Monday, November 29, 2010


The Chancellory building of the Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM)
Since a week ago, I am attached as a Visiting Professor to Islamic Finance and Wealth Management Institute (IFWMI) of the Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM) in Bandar Baru Nilai, Negeri Sembilan. I am scheduled to be here for a month, from 22 November to 21 December 2010.

While here, I am asked to deliver a lecture entitled Islamic Research Methodology: The Need and Present State at IFWMI's Warasyah Taqwiyah (literally sort of Intellectual Discourse) in early December, to present a paper on Rethinking Wealth Management: A Preliminary View at IFWMI Workshop on 15 December, and to become a Panel on the presentation of FRGS proposals by Fellows of IFWMI and lecturers of the Faculty of Economics & Muamalat on 16-17 December 2010.
Faculty of Economics and Muamalat building, in which IFWMI is located
My office at IFWMI

Friday, November 12, 2010


Meeting in progress
The Assessment Committee of the Tan Sri Muhyiddin Mohd Yassin Best Thesis Award which I chaired on Wednesday 10 November 2010 has decided on the winners of the Award for both the Master and Phd Theses.

For the first time since the Award was introduced, there is a winner for the Master Best Thesis Award this year, apart from the PhD winner. They will be announced at an Award Ceremony scheduled to be held either in the middle of December or early January in Kuala Lumpur, depending on the suitability of the Deputy Prime Minister's date. The Deputy Prime Minister himself will present the prizes to the winners, consisting of a certificate each and a total of RM10,000 and RM15,000 for Master and PhD Theses winners respectively.

The decision on the winners was based on the assessments by 63 assessors, who are lecturers of various universities in Malaysia. Their assessments showed an encouraging increase in the quality of the theses nominated, with the winner's mark reaching 4.8, only 0.2 more for the full mark of 5. The nominations came from within and outside Malaysia, by individuals, theses supervisors and awarding degree institutions, totalling 24 PhD theses and 14 Master theses altogether.

The Tan Sri Muhyiddin Mohd Yassin Best Thesis Award has indeed attracted high quality Master and PhD Islamic related theses, proving the excellence of those Malaysians producing them. 

Next, the nomination for 2011 is now opened and the deadline for the submission of the Master and PhD theses is 31 May 2011. For further details, see
Members of the Assessment Committee

Tuesday, November 09, 2010


One of ISDEV's favourite photos: Khairul's son on my lap, together with Khairul MISDEV09 (my right), Dr Fadzila Azni (3rd left) and MISDEV10 sisters with Shereeza (MISDEV08) on the background

Sunday, November 07, 2010


Brother Ekarat Sitisan defending his thesis, watched by Muhammad Tahir (right)

Alhamdulillah, glad that another graduate student of mine, Ekarat Sitisan from Bangkok, Thailand, has submitted 3 final copies of his Master thesis to the Institute of Postgraduate Studies, marking his success in getting his Master Degree. The title of his thesis is The Potentials of Zakat Fund in Bangkok, Thailand.

Ekarat, together with my PhD student Ahmad Azrin Adnan who has earlier passed his study with flying colours, are expected to be conferred with their degrees respectively during the March 2011 Convocation, InshaAllah.

Apart from Ekarat and Azrin, another two of my PhD students are in the pipeline of attaining their degrees. They are Muhammad Tahir from Sulawesi, Indonesia who has submitted his thesis and now is waiting for his viva, and Warjio of Medan, Indonesia who is in his final stage of polishing his thesis before submitting it for examination. The title of Tahir's thesis is Tazkiyah An-Nafs in Development: The Case of Koperasi Pasentren (KOPENTREN) of Darut Tauhid in Bandung, Indonesia, while Warjio's is Dakwah Political Party: The Ideology, Strategy and Accomplishment of Parti Keadilan Sejahtera in Indonesia.

Praying that both of them are successful and will be able to receive their PhDs during the August 2011 Convocation, InshaAllah, also hopefully with flying colours. Many thanks to all ISDEV academics for ensuring the excellent success of our students.

