IOS organizes virtual condolence meet on the demise of Prof. AbdulHamid A. AbuSulayman

IOS organizes virtual condolence meet on the demise of Prof. AbdulHamid A. AbuSulayman

New Delhi: A virtual condolence meet was organized by the Institute of Objective Studies on August 31, 2021 to pay homage to Prof. AbdulHamid A. AbuSulayman, former rector, IIU, Malaysia and former president IIIT, USA who died recently.

The condolence meeting began with the recitation of a verse from Qur’an by the in-charge of Urdu section, IOS, Maulana Shah Ajmal Farooq Nadwi.

Vice-chairman, IOS, Prof. M. Afzal Wani, who conducted the proceedings, briefly threw light on the life and works of Prof. AbuSulayman.

The Chairman, IOS, Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam, who spoke first, called Prof. AbuSulayman his mentor. Quoting the famous philosopher-poet of Urdu, Dr. Allama Iqbal’s couplet - “Hazaron saal nargis apni benoori pe roti hai, Badi mushkil se hota hai chaman mein deedawar paida”, he said that it very much fitted into Prof. AbuSulayman’s case. Recalling his first meeting with him in Saudi Arabia late in 1970 where he had gone to seek employment, he held that since then he used to frequently meet Prof. AbuSulayman there. He believed in universal brotherhood and equality, and did everything to promote them. He was an institution builder and a prolific writer whose deep knowledge of Qur’an and Sunnah was reflected in his books. What distinguished him from other Islamic scholars was that he was not wedded to traditional theories of Islam. Referring to his aesthetic sense, he noted that Prof. AbuSulayman was a scholar, mentor, guide and philosopher. He visited India four times and attended programmes organised by the IOS. He was also shot for a film prepared by the Institute of Objective Studies, in November 2017, under FutureFocus program to documenting Islam’s vision and visionaries, values and movement, in November 2007. In the film divided in 2-parts, Dr. AbuSulayman discussed and explained different aspects of his life, thought and works that future generation would find beneficial and constructive In March 2010, he participated in two conferences organised by the Institute of Objective Studies in India. The reading material he prepared was of high quality. He called for working further on Prof. AbuSulayman’s ideas. 

Former deputy prime minister of Malaysia, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, observed that Prof. AbuSulayman always corrected his Arabic pronunciation. He was a lovely brother and an intellectual who was imbued with high moral and ethical values. Describing his death as an irrecoverable loss to the country, he always vouched for cultural reforms based on Quranic principles. He was an admirer of Ibn Khaldun’s world view. He said that while opposing Western view of Islam, he adopted Islamic world view and inspired him to read Salahuddin Ayyubi. He always laid stress on basic education based on Islamic thought. He was a legendary figure in Malaysia and his contribution to the Islamic university of Malaysia as a rector would be ever remembered, Anwar Ibrahim added. Dr. Hisham Altalib, president, International Institute of Islamic Though, remarked that he knew Dr. AbuSulayman for the last several years. He said that he stayed with him and his family for three days. He secured his commitment to sacrifice life, career and family for reforms in the ummah. In 1980, he established the IIIT to do something concrete for the promotion of Islamic thought. He had several encounters with Prof. AbuSulayman and always found him dynamic and energetic. He established several institutions and founded the association of social scientists. He was brought up in an environment of secular education. Endowed with deep knowledge of Quranic thought, Prof. AbuSulayman was impactful to him and his wife, he noted. 

Siraj Husain, a senior IAS officer and the former vice-chancellor of Jamia Hamdard, observed that he met him only once. He had an opportunity to listen to Prof. AbuSulayman when he visited Jamia Hamdard to deliver a lecture. He said that he read his book, ‘Towards an Islamic Theory of International Relations: New Directions for Islamic Methodology and Thought’. Questions like role of the largest minority in India, i.e., Muslims, should be answered in the light of the concept of equality to all, irrespective of their differences and a sense of justice in Islam, he observed. 

Prof. Omar Hassan Kasule Sr., secretary general, IIIT, held that the death of Prof. AbuSulayman, is a loss of an intellectual giant. His relationship with the Islamic scholars travelled the width and breadth of the globe. Though South Asians claimed to be Hindi, yet they must call themselves as a part of the larger Islamic community. Referring to his experience in Makkah, he said that the city was a centre where Muslims from around the world gathered, and the colour, customs and traditions were merged into one. Since he had a cosmopolitan upbringing in Makkah, he developed a cosmopolitan world view. He said that Prof. AbuSulayman appreciated the contribution of Indian Ulema, particularly Shah Waliullah, during the Mughal and British colonial periods. India was one of the countries that influenced Prof. AbuSulayman most, he observed.

