Based in Kuala Lumpur, the International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies (IAIS) Malaysia (Company No: 819689X) was established in 2008 as a nonprofit independent research institute with funding by the Government of Malaysia. The Institute is dedicated to rigorous pursuit of objective academic research on Islam and contemporary issues of concern to Malaysia, the ummah and Islam’s engagement with other civilisations. The Islamic revivalist discourse of recent decades has often voiced sectarian, local and partisan concerns and has engaged itself in minor issues such as what people eat and wear, is ideology driven, and hardly addresses issues of good governance and economic development. It also pays scant attention to the broader universal teachings of Islam. Islam Hadhari is an attempt to change it.
Our research seeks to be pragmatic yet well-grounded in the basic teachings of the Qur’ān and Sunnah, Islamic jurisprudence, political thought, comparative religion, civilisation studies, and modern developments. The Institute employs resident Research Fellows and Senior Analysts of recognised standing in their fields of specialisation. Research projects are identified and developed by reference to the various themes of Islam Hadhari, for example the principles of good governance in Islam and other legal traditions, protection of the natural environment, advancing interfaith dialogue in and outside of Malaysia as well aspects of engagement between Islam and other world religions. [watch short video about IAIS]
The ten component principles of Islam Hadhari are:
- Faith in God and piety
- A just and trustworthy government
- A free and independent people
- A rigorous pursuit and mastery of knowledge
- Balanced and comprehensive economic development
- A good quality of life
- Protection of the rights of women and minorities
- Cultural and moral integrity
- Safeguarding the natural resources and the environment
- Strong defence capabilities
Other areas of research the Institute plans to develop include a fiqh-based approach to the harmonisation of halal standards, developing outlines of a model Islamic family law, advancing the inter-faith/inter-civilisation dialogue, and developing an index of good governance, whereby the Islamic commitment of a particular government can be verified on the basis of a set of measurable criteria.
Abdullah Badawi’s administration adopted Islam Hadhari as its policy programme since its inception in 2004. It became widely known in Malaysia and, in varying degrees, elsewhere in the Muslim world. IAIS Malaysia plans to present the general public in Malaysia and elsewhere with sound research that develops the goals and objectives of Islam Hadhari and its component principles within the context of Islamic teachings and doctrines.
Virtually every one of the research areas outlined above provides scope for project-based research. For example, “a just and trustworthy government,” being one of the ten sub-themes of Islam Hadhari, provides opportunity for research into the salient principles of the Qur’ān and Sunnah with a view to developing a perspective on the principal features of good governance in Islam such as justice, consultation, people’s welfare, and trustworthy leadership. What are the salient features of the trust of governance, and how do the Qur’ān commentators and leading scholars answer this question? The Institute undertakes research to expound these as well as to identify and prioritise the key principles of a just and trustworthy government in our times.
In line with the spirit of renewal (tajdīd), Islam Hadhari offers a refreshing presentation of a set of important principles that focus on people’s welfare, good governance and justice. Regeneration and renewal of the Islamic civilisation, grounded in the authentic teachings of Islam, are integral to the basic mission of the Institute. IAIS Malaysia develops credible Islamic perspectives on issues with the sole purpose of advancing people’s welfare and good governance. Our credibility will ultimately depend on the quality of our work, the calibre of our research, and our commitment to objectivity that is not compromised by political or partisan interests.