IAIS Malaysia’s Achievements in 2020
IAIS started the year by hosting a seminar entitled 'Muslim Extremists and Creating Divisions in the Muslim Ummah: Problems & Prospects' on 15 January 2020. Prominent speakers included Dr Mohammad Hasan Zamani (Lecturer, Al-Mostafa University, Iran), Datuk Wira Abdul Ghani Samsudin (Director, SHURA Malaysia), Assoc. Prof. Dr Danial Bin Mohd. Yusof (Principal Researcher, Extremism Analytical Research Unit (EARU) ISTAC-IIUM), Hj. Mohd. Azmi Bin Abdul Hamid (President, MAPIM), Dr Muslim Imran (Director, Palestinian Cultural Organization Malaysia – PCOM), Prof. Dr Ahmad Fauzi Abdul Hamid (Professor of Political Science, USM) and Dr Chandra Muzaffar (President, JUST World).
On 20 January, the Institute, together with Penang Forum, Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia (ABIM), National Association of Malaysian-Muslim Students (PKPIM) and Malaysian Youth Council (MBM) jointly organised a forum entitled 'The Impact of Climate Change & Anthropogenic Hazards on Marine Environment in Malaysia’. The forum discussed the fundamental threat of climate change, and how developmental policies affect the livelihood and sustainability of the marine environment and fisherfolk communities. Invited speakers were Dr Hayrol Azril Mohamed Shaffril (Social Research Officer, IPSAS UPM), Mr Nazri Ahmad (Chairman, Pulau Pinang Fishermen Association), Ms Khoo Salma Nasution (Penang Forum) and Assoc. Prof. Dr Maizatun Mustafa (AIKOL, IIUM).
On 23 January, a Research Fellow Seminar (RFS) was held, featuring Mr Ararat Kostanian (Institute of Oriental Studies, National Academy of Science of Armenia, Republic of Armenia) on ‘The Roots of the Syrian Crisis-Conflict: Theory and Practice’.
On 30 January, a book launch and discussion event was held for Prof. Mohammad Hashim Kamali’s (Founding CEO, IAIS Malaysia) book ‘Crime and Punishment in Islamic Law – A Fresh Interpretation’. Published by the prestigious Oxford University Press, the book provides a renewed and updated discussion on hudud punishments and their reform proposals. The book launch was officiated by YB Datuk Seri Dr Mujahid Rawa, then Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs). The discussion was chaired by Prof. Kamali himself and moderated by Assoc. Prof. Dr Mohamed Azam Mohamed Adil (Deputy CEO, IAIS Malaysia).
On 7 February, Mr Shamsuddin Kadir, a certified HRDF (TTT/1533) trainer, delivered a brief course on ‘Personal Financial Management ’ for IAIS staff.
On 20 February, the Institute, in collaboration with the Japanese Foundation Kuala Lumpur and ABIM, organised a seminar entitled ‘Malaysia-Japan Intellectual Exchange Talk Series: Japanese Value-driven Culture and Islamicate Universal Culture: A New Dimension of Intellectual-Spiritual Discourse Amidst the Global Crises’, featuring Dr Makoto Sawai (Researcher, Kyoto University, Japan). The topic of discussion was the comparative study between cosmopolitan Islamic culture derived from textual ideals, and the value-driven Japanese culture with a strong emphasis on ethics and self-discipline.
On 28 February, a Research Fellow Seminar (RFS) was conducted by Dr Shahino Mah Abdullah (Fellow, IAIS Malaysia) on the topic of ‘Endnote Software for Managing Academic Manuscript References’.
On 16 March 2020, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin made an official announcement and officially promulgated the movement control order under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 and the Police Act 1967. The order included restrictions of mass movements and gatherings across the country including religious, sports, social and cultural activities. Consequently, since April 2020, IAIS Malaysia has been organising webinars in the form of online forums, discussion series and weekly Friday Tazkirahs.