ISDEV brothers wishing Ekarat good luck after special prayer (solatulhajat) for his viva

Brother Ekarat (3rd right) with Board of Examiners after his viva
Brother Ekarat with ISDEV brothers after the viva
Brother Ekarat with ISDEV sisters who came to support him during his viva

Sunday, October 31, 2010


Last words for MISDEV09 students during the Knowledge Blessing Night: "Firstly, do not escape uplifting Islam by arguing on mutasyaabihat verses as an excuse, and secondly, do not trap with jealousy after getting the knowledge of truth"
Two subsequent weeks after returning from Aceh were filled with quite hectic but lively schedules.

It began with the presentation of the Dissertation by Master Mixed Mode 2009 students (MISDEV09), followed by the presentation of Research Proposals by Master Mixed Mode 2010 students (MISDEV10), Monthly ISDEV Director's Tarbiyyah, ISDEV Knowledge Blessing Night (Malam Restu Ilmu) for MISDEV09 who are completing their study shortly, and Monthly Graduate Supervision.

These did not include normal lectures and tutorials, individual thesis supervision, meetings, management of Tan Sri Muhyiddin Mohd Yassin Best Thesis Award 2010, and other administrative works.

Yes, it was quite hectic and tiring but very enjoyable and pleasant. The quality of the Dissertations and Research Proposals of the MISDEV09 and MISDEV10 respectively have been improved tremendously; the message of the Director's Tarbiyyah has been transmitted to the ISDEV members smoothly; the MISDEV09 Knowledge Blessing Night has been held meaningfully; and the Monthly Graduate Supervision has been attended by ISDEV graduate students from abroad and from within Malaysia almost fully.

In addition to the above, the individual thesis supervision has led to the possibility of the PhD thesis of Warjio to be a winning PhD thesis; and almost all of the evaluation reports for the Tan Sri Muhyiddin Mohd Yassin Best Thesis Award 2010 have came in on time.

Alhamdulillah, how fruitful the weeks were.
Parts of the ISDEV fraternity during the Knowledge Blessing Night
Brotherhood gestures after congregational prayers
Dinner during the night
Blessing the knowledge: From ISDEV lecturers to MISDEV09

Saturday, October 23, 2010


With Deputy Governor of Aceh
This is my last posting on Aceh trip.

In between the scheduled programmes, we were given opportunities to meet at various occasions and establish networking with many important figures in Aceh. Among them were former (two-terms) Bupati Bapak H. Syamsunan Mahmud who is presently the Ketua Dewan Pertimbangan, Aceh Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Executive Director of the Aceh Chamber of Commerce and Industry  Bapak H. Kahnir Rajiun, Head of Banda Aceh Parliament Bapak Yudi Kurnia, Head of Majelis Permusyawaratan  Ulama Provinsi Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam Professor Dr Teungku H. Muslim Ibrahim, Head of  Banda Aceh Bank of Indonesia Bapak Mahdi,  (Informal) Adviser to the Aceh Governor on Human Resources Development Professor Jasman J. Ma`ruf, and Secretary of Aceh Development Planning Agency (Badan Perencanaan Pembangunan Daerah Aceh, BAPPEDA) Bapak Dr. Warqah Helmi.
Alhamdulillah, the trip to Aceh was a short but very fruitful one with many accomplishments. Praying that Allah swt will help ISDEV to help post-tsunami Aceh, InshaAllah.

Speech during a morning coffee at Solong Coffee restaurant. On my right is Head of Banda Aceh Parliament Bapak Yudi Kurnia
Morning coffee with some Aceh figures (R-L): a Professor of IAIN Ar-Raniry, Head of Mental Hospital, Dean of Faculty of Economics of Universitas Syiah Kuala, Informal Advisor (on Human Resource Development) to Aceh Governor, and former Bupati Bapak Syamsunan Mahmud
With Brother Asnawi (4th from right), the owner of Solong Coffee Restaurant in Ulee Karing, Banda Aceh
With Head of Majelis Permusyawaratan  Ulama Provinsi Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam Professor Dr Teungku H. Muslim Ibrahim
Head of  Banda Aceh Bank of Indonesia Bapak Mahdi

Friday, October 22, 2010


Invited to a wedding ceremony

Brotherly hospitality extended to us by Acehnese hosts during our four days trip was amazing. One of the joyful hospitality was the meals. We were provided with all kinds of local foods, at many occasions, and all of the foods were very tasty and good.

The photos are the proofs.

