IAIS Malaysia’s Achievements in 2017
There were extensive collaborations between IAIS Malaysia and several organisations in 2017. Strong and excellent partnership IAIS Malaysia has had with other organisations such as Pertubuhan Legasi Tun Abdullah Badawi (LEGASI); Institut Islam Hadhari, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM); Institut Integriti Malaysia (INTEGRITI); and Institut Kefahaman Islam Malaysia (IKIM) had been reflected in the success of hosting many events on variegated topics. On a rare occasion, in March 2017, IAIS Malaysia was privileged to co-organise the Reviving of the Islamic Spirit (RIS) Malaysia Convention with Al-Naqiy Islamic Solutions Sdn Bhd, and Yayasan Dakwah Islam Malaysia held at Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC). With the theme ‘1400 Years of Clarity: Restoring Faith in the Modern Age’, this convention featured scholars and inspirational speakers from across the world: Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, Nouman Ali Khan, Imam Siraj Wahhaj, Shaykh Sulaiman Mulla, Imam Zaid Shakir, Shaykh Muhammad Nenowy, Imam Afroz Ali and many others.
In March 2017, an academic discussion under the theme ‘Melestarikan Integriti TN50 Berasaskan Nilai Pelbagai Perayaan Agama di Malaysia’ (Sustaining Integrity of TN50 on the Grounds of Religious Celebrations in Malaysia) was jointly held with Institut Integriti Malaysia. In November 2017, a number of joint events were held such as 'Seminar Wasatiyyah dalam Pembangunan Malaysia’ (Seminar on Moderation in the Development of Malaysia), which was a collaboration with the Faculty of Islamic Studies, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Majlis Profesor Negara (MPN), and Institut Wasatiyyah Malaysia. In addition, IAIS had collaboration with Istanbul Network and the Institute of Maqasid Syariah (INSMAQ) of Universiti Selangor to hold the ‘International Conference on Democratic Transitions in the Muslim World’ and the ‘Conference on Contemporary Issues in Islamic Education 2017’ respectively, both of which were successfully held.
IAIS Malaysia also co-organised a conference entitled ‘Seminar on Zakat, Waqf and Sadaqah 2017’ with IRCIEF-KUIS and Islamic Studies College of Johore (MARSAH) in April 2017. Under the theme ‘Empowering Social Benefit Initiatives Through Engagement of IFIs’, the conference addressed the promotion of zakat, waqf, and sadaqah as instruments for social empowerment initiatives to achieve balanced economic growth, and the enhancement of the intermediary role of Islamic Financial Institutions towards perfecting the Islamic economic system. This one-day event also saw the launching of Sadaqah House Report by Dato’ Dr. Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki, Deputy Minister at the Prime Minister’s Department, who took the opportunity, at the same time, to explain the government’s agenda on empowerment of socio-economic development for social benefits.
In August 2017, IAIS Malaysia co-organised ‘Seminar Kebangsaan Mahkamah Syariah 2017 – 60 Tahun Pasca Kemerdekaan: Menelusuri Cabaran, Melestari Masa Hadapan’ together with Department of Syariah Judiciary Malaysia (JKSM); Department of Syariah Judiciary Selangor (JAKESS); IKIM; Academy of Islamic Studies, University of Malay; and the Faculty of Syariah and Law, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia. The conference which was officially opened at IAIS by Major General (R) Dato’ Seri Jamil Khir Baharom, Minister at the Prime Minister’s Department featured legal experts and practitioners of Syariah law. The main objective of this conference was to evaluate the role and developments of the Syariah courts in the span of 60 years after the independence of Malaysia. The conference identified challenges and issues that have hindered the development of Syariah courts and made recommendations for transformation of Syariah courts in tandem with global standards.
In November 2017, IAIS Malaysia organised the International Seminar on Islam and Green Technology 2017 with the theme ‘Green Technology for Sustainable Development.’ Following its debut success in the previous year, this seminar once again featured unique and creative ideas at articulating the feasibility of Islamic concepts and principles with the contemporary and practical issues of green science and technology. Four keynote addresses were delivered by Emeritus Professor Datuk Dr. Osman Bakar of Sultan Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Centre for Islamic Studies (SOASCIS), University Brunei Darussalam; Professor Dato’ Dr. Mohd Yusof Othman of the Institut Islam Hadhari, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM); Professor Dato’ Ir. Dr. Hassan Basri of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM); and Dr. K. Kalithasan of Global Environment Centre (GEC). Over 150 participants were deeply engaged in discussions on a wide range of issues from community engagement and environmental awareness, sustainable development, green innovations, and financing with green values and ethics. In the closing remarks, the Secretary General of Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water (KeTTHA), Dato’ Seri Ir. Dr. Zaini Ujang had shared snippets of information about the Green Technology Master Plan Malaysia 2017-2030.
