Chapter 53: New Resolve at USIM

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The financial situation in UNITI College isn’t going well right now. Even the country’s economy is unstable. I appreciate your efforts throughout your term of teaching here. Dr helped us a lot in introducing UNITI in our community…” Dr Jailani shared during his meeting with Zulkifli together with UNITI College CEO. There is as though some matter that he wanted to express, but he couldn’t bring himself to say it.

It’s fine Dr I understand. In our current situation, it’s hard for UNITI College to continue. When a ship is in precarious waters, the captain should take decisive actions to save his main men. Insya-Allah, I’ll resign.” Zulkifli smiled looking at Dr Jailani who was sitting in front of him.

He further added, “As for my salary this month, you don’t need to pay me. I’m considering it as my last contribution to UNITI College, to cover anything weaknesses of mine in fulfilling my responsibilities as a lecturer here.

The next day, Zulkifli tendered his resignation letter as a lecturer at UNITI College. Parting from the education institution that gave him 1001 memories is hard for him. However, he believes that surely there is wisdom behind this trial.

Zulkifli walked slowly to meet Pak Taib, UNITI College gardener who is very close to him. He enjoyed their chats together. Sometimes, Zulkiflli would give several banknotes for Pak Taib’s daily expenses. Once, when Zulkifli just moved here, Zulkifit gifted Pak Taib a whole lorry of used furniture which is in good condition to Pak Taib. Pak Taib and his family were astonished when the lorry arrived in front of his house.

Pak Taib, Insya-Allah I’ll never forget Pak Taib. Whenever I’m free, I’ll come to visit Pak Taib.” Zulkifli shakes hands with him and placed an envelope of money in his pocket. Pak Taib just nodded his head. He smiled, but it was bitter. “Ustaz, pray for me…” Pak Taib said finally as he grasped Zulkifli’s hand tightly.

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“Welcome to Islamic Science University Malaysia,” Tan Sri Dato’ Dr Abdul Shukor Husin welcomed Zulkifli, shaking his hands.

USIM or its initial name KUIM started its operations beginning at level 5, Islamic Studies Faculty UKM in the month of January 2000. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Majlis Agama Islam Wilayah Persekutuan (MAIWP) with KUIM and Institut Profesional Baitulmal (IPB). The MoU was signed by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Dr Abdul Hamid Othman as MAIWP’s representative, Dato’ Dr Abdul Shukor Haji Husin from KUIM while IPB’s is represented by its chairman, Tan Sri Hanafiah Ahmad.

KUIM then relocated to IPB Kampung Pandan, Kuala Lumpur for the first student intake session 2000/2001 for 255 students. In the beginning, KUIM offered 3 fields of study which are Syariah and Judiciary Studies, al-Quran and al-Sunnah Studies and Dakwah and Islam management Studies at three faculties; the Syariah and Judiciary Faculty, Quran and Sunnah Studies Faculty and Dakwah and Islam Management Faculty. After nearly three years at the campus and with additions of the faculty Economy and Muamalat (FEM), USIM finally moved to their permanent campus in Bandar Baru Nilai, Negeri Sembilan in the 2005/2006 academic session.

His new career at USIM gave him new challenges, however, this surely helped him improve himself. The intermediate language at USIM is in Arabic and English. He started to get to know other foreign lecturers from Sudan, Africa, Iraq and other countries. They were very committed to their work and strive in ensuring their students understand every syllabus they taught.

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It was a cloudy morning at the Syariah and Judiciary Faculty. Maybe it’s because of the changing monsoon phase in Malaysia. If he didn’t have any class, Zulkifli is more comfortable spending his time in his room writing.

How are you doing?” Zulkifli greeted Ustazah Nik Salida who was about to enter her room. She is Zulkifli’s colleague at the Syariah and Judiciary Faculty. She is Law graduate from IIUM and he heard the news that she is about to pursue her PhD studies in the UK.

Alhamdulillah, I’m good ustaz. Just a bit busy finding some references for my evening class.” Ustazah Nik Salida responded.

