Achievements in 2016

IAIS Malaysia’s Achievements in 2016

IAIS started the year by hosting the UN Women’s Exposure Visit to Malaysia. The five-day workshop offered perspectives on “Gender Responsive Law Reform Process in the Context of Islam”, with a detailed coverage on women’s issues, progresses and challenges in Malaysia. The highlights of the event are workshops, lake cruise at Putrajaya, dialogues, visits and discussions. Among many prominent figures who supported this visit are Prof. Dr. Mohammad Hashim Kamali of IAIS, YB Datuk Mas Emieyati, Deputy Minister of Toursim and Culture Malaysia, Datin Paduka Hajjah Che Asmah Ibrahim of IKRAM, YAA Dato’ Dr. Mohd Naim Mokhtar, Chief Judge of Selangor Sharia’ah Judiciary Department (JAKESS).

On 29th January 2016, IAIS and Al-Naqiy Islamic Solutions jointly organised a public lecture on Understanding Key Features of Basel III and Its Implications on Islamic Banking Industry. The presenter, Mr. Abozer Magzoub Mohammed, the Co-Project Manager for IFSB Revised Capital Adequacy Standard based on Basel III (IFSB-15) said that the Basel III has impacts in terms of its approaches to enhance the quality of capital. It changes a debt based capital to one equity. IIFS already had a higher proportion of equity, so does the capital. Basel III covers buffer capital ratios via the Capital Conservation Buffer and Counter Cyclical Capital Buffer. The IIFS had introduced Investment Risk Reserve and Profit Equalisation Reserve.

On 25th February 2016, IAIS, IDEAS and Istanbul organized a Public Lecture: Early Islam and the Birth of Capitalism. The presenter, Dr. Benedikt Koehler, stated that the Birth of Capitalism has its origins in Arabia, as he swept away the wrong assumption that says it was born in Italy. Early Islam made a contribution to the history of economic thought. It is the only religion founded by an entrepreneur as the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) was a successful businessman. His lineage has close links to religious, entrepreneurs and community leaders. This is why Islam says a lot about trade, consumer protection, business ethics and property.

On 10th March 2016, the International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies (IAIS) Malaysia organised a seminar on Understanding Fatwa in the Contemporary Context: Issues Relating to Fatwa in the Context of Contemporary Fiqh. The event was jointly organised by the Office of Mufti of Federal Territories, Federal Territories of Islamic Religious Council (MAIWP), Selangor Islamic Religious Council (MAIS), Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia (IKIM), World Fatwa Management and Research Institute of USIM (INFAD) and Academy of Islamic Studies of University of Malaya (APIUM), with the support from the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM). The seminar featured seven speakers, with the Keynote Address delivered by the Mufti of the Federal Territories, SS. Dato’ Dr. Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri. Other presentations were given by SS. Dato’ Zulkifly Muda (Mufti of Terengganu), Prof. Dr. Mohammad Hashim Kamali (Founding CEO, IAIS Malaysia), Prof. Emeritus Dato’ Dr. Mahmood Zuhdi (UM), Prof. Dato’ Dr. Ahmad Hidayat Buang (UM), Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mohamed Azam Mohamed Adil (Deputy CEO, IAIS Malaysia) and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Irwan Mohd Subri (USIM).

On 31st March 2016, IAIS Malaysia hosted a book launch event for Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, Founder and Chairman of the Cordoba Initiative, who had published a new book entitled ‘Defining Islamic Statehood: Measuring and Indexing Contemporary Muslim States’. The event was launched by YABhg. Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, former Prime Minister of Malaysia and Chairman of IAIS Malaysia. In his speech, Tun Abdullah praised Imam Feisal for bringing his project via realistic and practical guidelines to Islamic governance and statehood for the Ummah in the 21st century. He highlighted that the project required Muslim scholars, policymakers and judges, to work as a group, hinting at the very important factor to succeed. In addition, he pointed out that the mission of this project aims to find a consensus definition of Islamic state to become attuned to Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh). Much of its aims also is to develop a qualitative yardsticks for measuring the Islamic statuses of Muslim states. At the end, Imam Feisal offered a thanks to Tun Abdullah and Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak, the current Malaysian Prime Minister as both leaders welcomed the project and approved it.

