In pursuit of excellence

Rokiah Mahmud

Towards the efforts to raise its profile in the international arena, Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali (UNISSA) through its Faculty of Islamic Economics and Finance recorded another historical achievement when it was awarded the Global Islamic Finance Award 2020 (GIFA 2020) in the GIFA Market Leadership Award 2020 (Education in Islamic Banking and Finance) category.

The prestigious recognition allows the faculty to develop and broaden banking and Islamic finance studies in the international arena.

Meanwhile, the university’s Bachelor’s Degree in Islamic Finance has also been recognised and accredited by the Islamic Banking and Finance Institute of Malaysia (IBFIM). Nine graduates have since received their Associate Qualification in Islamic Finance (AQIF), which has been accepted by the global financial industry for having met the industrial standards as well as receiving full accreditation from the Finance Accreditation Agency (FAA).

This was shared by Rector of UNISSA Dr Haji Norarfan bin Haji Zainal in a welcoming address yesterday during the 10th Hafl At-Takharruj (Convocation Ceremony) held at International Convention Centre (ICC) in Berakas.

The rector expressed his appreciation for His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, the Chancellor of UNISSA’s recent unscheduled visit to the university which showed the monarch’s concerns for the quality of teaching and learning.

His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, the Chancellor of Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali (UNISSA), and His Royal Highness Prince (Dr) Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office, and the Pro-Chancellor of UNISSA during UNISSA’s 10th Hafl At-Takharruj. PHOTOS: BAHYIAH BAKIR
ABOVE & BELOW: Dayangku Nurul Nabihah Naqsybandiah binti Pengiran Haji Ibrahim and Dr Hajah Siti Jariah @ Hajah Aleya Fatehah binti Haji Japar

Abdul Naser Bakhsi. PHOTO: BAHYIAH BAKIR

In addition, in taking the blessings of the convocation, UNISSA’s Mushaf Al-Quran was used as the mace for the procession of the Hafl At-Takharruj for the first time.

The Mushaf was written by locals and recalls the launch back in 2011, where His Majesty initiated the writing of Surah Al-Fatihah during the opening ceremony of the first Mahrajan Hafl At-Takharruj.

Touching on the setting up of the Faculty of Agriculture, the rector explained that the faculty will play an important role in assisting the government in further developing the agricultural sector by producing graduates that are able to compete in the agricultural industry through new methods of venture and the use of latest technologies including beefing up research.

The rector also shared that, for the first time, there was a presentation of Bachelor’s Degrees in Tahfiz and Qiraat as well as Master’s Degree in Halal Science.

“This is very significant in supporting the government to further develop the potential of individuals and the country’ economy, that is to strike a balance based on Al-Quran and As-Sunnah,” he added.

Meanwhile, three graduates spoke with the Bulletin about their experiences in striving for excellence during their academic years.

Holding a Master’s Degree in International Law, Dayangku Nurul Nabihah Naqsybandiah binti Pengiran Haji Ibrahim, 24, shared that the course took one year to complete.

She said as the course was quite new at UNISSA, she encountered difficulties in finding references for her research as available materials and resources were limited.

“However, our lecturers readily helped and assisted us. By having a lot of discussions with my friends, Alhamdulillah, we managed to complete our research,” she said.

She hoped that she could contribute to the community and share the knowledge she learnt at UNISSA with today’s generation. Meanwhile, Dr Hajah Siti Jariah @ Hajah Aleya Fatehah binti Haji Japar who is a holder of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Mazhab Shafi’e, said to achieve excellence in studies, one must be very committed and dedicated not only to finishing the thesis but also overcoming challenges that come with it.

“The course I took was new to UNISSA. So we are the first graduates in the course. Therefore, I feel very blessed and grateful that we completed it,” she said.

Apart from dividing her time between studies and family, one of the challenges Dr Hajah Siti Jariah encountered was finding references for her research.

Since her research was in Malay, the limited references were mainly in Arabic. She was left with no choice but to translate reference materials from Arabic to Malay herself.

Asked why she chose to present her thesis in Malay, she said there are still a lot of research and studies that need to be explored on the topic of Qiraat.

“I want the research to be accessible for all. If there is an opportunity for me to continue my research in the field of Mazhab Shafi’e, I will continue to do so as there is plenty of room to explore.”

Meanwhile, Abdul Naser Bakhsi, 23, is an international student from Afghanistan who achieved a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management. He is grateful for being given the opportunity to receive UNISSA’s scholarship.

Initially, he found it a bit difficult to adjust to the local culture and language. But with the help of lecturers and friends, he slowly adapted to his new life and immersed in the programme.

“In my third year, I had the opportunity to undergo working attachment at LiveWIRE Brunei where I gained enormous experience. I plan to further my studies while at the same time set up a business of my own,” he added.