By Shukran Abd Rahman
The Kulliyyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences (IRKHS) Management team had a discussion with Prof. Muhammad Kamal Hassan on 26 March 2021, aimed at being informed of the Kulliyyah’s mission by her founding Dean. The following are some of the pertinent points gathered in the meeting:
On the Kulliyyah
Professor Kamal was speaking from his heart about the expectations of the university management for KIRKHS (now named AbdulHamid AbuSulayman Kulliyyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences or AHAS KIRKHS) when the idea for the establishment of the Kulliyyah was conceptualised in 1989. He was in agreement with us on the necessity of being guided by several documents that outlined the raison d’être of the Kulliyyah’s establishment and her directions.
Among other things, KIRKHS was established with the aim of attending to the urgency of reforming the Islamic Studies and Human Sciences curricula, conducting research based on holistic approaches, and serving as a centre for producing new literature based on a holistic approach in the field of the Islamisation of Human Sciences. The Kulliyyah was also established to train a new type of Islamic religious scholars and social scientists, equipped with the capability of becoming competent agents of change, making improvements, and developing the communities they serve and function in.
On the students
Prof. Kamal shared his thoughts on the importance of equipping students with sound fundamental knowledge (thawabit) and contextual knowledge (mutaghaiyirat), necessitating the intellectuals and scholars at the IIUM to be poised with all they need to be holistic murabbis to the students they deal with. He reiterated the roles of the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) in developing capable God-conscious agents of change, who would make improvements, and help to develop various settings, namely family, society, government, the workplace, the nation, and the Ummah.
The Islamic personality, or akhlaq, should be integral to IIUM students and graduates, warranting the teaching and learning processes as well as the total Kulliyyah ecosystem to focus on the development of highly ethical and responsible students. Given the volatile nature of the job market and an uncertain future, students should be involved in activities that enable them to acquire relevant knowledge and skills, befitting the aim of equipping them with in-depth knowledge (Taffaqquh Fi-Deen). This could be rolled out through various learning approaches, such as conducting community-driven research (which adopts social research methodology instead of library research in IRK courses) and conducting research on the community.
Students should be trained to design and organise community services in the local community by applying the principles learned in class and from the knowledge generated from the research study. The integration of both revealed and acquired knowledge would serve as the basis for the design of activities or interventions to serve the community. This focus aims to nurture in students, desirable attributes, the main ones being God-consciousness, a change-ready attitude, resilience, having management competencies, and being holistic in their approach to designing the mechanisms to support the community.
On the academics and the quality of scholars in KIRKHS
Given the need for the holistic murabbi, it is incumbent on academics to fully embrace the ethos of the University and that of the Kulliyyah which are accounted for by the National Philosophy of Education, the mission of the University, and the history of the Kulliyyah.
He emphasised the essentiality of having the right members of academia, academic leaders, and even assessors for curricula, in that they must be prolific in the domain of knowledge in which they specialise, well-versed in the higher education system, and knowledgeable about the IIUM mission, vision, and objectives.
Prof. Kamal underscored the points that the human science fields will not be beneficial to Muslims unless they have been culturally adapted and Islamised by subjecting their contents to their philosophical core, from an Islamic perspective. In this regard, academic scholarship at the Kulliyyah must be substantiated by adequate knowledge on the epistemology, ontology, axiology, and teleology of the knowledge in which they specialise in, as well as their understanding of Islam. Academics working in the Kulliyyah should be able to empower their students and colleagues to be critical in their thinking on theories and principles founded in the west as well as to correct what they had learned from mainstream sources.
On the academic cadre, Prof. Kamal registered his concerns over the epistemological orientation of the academics, especially among those who had received their postgraduate education or training from other universities. He was of the view that the alumni of the Kulliyyah may have the right specifications to be the academics and academic leaders of the Kulliyyah, being aware that they have been learning the ropes at the Kulliyyah.
On Kulliyyah Leaders
Prof. Kamal underscored the need to be cognizant of the Kulliyyah’s ethos, stay committed to helming AHAS KIRKHS, and be informed of the real purposes of the Kulliyyah so as to rightly position the Kulliyyah in the current and future contexts.
On the Curriculum
He stressed the needs for the KIRKHS curricula to focus on equipping students with in-depth knowledge that prepare them to fare well in the world of work and the community. The curriculum should provide, not only theoretical but experiential learning which is attainable by exposing students to various domains of knowledge instead of only focusing on one which does not blend with the reality of the current world.
The concept of Integration, Islamisation and Relevantisation of courses must be fully understood by students and academics, the latter are required to update their knowledge and skills on Islamisation, and that all the acquired knowledge must be put into action. Master’s and PhD theses titles should be designed to address inputs on Integration, Islamisation and Relevantisation
That said, he said the double-major programme should be retained. The contents of each programme must be complemented by the students’ enrolment in a minor specialisation, the latter would enable students to relate their major specialisation with the context and apply the blend of both in addressing emerging phenomena that requires attention.
Taken together, the elements of Islamisation must be present in students’ academic work. Their course assignment should be designed to address integration and Islamisation vis a vis community engagement and other matters. This initiative should be augmented and reinforced in the Kulliyyah, being aware that the Kulliyyah houses scholars of Islamic Studies and Human Sciences whose principles could be applied to change, improve and develop the society.
His sharing of invaluable knowledge has not only invigorated my thinking but has also moved me to a certain level of worry, fearing that I am not capable of shouldering this great set of amanah towards knowledge, knowledge seekers, and knowledge stakeholders. Prof. Kamal depicted his passion for educating the Ummah and registered his confidence in IIUM’s role in developing the Ummah. He has also registered his commitment to continuously support the initiatives taken by the current University Management in accomplishing the mission of the IIUM. He was also pleased with the effort of bringing the IIUM agenda to the global level, as well as engaging with and outreaching to the wider international community to help them appreciate the way the IIUM operates as a holistic higher education institution.
(Shukran Abd Rahman is a Professor at the AbdulHamid AbuSulayman Kulliyyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences. The above article was written on 27 March 2021, after a meeting with Prof. Kamal at his office in the Centre of Islamisation.)
- ELITS and DELL to hold exhibition on the history of English culture - May 15, 2023
- COMM FESTIVAL 2023: Festival ends on a high note - May 15, 2023
- COMM FESTIVAL 2023: Fun Activities by IIUM TV - May 7, 2023