer stay at the current level but must go beyond the boundaries of ISDEV and think and want to go global. Prof. Syukri continued with his explicit expression of his gratefulness to Allah SWT and proud of ISDEV fraternity because little by little every ISDEV member has begun to answer the call and shoulder the responsibilities that they need to fulfil. ISDEV lecturers have started moving out and in February alone, some of them will be in Brunei Darussalam, Turkey, and Mecca whilst some others will be in other parts of Malaysia to spread the idea, increase their knowledge and assemble valuable experience that can be shared with other members of the Jema'ah.
An all serious affair - the monthly Director's Tarbiyyah delivered by Prof. Syukri
Indeed, in order to realize the hopes of university as well as ensuring ISDEV success, one necessary strength is to "Rasa Berjema'ah" (feel as a congregation). However to be a strong Jema'ah ISDEV members, one and all,  must cooperate and compete positively to achieve the pleasures of Allah SWT. If this sense jema'ah exists without there being a negative competitiveness with one another, then ISDEV will continue to succeed and become a Regional Reference Center as expected, in shaa Allah.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

A NAS A WEEK - 29 RABI'UL THANI 1437

Haritha ibn Wahb reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Shall I not tell you about the companions of Paradise? They are every humble person considered weak, but if they gave an oath by Allah it would be fulfilled. Shall I not tell you about the companions of Hellfire? They are every cruel, haughty, and arrogant person.” [Source: Sahih Bukhari 4634, Sahih Muslim 2853].

Friday, February 5, 2016

KNOWLEDGE SHARING SESSION WITH CEO OF CENTHRA

On 28 January 2016, ISDEV members were given an academic treat to gain useful information from the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Centre for Human Rights and Research Advocacy (CENTHRA), Brother Azril Mohd Amin. This distinctive 'Knowledge Sharing Session' was held at C05, ISDEV Meeting Room, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM).
Universal Periodic Review Malaysia was the topic presented by Azril Mohd Amin to ISDEV fraternity
The prgramme started at 3.00 pm with ISDEV Director, Professor Dr. Muhammad Syukri Salleh giving a detailed overview of ISDEV on the various academic courses offered, past and on-going research that ISDEV is embarking upon as well as ISDEV plans for the future.
Being an Islamic human rights activists, Azril falls under one who "walks the talks".
After the ‘ice-breaking’ session, Brother Azril then started his talk and provided a general overview on the "Universal Periodic Review Malaysia (UPR)”. According to him the UPR is a mechanism, which involves a regular review of human rights records of all 193 United Nation (UN) member states, including our country, Malaysia. It is like a test our country has to go through in order to prove how well we are at upholding our citizens’ human rights. UPR was established when the Human Rights Council was created on March 15, 2006 by the UN General Assembly. Malaysia went through its first UPR back in 2009 and its second one in 2013. Three key documents form the basis of the UPR. These three documents are obtained from the state, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the stakeholders.
Full House at C05, ISDEV , where the not to-be-missed sharing session was held.
According to Azril out of the three documents, the most important document is the stakeholders’ report. This report is compiled by OHCHR based on the submissions of the National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) and civil society organisation (CSO) or non-governmental organisation (NGO). Thus in the UPR process, the NHRI and NGO have an important role to play especially in submitting independent reports to the council to provide their perspectives on the situation of human rights in the country. There is one stage in the UPR, where the state under review (SUR), Malaysia, for example, has to present its national report in an interactive dialogue session. At this stage all UN member states have the opportunity to pose questions, comments and recommendations.
Not missing a chance to pen down some notes delivered by Azril.
He added that, the SUR may accept, reject or comment on the recommendations. The report would then outline the number of recommendations received, accepted, rejected, noted and is responded to in writing. As for Malaysia, the country had several responses to the recommendations such as ‘accepted in full’, ‘accepted in principle’, ‘accepted in part’ and ‘rejected’. The government defined ‘accepted in full’ as recommendations accepted in full indicating Malaysia’s support while ‘accepted in principle’ meant the government was taking steps towards achieving the objectives of the recommendations but under certain conditions. Meanwhile the government did not provide a specific definition for recommendations that were accepted in part. Malaysia is due for its third UPR in 2018.
During the Question and Answer session with ISDEV lecturers and students.
Question and Answer session provided the chance for ISDEV members who were keen to seek for clearer understanding of the topic shared by Azril. ISDEV lecturers as well as students did not miss a chance to ask him questions and were satisfied with his answers. Indeed, such sharing session was a worthwhile programme that can be slotted as part of ISDEV annual activity so that everyone can amplify the knowledge of Malaysia's current issues especially related to human rights.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

