World Conference on Islamic Thought and Civilization The Contemporary State of Muslim Affairs

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Muhammed Haron

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Abstract

Kolej Universiti Islam Sultan Azlan Shah (KUISAS) organized and hosted
the Second World Conference on Islamic Thought and Civilization (WCIT)
during August 18-19, 2014, at Casuarina Hotel, Ipoh, Malaysia. Under the
leadership of chairperson Wan Sabri bin Wan Yusof (associate professor), the
organizers chose Ibn Khaldun’s notion of the rise and fall of civilization as
the general theme and asked potential presenters to explore the contemporary
state of Muslim affairs. The over 200 selected presenters, ranging from the
social sciences to the applied sciences, were slotted into various parallel panels.
After welcoming and introducing the sponsors and various presenters,
Nordin Kardi (vice-chancellor and rector, KUISAS) spoke on the Arab Spring
and other problems that continue to afflict the Muslim world: a low to medium
level of socioeconomic human development, an absence of good governance,
intra-Muslim conflict, and an attitude of the “Muslim world and the rest.” He
suggested that Muslims begin building strategic bridges to deal with them.
The first keynote speaker, Sultan Nazrin M. Shah (pro-chancellor, University
of Malaya), echoed some of Kardi’s points and reflected critically upon
the Organization of Islamic Cooperation member states’ general poor performance
in producing scientific publications as a typical example of the deplorable
state of knowledge production among Muslims as a whole. He
advocated participation, transparency, equitable treatment, good governance,
and sound education to remedy this generally negative condition.
The second keynote speaker, Serif Ali Tekalan (vice-chancellor, Fatih University,
Turkey) spoke on “The Role of Waqf in Islamic Civilization: Turkey’s
Experience in Waqf for Education.” A great deal of evidence shows that
Turkey has used “endowment policies” to transform its socio-educational and
religious landscape. Both Muslim-majority and minority communities should
be able to benefit from its experience. The final keynote speaker, Zamry Abdul
Kadir (chief minister), who closed the conference, remarked that Muslims
should return to the Qur’an and Sunnah to rebuild Islamic civilization. He optimistically
stated: “[I]ronic as it may seem, despite the multitude of conflicts
… are we actually looking at the … resurgence of Islam?” He observed that
the conference’s main result was “a call to re-examine the essence of Islamic ...

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