Monday, April 26, 2010


I am pleased to know that the Organising Committee of The 5th ISDEV International Graduate Workshop (INGRAW10) has launched the announcement for the call for papers for the Workshop. As in the past four years, the aim of the Workshop is to gather graduate candidates worldwide who are undertaking researches on Islamic-related subjects in any fields, be it in arts or sciences, at Master or Doctoral levels to present their findings and establish networkings.

The annual Workshop, jointly organised by The Centre for Islamic Development Management Studies, or well-known as ISDEV, and the Institute of Postgraduate Studies of the Universiti Sains Malaysia, will be held on 21-22 September 2010 at University Conference Hall, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia.

According to the announcement, potential participants are as follows:

1. Those who plan to pursue studies at Master or PhD level in any fields with special reference to Islamic perspective.

2. Those who are currently a post-graduate students and conducting Islamic-based research in any fields of study.

3. Those who have completed studies at Master or PhD level in the year of 2008 or 2009 or 2010 in any Islamic-based fields.

4. Thesis supervisors, lecturers and anyone who is interested.

For further details, please visit:

Saturday, April 24, 2010


At King Abdul Aziz International Airport, Jeddah before flying

Akif, one of my two children that accompanied me to Jeddah [the other one is my youngest daughter Ummu] has flied back to Penang yesterday, 22 April 2010. He is waiting for a result and preparing to pursue his study at a University. Akif was joined at home by his eldest sister, Afirah, who arrived home this evening for her long vacation from Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM).

Masjidil Haram, Mekah

Before this, I have never had a chance to write about Akif. Though he scored 5As in UPSR, 9As in PMR and recently, 10As and 1B in his SPM, I have never had an opportunity to express my happiness and record his accomplishment in this blog. The main reason is the timing. Every time he achieved something, I somehow was busying with something else.

Masjid Nabawi, Madinah

Akif indeed is a determined child. He will put all his efforts in whatever he wants, for example a black belt in tae kwan-do, straight A's in examinations, and seven times in performing umrah while he was in Jeddah for nearly two months - to mention a few.

 At our apartment at al-Arbaean Street, District of Safa, Jeddah

Yesterday, surprisingly, his economy seat in the Jeddah-Kuala Lumpur flight was shifted by a flight staff to a business class seat. It was really a gift from Allah swt, I told him, perhaps for his full effort in doing umrah twice in a day during the last two of his five trips to Mekah, to ensure that he accomplishes his intention to do the umrah for seven times.

After performing Umrah

Now that Akif is back in Penang, I have nobody else to purchase grilled chicken with bukhari rice, nor Indonesian fried rice and begede, and shawarma and ice cream, as Akif always did for our supper. On one hand it is good for my health not to have meals a few hours before going to bed, but on the other hand, I really feel that I am missing Akif and his service.

Akif was the one who served us with zamzam water whenever we visited Masjidil Haram in Mekah and Masjid Nabawi in Madinah. He was the one who queued for zamzam water near the House of the Prophet and carried it in a quite big container to our accommodation at Royale Al-Waleed in al-Ghazza, Mekah and subsequently to the car park where Dr Razley - who usually gave us a ride to and from Mekah - parked his car to go back to Jeddah. He was the one who queued to buy foods at restaurants such as at Felda D'Saji in Safwan Hotel complex and kebab shops around Masjidil Haram and near our accommodation at Royale al-Waleed in Mekah and also restaurants around our apartment in al-Arbaean Street in the Safa Districit in Jeddah. He was the one who carried big water melon that I bought at the mosque near our apartment after Friday prayer. He was the one who negotiated with taxi drivers on the cost whenever we were going  out somewhere and the one that always accompanied me, especially when we were doing umrah in Mekah and visited Masjid Nabawi in Madinah. And in fact, Akif was the one who did a lot more to serve us in Jeddah.

Buying foods at one of the restaurants in a complex near Masjidil Haram

May Allah swt blesses, protects and helps Akif and all my children in all their doings forever, Ameen.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


R-L: Dr Ayyash, Omar (Dr Ayyash's son), Mehmet Fehmi (from Turkey, an officer at IRTI) and myself

Last night, 20 April 2010, I and my family were invited by Dr Mohamed Salleh Ayyash to his house for dinner. Dr Ayyash, a Jordanian, is a researcher and trainer in the Islamic Research and Training Institute (IRTI) of the Islamic Development Bank.