Zulkifli’s schedule is packed ever since he was appointed as the Terengganu State Fatwa Committee member, JAKIM’s Invited Guest Writer, Chairman of the Syariah Panel for Bank Pertanian Malaysia and tens of other positions at the state and national level, as well as his teaching classes for students of Bachelor in Fiqh and Fatwa USIM. For the Terengganu State Fatwa Committee, Zulkifli is joined together with Tuan Guru Haji Abdul Rahman, Ustaz Masjid, Dato’ Haji Ambak and others as well as Sahibus Samahah Terengganu Mufti. Their attendance greatly benefitted Zulkifli, especially in learning valuable lessons from them and their vast experiences in the field of fatwa.

In his room, Zulkifli flipped through his resume, skimming through each page which was updated regularly by several students that helped him.

2007

  1. Assessor Panel for the AD-HOC Committee of the Public Service Department, Malaysia (PSD for the Evaluation of the Recognition of the Bachelor’s Degree Program of the Syariah Bachelor’s Degree Program from University Malaya (UM).
  2. Member of Lajnah Tashih Tafsir Pedoman Muttaqin.
  3. Assessor Panel for Malaysia Qualification Agency (MQA)

2008

  1. Chairman of the Preparation of Basic Fatwa Management Module, JAKIM
  2. Author of Works of Islamic Figures DBP
  3. Committee Member of the Malaysian Financial Planning Council MFPC
  4. Academic Advisor in the Coordination and Purification Workshop of the Master of Syariah Program (Management). Selangor International Islamic University College (KUIS).
  5. Islamic Film and Drama Censorship Panel. JAKIM Electronic Media and Broadcasting Division
  6. Member of the Akidah Study Panel of the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia.
  7. Negeri Sembilan Zakat Center Research Panel.
  8. Negeri Sembilan Government Mufti Department Book Publication Panel

His eyes suddenly caught sight of a position that made him smile as he reminisced of his old memory.

Tabung Haji Worship Panel.

Zulkifli laughed to himself as he remembered the article that he wrote criticizing the ruling of throwing the jamrah before zawal issued by Tabung Haji when he was still studying at the Islamic University of Medina. Such was the spirit of youth. Now, he is working under Tabung Haji as one of their Panel members. “Whatever Allah has planned, surely there’s wisdom for it…” he whispered in his heart.

From Saidatina ‘Aisyah R.Anha, the Prophet PBUH said:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ يُحِبُّ إِذَا عَمِلَ أَحَدُكُمْ عَمَلًا أَنْ يُتْقِنَهُ

“Indeed, Allah Azz awa Jalla loves a person when he does something, he did so brilliantly.”[1]

This is the hadith that he held unto whenever he is performing any task or responsibility given to him.

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Alhamdulillah, Syeikh Dr. Wahbah al-Zuhaili will be coming here next month. His representative just informed me. Our government is awarding him the Maal Hijrah Award,” Ustaz Irwan said as they were having lunch.

Zulkifli smiled widely when he was informed of the matter from his friend, Ustaz Irwan. “Masya-Allah…! If there’s anything I can do to help, just say so. We have to do our best. It’s not too long now.” Zulkifli said to Irwan. The news of his teacher coming to Malaysia is something that brought happiness to him.

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[1] Narrated by al-Tabarani in al-Mu’jam al-Awsath (897) and al-Baihaqi in Syu’ab al-Iman (4929, 4930 and 4931) however, with different sanad

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Berkelulusan PhD dengan pengkhususan dalam bidang fatwa di USM, beliau juga merupakan Ahli Dewan Negara, Anggota The Muslim Council of Elders (UAE), Anggota The Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America (USA), mantan Menteri di JPM (Hal Ehwal Agama) dan mantan Mufti Wilayah Persekutuan. Antara guru beliau sepanjang pengajian di peringkat BA (Madinah) dan MA (Syria) adalah Syeikh Dr. Muhammad Sa'id Ramadhan al-Buti, Syeikh Muhammad 'Ali Thani, Syeikh Rushdi Qalam, Syeikh Dr. Muhammad Abdullatif Soleh al-Farfour, Syeikh Dr. Muhammad bin Muhammad al-Mukhtar al-Syinqiti, Syeikh Dr. Muhsin al-'Abbad dan ramai lagi.

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