Recalling his meeting with Prof. AbuSulayman, Dr. Habib Chirzin from IIIT, Indonesia, said that he met the former in 1994 during a conference in the university. His contribution in the field of reforms and Islah was remarkable. He noted that he was impressed with his educational reforms and his deepest commitment to the interest of the ummah. He met Prof. AbuSulayman again in 1997 in Washington during the UN session. He was committed to justice, peace and development. He stood for Islamisation of knowledge and curricular reforms. As rector of International Islamic University, Malaysia, he introduced educational reforms. He wrote books to serve as teaching material for students. His work on integration of knowledge received much appreciation from scholars, Dr. Chirzin added. Zaid Barzinji from USA, said that Dr. AbuSulayman’s commitment to seek Haq (Truth) was inviolable. It led him to work on Maqasid Institute. He had a penetrating and analytical mind. According to him, Islam is not human-centric religion but it was created by Allah.  Sometimes, he used such gestures that could benefit the general people. Once, he was seen directing traffic in Jakarta, he said. Dr. Omar Hisham Altalib from USA, observed that Dr. AbuSulayman was his valued colleague and he was much influenced by him. 

Dr. Zaleha Binti Kamaruddin, former rector, IIU and judge of appeal, Shariah Court, Malaysia observed that he did much to transform the system of education. He fulfilled the commitments he made for Indonesia. He was concerned with the improvement and transformation of education. She said that he advised her to start projects for bringing change in the system of modern education.

Dr. Fathi Malkawi from Jordan, described the condolence meet as an occasion to recall his memories. He said that Dr. AbuSulayman was concerned about Islamic resurgence. Commenting on his meeting with Dr. AbuSulayman, he said that he accompanied him to several countries. Dr. AbuSulayman had a noble vision and devoted his life to Islamic reform projects, he noted.

Prof. Koutoub Moustapha Sano from Saudi Arabia, noted that Dr. AbuSulayman left behind a lasting legacy. He invited him to join the university while he was still doing his Ph.D. He used to say that children needed to learn compassion and sympathy. He said that it was a coincidence that many people had the ideas but they died before giving a practical shape to them. He enriched Malaysia with his knowledge and wisdom. He was very optimistic about life and looked at it as such. He built a great institution of learning not only for Muslims but also for others. He asked the ummah to work hard for the realization of Dr. AbuSulayman’s dreams.

Secretary General, IOS, Prof. Z.M. Khan, referred to Dr. AbuSulayman’s thought and action plan, and said that he left a mission which had to be completed. Those who were close to him needed to complete his projects. He said that he was privileged to host him on behalf of the Institute of Objective Studies. Commenting on one of his books on the status of women in Islam, he held that a woman was an economic person and the maximum punishment to the wife by the husband was a temporary separation. Islam taught both theory and practice. Crisis in the Muslim Mind was his best book, he added. 

Assistant secretary general, IOS, Prof. Haseena Hashia, said that she knew him through the Institute during his visit to India. She found him very humble and knew much about the famous Urdu poet, Allama Iqbal. She said that after reading one of his books, she developed respect for him. He was a great scholar and educator. His concept of Islamisation of knowledge distinguished him from other Islamic scholars. He was a man of many dimensions and an institution in himself. In his death, the world lost a great reformer, thinker, and leader. She suggested that the IOS should organize conferences on various aspects of his life. 

Prof. Hamid Naseem Rafiabadi, dean, faculty of social sciences, Central University of Kashmir, recalled his meeting with Dr. AbuSulayman at the IOS in 2007 and said that he was concerned more with the methodology. He was of the opinion that there was no difference between reason and revelation. There was a common origin of man, whether Hindu or Muslim. He wrote a book on international relations. Prof. Rafiabadi stressed the need to take Dr. AbuSulayman’s mission ahead and reach it to its logical conclusion. Dr. AbuSulayman always laid emphasis on the periodical revision of text-books. 

Dr. Kaleem Alam, researcher, Islamic Economics Institute, King Abdul Aziz University, Jeddah, said that he met him on both campuses of International Islamic University in Malaysia. He was very humble and dedicated himself to the development of the university. Started as a small university, it had now become one of the best institutions of the world with all the faculties, he added. Prof. Jamil Farooqi, held that Dr. AbuSulayman was a distinguished educationist and a great contributor to knowledge. He said that there were two types of knowledge–traditional and modern. Dr. AbuSulayman emphasised that both of them should be integrated into one. He wanted development of knowledge in Islamic perspective and integration of Islamic knowledge with human sciences.

In his conducting remarks, Prof. Afzal Wani observed that writing was very important and when one wrote, he was more conscious. One could find a great teacher in Dr. AbuSulayman. Describing him as a leader of humanity, he said that Dr. AbuSulayman was very sensitive and a rational Muslim. He was a reformist. Initially, he was a political scientist whose writings were very balanced. As a great thought leader, he looked at the world across the globe, he said.

While Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam presided over the meet, Prof. Afzal Wani extended a vote of thanks to all panelists. 


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