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