Wednesday, November 28, 2012


This is a story about a Chinese man who believes in One God with many emphases. I met him when `Akif had a minor accident in the USM campus with his daughters a few days ago. I went  to settle the case at the Pantai Hospital where his daughters were admitted. With me were Ustaz Khairul who became my insurance advisor, Ustaz Shahir who became my religious advisor to ensure that I would not oppress the Chinese man in the dealing, and Taariq, representing `Akif who was having a night lecture.

By profession the Chinese man is a counselor, but at the same time he is also a pastor. According to him, he preaches at churches of all Christian sects, except Roman Catholic churches. The difference between the sects, he says, just lies on the different emphasis. The Roman Catholic emphasises on Maryam (Jesus' Mother), while other sects emphasise on Jesus himself. So is Islam, he contended; it emphasises on Prophet Muhammad SAW. In actuality, all religions believe in One God, the same God, he believes. That was one of the reasons why he went to preach at all churches other than the Roman Catholic.

After listening to his long lecture, I asked a little question. If he believes in One God and goes around to Christian religion of all sects, why he is depriving himself by not studying and going to Islam? He was shocked but excited. The discussion suddenly changed from preaching at churches to how he could start to learn about Islam. Alhamdulillah.

In the car on our way back home, we recalled how privileged we were to deal with a talkative person like the Chinese man. While listening to his long lecture, we have an ample time to plan our thinking that could lead him to a more beneficial destination, even with only a sentence. For that I agreed to pay him RM 700 as he requested to settle the accident. Making a person to think, and hopefully to learn about and moreover to embrace Islam is much more precious than the RM 700, In sha Allah.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


In my Director's Tazkirah entitled Tribulations delivered at the ISDEV Monthly Graduate Supervision last Friday (23 November 2012), two statements came out of my speech spontaneously, without me planning them. The first was a philosophical statement I quoted from an Hindustani film that our task is to forgive, but not to seek forgiveness. The second was a tawhidic statement that all ISDEV fraternity should fear Allah SWT, not to fear their superiors.

What I meant to stress in the first statement relates to the necessity to minimise the making of mistakes so as to allow an avoidance of paving a way for seeking forgiveness. This is not to deny the impossibility of not making mistake at all and ask for forgiveness whenever the mistake is made. It rather stresses on not having a habit of making consistent mistakes intentionally or unintentionally just because there is a room for seeking forgiveness. In a nutshell, one, especially ISDEV fraternity, should avoid making mistakes as far as possible so as to allow a maximum perfection to prevail in every deeds one is taken. And definitely, only whenever mistake is made after such a dedicated endeavour, seeking forgiveness is necessary.

In the second statement, I wanted to emphasise that all assignments and tasks of all ISDEV fraternity must be regarded as assignments and tasks from Allah SWT, for ISDEV is an institution that strives to uphold the words of Allah SWT. One therefore has to treat all assignments and tasks as serious, and maximise the efforts in carrying them out to attain a highly successful result so that a good image of Islam in the eyes of all - Muslims and non-Muslims - is created. The real driven force for this is Allah SWT, not the superiors such as  the Director, lecturers, et cetera. If ISDEV fraternity undertake the assignments and tasks just because they are afraid of  their superiors (read human beings), I am afraid they would be trapped into syirk (the sin of idolatry or polytheism). If this is the case, ISDEV will be broken into dust, for there would not be the help and  love of Allah SWT anymore. Instead, ISDEV would become the enemy of Allah SWT.

Oh Allah, please protect us.

Friday, November 23, 2012


Alhamdulillah, the two-day 3rd ISDEV Research University Team (RUT) Workshop held at ISDEV ended successfully today. A total of 21 working papers were presented by ISDEV research members (from Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Universitas Sumatera Utara, Universitas Medan Area, Universitas Muhammadiyah Sumatera Utara, Institut Agama Islam Negeri Medan, and Institut Agama Islam Negeri Ar-Raniry Aceh, apart from USM itself) and Academic Staff Training Scheme Fellows.

