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SOASCIS Graduate Seminar Series

11/11/2017 Maturidi Heresiology and the Defining Parameters of Sunnism: A Synopsis
Presenter: DR. Gibril Fouad Haddad

The doctrinal creed of the largest denomination of Muslims who came to be known as ‘The Adherents to the Sunna and the Congregation’ found staunch defenders in the school of Abū Manṣūr al-Māturīdī (d. 333/945) who codified the theology of Abū Ḥanīfa (80-150/699-767) that dominated the central Asian region of Transoxania (present-day Uzbekistan and parts of Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Kazakhstan).

As the chief clearing-house of Sunni kalām and Sunnicentric heresiology together with Ashʿarism, Maturidism addresses, on the one hand, the entire spectrum of Sunni and non-Sunni beliefs and, on the other, all creeds other than Islam. Maturidi theology thus defined itself in dialectical contrast with Sunna-contrariant and Islam-contrariant doctrines. 
This presentation surveys the bullet points of the most important Maturidi authorities and their doctrinal textbooks in descending order of antiquity. It highlights their heresiological resolutions (taqrīrāt) as the defining parameters of Sunnism and can serve both as an introductory synopsis and as a tool for the study of the school’s theology from its early founders to our time for a more systematic understanding of what it means to be Ahlus Sunna wal-Jama`ah.

Dr. Gibril Fouad Haddad is Senior Assistant Professor in Applied Comparative Tafsir and Co-Ordinator of Undergraduate Studies at SOASCIS. Dr. Haddad was hailed in the inaugural edition of The 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World as “one of the clearest voices of traditional Islam in the West.” He is the author most recently of a monograph entitled Criminal Penalties and Reprisals: A Critique of ISIS’s Argument in Light of the Sources published in August by Malaysia’s Islamic and Strategic Studies Institute. Last year he published three books, among them a bilingual edition and translation of Forty Hadiths of the Prophet (saws) on Syro-Palestine and Its People and the first book-length study in English on Tafsir al-Baydawi, a 900-page edition and transla­tion published jointly by UBD Press and Beacon Books (UK). Other published works of his include The Integrated Encyclopedia of the Qur’an, The Encyclopedia of Hadith Forgeries, and The Muhammadan Light in the Qur’an and Hadith, all of which are available for purchase online.

SOASCIS Graduate Seminar Series


The Search for Real Scientific Progress – How and Where Religion can help
Presenter: Prof Datuk Dr Osman Bakar
Essentials of Public Speaking with Special Reference to a Plural Society
Presenter: AP Dr Jabal M. Buaben
Qur’anic Epistemology – An Exploration
Presenter: AP Dr Mulyadhi Kartanegara
The Relationship between Maqasid Al-Shariah and Usul Al-Fiqh
Presenter: Prof. Jasser Auda
Islamic Spirituality in End of Life Care of Advanced Cancer Patients in Brunei Darussalam: A Multiple Embedded Case Study Design
Presenter: Hjh Asmah Hj Hussaini, PAPRSB institute of Health Sciences
The Roots of Islam in America
Presenter: Dr Umar Faruq Abd-Allah, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Scholar-in-Residence, the Nawawi Foundation



Spiritual and Intellectual Empowerment of Contemporary Youths for Tomorrow’s Citizenry and Leadership: Defining Strategies and Methods
Presenter: Prof Datuk Dr Osman Bakar
Islamic Forms of Civil Society in Bangladesh: A Genealogical Study
Presenter: Dr Iftekhar Iqbal (FASS)
Challenges in the Survival of the Dusun Language in Brunei
Presenter: Mohd Norazmie bin Mohd Yusof (LC)
Malay Court Religion, Culture and Language: Interpreting the Qur’an in 17th Century
Presenter: Dr Peter G. Riddell, Vice Principal (Academic), Melbourne School of Theology
Islamic Fashion Marketing: Diversity in Inspiration
Presenter: Muhammad Talha Salam, PhD student
Happiness and Peace Education in Islam: Expounding the Ethical and Philosophical Foundations
Presenter: Dr Suleiman Mohammed Hussein Boayo, Visiting Researcher
Recent Scholarly Literature and Salient Issues on Islam and the Law of Conflict
Presenter: Dr Gibril Fouad Haddad
The ‘Mathanian’ Character of the Qur’an: An Approach for a Scientific Exegesis
Presenter: Muhammad Mubarak Habib Mohamed, PhD student
Attaining the ‘Islamic’ in Islamic Schools: Learning from the British Experience
Presenter: AP Dr Shaikh Abdul Mabud
Characteristics of the Graduate Studies Research Student
Presenter: AP Dr Jabal M. Buaben

