Malaysian Scholars Visit AKU-ISMC
News 2012

​Religious scholars from Malaysia engage in fruitful dialogue on culture, ethics and diverse traditions

April 25, 2012

The Regent (and Crown Prince) of the Malaysian State of Perlis, Tuanku Syed
Faizuddin Putra, in his capacity as President of the Perlis State Islamic Council and Malay Customs Council, and Chancellor of Universiti Malaysia Perlis, led valuable discussions with academics at the Aga Khan University Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations (AKU-ISMC) in London.

The meeting, organised at the request of the Regent, the Perlis Fatwa Council and the Malaysian High Commission to the United Kingdom, was attended by Dr. Juanda Jaya, the Mufti of Perlis and Chairman of the Perlis Fatwa Council as well as other members of Council who included senior scholars from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) and the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM).

The Regent of Perlis explains the academic interests of the Perlis
Fatwa Council to Dr. Farouk Topan, Prof. Abdou Filali-Ansari and
Mr. Shiraz Kabani as the Mufti of Perlis listens.

Dr. Farouk Topan, Interim Director of AKU-ISMC and Professor Abdou Filali-Ansary were joined by Dr. Farhad Daftary, the Co-Director of the Institute of Ismaili Studies (IIS) and Mr. Shiraz Kabani, its Head of Community Relations for a wide-ranging series of exchanges with the Malaysian delegation. Topics covered ranged from the ethical impulses and multi-dimensional approach of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) to specific research initiatives being undertaken by AKU-ISMC.

Beginning with an overview of recent cultural initiatives between AKDN agencies and Malaysian institutions, the discussions, conducted variously in Arabic, Bahasa Malaysia and English, highlighted the domains of architecture, urban revitalisation and capacity-building in health and education.

Dr. Topan elaborated on AKU-ISMC’s research themes: the construction of knowledge, understanding the processes of change in Muslim cultures and societies, and sharia and governance.  Expressing interest in AKU-ISMC’s academic programmes, the Perlis scholars conveyed enthusiasm for continued dialogue, particularly with a view to accessing first-hand knowledge about traditions less known to them.   

Listening to Mr. Alnoor Merchant, Head Librarian describe a rare manuscript,
the Regent is joined by scholars from the Perlis delegation.

The delegation, which had visited the British Library just prior to the meeting, had an opportunity to view manuscripts and rare books from the collection of the IIS, including commentaries on the Quran and texts on Islamic law and philosophy, poetry, medicine and astronomy. Ensuing discussions permitted the Malaysian scholars to share aspects of their own research into manuscripts and commentaries on hadith.

Concluding on a fruitful note, the Regent and the members of the Fatwa Council felt confident that continued dialogue would do justice to the truth about various traditions and communities of the faith.

Mrs Razia Velji
Coordinator, Planning and Academic Development