Assalaamu’alaikum warahmatullaahi wabarakaatuh.
Deputy Rectors, Members of the Academic and Administrative Staff.
Chairman and Committee Members of Ummatic Week 2004.
Ladies and gentlemen.
I thank the Chairman and the organizing committee members of Ummatic Week for inviting me to this function and for giving me the honour of opening the event.
A week is a long time for any event.
And the word ummatic is a big word representing the ummah, which means everyone here, and even those outside this university, inclusive of those in other countries.
Much heavier is the theme for this event, that is ‘unity beyond borders’. Presumably, it is the unity of the Muslim Ummah.
If it is so, it is a big dream,
Some would say that it is an impossible dream. As the work of splitting the Muslim Ummah have started from the day our Prophet Muhammad S.A.W. passed away.
I must congratulate all of you for this big dream, although it cannot be achieved in one week.
But a dream we need to have.
Without a dream there can be no objective.
Without objective there can be no plan of action.
Without a plan of action there can be no results.
Understanding through history
Men have tried to understand themselves through history.
They have studied:
Man as the wanderer,
Man as the settler,
Man as the conqueror, and
Man as the worshiper.
In 1987, at an International Conference of Specialists in Human Evolution, Archeology and Molecular Genetics, it was realised that human being came from one source and spread around the world through migration.
A research project was launched at around the same time to study the global forces now shaping our lives.
The results have now been published in a book on global transformations in Politics, Economics, and Culture.
The conclusion reached by this research, for their economic and social research council, was that globalizaation ‘is an idea whose time has come’.
In the search for guidelines between the two parameters of man in their various roles as,
A conqueror and
On the one hand, and
The global forces now shaping the lives of man, the scholars have decided to bring together the three significant shifting strands of thought, within a quarter century, in the studies of world history.
The three strands are:
1. The study of ‘ civilizations ’,
2. The study of ‘ world-systems ’, and
3. The idea of ‘global history ’.
The following scholars contributed to the study of civilizations:
1. Oswald Spengler from Germany,
2. Arnold Toynbee from Britain,
3. Emile Durkheim from France,
4. Pitirin Sorokin from Russia, and
5. Others from America
Sorokin wrote 4 volumes of ‘Social and Cultural Dynamics ’.
Toynbee wrote on 23 civilizations is his 12 volumes of ‘A Study in History ’.
On ‘World Systems’ the following scholars contributed much:
1. Immanuel Wallenstein wrote ‘ the Modern World Systems ’,
2. Janet Abu-Lughot wrote ‘Before European Hegemony’.
On ‘Global History ‘we have:
1. Fernand Braudel,
2. Michael Geyer, and
3. Charles Bright.
These are just examples.
You would have observed from the above narration that, nowhere in the massive studies which were made, which influences the decision makers of the world, Muslim scholars are involved in any significant way, or invited to give their input.
But all decisions made that are based on those studies affect the lives of a billion Muslims of the world.
These are the billion Muslims that you intend to unite under the slogan of ‘unity beyond borders’.
If Muslims are left out of all discussions in the social sciences, while we are left far behind in basic research in science and technology, what hope have we got for the future?
We do have a hope if we begin now.
We are lucky that we have the Qur’an and the Sunnah. As such we have a complete summation in the word of Allah of what has gone before us, what is current and what is expected for the future. No books written by man can exceed the wisdom of the Qur’an.
But Muslims are also good at making enemies of themselves.
This university has therefore a great responsibility to the Ummah.
The logo represents the aspirations, ideals and objectives of the university.
The logo is made up of the Qur’an, the Ka’abah, eight inner domes pointing outwards in eight directions and eight outer domes, also pointing in the same direction.
The Qur’an, significantly placed in the center, signifies the highest source of knowledge and wisdom, above all human knowledge, and is our source of inspiration.
The Ka’abah signifies the Islamic propagation for the unity of knowledge and mankind via the principle of Tawhid as the foundation of Muslim personality, culture and society.
The inner domes represent the different branches of human knowledge and academic discipline.
The outer domes represent the various development efforts of man.
The colour of gold represents the common principle.
Can one have a better logo than ours?
Our vision and mission is also very clear.
Since the academic staff might be busy teaching.
And the administrative staff is busy managing.
The students are busy learning.
Inspired by the world view of Tawhid and the Islamic philosophy of the unity of knowledge as well as its concept of holistic education, IIUMaims at becoming a leading International Centre of Educational Excellence which:
- Revitalizes the intellectual dynamism of Islam and the Ummah;
- Integrates Islamic revealed knowledge and values in all academic disciplines and educational activities;
- Seeks to restore a leading and progressive role of the Muslim Ummah in all branches of knowledge; thereby
- Contributing to the improvement and upgrading of the qualities of human life and civilization.
Towards actualizing the university’s vision, IIUM endeavors:
- To undertake the special and greatly needed task of reforming the contemporary Muslim mentality and integrating Islamic revealed knowledge and human sciences in a positive manner;
- To produce better quality intellectuals, professionals and scholars by integrating quality of faith (iman), knowledge (‘ilm) and good character (akhlaq) to serve as agents of comprehensive and balanced progress as well as sustainable development in Malaysia and in the Muslim world;
- To promote the concept of Islamization of human knowledge in teaching, research, consultancy, dissemination of knowledge and the development of academic excellence in the university;
- To nurture the quality of holistic excellence which is imbued with Islamic moral-spiritual values, in the process of learning, teaching, research, consultancy, publication, administration, and student life;
- To exemplify an international community of dedicated intellectuals, scholars, professionals, officers and workers who are motivated by the Islamic world-view and code of ethics as an integral part of their work culture;
- To enhance intercultural understanding and foster civilizational dialogues in Malaysia as well as across communities and nations;
- To develop an environment which instills commitment for life-long learning and a deep sense of social responsibility among staff and students.
The summary of the Iium mission is also known as:
IIICE or ‘ Triple Ice ’, i.e.
3. Internationalization, and
4. Comprehensive excellence.
Which university on this earth has a better vision and mission statement than our’s.
We cannot therefore blame our parents or our governments if our future is tormenting.
We can only blame ourselves.
Let us therefore look at ourselves to see whether we are fit to shoulder this responsibility.
Ask each one of yourself six questions as follows:
Question no. One:
Being a student of this international university how many students, besides those from your own country, or your own village or kampong, can you consider as being your friends.
You know their home addresses, and you hope to visit them in the future?
Question no. Two:
If you are a Malaysian, how many foreign students have you invited to your home, during the holidays?
Question no. Three:
How sad are you to part with friends from other countries after your convocation?
Question no. Four:
How often do you pray together, in a Juma’ah, with your friends?
Question no. Five:
If you are near the mosque when the azan is called, are you happy to pray together with your friends.
Question no. Six:
As a Muslim, do you pray?
If the answers to all these six questions are in the negative, there is no chance that you can be the man or woman of substance to shoulder the responsibility of bettering the future of the Muslim Ummah.
But if you decide to change the negative answers to be positive, there is still hope for all of us, as there is still time.
Otherwise you can forget the theme ‘unity beyond boundaries. ‘
In the name of Allah I declare the start of the Ummatic Week.