SOASCIS Graduate Seminar | January 2016

Planetary Sustainability and Justice

A Response to Pope Francis’ Encyclical ‘On Care for Our Common Home’


Osman Bakar, PhD

Distinguished Professor and Director

Sultan Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Centre for Islamic Studies (SOASCIS)

Universiti Brunei Darussalam





Pope Francis’ encyclical On Care for Our Common Home is an important document addressing the current state of ecological health of our planet Earth to which it refers as ‘Our Common Home’ and the attendant issue of the human responsibility to take care of it. Written in six chapters the encyclical may be viewed as the most comprehensive doctrinal position to date of the Catholic Church on what it calls ‘The Gospel of Creation’ and more specifically on what is now known as eco-theology. The encyclical provides a treatment of the human roots of the ecological crisis and presents an “integral ecology” that is to serve as the theological and philosophical background or as the conceptual basis for a global human action to deal with the contemporary crisis in question.

Muslim scholars and intellectuals have good reasons to take a special interest in this encyclical and offer a sound response to its perspectives and approaches to the contemporary ecological crisis. Going through its chapters we could see its many similarities with the Qur’an’s teachings on the subject of natural and eco-theology and the role and responsibility of human beings to take care of the planet Earth and administer it with justice. The similarities are so striking that one could say that the encyclical sounds like a commentary on the Qur’an. It is understandable if someone is tempted to make the claim that if would be more fitting if the encyclical were to be viewed as a commentary on the Quran than as a commentary on the Bibles. However, there are notable differences between the Islamic and the Catholic perspectives on terrestrial eco-theology and human custodianship of the planet Earth. Pope Francis’s encyclical thus provides another good new opportunity for Muslims and Christians to conduct a meaningful dialogue on issues of the common good, particularly on the future of “our common home” and our common responsibility to protect it with the greatest care.  In my presentation I will highlight some of the similarities and differences between the two religious perspectives. My own understanding of the Qur’anic cosmology is that the Earth is not just “our common home.” It is also our only home in the cosmos!




Students | MS-1501 Test



Lecture | Professor Dr Intisar A. Rabb







SICON 4 Highlights

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Visit | Dr Wesam Al-Madhoun, Islamic University of Gaza







Visit | Professor Usamah Mohamed

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Kyoto Forum

Kyoto Forum | May 2014

Kyoto University, Japan

The forum was attended by one of our PhD students, Hassan Shakeel Shah








Confirmed Speakers for SICON 4

Updated 27th Sept 2014

The confirmed speakers for our upcoming SICON 4 event are as follows:

 Keynote Speakers

  1. Professor Dr Tariq Ramadan (Oxford University, UK)
  2. Tan Sri Professor Dr Mohd Kamal Hassan (IIUM, Malaysia)
  3. Professor Usamah Mohamed bin Mohamaed Hassan Elabed (Turkey)


Other Speakers

  1. Professor Dr Zaid Ahmad, (University Putra Malaysia, Malaysia)
  2. Associate Professor Dr Kamar Oniah (ISTEC, IIUM Malaysia)
  3. Professor Datuk Dr Osman Bakar (SOASCIS, UBD, Brunei Darussalam)
  4. Pg Dr Norhazlin Pg Hj Muhammad (SOASCIS, UBD, Brunei Darussalam)
  5. Associate Professor Dr Jabal M Buaben (SOASCIS, UBD, Brunei Darussalam)
  6. Associate Professor Mulyadhi Kartanegara (SOASCIS, UBD, Brunei Darussalam)
  7. Professor Dr Mahyuddin Yahya (UNISSA, Brunei Darussalam)
  8. Associate Professor Dr Ejaz Akram (University of Management, Pakistan)
  9. Professor Mesut Idriz (International University of Sarajevo, Bosnia)
  10. Associate Professor Dr Jonathan Brown (Georgetown University, USA)
  11. Professor Hamza Ates (Istanbul Medeniyet University, Turkey)
  12. Professor Waleed al-Ansary (Xavier University, USA)