On 9 April, IAIS Malaysia organised its first webinar (online book discussion) entitled ‘Maqasid al-Shariah: Antara Nas dan Maslahah, Satu Pendekatan Sistem’. Jointly organised with the Office of Deputy Rector, Student Development & Community Engagement (ODRSDCE) IIUM and Ilhambooks, the webinar featured Dr Ahmad Badri Bin Abdullah (Research Fellow, IAIS Malaysia) as the presenter, and Assoc. Prof. Dr Zulkifli Hassan (Deputy Rector, Student Development & Community Engagement, IIUM) as the discussant. The discussion revolves around classical and contemporary scholars’ approaches in viewing the equation between the revealed text (nass) and public interest (maslahah), especially in their efforts to provide Islamic solutions to societal issues. The speakers also touched on the viability of adopting a systems thinking approach in order to find a balance between fulfilling textual demands and realising public benefits.
On 16 April, a webinar entitled ‘Pandemik & Perintah Kawalan Pergerakan Dalam Sejarah Islam’ was held, featuring Dr. Ahmad Irfan Ikmal Hisham (Head, Centre of Human Sciences, Universiti Malaysia Pahang). It discusses the issue of pandemic diseases, as well as methods of disease control in Islamic history.
On 23 April, a webinar entitled ‘Contagious Disease: Islamic & Malaysian Perspectives’ was held. Panellists were Prof. Dr Mohammad Hashim Kamali (Founding CEO, IAIS Malaysia) and Dr Dalila Roslan (Public Health Medical Expert, Ministry of Health). The event provided an interesting discourse regarding contagious diseases, their causes, and ways to prevent them in the light of Islamic and modern perspective.
On 30 April, the Institute organised a webinar entitled ‘The Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Islamic Banking’. The speakers were Mr Mohd. Faiz Bin Rahim (Head of Shariah Supervisory, Affin Islamic Bank), and Dr Mahbubi Ali (Associate Fellow, IAIS Malaysia). This webinar discussed the impacts of the pandemic and its far-reaching effects on the domestic and global economy, which are expected to affect the performance of Islamic banks in 2020.
On 14 May 2020, the institute organised a webinar entitled ‘Kesan PKP Terhadap Kontrak Pekerjaan & Perbankan di Malaysia’. The speakers were Mr. Syamsul Rijal Jamil (Consultant, SMC Consulting Asia) and Mrs. Apnizan Binti Abdullah (Research Fellow, IAIS Malaysia).
As the month of Syawal approaches, IAIS Malaysia organised a webinar on 21 May 2020 featuring S.S. Datuk Wira Hj. Abdul Halim Bin Tawil (Mufti of Melaka), entitled ‘Norma Baharu Ramadan & Raya 2020’. The webinar discussed the challenges and opportunities of Malaysian Muslims in adapting to new norms in the month of Ramadan and celebrating Eidulfitri amid the Movement Control Order (MCO).
On 4 June, the Institute, in collaboration with Masryef Management House and CS Tech Solutions Group, organised a forum entitled ‘How Fintech Reshapes the Future of Islamic Finance Post COVID-19’. It discussed the future of Islamic finance and how the industry might evolve in the near future. This event featured prominent figures in Islamic finance and fintech: Mr Mohammad Ridzuan Abdul Aziz (Founder, CS Tech Solutions Group), Mr Mohamad Zakariya Othman (Principal, Masryef Management House), and Mr Omar Rana (Co-Founder & Director at Finalytix).
On 9 June, a forum entitled ‘The US Racial Unrest: Muslims, Social Justice and Beyond’ was organised in response to the US nationwide civil rights protests. The forum adopted a multidimensional approach to the matter, emphasising the potential role of Muslims (in the US and elsewhere) within the quest for social justice. The discussion featured Dr Zaid Barzinji (Executive Director, Maqasid Institute Global) and Mr Wan Naim Wan Mansor (Research Fellow, IAIS Malaysia).
On 17 June, a forum entitled ‘Health Security & Public Participation Post COVID-19’ was held to discuss issues on health security, an increasingly popular concept since the outbreak of COVID-19, and the role of public participation in ensuring the success of policies related to public health. The two speakers were Dr Noor Nirwandy Bin Mat Noordin (Senior Lecturer, Centre for Media & Information Warfare Studies, UiTM) and Dr Ahmad El-Muhammady (Counter-Terrorism Analyst, Extremism Analytical Research Unit (EARU) ISTAC-IIUM).