Our friendship is not new. He was a Master degree student at the School of Social Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia in 1990's and I was the internal examiner for his thesis. He is remembered by his unique introduction of his thesis during the viva. When asked to briefly explained his thesis, he began by reciting, with complete melody, verses of al-Qur`an related to the subject matter of his research. It took a few minutes and all of us, the members of the viva exam board, were speechless and rather shocked, but concentrated listening to his recitation - a peculiar and the only situation that I have ever experienced in any viva before and after that.

Because of the importance of the subject he was researching on, we invited him, on the platform of the Centre for Islamic Development Management Studies (ISDEV), to present a paper entitled "Financial Punishments in Islamic Dealings: With Special Reference to Al-Salam Sale", which was subsequently published as ISDEV Paper Series.

He later on got another Master degree from International Islamic University Malaysia and a PhD degree from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, before coming to work in IRTI. Now, he is my colleague at IRTI, attaching with the Training Department of the Institute. He was the one who introduced me to the Director General of IRTI, Dr Bambang P.S. Brodjonegoro at an international conference in Langkawi last year, that entails with my current appointment here in Jeddah.

Kabsha rice with chicken for four of us

The special menu for last night's dinner was Jordanian kabsha rice with chicken, a special menu cooked by Dr Ayyash's mother as per my request. Earlier course was Arabic coffee drunk in a small cup and the later courses after the big meal of kabsha rice were fruits and sweets.

Arab people really serve you whenever you are invited for meals at their houses, a tradition that needs to be followed by all of us. I have experienced this in a few occasions - in the United Kingdom during my student days and in Mekah quite recently.

Last night's occasion was held in conjuction with the departure of Dr Ayyash's parents back to Jordan and my son's departure, Muhammad Qutham Akif, back to Malaysia on Thursday 22 April. It was an interesting and joyful occasion, Alhamdulillah.
With Dr Ayyash's father

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Apart from meeting old friend by coincidence, I have also making many new friends in Jeddah. Amongst them, at the Islamic Development Bank alone, are as in the photos. They are my close friends here that ease my daily life and make me a happy stay, beside my academic and professional counterparts that care and answer my intellectual enquiries as well as enrich my knowledge and experience.

Brother Khaleed who ferried me and family from King Abdul Aziz International Airport to the Grand Golden Mecure Hotel when we arrived and from the Hotel to to my IDB office for the first few days and from the Hotel to my present apartment when we moved
 Brother Yusuf Kawadis who fulfills my logistic needs
Brother Abdul Kareem Hafiz who helps me finding my present apartment and ensures that it is near his apartment so that he could provide me a ride in his car to office everyday 
Brother Fathi the library officer who introduces me to other librarians that apparently eases my usage of the IDB library
Brother Ibrahim, a messenger who is always ready to help me
Brother Muhammad the tea boy who never hesitate to provide me with drinks whenever I need one
Brother Shinsuke Nagaoka of Japan, Visiting Researcher from Kyoto University who together with me are given a ride by Brother Abdul Kareem to our office everyday
Brother Yassin, a Somalian born officer who helps me to install my computer and internet

Wednesday, April 07, 2010


Being at a new place does not necessarily means only meeting new friends. If one is lucky, he/she could also be meeting old friends, either purposely or coincidently. This is exactly what happened to me, coincidently, here in Jeddah.
I was reading the Islamic Development Bank's Vision 1440H when I came across a familiar name in the book, Dr Abdullateef Bello, that rings me. With the help of Dr Siddig Abdelmageed Salih of the IDB's Strategic Planning Department, it was confirmed that he is rightly my old Nigerian friend while we were studying in Oxford in late 1980's and early 1990's. We have lost contact for nearly twenty years, after we graduated in 1991. He was the one who helped me developing tables in my doctoral thesis, as he was specialising in computer studies. Computer application then had just been introduced and drawing a table could hardly been done through it. We were living together at Summertown House of the Banbury Road; he in his single unit apartment while me and my wife in our married unit apartment in a block nearby his.

