A personal encounter with a great scholar

By Wan Mazwati Wan Yusoff

I am very hesitant to write this because I see myself as very insignificant compared to great scholars in IIUM; and elsewhere in the world, I am an invisible person. However, the feeling I have for him is very strong for the impact he had on me. Probably because of how he treated everyone.

My first encounter with him was not in person. Even though at that time I was doing my PhD at the Kulliyyah of Education in IIUM and was studying thinking in Islam. I am very passionate in studying everything I can get my hands on thinking to the extent of willing to pay high price to attend courses on thinking.  In 2006, I started to write my proposal and I got hold of a book written by him. This book was the first book written by him that I read and after that I searched for all of his books.

The book “Contemplation: An Islamic psychospiritual study” had tremendous impact on me. After I finished reading his book, I felt like both of my feet floated and I was walking on air; feeling incredibly very satisfied. I have never experienced feeling like this reading other books. Words failed to describe my feelings but probably what I did after that could indicate how I felt. I bought 20 units of “Contemplation” and sent to my friends as gifts so that their hearts will always be present in contemplating the materials to be drowned in the majesty of The Spiritual. 

After reading this book, I told myself that I have to meet this great scholar. One day, I went to ISTAC to attend an international conference, and I met him there. He was walking with a strong gait, even though he was 75 years old at that time, carrying a tasbih in one hand, towards the front of the hall in ISTAC. I stopped him for I must tell him about how the book impacted me. I greeted him and I felt so special when he called me “my daughter” and later I found out that he called every female students and young girl his daughter or his granddaughter. 

I still could remember I told him and his wife, Dr. Fatimah, that I could feel the book was written from the heart for it moved other heart, from heart to heart. Not only that, I told him that the book was written from experience because only those who have experienced could write and expound so beautifully about contemplation. Reading that book was like reading a Robert Ludlum or Agatha Christie for you cannot put it down until you have turned and read the last page. 

I was doing my PhD in a new area, thinking and philosophy from Islamic perspective, and I have to be very independent in learning the knowledge. Coming from accounting background (both my Bachelor and Master degree), I had to strive to understand it all to offer new knowledge in the field of thinking through philosophy.

What this book inspires me was total dependency on Allah and “when you are lost and grappling to get a hold on a strong rope that can pull you up”, put your head on the ground and ask from Allah. Even though you have no background in Islamic study and Islamic philosophy, but understanding is God given and He will give to those He chooses, so ask from Allah to give you the light of understanding His revelation. 

Much of my understanding of the concept of thinking and how thinking is vital to understand the concept of “signs”, I owe it to the great scholar of Islamic Psychology, Prof. Malik Badri, may Allah grant him the highest Jannah. Not that he defined it for me but he paved the way and showed me how to get to this understanding. This is how I understood the book “Contemplation”.

His other book, “Dilemma of a Muslim Psychologist” was so inspiring that I told myself that psychology and applied psychology must be built on the foundation of the Quran and Sunnah. Since the Creator is The One created human, therefore, the Creator must have knowledge about human more than human have knowledge about themselves, therefore, data and information about human can be found in the Words of Allah. 

Time really flies so fast, I graduated and teach at this university. My office is a few metres away from his office. Many times I would go and visit him; to tell my personal problems and ask for his wisdom. He never failed to guide me to the right way. And he also never failed to give gifts, his books, when he was here in IIUM or when I visited him in Istanbul Zaim University (IZU). 

One day, in April 2017, I had visitors from Istanbul. They came to my house at dinner time. While having dinner, my guest, Prof. Mehmet Bulut, the Rector of IZU, asked me if I could arrange a meeting with Prof. Malik Badri. I said I can do that and the next day, he and his entourage went to IIUM to meet Prof. Malik. I was surprised when Prof. Malik told me he was interviewed there and then. I told myself that these people from Istanbul really knew what they wanted and they took who they wanted.

Since then my son, Hasan, acted as his translator to make all arrangement for Prof. Malik to move to Istanbul since the Personal Assistant of Prof. Bulut and the one responsible for arranging his going to Istanbul cannot speak English. When he was in Istanbul, I went to visit him and Dr. Fatimah several times. At one time, I cannot find him in campus so Prof. Burhan took me to his apartment in the university almost a year after we met at the First International Conference on Islamic Psychology in IZU, Istanbul. But, he was not there also. I think this was my last attempt to see him in Istanbul.

I still remember I told him how frustrated I was knocking from door to door to find research centres in Istanbul to support my proposal to write a book on Prophet Muhammad’s methods of counselling. I shared with him my ideas in his office in IZU, told him the experimental studies on Prophet Muhammad’s method and the training I have conducted locally and also in Istanbul on the method. Again, he was very supportive and told me to go on but I have not pursued this until now for some reasons. 

When I found out that he was here in Gombak, I could not visit him for I was not well. After my surgery, I have had health issue one after another. I pray to Allah to forgive him and have mercy on him and grant him the highest level of Jannah, the place worthy of a person who had touched and inspired so many people. My Allah bless his legacy and guide the living on bringing Islamic Psychology to where it should be, at the top.***

(Dr. Wan Mazwati Wan Yusoff is an assistant professor in the Department of Fundamental and Interdisciplinary Studies, KIRKHS)

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