Moving to July, a forum on ‘COVID-19 from the Perspective of Islamic Theology & Spirituality’ was organised on 9 July. It discussed the Islamic theological perspectives on trial and punishment, the concept of destiny and the omnipotence of God, as well as spiritual lessons from calamities and disasters. The guest speaker was Dr Mohammed Farid Ali al-Fijawi (Head of Responsible Research & Innovation, Kulliyyah of IRKHS, IIUM).
On 24 July, Prof. Dr Mohd Roslan Mohd Nor from Universiti Malaya shared his experience on how to get the ICR journal indexed by Scopus.
The first physical event of the institute since MCO, with strict observance of SOP, was held on 28 July, entitled Rukun Negara: Revisiting Its Role as Pillars of National Unity’. This event revisited and re-examined the role of Rukun Negara, particularly its relevance in promoting unity in contemporary Malaysia. Invited panellists were Dr Chandra Muzaffar (President, JUST World) and Dr Madeline Berma (Commissioner, SUHAKAM).
On 11 & 12 August, the Institute’s annual ‘Online Research Camp: For Academic & Policy Research’ was held. The programme offered an in-depth understanding of how to produce high-quality academic writings. In particular, participants were provided with the basics of formulating policy issue papers, the Oxford style of writing academic papers, essential skills in writing a newspaper article, the art of referring to Islamic sources, and managing academic references. This two-day event featured in-house trainers from IAIS Malaysia: Prof. Mohammad Hashim Kamali (Founding CEO, IAIS Malaysia), Assoc. Prof. Dr Mohamed Azam Mohamed Adil (Deputy CEO, IAIS Malaysia), Dr Alexander Wain, Dr Ahmad Badri Bin Abdullah, Dr Shahino Mah, Mrs Apnizan Binti Abdullah and Mr Mohd. Fariz Zainal Bin Abdullah.
On 27 August, IAIS Malaysia, in collaboration with Pertubuhan Legasi Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (LEGASI), Pertubuhan Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), Hadhari Global Foundation, and Gabungan Pelajar Melayu Semenanjung (GPMS), organised the 'Forum Kemerdekaan & Aspirasi Belia Negara - Hubungan Agama & Ideologi Negara di Nusantara: Generasi Muda Pewaris Legasi Tanah Air'. This event highlighted the shared histories between Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei and Southern Thailand, as well as the role that has been played by previous younger generations towards independence in these nations. The event was held at Marriott Hotel Putrajaya and broadcasted live on Zoom and Facebook Live. Officiated by YB Dato’ Sri Reezal Merican Naina Meerican (Minister of Youth & Sports of Malaysia), the forum featured prominent scholars from the participating countries: YBhg. Prof. Datuk Dr. Ramlah Adam (Historian / former Rector of Kolej Yayasan Melaka), YBhg. Dato’ Dr Asyraf Wajdi Bin Dato’ Dusuki (Chief of Youth, UMNO Malaysia), YBrs. Bapak Agus Badrul Jamal (Political Counsellor, Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Malaysia), YBrs. Dr Syed Muhd. Khairuddin Al-Juneid (Associate Professor, Dept. of Malay Studies, National University - Singapore), YBrs. Haji Abdul Razak Panaemalae, School of Political Science & Laws, Walailak University - Thailand) and YM Dr. Muhammad Hadi Md. Melayong (Yang diPertua, Persatuan Sejarah Brunei (PESEBAR) – Brunei). The forum was moderated by Assoc. Prof. Dr Mohamed Azam Mohamed Adil (Deputy CEO, IAIS Malaysia).
On 3 September, the Institute organised an online Islamic Finance Training Series (IFTS) entitled ‘Managing Shariah Non-Compliant Risk in Islamic Financial Institutions’ featuring Dr. Mahbubi Ali (Head of Economics, Finance, Zakat & Awqaf, IAIS Malaysia) as the trainer. The two-hour course, which attracts participants from Asian and European countries, was designed to provide participants with a practical understanding of managing Shariah non-compliant risk in Islamic financial institutions (IFIs). Ensuring Shariah-compliance is imperative for Islamic financial institutions (IFIs) to maintain the confidence of stakeholders and the public at large.