On 16th April 2016, IAIS Malaysia and Islamic Book Trust (IBT) co-organised the fourth Abdullah Yusuf Ali Memorial Lecture on “English as a Modern Literary Language for Islam: The Significance of Yusuf Ali’s Translation of the Qur’an”. It was delivered by Dr Surin Pitsuwan, an eminent diplomat and Islamic scholar who has served as Foreign Minister in Thailand and ASEAN’s Secretary-General. Honouring Yusuf Ali’s words, Pitsuwan introduced them in his work: “I want to make English itself an Islamic language, if such a person as I can do it.” Yusuf Ali’s English translation possessed a distinctive features, Dr Pitsuwan has been carefully distilled them. Dr Pitsuwan found motivation in making the language of the scripture accessible to all, as he cleverly incorporated the art of Arabic language into the translation texts.

On 27th May 2016, IAIS Malaysia, Crescent Collective, Radical Middle Way Asia, Simply Islam and Seekers Hub) co-organized a lecture on “Dealing with Diversity: Reviving the Ethics of Disagreement”. Shaykh Faid said that “reform” means going back to tradition, not away from it. In the earliest Islam, it was a norm to listen, respect to different opinions and the prophet attested this as he endorsed a group of companions who disagreed over matters in ablution and prayer.

On 23rd of June 2016, the Malaysia Institute of Integrity (INTEGRITI) and IAIS co-organised a round table discussion: ‘Rukun Negara Teras Integriti Penganut Pelbagai Agama di Di Malaysia: Impian atau Realiti’ with its main speaker, Dr Chandra Muzaffar from Yayasan 1Malaysia. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mohamed Azam Mohamed Adil (IAIS) was a discussant, among other active discussants. Various NGOs and religious institutions participated in the event. The objective was to reach harmony and understanding among the multi-cultural and diverse community in Malaysia.

On 19th July 2016, IAIS and JAKESS jointly organised a seminar on Women as Judges and Leaders. In this seminar, Prof Dr Mohammad Hashim Kamali, Founding CEO of IAIS Malaysia, Prof Dr Raihanah Abdullah, Dean of Humanities Research Cluster at the University of Malaya, and Justice Noor Huda Binti Roslan, the newly appointed Shariah High Court Judge of Selangor, shared their thoughts. Prof. Dr. Mohammad Hashim Kamali said that there is no Quranic verse that forbids women from a leadership role in the society. Although other scholars rejected this view, Prof. Kamali thinks otherwise as he cited Dr. Yusuf al-Qaradhawi. The latter had agreed that Muslim women can hold high positions, including within the judiciary (but provided cases do not involve hudud, the Islamic penal code, or qisas, the laws of retaliation). This second opinion is in line with the Malaysian National Fatwa Council’s decision of 2006, made by Noor Huda Roslan, on the involvement of Muslim women in the legal, judicial and enforcement systems. During Prophet Muhammad and Caliph Umar al-Khattab periods. Samra bint Nuhaik al-Asadiah and al-Shifa Abu Sulaiman were appointed as muhtasibah (enforcement officers) to oversee the businesses in the market. Prof. Datin Dr. Raihanah Abdullah, suggested that the number of female leaders, heads of agencies and government departments, should be increased in Islamic affairs. She recommended the religious authorities to review fatwa on forbidding Muslim women from becoming Shari’ah Court Judges.

On 28th July 2016, IAIS, IKIM and the Ministry of Health organised a seminar on “Vaccination and Health: The Islamic Perspective”. The speakers, YBhg. Dr. Faridah Abu Bakar, Deputy Director of Family Health Development Division MOH, YBhg. Dr. Sh. Mohd Saifuddeen, Director of Centre for Science and Environmental Studies, IKIM, and IAIS’s research fellow, Mr. Ahmad Badri Abdullah. Dr. Faridah cited that Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Zakaria Al-Razi 854 – 925 was the first scholar to describe small pox and measles in “Kitab Al-Jadari wa al-Hasba”. Later, it was referred widely to initiate the development vaccines. The Ministry of Health Malaysia has assured that there are no dangerous substances found in vaccines. Ahmad Badri asserted that the very fundamental idea of vaccination is to protect our life, health, family and generation, and therefore it meets the (maqasid) of Shari’ah.