The papers yielded from the members' second 6 months research of 5 research clusters, namely The Mould and Index of Islamic-based development, The Politics of Islamic-based Development Strategies, The Ethics and Monitoring System in Human Development, Corporate Social Responsibility in Islamic Banking, and Istibdal for Awqaf Development. These research clusters are embedded in a bigger research team themed Islamic-based Development.

I was given the task to lead this 5 year-research team and also two of the clusters, ie The Mould and Index of Islamic-based development, and The Politics of Islamic-based Development Strategies. Within about a year, we have produced nearly 50 papers, some of which have been published in various journals, Alhamdulillah. Many thanks to all ISDEV RUT research team members in and outside USM.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


I need to jot down this important note.

Yesterday, Tuesday 20 November 2012 at about 3.30 pm, was an historical moment for ISDEV. In a meeting with (and called by) our Vice-Chancellor, ISDEV sensed a bright light shining along the path to move forward, Alhamdulillah.

The endeavours in brightening that light and attaining the yields definitely necessitate sacrifices. ISDEV lecturers and Fellows of Academic Staff Training Scheme majority of whom were in the meeting, I am sure, understood the Vice-Chancellor's message and prepare to sacrifice in realising that bright future for the sake Allah SWT and Islam, In sha Allah.

Monday, November 19, 2012


I spent the recent weekend, 16-19 November, fruitfully with ISDEV Mixed Mode Master students (MISDEV11) at KEDA Resort, Bendang Man, Sik, Kedah. It was an annual programme of Human Development course. The theme of this year's programme is The Journey of a Caliph: Revolution From Within. Last year, the previous batch spent at SEDIM Resort in Kulim, Kedah.

The aim is to instill organisational skills among the students, apart from equipping them with abilities that are needed in being an Islamic development manager. All the MISDEV11 students have various distinctive talents and potentials indeed. The talents and potentials have been reflected by their abilities they performed at the Resort, some of which are manifested by the following photos.

Delivering Friday Sermon
Debating in a 'Parliament'
Morning Exercise
Chicken slaughtering
Musical Pentomin
Morning Tazkirah after Qiamulail (night prayers) and Fajr prayer
Impromptu entertainment by MISDEV11's guests
The participants

Friday, November 16, 2012


An article of mine has appeared in International Journal of Humanities and Social Science, Vol. 2 No. 14 [Special Issue - July 2012]. The title is "Religiosity in Development: A Theoretical Construct of an Islamic-Based Development".

The article attempts to seek for an answer for the religiosity in Islam vis-a-vis the conventional understanding of the religiosity; and secondly, it attempts to develop a theoretical construct of an Islamic-based development and visualize the form of development that this theoretical construct entails with. The endeavor is based on  two premises. Firstly, the meaning of religiosity as is held by conventional view is different from the meaning of religiosity viewed from Islamic perspective. Secondly, the focus on religiosity in many literatures is generally confined to the religiosity of the human beings, not on the religiosity of the exogenous aspects of human life such as development. These premises are portrayed in the first section of this paper. The subsequent section then outlines the dimensions of the religiosity in an Islamic-based development. It shows that there are five dimensions of the religiosity of an Islamic-based development, viz. Divinistic, Dogmatic, Holistic Integration, Transitory, and Instrumentalistic. While these dimensions are developed from the basic doctrines of Islam, the deliberations in the earlier section are based on a textual analysis of the available literatures on religiosity.

The article is accessible at:

Thursday, November 15, 2012


One of the happiest moments for a teacher like myself is to see a high achievement of a student nurtured in his institution.

Thanks God, another ISDEV graduate student has passed her PhD with flying colour. Marlina Ekawaty, from Malang, Indonesia, has not only been recommended by the Board of Examiners to pass her PhD with Distinction, but also her thesis to be given a suitable award. Writing on zakat in Malang, Marlina Ekawaty has gone through a viva voce successfully on 1st November 2012.