1st night: After dinner at Bapak Syamsunan Mahmud's house (5th from left)
2nd night: Dinner at Bapak Ridwan Nurdin's house
3rd night: Dinner hosted by Dr Nazaruddin A. Wahid at a seaside restaurant
Breakfast at Mess Bank Indonesia
Lunch at a wedding ceremony
Lunch at a popular restaurant, not far from the campus of Universitas Syiah Kuala
Lunch at a wedding ceremony
Local snacks
Fried prawns
Lamb curry
Cucumber drink
Local snacks

Aceh coffee
Last day: Lunch near Sultan Iskandar Muda International Airport before flying home

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Dialogue on tsunami
In Aceh, ISDEV Master (Mixed Mode) students also had an opportunity to involve in a dialogue with graduate students of Institut Agama Islam Negeri (IAIN) Ar-Raniry in Banda Aceh. The topic of the dialogue was `Tsunami'.
Sisters Nur Illani and Azirah reperesented the ISDEV Mixed Mode Master students (left) while two brothers represented the IAIN Ar-Raniry (right). It was indeed a valuable experience for both of the ISDEV sisters.

Associate Professor Dr Abdul Fatah Che Hamat (right) represented me to present a souvenir to the representative of the graduate students of the IAIN Ar-Raniry
After the occasion

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


BAPEDDA's Secretary Dr. Warqah Helmi on the development approach of the post-tsunami Aceh

During the trip to Aceh, a visit to Aceh Development Planning Agency (Badan Perencanaan Pembangunan Daerah Aceh, BAPPEDA) was also done and a dialogue was held with BAPEDDA's Secretay Dr Bapak Dr. Warqah Helmi and his staff to learn and understand about development approach that have been undertaken by the Aceh authority after the tsunami.

We were told that there are seven priorities formulated by BAPPEDA in developing the post-tsunami Aceh. They are as follows:

1. Empowerment of the economic of the society, enhancement of employment and reduction of poverty;
2. Development and rehabilitation of infrastructure and energy resources as enabler to investment;
3. Enhancement of the quality of education and just learning opportunities;
4. Enhancement of the quality and just health facilities;
5. Development of Islamic Shari`ah, social and culture;
6. Creation of good, clean and healthy governance ;
7. Handling and reduction of the risk of disasters.

I extended my conviction of the necessity to reconstruct post-tsunami Aceh through Islamic-based development and outlined the principles embedded in it. It was well-received. Both parties hoped to keep in touch for any further cooperation.

Before the dialogue
After the dialogue: Dr Warqah explaining about the souvenir he was about to give to me
In front of BAPEDDA's office: Before leaving BAPPEDA for another program at IAIN Ar-Raniry

Monday, October 18, 2010


Tha banner of the Wisata Spiritual Tsunami Aceh
One of the main missions to Aceh on the 9th until 12th October was to visit tsunami-affected locations with the view to share the suffering of the victims, feel the greatness of Allah swt, and observe how post-tsunami Aceh has been reconstructed. All these were to relate to the Islamic tasawur as is thought in Islamic Epistemology and Tasawur course taken by the ISDEV Master (Mixed Mode) students, who were also the organizers of the trip.

The tsunami-affected locations visited and other activities related to the Wisata Spiritual Tsunami are reflected in the following photos.
The bus that ferried us around Aceh
At Masjid Raya which was saved by Allah swt from the tsunami
At one of the mass graveyards accommodating around 146,000 tsunami victims
A boat that trapped on the second floor of one of the houses during tsunami and saved 59 lives
In front of Mesjid Baiturrahman, another mosque miraculously saved by Allah swt in spite of its short distance from the sea and the area around it was devastated tremendously
Entrance to the grave of one of the great Islamic scholars in Aceh, Syiah Kuala
The grave of Syiah Kuala which was not affected by the tsunami although very near to the sea and the surroundings were destroyed by tsunami almost completely
`Kapal Terapong' (Floating Ship), originally an off-shore electrical supplier, brought by tsunami kilometres away to the land
ISDEV normal practice: Congregational fajr prayer at students' accommodation at the Mess Bank Indonesia
Another ISDEV normal tradition: Tazkirah after every congregational prayers
Reflection on the Wisata Spiritual Tsunami before leaving back for Penang
Another reflection by brothers