On 17 September, the Institute organised a forum entitled ‘The Social Contract and the Future of Nation-Building in Malaysia’ featuring Prof. Dr Shamrahayu Abdul Aziz (Chair Holder, Institution of Malay Rulers, UiTM), and Assoc. Prof. Dr Abdul Rahman Tang (Historian, Faculty of Human Sciences & Humanities, UMS). This forum focused on the multiple interpretations of the term ‘Social Contract’ in the context of Malaysia, particularly its role in promoting unity and harmony in a multi-racial country.
On 22 October, the Institute collaborated with the International Institute of Islamic Thought & Civilization (ISTAC-IIUM), Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia (ABIM), National Association of Malaysian-Muslim Students (PKPIM) to organise an Online Public Lecture entitled ‘COVID-19: An Issue in Religion and Science’. This forum featured two prominent speakers, Emeritus Prof. Datuk Osman Bakar (ISTAC-IIUM) and Y.M. Tengku Datuk Dr Azzman Shariffadeen (Chairman, Board of Directors, UM). Prof Osman’s presentation focused on the religion-science discourse on the pandemic, while Dr Azzman shed some light on how Darwinian-based mindsets have impacted social lives in the field of leadership and management.
An Online Islamic Finance Talk Series (OIFTS) was held on 26 October, entitled ‘Sense and Sustainability: Islamic Finance for a more Humanistic Economy’, featuring Prof. Dr Saadiah Mohamad (Honorary Professor of Economics - UiTM / Founder, Forum Ekonomi Manusiawi – FEM). According to Dr Saadiah, the pandemic provides a transformative growth opportunity for Islamic Finance’s in at least two broad areas: (1) climate change and the environment, and (2) the role of Islamic Finance in the social space. The talk also explored an area of Behavioural Economics and how it can move Islamic Finance beyond the narrow technicalities of shariah compliance and promote a more humanistic economy that is sustainable and socially just.
On 12 November 2020, IAIS Malaysia collaborated with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Malaysian Red Crescent (PBSM) to organise an online Round Table Discussion (RTD) entitled ‘The Role of Civil Societies and Faith-based Organizations in Global Nuclear Disarmament’. This forum was held in commemoration of Malaysia’s ratification of the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) on 30 September. The international forum brought together key civil society members that include academia, faith-based organizations (FBOs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and youth organizations to foster understanding of the significance of The Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapon (TPNW) and to mobilize grassroots support for the campaign against nuclear weapons. Ms Biljana Milosevic (Head of Regional Delegation, International Committee of the Red Cross – ICRC) delivered the welcoming and opening remarks, while the keynote address was delivered by Prof. Datuk Dr Mohammad Hashim Kamali (Founding CEO, IAIS Malaysia). Invited speakers were Mr Magnus Lovold (Policy Adviser, ICRC), Mr Hakim Hamzah (Secretary-General, Malaysia Red Crescent Society - PBSM), Mr Zahid Rastam (Principal Assistant Secretary, Non-Proliferation & Disarmament Multilateral Security Division (MSD), Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and Ms Aisya Abdul Rahman (Legal Adviser, ICRC). While the respective discussants were Tuan Haji Mohd. Azmi Abdul Hamid (President, MAPIM) and Ms Joanne Foo (Head of External Affairs & Communication (Soka Gakkai Malaysia).
On 10 December, in conjunction with the UN-observed International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, IAIS Malaysia, in collaboration with CENTHRA & MAPIM, organised an online forum entitled ‘International Day of Solidarity with The Palestinian People’. Focusing on the long unresolved Palestinian quest for justice, security, and dignity, the forum featured three distinguished speakers: His Excellency Walid Abu Ali (Palestinian Ambassador to Malaysia), Tuan Haji Mohd. Azmi Abdul Hamid (President, MAPIM) and Dr. Roslan Bin Mohd. Nor (Professor, Academy of Islamic Studies, UM).