She is the eleventh ISDEV student to attain such an excellent accomplishment. Before her were Dr Nor Azzah Kamri (Universiti Malaya), Dr Zahri Hamat (Universiti Sains Malaysia), Dr Fadzila Azni Hamat (Universiti Sains Malaysia), Dr Ahmad Azrin Adnan (Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin), Shereeza Mohmaed Saniff (Universiti Sains Malaysia), Radieah Mohd Nor (Universiti Sains Malaysia), Dr Warjio (Universitas Sumatera Utara), Dr Suhrawardi Lubis (Universitas Muhammadiyah Sumatera Utara), Dr Muhammad Yasir (Institut Agama Islam Negeri Ar-Raniry Acheh) and Dr Mohd Shukri Hanapi (Universiti Sains Malaysia).

Amongst them, Dr Fadzila Azni Ahmad has won the USM Best Thesis Award (2009) and Tan Sri Muhyidin Mohd Yasin Best PhD Thesis Award (2009), Shereeza Mohamed Saniff won the USM Best Mixed Mode Student Award (2010), Radieah Mohd Nor won the Tan Sri Muhyidin Mohd Yasin Best Master Thesis Award (2010), and Dr Ahmad Azrin Adnan won the Yayasan Nurul Yaqeen Best PhD Thesis Award (2011). This year, Dr Mohd Shukri Hanapi's thesis is being nominated for the Yayasan Nurul Yaqeen Best PhD Thesis Award (2011). The evaluation process is in progress.

I am certain, InshaAllah, a lot more of ISDEV graduates currently pursuing their graduate studies at ISDEV are following suit.

L-R: Social Sciences Dean Dr Nor Malina Malek, Marlina Ekawaty, myself, Marlina's supervisor Dr Zahri  Hamat and Internal Examiner Dr Hasanah Abd Khafidz, after the happy announcement of Marlina's success

Saturday, November 10, 2012


While in Brunei, I presented a paper entitled “Human Account in Development Studies: An Islamic Analysis” at the 2nd SOASCIS International Conference: Transmitting Spiritual and Moral Values Across Generations in 21st Century: The Challenges to Muslim Education, organized by the Sultan Omar `Ali Saifuddien Centre for Islamic Studies (SOASCIS), Universiti Brunei Darussalam, at Universiti Brunei Darussalam on 5-7 November 2012.

In contrary to the perception of some scholars, this paper shows that the human aspects have indeed been a focus of recognition and an in-depth deliberation in the western ethno-centric development studies. What has become the flaw of these studies is their inability in understanding a holistic concept of human beings, hence inability in penetrating into other human basic components within oneself.

In a nutshell, this paper consists of an expression of three main stances. Firstly, that the western ethno-centric theories undoubtedly are well aware of the significance and the importance of the human and the intangible aspects. Secondly, that this awareness, however, is based on an inexact concept of human beings, defected by some missing dimensions of human beings themselves. Thirdly, in consequence, that the deliberation on the human in the western ethno-centric development theories are confined to a narrow worldly objectives, with productivity and income as their indicators of what they meant as human development. These stances, inter alia, need to be exposed to the students of development studies, particularly in the deliberation on the human beings as actors of development.

Dr Zakaria Bahari

Dr Mohd Shukri Hanapi
Wan Norhaniza Wan Hasan
3 other ISDEV members have also presented their papers in this Conference. They were ISDEV Deputy Director Dr Zakaria Bahari who presented a paper on "The Teaching of Islamic Economics: An Analysis of Tawhidic Paradigm", ISDEV Acting Chairman of Islamic Development Management Program Dr Mohd Shukri Hanapi on "From Jahiliyyah to Islamic Worldview: In Search of an Islamic Philosophical Construct", and ISDEV Academic Staff Training Scheme Fellow Wan Norhaniza Wan Hasan on "Education Indicators in Development Index: An analysis From the Perspective of Islamic-based Development".

The Conference was also participated by well-known academicians. They are Distinguished Professor Tan Sri Muhammad Kamal Hassan of  the International Islamic University Malaysia, Professor Datuk Osman Bakar (who is also the organizer) of the Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Professor Yasushi Kosugi of Kyoto University, Japan, Professor Abul Fadl Mohseen Ebrahim of University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, Professor Jamil Lee Hee Soo of Hanyang Unversity Seoul, South Korea, Associate Professor Yusuf Ma Zhan Ming of Ningxia University, People's Republic of China, Dr Alim Fadil Achmat Salie of University of Detroit Mercy, USA, Professor Dato' Md Salleh Yaapar of Universiti Sains Malaysia, and Professor Datin Azizan Baharuddin of Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia.

