Prof. Dr. Mesut Idriz
Mesut Idriz, a native of Macedonia, received his graduate and doctoral degrees from the International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization (ISTAC), International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM). Currently he is Professor of Comparative History of Civilizations, Law and Ethics, and Political Science courses at the International University of Sarajevo. He was Head of the Department of Political Science and International Relations and Founder-Director of the Center for Intercultural Dialogue and Education at Hasan Kalyoncu University (Formerly known as Gazikent University). He has taught at the International Islamic University Malaysia and the International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization (ISTAC) respectively and was Chief Editor (Academics) at MPH Group Publishing (Kuala Lumpur). He is a regular Visiting Professor at the International Summer School (PISU) of Prishtina University, Kosovo, teaching a special course on “Public Diplomacy in the Balkans.” He is Vice-President of Dituria Foundation, a philanthropic organization based in Macedonia that serves towards the studies on science and culture. He has published, edited and translated numerous academic books and articles concerning the Balkans, Ottoman and Muslim history, Islamic civilization, history of Islamic education (particularly the tradition of ijazah, diploma). Among his books is The Ijazah of ‘Abdullah Fahim: A Unique Document from Islamic Education, analyzing and translating into English the Former Prime Minister of Malaysia Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s Grandfather’s ijazah. He is co-translator of HE Ali Akbar Velayeti’s voluminous work into English language namely Mawsū‛ah al-Islām wa Irān (The Encyclopedia of Islam and Iran). His works have been published in English, Turkish, Albanian, Persian, French and Malay languages. His recent book is Turkish-Albanian Macedonian Relations: Past, Present and Future (2012). He is co-editor with Prof. Dr. Osman Bakar a book titled Islam in Southeast Europe: Past Reflections and Future Prospects published by Brunei Darussalam University Press (2014). He has co-authored with Assist. Prof. Dr. Muhamed Ali a coffe-table book with photographs and illustrations namely Photo Collection from the Post Ottoman Era Muslim Religious Leaders of Macedonia (2015) to be released soon. He and Assist. Prof. Dr. Muhamed Ali are also co-authoring a book on the conception and institution of the ‘intellegence service(s)’ (istikhbarat; mukhabarat) in Islam from the language and legal perspectives, where the proposed title will be Islamic Istikhbarat in Context: Language and Legal Analysis (2016).
The House of Wisdom (Baitul Hikmah): Reclaiming Muslim Civilization from The Past
From the earliest periods of Islamic history and civilization, its educational system was originally religious in nature. It began with the mosque as its centre, from which other educational institutions such as the maktab (the elementary education), the bayt al-hikmah (the house of wisdom), the majālis (the gatherings of scholars and students), the Dār al-‛Ulūm (sing. ‛ilm), and the madāris (sing. madrasah, school or college) gradually developed. In addition, from the fields of medicine, astronomy and the devotional sciences there arose hospitals, observatories, and the zāwiyah within Sūfī fraternities. In the aforementioned educational institutions, students (talaba, tullāb; single: tālib) were trained in different fields of Islamic studies of both transmitted and applied subjects systematically by their professors and were able to select their professors as they wished. Typically, students would study many years under the tutelage of their esteemed professors. When they had completed their studies according to a certain level of proficiency to the professor’s satisfaction, they would traditionally be accorded a ‘licence to teach’, a so-called ijāzah, either by one professor or by more than one. It is this ijāzah tradition which has a long history in Muslim education, which deserves special attention. Contrary to the present day practices, physical institutions were secondarily important in comparison to the tradition of ijāzah, where the professor-student (murshid-murid) were of special concern. Having provided a brief survey on the meaning of education in Islam and its associated institutions, in this presentation we will proceed with the importance of reviving this important and unique tradition of Muslim education of the ijāzah tradition. It is hoped that this Islamic educational tradition in the history and civilization will be revived in the best model and formula in order to have better quality graduates in the future.