Apart from organising conferences that drew large numbers of participants, IAIS also hosted smaller seminars and public lectures. Prominent international scholars were invited to share their knowledge and thoughts on various topics. The list begins with Professor Dr. Jasser Auda who delivered a lecture on the topic of ‘Revisiting Women’s Status in the Light of Maqasid Al-Shari’ah’; Syaikh Dr. Nedham Yacoobi, a widely respected scholar in Islamic finance from Bahrain, who talked about ‘The Importance of Arabic Manuscripts in Islamic Studies’; Professor Dr. Odeh Al-Jayyousi of the Arabian Gulf University in Bahrain who discussed ‘Re-Thinking Sustainability and Progress: Islamic Perspective’; Professor Dr. Mohammad Hashim Kamali, Professor Dr. Syed Farid Alatas and Professor Dr. Ali Gheissari, both from the National University of Singapore, who presented their views in a seminar on ‘Muslim Intellectuals, Freedom and Creativity.’ Besides that, Research Fellow Seminar (RFS) had been an in-house platform for IAIS Malaysia’s Fellows to present their research works. The first RFS was held on 22nd February 2017, featuring Dr. Daud Batchelor who talked about ‘Climate Change in Context’. The next RFS was delivered by Dr. Salih Bau Gui from Hebei University, China on 8th March 2017. On 23rd March 2017, there was a discussion led by Mr. Ron Young and Reverend Carol Jensen on ‘Interfaith Work in the United States for Peace, Diversity and Protection of Minority Rights’. In the final RFS that was held on 30th November 2017, Mr. Ilham Ramli gave a presentation on ‘An Overview of the Position and the Roles of Islam in Malaysia’ in conjunction with the Muslim World Tour visit from Griffith University, Australia.
In light of the adversities endured by fellow Muslims in conflict-torn territories, IAIS Malaysia held many events with multipronged objectives: to understand the cause of the conflicts, to create awareness about the problems, and to show solidarity in the spirit of Muslim brotherhood. In February 2017, Forum on Understanding the Aleppo Crisis was held in collaboration with the International Movement for a Just World (JUST). The forum featured Dr. Chandra Muzaffar of JUST, Professor Dr. Abdullah al-Ahsan of the International Islamic University of Malaysia (IIUM), and Mr. Ahmad El-Muhammady of IIUM who discussed the then recent development in Aleppo especially concerning its capture by Assad-led Syrian forces and the continuous battle for control over large parts of the country by several belligerent groups.
Later in September 2017, IAIS Malaysia supported the launching of the report ‘Persecution of Muslims in Burma’ by the Burma Human Rights Network, which categorically condemned the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya and the growing persecution of Muslims in Burma. Prior to the report launching, there was a public forum jointly organised by BHRN, IAIS Malaysia, HUMANiTi Malaysia and Centre for Human Rights Research and Advocacy (CENTHRA). The panellists of the forum were Mr. Kyaw Win of BHRN, Haji Mohd Azmi Abdul Hamid of MAPIM, and Ms. Lilianne Fan of Geutanyoe Foundation.
IAIS Malaysia was instrumental in the establishment of Hadhari Global Network and it has maintained an active profile by participating in a Roundtable Discussion on Hadhari Global Network that was held in August 2017. Hadhari Global Network, whose idea was to promote the principles of moderation, social well-being and peaceful co-existence, was spearheaded by LEGASI, Institut Islam Hadhari, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM); and Hadhari Centre for Islamic Civilisational Studies at Kyoto University.
Another highlight of the year for IAIS Malaysia was its active outreach programmes at promoting leadership, intellectual and human capital development among Malaysians abroad. In June 2017, IAIS Malaysia accepted the invitation to attend a roundtable discussion on ‘Islam and Human Capital Development’ at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies (OCIS) in conjunction with IAIS Malaysia’s Chairman, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s visit to the Centre. The discussion, that was chaired by OCIS’ Director himself, Dr. Farhan Nizami, saw an active participation of many scholars including Professor Dato’ Dr. Yusof Othman of Institut Islam Hadhari, UKM; Professor Datuk Dr. Azizan Baharuddin of IKIM; Associate Professor Dr. Mohamed Azam Mohamed Adil of IAIS Malaysia; Dr. Ai Kawamura of Kyoto University’s Islamic Studies Centre; and Dr. Talal al-Azeem, Dr. Salman Syed Ali and Dr. Basil Mustafa of OCIS. At the roundtable discussion, the need to establish a structured training leadership programme was discussed and it ultimately led to the introduction of Leadership Enhancement & Intellectual Development (LEID). In November 2017, a two-day LEID programme that focused on leadership enhancement, wisdom, women and youth empowerment, moderation, civilisational renewal, peaceful co-existence and social well-being was held in London in collaboration with LEGASI, the High Commission of Malaysia to the United Kingdom & Northern Ireland, IKIM, Institut Islam Hadhari, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), and Yayasan Dakwah Islam Malaysia (YADIM).