On 17 December, an online Islamic Finance Talk Series (IFTS) event entitled ‘Economic and Financial Outlook 2021’ was held. The speakers were Prof. Dr Mohd. Nazari Ismail (Faculty of Business & Accountancy, UM) and Dato’ Mohamad Zabidi Ahmad (Senior Managing Director, CIMB Bank).
On 22 December, the Institute organised a forum entitled ‘COVID-19 Vaccine: Halal Status and Ethical Issues in Distribution’. Two dimensions of COVID-19 vaccination were discussed– the halal status of vaccines and the ethical concerns regarding their distribution. This forum featured several prominent experts from pharmaceutical and religious backgrounds: Prof. Dr Zhari Bin Ismail (Honorary Professor, School of Pharmaceuticals Sciences – USM), Mr Amrahi Buang (President, Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society – MPS) and Dr Mohd. Hapiz Mahaiyadin (Senior Lecturer, Academy of Contemporary Islamic Studies – ACIS, UiTM).
The final event organised by IAIS Malaysia for the year 2020 was a fully-funded training entitled ‘Shariah Certification in Sukuk, Audit & Fintech’, held on 27 – 31 December 2020, at Greenish Hotel, Langkawi. A collaboration between Hal Fintech Advisory Malaysia and IAIS Malaysia, the training course centred on community empowerment through knowledge on Islamic finance and its instruments. This training featured three expert trainers: Mr Aizuddinur Haji Zakaria, (Course Coordinator, International Shariah Certification, Hal Fintech Advisory Malaysia), Assoc. Prof. Dr Mohamed Azam Mohamed Adil (Deputy CEO, IAIS Malaysia) and Dr Mahbubi Ali (Head of Economics, Finance, Zakat and Awqaf, IAIS Malaysia / Shariah Committee Member, Affin Islamic Bank).
Throughout the year, the Institute had held regular weekly Friday Tazkirahs through its online Facebook platform. In total, fourteen Friday Tazkirahs were conducted. On 11 December, the Friday Tazkirah was re-branded to Dars@IAIS. Regular speakers for Dars@IAIS included Ustaz Fariz Zainal Abdullah (Head of Human Resource, IAIS Malaysia), Dr Mahbubi Ali (Associate Fellow, IAIS Malaysia), Dr Badri Ahmad (Fellow, IAIS Malaysia), Sayuti Mansor (Special Officer to Founding CEO, IAIS Malaysia) and Ahlis Fathoni (IT officer, IAIS Malaysia).
In terms of publications, IAIS Malaysia is pleased to report has produced a total of 62 publications for the year 2020. This includes four Policy Issue Papers (PIPs), three Occasional Papers, and six Research Briefs, all on a variety of topical subjects. Two issues of the Institute’s flagship journal, Islam and Civilisational Renewal (ICR), were published in June and December. Additionally, six bimonthly bulletin issues and two books were successfully published. Finally, 38 newspaper articles by IAIS Malaysia staff and research fellows in our regular NST and Berita Harian column, BebasNews et cetera.
In sum, the Institute successfully conducted 2 Seminars, 1 Online Book Discussion, 10 Forums, 1 Book Launch, 2 In House Trainings, 2 Research Fellow Seminars (RFS), 3 Islamic Finance Talk Series (IFTS), 2 trainings, 1 Round Table Discussion (RTD), 14 Friday Tazkirahs or Dars@IAIS, 1 Online Public Lecture, and 5 webinars, making a total of 44 events.
Overall, 2020 has been a challenging year for all due to the global pandemic. However, this has not been a barrier for IAIS Malaysia in organising high-quality programmes and rigorous academic publications. The Institute has explored new opportunities in adapting to new norms, especially in utilising the latest streaming technology to organise its online events. IAIS Malaysia continues to thrive in its mission to educate and supply the public with reliable Islamic research on various aspects of civilisational renewal.
Muhd. Nur Iman Ramli, Conference Unit, IAIS Malaysia.