On August 9th 2016, IAIS Malaysia organised a seminar on ‘Accountability & Transparency of Zakat Institutions’. The seminar aimed to clear issues encircling zakat institutions in Malaysia. It featured three speakers: 1) Assoc. Prof. Dr Abd Halim Mohd Noor, Director, Centre for Islamic Philanthropy and Social Finance (CIPSF), Universiti Teknologi MARA of Malacca; 2) YH Dato’ Haji Halidan Bin Md Daud, General Manager, Pusat Kutipan Zakat Pahang & Chairman; and 3) Tuan Haji Hussin Bin Mohd Ali, CEO, Lembaga Zakat Selangor (LZS). LZS Chief Executive Hussin Mohd Ali has assured that LZS has always been transparent in its collection and distribution of alms.

On 19th August 2016, IAIS Malaysia and JUST jointly organised a forum on “The Coup in Turkey and the Future of Muslim Politics”. The panellists, Mr. Wan Ahmad Faysal (Putra Business School), Assoc. Prof. Dr. Syed Farid Alatas (National University of Singapore) and Prof. Dr. Abdullah Al-Ahsan (IIUM). Moderated by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mohamed Azam Mohamed Adil (IAIS), the opening speech was delivered by Dr. Chandra Muzaffar (JUST). The panellists said that a faction, within the Turkish Armed Forces, attempted to seize the control of several key places in Ankara, Istanbul, but failed, as they conceded defeat to loyal forces to the state. President Recep Tayyib Erdogan blamed low-ranking military officers who rebelled against their superiors and he also blamed Fethullah Gülen for the onset on Turkey. Assoc. Dr. Syed Farid Al-atas said “If indeed Gülenests were involved, it would be one of those rare cases in history where a coup or a revolution was carried out by a group that had an ideology that was totally at odds with its actions.” He added “On the other hand, I do not personally believe that the coup was orchestrated by the government itself. I think that is also a little far-fetched because some of the people closed to the president and closed to the AK Party were killed.”

IAIS Malaysia & JUST co-organised a seminar on World Beyond War: The Rohingya Refugee Crisis and its Implications on Security in The ASEAN Region. The seminar took place at Institut Integriti Malaysia (IIM) on Saturday 24th September 2016. The seminar featured Dr. Chandra Muzaffar (JUST), Tan Sri Hasmy Agam (former Chairman of SUHAKAM), Richard Towle (Representative/Commissioner of UNHCR), Dr. Arujunan Narayanan (JUST), Dr. Jastwan Singh (UM), Azlinariah Adbullah (ASTRO Awani), Dr. Mohammad Iqbal Omar (MERCY Malaysia) and Junaid Ahmad (JUST). There were strong consensus on the Rohingya issues, in which to resolve the conflicts, the Myanmar government has to show a political will to take action. The seminar challenged the dominant narratives in popular media, intellectuals, and the crisis that strapped around the issues. Conclusions from this seminar appeared in public as much as they are going to the ASEAN Secretary-General. In his closing remark, the President of JUST, Dr. Chandra Muzaffar attested that the seminar "was not merely meant to be a 'talk shop.'"

The 8th International Seminar on Contemporary Fiqh (Seminar Hukum Islam Semasa - SHIS-8) was revived after 5 years. Co-organised by the UM Academy of Islamic Studies (APIUM) and Usul Fiqh Department, SHIS holds the avenue for the discussions on fiqhi issues in the contemporary realities. This year’s theme was: ‘Maqasid Shari’ah: Standard, Application, and Contemporary Challenges’. The two-day seminar witnessed 300 participants as academicians, scholars and students attended the event. It was officiated by Y. Bhg. Prof. Dr. Shaliza Ibrahim, the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research and Innovation) of University of Malaya. The keynote addresses were delivered by Syeikh Muhammad al-Hassan Waleed al-Daddu al-Shanqiti, and Prof Emeritus Dato’ Paduka Dr Mahmood Zuhdi Hj. Ab. Majid, while Syeikh al-Daddu gave a special public lecture on Maqasid Shari’ah.

