Expand research to other Islamic schools of thought
Siti Hajar

UNIVERSITI Islam Sultan Sharif Ali (UNISSA) should extend its research to include other Islamic schools of thought as the university expands its role in developing future Islamic leaders, His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam said yesterday.

His Majesty also noted the importance of research in elevating the university’s profile, while delivering a titah at UNISSA’s 4th Convocation at the International Convention Centre in Berakas.

While His Majesty supported the initiatives in strengthening the Shafi’e Islamic school of thought, or Mazhab Shafi’e, through the Mazhab Shafi’e Research Centre as part of a strategic cooperation with Al-Azhar University, the monarch said UNISSA should not limit itself to this study alone “but should also expand to other mazhabs.”

Addressing just over 100 graduates along with their parents and guardians, His Majesty said that such a move is to ensure that UNISSA can produce practitioners and scholars, who are familiar with the different types of Islamic teaching. “This will develop the centre to possess a broad view and play a role in curbing the growth of teachings that are not in line with the mazhabs of Ahli Sunnah Wal Jama’ah.”

Cooperation such as that with Al-Azhar University will provide the research centre with the opportunities to be a hub for Mazhab Shafi’e research not only to attract academicians in the region but also from around the world, His Majesty said.

“Therefore, to equip the centre towards this vision, cooperation should be extended to other distinguished universities… Insya Allah, UNISSA will become a university that is truly eminent with the ability to call itself a prestigious centre for research.”

To ensure the authenticity of UNISSA as an Islamic higher education institution, His Majesty said that UNISSA should strengthen and enforce the use of the Arabic language in its education programmes.

The monarch also emphasised on quality human resource, which should be facilitated by the recently-introduced Academic Staff Service Scheme, which can attract international students and enhance the university’s profile as a higher learning institution.

This year also saw the graduation of the first local PhD candidate in Philosophy, a milestone achievement, which His Majesty hopes will inspire other locals. His Majesty congratulated not just the graduates but also their parents and guardians and those who have contributed to the success of each student, including the university staff. - Borneo Bulletin (2 November 2014)