The International Institute of Islamic Thought East and Southeast Asia (IIIT-ESEA) recently organised a two-days leadership training programme for the Myanmar youth in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The training workshop was held on the 15th and 16th October 2022 and was attended by more than 100 Myanmar youth currently living in Malaysia and neighbouring countries.
During the workshop, IIIT-ESEA Advisor Professor Emeritus Dato’ Dr Jamil Osman spoke about the importance of higher education for the development of Muslim minority communities. Dato’ Jamil emphasised on the importance of education citing it as one of the most important ingredients of development together with health and income.
Dato’ Jamil reminded the participants on the need to create a balance between material and spiritual development. Dato’ Jamil reminded the participants that “future leaders of the Muslim community must plan for the development of the Muslims through education and economy by incorporating both modern knowledge and religious knowledge” so as to produce “graduates and manpower with the right values and qualities without compromising their job skills and marketability”.
In another presentation, IIIT-ESEA Deputy Director Professor Dr Mohamed Aslam Haneef presented on the topic “Development: Meaning, Measurement and Implications for Muslim Communities”. Professor Aslam discussed how definitions and scope of “development” have widened from merely focusing on GNP per capita in the 1950s and 1960s to much broader and holistic frameworks that also include social development, human development as well as conceptions of sustainable development.
Professor Aslam said that this shift in the scope and meaning of development is closer to the Islamic position on development especially when viewed from the perspective of Maqasid al Shariah (i.e., Objectives of Shariah). Making reference to the Qur’anic verse that says “Allah will not change the condition of people until they change what is in themselves”, Professor Aslam concluded by urging the Myanmar youth to establish a Myanmar students study group to regularly discuss and debate about the development of Myanmar so that they could make a positive contribution to their home country.
The workshop participants expressed their commitment to continue to learn and work to prepare for their future in Myanmar and thanked the IIIT for its support to the Myanmar youth for organizing the workshop. The workshop was closed by IIIT-ESEA Director Professor Dr Mohamad Fauzan Bin Noordin who congratulated the participants for their efforts and encouraged them to continue to learn and prepare for a better future in Myanmar.