Another highlight of the year for IAIS Malaysia was its substantial role in an initiative to promote leadership, intellectual and human capital development among Malaysians abroad most particularly to the students. This initiative started with a Roundtable Discussions at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies (OCIS), the University of Oxford in June 2017 under the theme of ‘Islam and Human Capital Development’ in conjunction with IAIS Malaysia’s Chairman, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s visit to the Centre. The discussion was chaired by OCIS’ Director, Dr. Farhan Nizami also included: Professor Dato’ Dr. Yusof Othman of Institut Islam Hadhari, UKM; Professor Datuk Dr. Azizan Baharuddin of IKIM; Associate Professor Dr. Mohamed Azam Mohamed Adil of IAIS Malaysia; Dr. Ai Kawamura of Kyoto University’s Islamic Studies Centre; and Dr. Talal al-Azeem, Dr. Salman Syed Ali and Dr. Basil Mustafa of OCIS. The discussion later on led to the establishment of a more structured initiative called Leadership Enhancement & Intellectual Development (LEID). In November 2017, a two-day programme in London which was officiated by Dato’ Seri Reezal Merican, Deputy Foreign Minister, was held in collaboration with: LEGASI; High Commission of Malaysia to United Kingdom & Northern Ireland; IKIM; Institut Islam Hadhari, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM); and Yayasan Dakwah Islam Malaysia (YADIM) to enhance the strategic engagement on nation building with focuses on leadership enhancement, wisdom, women and youth empowerment, moderation, civilisational renewal, peaceful coexistence and social well-being.
In the field of Islamic economics, finance, zakat and awqaf, IAIS’s position as a reputable Islamic finance training provider was strengthened by the success of organising three training courses throughout the year. The first training course was held in January 2017 on Islamic Finance & Banking, followed by a training course in May 2017 on Shari’ah Standards on Murabahah, Tawarruq, Ijarah, Rahn, Qard & Wa’d. The third training course was held in August 2017 on Shari’ah Standards on Murabahah, Tawarruq, Ijarah, Rahn, Qard, Wa’d & Hibah. In February 2017, the Institute hosted a group of students from Sekolah Tinggi Ekonomi Islam Tazkia (College of Islamic Economics Tazkia), Indonesia who came for a constructive exchange of ideas and views on contemporary issues in Islamic finance, banking, and economics.
In the final months of 2017, a number of events were held. First, on the 26th October 2017, the ASEAN Integrity Dialogue 2017 was held in support of INTEGRITI whereby a keynote address was delivered by the former ASEAN Secretary General, Tan Sri Dr. Surin Pitsuwan. On the 16th November 2017, the Faculty of Islamic Studies, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM); Cluster of History, Heritage and Socioculture, Majlis Profesor Negara (MPN); and Institut Wasatiyyah Malaysia co-organised ‘Seminar Wasatiyyah dalam Pembangunan Malaysia’ (Seminar on Moderation in the Development of Malaysia). The seminar featured presentations by Distinguished Professor Datuk Dr. Shamsul Amri Baharuddin of UKM, Professor Dato’ Dr. Teo Kok Seong of MPN, Dato’ Haji Mohd Yusof Din of Institut Wasatiyyah Malaysia, Associate Professor Dr. Mohamed Azam Mohamed Adil of IAIS Malaysia, and Dato’ Dr. Nasharuddin Mat Isa of Global Movement of Moderates Foundation (GMMF). Next, on the 27-28th November 2017, the ‘Istanbul Network 5th International Conference on Democratic Transitions in the Muslim World’ was co-organised with the Istanbul Network. There were 21 papers presented by international and local scholars in this two-day event with the keynote addresses were delivered by Dr. Muhammad Khalid Masud, the Honourable Ad-hoc Member of Shariah Appellate Bench of the Supreme Court Pakistan; and Kyai Haji Yahya Cholil Staquf, General Secretary of the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) Supreme Council, Indonesia. The opening address was delivered by Tunku Zain Al-‘Abidin ibni Tuanku Muhriz, the Founding President of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS). Finally, on 9-10th December 2017, the ‘Conference on Contemporary Issues in Islamic Education 2017’ was jointly organised with the Institute of Maqasid Syariah (INSMAQ), UNISEL; Institute of Darul Ehsan (IDE); and International Institute of Islamic Thoughts (IIIT). Professor Mohammad Hashim Kamali, the Founding CEO of IAIS Malaysia and Professor Dato’ Dr. Siddiq Fadzil, the Chairman of Institute of Darul Ehsan, presented the keynote addresses at this two-day conference.
In terms of international recognition, IAIS was pleased when the Founding CEO, Professor Mohammad Hashim Kamali’s book, ‘The Middle Path of Moderation in Islam: The Qur’anic Principle of Wasatiyyah’, published by Oxford University Press was named as the Best Book of the Year 2016 at the 24th Iran International Book Festival. The award was presented by the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Hassan Rouhani at a special ceremony at Tehran’s Vahdat Hall, Iran.
In total, IAIS Malaysia had successfully organised seven conferences and seminars, four research fellow seminars, four public forums, three public lectures, three series of training and two roundtable discussions. The achievements in the year 2017 presented positive milestones for IAIS Malaysia in its quest for the renewal of Islamic thought and civilisation.
Prepared by Muthanna Saari