L-R: Assoc Prof Dr Jabal M. Buaben (UBD), Dr Mohd Shukri Hanapi (ISDEV), Dr Zakaria Bahari (ISDEV), Prof Datuk Osman Bakar (UBD), myself, Prof Yasushi Kosugi (Japan), Prof Dato' Md Salleh Yaapar (USM), and Dr Alim Fadil Achmat Salie (USA)

Thursday, November 08, 2012


5 November 2012 - With  Asisstant Rector of Kolej Universiti Perguruan Ugama Seri Begawan (KUPU SB) Dr Haji Norarfan bin Haji Zainal (left) - Dinner dscussion on research cooperation on "KUPU's Curriculum Revisited"
3 November 2012 - With Rector of Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali (UNISSA) Dr Haji Serbini bin Haji Matahir (left) and Registrar of UNISSA Awang Haji Tarip bin Mat Yassin (right) - Convocation dinner
4 November 2012 - With Head of the Supreme Council of Malay, Islam, Monarchy Dr Hadi Md Melayong (left) and Chief of The Brunei Times daily Haji Bujang (right) - Dinner discourse on Brunei's history and socio-economy
7 November 2012 - With SOASCIS Universiti Brunei Darussalam Chair Holder Dato' Professor Osman Bakar on ISDEV-SOASCIS research cooperation on Development Ethic"
8 November 2012 - With Datin Dr Hajjah Saadiah binti Datu Derma Wijaya Haji Tamit (left) and Tuan Haji Rafee (right) of the Academy of Brunei Studies, Universiti Brunei Darussalam at Wealth Zakat Exhibition
8 November 2012 - With Deputy Mufti of the Government of Negara Brunei Darussalam Pehin Orang Kaya Paduka Setia Raja Dato Paduka Seri Setia Haji Awang Suhaili bin Haji Mohiddin on zakat and divorce in Brunei Darussalam
8 November 2012 - Discussion with Universiti Islam Sultan Shariff Ali (UNISSA) on research cooperation on "The Politics of Islamic-Based Development" and "Istibdal for Waqf Development"

Wednesday, November 07, 2012


For the fourth time, I am in Brunei again since last Friday, 2 November 2012.

L-R: Brunei's Minister of Internal Affairs YB Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Badaruddin bin Pengarah Dato Paduka Awang Haji Othman, Chief Syar'i Judge YB Pehin Siraja Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Awang Haji Yahya bin Haji Ibrahim, and Minister of Communication YB Pehin Orang Kaya Hamzah Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Abdullah bin Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Haji Bakar, and myself
With the Rector of UNISSA, Dr Haji Serbini Haji Matahir
The aims are three-folds. Firstly, to represent my Vice-Chancellor to the Convocation Ceremony of the Universiti Islam Sultan Syarif Ali (UNISSA); secondly, to participate in the 2nd Conference of Sultan Omar Ali Saifudeen Centre for Islamic Studies (SOASCIS) of the Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD); and thirdly, to hold meetings on research cooperation with UBD, UNISSA and Kolej Universiti Perguruan Islam Seri Begawan (KUPU SB).

Presenting a paper entitled "Human Account in Development Studies: An Islamic Analysis" at the 2nd SOASCIS International Conference at Universiti Brunei Darussalam
Together with me are ISDEV Deputy Director Dr Zakaria Bahari, ISDEV Acting Chairman of Islamic Development Management Programme Dr Mohd Shukri Hanapi, and ISDEV Academic Staff Training Scheme Fellow Wan Norhaneezaa Wan Hassan.

In between the programmes, a strengthening of relationship with The Brunei Times is also done. Tuan Haji Bujang, the Chief of The Brunei Times hosted a dinner for us.

We will be leaving for home on Friday, 9th November 2012, InshaAllah.