Workshop | A Workshop Responding to Critiques of the Implementation of Sharia Penal Code in Brunei Darussalam

A Workshop Responding to Critiques of the Implementation of Sharia Penal Code in Brunei Darussalam

Background, Rationale, and Objectives of the Workshop



Date: 15th May 2014/15th Rejab 1435

Time: 8.30 am – 4.30 pm

Venue: Senate Room Universiti Brunei Darussalam


1.      Background


Brunei Darussalam’s historic October 2013 decision to introduce a new Sharia Penal Code and phase out its implementation and enforcement beginning on May 1st, 2014 has invited a range of responses and criticisms from numerous international bodies, groups, and organisations. These responses and criticisms found a ready coverage in the world media, both printed and electronic. In the non-Muslim world, especially in the West, the majority of the respondents are opposed to the Penal Code. Even among Muslims, there are not just a few groups and individuals who have openly criticized and declared their opposition to the implementation of Islamic criminal laws. However, among ordinary Muslims if not also among the more educated segments of the Muslim community, the majority of them strongly support the Sharia Penal Code. This majority group of Muslim citizens welcomes and praises the courage and the resoluteness of the government of His Majesty the Sultan of Brunei Darussalam to hold fast to the decision to enforce the new Sharia laws amidst loud criticisms and strong opposition from many quarters in the international community.


There are also many individuals and quarters adopting the position of supporting the implementation of one part of the Penal Code while rejecting the necessity of the other part. Then there are those Muslims in various parts of the world who are supportive of the implementation of the Sharia Panel Code and would like to see it succeed but for several reasons have doubts about its successful outcome. Generally, however, we may account for three types of responses to Brunei Darussalam’s New Sharia Penal Code. The first response comes out fully supportive of the Code. The second is one of a total opposition against it. The third response is partly supportive of the Code and partly against it.



2.      Rationale

As to be expected and as anticipated by His Majesty the Sultan himself, at first with the announcement of intention to introduce it and later with the confirmation to proceed with its implementation and enforcement, the Penal Code has unleashed a mixed torrent of praises and criticisms and expressions of support and opposition, though criticisms and oppositions tend to eclipse praises and supports. It is always the case that whenever a Muslim society or nation declares its intention to implement Sharia laws, more so when it actually implements them, voices of opposition could be heard loud and clear. The case of Brunei Darussalam’s Sharia Penal Code is no exception. For those Muslims who are deeply committed to the implementation of Sharia laws in their entirety it is important to realise that in the context of our present times when the media commands such a wide influence its negative coverage of these laws can have an adverse effect on their implementation. It is therefore imperative for Brunei Darussalam to take stock of these negative responses and criticisms, monitor the tide of opposition to the Penal Code, assess and evaluate their possible impact on the overall implementation of the Code, and provide concrete and effective responses to these critiques and oppositions. This small workshop represents a humble attempt by UBD to contribute to a better understanding of these critiques and oppositions.  


3.      Objectives

(a)      To compile all available reactions to and critiques of the implementation of Brunei Darussalam’s 2013 Sharia Penal Code;

(b)    To understand the thinking behind each reaction to and each critique of this Penal Code, especially the thinking of those groups who are bitterly opposed to it;

(c)     To identify the challenges posed by these critiques that can have an adverse effect on the enforcement of the Penal Code;

(d)    To contribute ideas that can help the government effectively deal with the forces critical of and opposed to the implementation of the Code;

(e)     To undertake a detailed and long-term study of the development of critiques of the Penal Code along academic lines to complement efforts by other groups;







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