On 10th October 2016, IAIS organised a public lecture, featuring Mr. Thomas H. Greco, Jr. who delivered a topic on “A World Without Money and Interest”. As the leading figure on moneyless exchange, Mr. Thomas H. Greco, Jr reiterated than a world without money and interest is possible, necessary and inevitable.

On 15 October 2016, Eric Winkel launched his book at IAIS Malaysia, a translation of Ibn ‘Arabi’s al-Futuhat al-Makkiyyah, a classic Sufi text, dating back centuries. It was the first in a series of English-Arabic translations. After the opening remarks by IAIS Deputy CEO, Dr. Mohamed Azam Mohamed Adil and words from the Director General of IKIM, Datin Dr. Azizan Baharuddin, Winkel touched a number of important themes from the seminal work of Ibn ‘Arabi. Winkel explained Ibn ‘Arabi’s ideas on the creation of the human soul, its process and its remarkable journey. He compared the process of birth, life and death of human beings with Arabic letters and alphabets. Winkel said that the true meaning of life is found in the next life, the hereafter, and compared this to a dream that cannot be understood until a person wakes.

On 17th and 18th of October 2016, Faculty of Law, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Shah Alam and International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies (IAIS) Malaysia co-organised The Inaugural International Conference on Women and Children (ICWC 2016). ICWC 2016 invited academics and practitioners to discuss women’s and children’s issues from various perspectives. The two-day seminar witnessed 200 participants as academicians, scholars, practitioners and post-graduate students gathered. 100 speakers presented in five sessions. Emeritus Prof. Dato’ Dr. Hassan Said, Vice Chancellor, Universiti Teknologi MARA, officiated the event. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mohamed Azam Mohamed Adil, Deputy CEO of IAIS Malaysia, together with Dr. Rafeah Saidon, Senior Lecturer, Academy of Contemporary Islamic Studies (ACIS), UiTM Shah Alam, presented a paper on “Religion as a Determinant of Child Welfare Custody Cases”. Selected papers of the conference will be published in PERTANIKA, a SCOPUS indexed journal by Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) in 2017.

On 3rd November 2016, IAIS organised a round table discussion on “Persidangan Meja Bulat: Isu & Cabaran Kontemporari Dalam Pengurusan Zakat di Malaysia” . The focuses are “Isu-Isu Kemiskinan di Malaysia” (Poverty in Malaysia), “Cabaran Institusi Zakat Dalam Menangani Kemiskinan di Malaysia” (Challenges by Zakat Institutions in Handling Poverty in Malaysia), “Isu-Isu Mendesak dalam Pengurusan Zakat di Malaysia” (Crucial issues for Zakat Management in Malaysia).

On 16th November 2016, IAIS organized a seminar on Islam and Green Technology. Fellow academicians and Muslim scholars discussed the Islamic perspectives on renewable energy. YB Datuk Wira Dr. Abu Bakar, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MoSTI) officiated the seminar. One of the resolutions presented by Assoc. Prof. Madya Dr. Mohamed Azam: “To promote greater cooperation between regulatory, financial and commercial institutions towards realizing green objectives. Regulators should be dynamic in setting new ethical and legal standards as well as screening methodology in the evaluation and assessment of environmental impacts in tandem with the latest developments in science & technology.”

By the end of year 2016, IAIS Malaysia co-organised the 1st International Conference On Islam & Contemporary Issues in The Islamic World: Challenges & Way Forward (ICIC -2016) with Academy of Islamic Studies, University of Malaya (APIUM) and IIUM. The conference aimed at creating awareness and understanding on challenges that Muslims are facing, and appreciating the opportunities that Islamic world has to offer for the future. It further seeks to highlight vital aspects of Islam and Science interaction in various fields. The keynote speakers were Prof. Dr. Abdelaziz Breghout (IIUM) and Prof. Dr. Muddathir Abdel Rahim Eltayeb (IUM) with a special session by Prof. Dr. Abdal-Hakim Hardaker, Universiti Brunei Darussalam.

Prepared by:
Abdul Muhaimin Misran
Publications Executive

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