Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Usrah Mahallah: Together Ascending Further


“Let us bring more betterment to Usrah Mahallah. Tell the University that we can make Usrah Mahallah better than before.”

Introduction

President Muizz, Mr. Principal, members and delegates of the Council, distinguished guests, brothers and sisters:

I was thrilled, last two Mondays, when President Muizz informed this very Council of the pleasure of the Deputy Rector (Student Affairs) of this University, after more than 4 months of waiting, to endorse the Declaration on Usrah Mahallah.

“Together Ascending Further” is, since then, no longer meaningless for us, but has been sharing the same aspiration with “Generating the True Hope”, so “Together Ascending Further” by “Generating the True Hope”.

Today, I am thrilled for another time for no reason but the honour bestowed in me to deliver my second Presidential Address before this Council, and I wish this Address will encompass the University’s aspiration in making Islamisation one of successful missions in this University.

Overall Usrah Mahallah Performance in the Previous Semester

Honourable members and delegates,

Last 1 February, I announced my first move to put Islamic development as the first priority of my administration for the people of my Mahallah and, therefore, to retain Usrah as a top priority of my Mahallah.

Last Tuesday, President Muizz informed my Principal, my colleagues and me, myself, of the real state of Usrah Mahallah in our University in the previous semester. 80.2 percent of 2,323 participants (from 14 Mahallat) attended at least one Usrah session; 87.87 percent among them attended at least three Usrah sessions.

Level 1 participants were doing better than those from Level 2. They were differentiated by 8.08 percent in term of one-time attendance, and by 9.28 percent in term of the number of participants attended at least three Usrah sessions.

I understand that some of you are exultant today, and some of you are less so. But that’s the nature of Usrah. To conduct it in our respective Mahallah is not easy; it is hard.

So, I ask you to give thanks to Allah for these records, and give yourself and your people for these achievements, a word of congratulations and a round of hands.

Congratulations for whatever we have achieved in the previous semester. You deserved it.

Opportunities for Improvements

Honourable members and delegates,

Today, I wish to say the following words for another time, and at a different place, “Let us bring more betterment to Usrah Mahallah. Tell the University that we can make Usrah Mahallah better than before.” I say this not because Usrah Mahallah will commence this Thursday.

I say this because I believe in change, and so because I believe in you.

As members and delegates of this august Council, we will do this together, and I look forward to continue working with you, side by side, not only in making Usrah Mahallah an established product of Islamisation in this University, but also in making Islamisation a successful mission and Key Results Area in this University.

Outcomes from the Recent Courtesy Call

Honourable members and delegates,

Last Monday, my Principal and my predecessor, on behalf of Usrah Mahallah System and this Council, had a chance to pay a courtesy call towards the Deputy Rector (Student Affairs) of this University in his executive office. He had even a great honour to share with us his decisions, opinions and recommendations towards Usrah Mahallah.

Before I give you good news, I am so sorry to share with this Council two following news.

Last year, exactly on 31 October, this Council decided in favour of a proposal to make Distinguished Professor Tan Sri Dr. Mohd. Kamal bin Hassan as the Referee to Usrah Mahallah. Last Monday, the Deputy Rector considered Professor Kamal’s old age and post-rectory commitment towards this University and, therefore, asked this Council to nominate someone else in Professor Kamal’s place.

Some days ago, we together recommended the University, in writing, to establish a legal standing towards Usrah Mahallah. On the same Monday, the Deputy Rector stated his discouragement towards such recommendation owing to the present understanding towards Usrah Mahallah that members of the University Senate are having for the time being, and the current situation occurring in the University Senate.

Continuous Supports Despite Challenges

Honourable members and delegates,

He further advised us to channel such recommendation to the University Student Affairs Committee for consideration. He, even, has provided us with a solution for the previous recommendation. It is to issue a draft official letter in his professional name, addressed to participants of Usrah in all Mahallat, requesting them to attend all six Usrah sessions in their respective Mahallah.

So, the first good news for this Council is that our Secretariat will come up with a draft official letter for the Deputy Rector’s endorsement, this week.

Since there is another recommendation that the financial provision for Usrah Mahallah should be increased from RM 2,500 per Mahallah to RM 3,000 per Mahallah, the Deputy Rector has requested Usrah Mahallah System and this Council to send a proposal paper containing such recommendation to his office for further consideration, and he has assured my Principal and my predecessor his consideration.