Dr Abdellateef visiting me at my office after zohor prayer today
Dr Abdullateef was surprised by Dr Siddig through an arrangment of a meeting with me at the former's office. Dr Abdullateef Bello is now the Director of Data Resources and Statistics Department while simultaneously becoming Acting Director of two other Departments in the Bank. He had been here in IDB for about 17 years, since he left Oxford after working there for about one and a half year. His typical jovial jokes and laughs are still characterising him a lot, as during our studying days, and his office was full of laughing emanating from our memories in Oxford, when we reunited again for the first time in his office last week.

Monday, April 05, 2010


Today, Sunday 4th April 2010, had an interesting discourse on Islamic Management of Poverty with officers of Trust Fund Department of Islamic Development Bank Group in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Led by energetic, friendly-mannered and knowledgeable Director of the Department, Brother El Mansour Feten, the discourse ended after nearly two hours.

With Brother El Mansour Feten

Days earlier, I also had discourses separately with Dr Walid Abdelwahab, the Director of Infrastructure Department (on 28 March morning), Dr Siddig Abdelmageed Salih of the Strategic Planning Department (28 March afternoon), officers of Agriculture and Rural Development Department led by Senior Water Specialist Kamal Belhaj Jrad (on 31 March morning), and Brothers Wasim Ahmed Abdulwahab and Syed Azhan Syed Mohd Bakhor of Islamic Financial Services Industry Department (on 31 March afternoon).

With Officers of the Trust Fund Department
Life here in Jeddah therefore as busy as while I was in USM. Very happy and interesting to have many new friends from all over the world, while accumulating knowledge and generating networkings.

Sunday, April 04, 2010


Last Friday night (2 April 2010), I was honoured to be given a task by Malaysian brothers of the Malaysian Association of Jeddah to present their members' contribution to Ijabah Foundation, a foundation that looks after orphans and HIV patients in Selangor. I was amazed that in a short span of time during their weekly usrah that night, about twenty of them attending the usrah have collected and contributed about 4,000 Saudi Riyals to the Foundation. It means that each has contributed about 200 Saudi Riyals. How generous they are, although the collection of the contribution was on an ad hoc manner.

This is not peculiar to them, I suppose. I came to know before this that a number of Malaysians in Jeddah, who work in Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC), Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and other private sectors, have also collectively contributed, as much as 12,000 Saudi Riyals each, to a number of children of the Malays of Mekah to pursue their studies in several universities in Malaysia and Turkey.

The Ijabah Foundation, led by Ustaz Abdullah Amin who, I was told, regularly appears in Tanyalah Ustaz program of TV9 in Malaysia, was on its umrah trip in appreciation of excellent achievements in education of its 12 orphans. All of the orphans were together with us that night. The members of the trip were invited from Mekah by Ahmad Tarmizi bin Mat Noor (Operations Manager of the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf in Jeddah), who is the President of the Malaysian Association of Jeddah to be together with us in the usrah. Ustaz Amin delivered an interesting lecture on Pasangan Ilmu before Isyak prayer.

But then why me that was chosen to present the contribution? Indeed I did not really know. Maybe I was the oldest in the gathering (which I did not think so as there were others who seems to be older than me), or because the older-cum-one of the founders of the usrah in 2005, Dr Razley, the Director of Science and Technology Department of the OIC was on his mission elsewhere, or perhaps I was the newest to join the usrah. I have been here in Jeddah for only a month, and this was my second time being in the usrah held weekly at the IDB staff quarters called IDB Compound. Whatever the reason was, I felt honoured to present the contribution to such a Foundation that cares for the needy though the substantial amount of the money contributed were not mine.


Yesterday, tried to open an account in the Facebook, as it seems so popular amongst many, from children to Prime Ministers. Frustratingly, it was so messy and hectic, with various photos I did not recognised and messages I could not understand because of acronyms, wrong spelling and "ununderstandable", trivial and personalised issues expressed. It is indeed a social link, a very open and exposed social link that denies privacy and serious thinking. Even if you and your group engage with discourses on serious and thoughtful issues, it could be interrupted by trivial and individualistic messages of others who are linked to one of the members of your group, so I was told by my children. I could feel my dislike of the facebook, and thinking to get back to this blog, though I have left it for more than three years for various reasons, one of which is the limitation of time. The only useful thing to use the Facebook, I am thinking aloud, is just to follow and monitor the discussions of my children with their cyber friends.