THE 8TH ANNUAL LECTURE SERIES ON CONTEMPORARY ISLAM IN MALAYSIA

Chairman of the programme, Dr. Fadzila Azni Ahmad giving a memento to
Professor Dr. Levi Geir Eidhamar for the 8th Annual Lecture Series between ISDEV and UiA, Norway
On 28 January 2016, ISDEV had successfully organized the 8th Annual Lecture Series on Contemporary Islam in Malaysia. There were more than 80 participants in this programme consisting mainly of ISDEV students and lecturers as well as the undergraduate students from the University of Agder (UiA), Norway. 
Some of UiA undergraduates students listening and jot down notes from the speech
The 22 UiA undergraduates students of “Religion in Asia” study programme were led by Professor Dr. Levi Geir Eidhamar. It was an annual occasion resulting from the signing of an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) and University of Agder, Norway in 2007. ISDEV Deputy Director, Dr. Fadzila Azni Ahmad, served as Chairman of the programme while Dr. Shereeza Mohammed Saniff served as the Moderator. The programme took place at University Conference Hall (DPU), USM. 
Invited speaker, Azril Mohd Amin delivering his speech with full spirit
The programme was divided into two sessions. The first session saw the invited speaker, a Fellow from the Islamic Institute of Islamic Strategic Research  Malaysia (IKSIM), Azril Mohd Amin gave a talk on “Conversion Issues in  Malaysia based on the Laws in Malaysia and the Special Rights of Bumiputera in Malaysia”. He is also the Chief Executive Officer of the Centre for Human Rights Research and Advocacy (CENTHRA), a lawyer and an Islamic NGO activist. His interlocutory skills and being a well-travelled Islamic human rights activists has prepared him well for the task at hand for this programme.
During the Question & Answer session - The invited speaker, Azril Mohd Amin calmly
answered all the question to fill the curiousity from the audience
 Azril's one-and-half-hour talk was divided into two main topics. In his clarification of a case in point, the speaker tactfully finds points of similarities that bids well with the participants. His first topic touched on the state of affairs of the conversion issues from the legislative and reported case laws perspectives in Malaysia. He cited relevant articles in the Federal Constitution and then provided some verbal illustrations pertaining to court cases on reverting back to Islam as well as some cases of those who had made application to return to their religion of birth or to determine the religion for their minor-aged children from their estranged spouse. He also touched on some technicalities of the laws pertaining to those who are born Muslims.
Prof. Levi asking questions for clearer understanding on the topic deliver by the speaker
The second topic was on the special rights of the Bumiputera in Malaysia where Azril brought the participants back in history to appreciate the significance of the Nusantara or Tanah Melayu as well as the strong Malay Muslim Sultanate background permeating Malaysia until this very day. It was with such strong understanding of this unique background that even the British respected and ensured through the Reid Commission that Article 3 and  Article 153 of the Federal Constitution were drafted, preserved and upheld until today. He then went on to mention about the effect of the National Economic Policy (NEP) and the National Development Policy (NDP). The optimum desired results of both the NEP and NDP is still an ongoing process requiring all stakeholders to proactively look for alternative formula and solutions that can benefit all people in Malaysia.
One of the UiA student asking questions and keen to get more details on
 the speech delivered by the speaker
The second part was a truly lively and vibrant Question & Answer session. Almost all the undergraduate Norwegian students at DPU were keen to get more details on the points shared by the speaker. 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. In his clarification of a case in point, the speaker finds points of similarities that bids well with the participants. Azril was able to tactfully tackle and answer the myriads of questions fielded by these students.
Group photo with ISDEV Director, Professor Dr. Muhammad Syukri Salleh, Professor Dr. Levi Geir Eidhamar, Azril Mohd Amin as well as ISDEV and UiA students at the end of the programme
Overall, from the reaction and gleeful faces exhibited by the students of UiA, the programme had indeed provided satisfactory information to their queries and apprehensiveness pertaining to the two issues tackled by the speaker. In fact Prof Levi had on a few occasion throughout the programme declared the excellent manner in which the questions fielded were brilliantly answered. He expressed his ardent hopes that he is able to return to USM next year with a new batch of students from UiA.