Reiterating the Joint Commitment

Honourable members and delegates,

The Deputy Rector was somewhat unhappy for the present Usrah Mahallah performance, and yet took note of two successful moves in the Masjid; one of them was the merged Grand Usrah and Grand Solat Hajat, which took place in the Masjid successfully on 15 December 2016. To this Council and our Higher Council, as well as the Students’ Representative Council (SRC), Mahallah Representative Coordination Committee and Imaratul Masjid Group (i-Masjid): Congratulations.

Now, the Deputy Rector requests the same Programme Organising Committee to organise a merged Grand Usrah and Grand Solat Hajat for another time and as it was. Nothing will be changed from the framework; only improvements will take place from time to time; and I am glad to announce another formal merger with the merged Grand Usrah and Grand Solat Hajat: it is the last Grand Iftar organised by i-Masjid.

I must mention to this august Council that another successful move was SRC’s (and i-Masjid's) Congregational Subuh Prayer Campaign (COSPAC). I am sure to speak on behalf of this Council in saying the following word to SRC (and also i-Masjid): Congratulations. The Deputy Rector has noted the success of two series of COSPAC organised by SRC Spirituality and Islamisation Secretariat (and i-Masjid).

In fact, this Council was even supposed to follow the advice of the Director of the Masjid to organise an Usrah session after Subuh prayer at the Masjid. The Masjid, in return, followed its own advice! At present, the Masjid has organised two series of Jom Subuh programme in lieu of TV3’s Jom Heboh.

Now, the Deputy Rector requests this Council to make it possible. Director of the Masjid even, last semester, wished to consider a significant budget for foods and beverages in case this Council has the pleasure to consider organising an Usrah session after Subuh prayer at the Masjid. We will do this together.

Increasing the Quality and Quantity

Honourable members and delegates,

The Deputy Rector wishes to see more improvements resulting from Usrah Mahallah reform that we have agreed together, September last year. Therefore, the Deputy Rector has made additional recommendations to this Council.

One of them is to organise an Usrah session involving participation of more than two Mahallat, especially Male Mahallat. He has a crystal-clear reason for this recommendation: that he wishes to see more attendees to Usrah sessions from Male Mahallat. He, even, wishes to come to this Collaborative Usrah if we can make it.

Another one is to make Usrah Manual – that we have launched in Kuala Kubu Bharu, last September – a real book. This is to say that such Usrah Manual shall be published by the University Press, shall have its own ISBN number, and shall be catalogued by the National Library according to procedures provided by this University. It is to allow our Usrah Manual to be a legitimate reference not only for other Islamic educational institutions, but also for members of the public, foreign and domestic.

Before we can do so, the Deputy Rector has requested Usrah Mahallah System to ensure the content of Usrah Manual, including the content used by Centre for Foundation Studies (CFS), is correct and appropriate, and all verses of al-Quran and al-Hadith are authentic, attributed to its original resource, and have correct translations in the primary language of Usrah Manual.

Because he wants to prevent further misleading towards all verses and quotes used in Usrah Manual, which will lead to wrong sights towards the primary content.

Further Proposals for Advancement

Honourable members and delegates.

Truthfully, those decisions, opinions and recommendations are not only for the present Semester. They shall remain continuously. Because Usrah Mahallah is not a one-time product of Islamisation of this University. We must continue, and do our best to serve Mahallah as a key institution of Islamisation in this University.

Realising this, I speak, on behalf of a Mahallah who leads the drive of Usrah Mahallah in this University, of providing Usrah Mahallah System this Council with further proposed moves.

Before that, I wish to congratulate Mahallah Safiyyah, not only for full attendance, but also for full excellent attendance recorded in the previous Semester’s Usrah Mahallah. I look forward that Mahallah Safiyyah will support this Council, especially Male Mahallat, in making Usrah Mahallah better.

At the end, Usrah Mahallah is about who is the first and who is the last. For an easier understanding, Usrah Mahallah is not about competition, but collaboration.

So, the first proposed move is to amend the Charter of this Council to allow the Council to drive more smoothly than before, even when the Council is not in session. Five amendments will be proposed to this Council, four of them are appointment of CFS as a member the Council; appointment of SRC and i-Masjid as permanent observers of the Council; formal establishment of an executive office for the Council – not the building, but a standing committee; and establishment of the position of Executive Manager who will assist the Advisor, the Chair, the Secretary and the Secretariat of the Council.

Honourable members and delegates,

The second move is to establish an Inspectorate for Usrah Mahallah System, and for our own Council. It should be a select committee that not only observe the drive of Usrah in all Mahallat, but also to provide all Mahallat with advices on the way Usrah could be improved operationally, and to ensure the accurate count of participation in Usrah in all Mahallat.

I am thinking of advising my Principal in recommending the Deputy Rector to join the Inspectorate in ensuring the Key Performance Index (KPI) of all Mahallat in Usrah.

The third move is the first we have done at the opening of the present Semester: it is Usrah Mahallah Dashboard. This Dashboard will not only serve as a platform to measure Usrah Mahallah performance in the previous Semester, but also to provide the University Authority with the current state of Usrah Mahallah, and to assist the same in providing opportunities for improvement for Usrah Mahallah.

Weeks ago, President Muizz consulted Student Affairs and Development Division (STADD) on the application of Usrah Mahallah Dashboard to summarise overall Usrah Mahallah Report, and reported that STADD is willing to apply this Dashboard for future use.

The fourth but not the last is to extend cooperation with other Islamic movements in this University. Because SRC values their presence in this University very much, and so we do. We even value their moves in providing Islamic-based activities in this University.

Usrah Mahallah Plan 2017-2020

Honourable members and delegates,

More to come in the future, but we cannot focus very much on the moves we have to do this year. Noting such reality, I have the honour to introduce to this University, Usrah Mahallah Plan 2017-2020.

Because all Mahallat are bound with a KPI: to bring 90 percent of participants of Usrah to attend at least one Usrah session, so this plan proposes to support all Mahallat in achieving such KPI. Only some Mahallat have achieved this KPI.

By 2020, the University must be able to see that all Mahallat achieved so, and so we will share our hearts and hands, through possible ways and means, to ensure this achievement.

Two of those ways and means is to readjust the ratio of Nuqaba’ to participants, and to enable all Mahallat to appoint not more than three Nuqaba’ in one Usrah group to facilitate the drive of Usrah Mahallah, and the commitment of both Nuqaba’ and participants.

By 2020 also, the University, particularly the Senate, must be able to at least amend Mahallah Standing Orders 2004 and to put and strengthen legal standing towards Usrah Mahallah, or at least come up with a decision making the involvement of level-two undergraduate students living in campus in Usrah Mahallah obligatory.

Conclusion

Honourable members and delegates,

It is enough, for now, to think for the present time and for the next three years. Because I believe that our University will continue to excel and prevail in the near future.

But let us not only talk the walk. The time for us has come to walk the talk. How ever you hate the forty-fifth President of the United States, let me share with you what he said in his Inaugural Address, last 20 January, “We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action, constantly complaining but never doing anything about it. The time for empty talk is over. Now arrives the hour of action.”

Do not allow anyone to tell you that it cannot be done. No challenge can match the heart and fight and spirit of Malaysia and IIUM. We will not fail. We will thrive and prosper again.

Honourable members and delegates,

As the President of my Mahallah, and one of executive supporter of this Council, I pledge to do my best to support you, my people and my University in making Islamisation of this University more successful, and I look forward to share everything with you in the next days.

Because the pledge I took, on 17 December 2015, remains: that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the University, and to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. And I am confident that you share the same pledge with me. So, “Together Ascending Further” by “Generating the True Hope”.

Thank you for whatever you have contributed and will contribute to Usrah Mahallah and this University in the next days.

President Muizz,

My prayer is constant since 1 February: that the Blessings, Grace and Guidance of Allah SWT may dwell in this land and this people for years to come. Amin.

BUKHARI BIN ISAHAK
President, Majlis of Mahallah as-Siddiq
International Islamic University Malaysia

IIUM Council of Nuqaba' and Naqibaat of Usrah Mahallah Meeting 2/2017
Monday, 20 February 2017, 9.00 pm
Seminar Room F, IIUM Institute of Islamic Banking and Finance, Gombak, Selangor

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