The Death of a Towering Scholar: Professor Emeritus Dato Dr Abdul Hamid AbuSulyman (former Rector of IIUM)

By: Dr Alhagi Manta Drammeh (PGCerTHE, FHA, FRA, UK) professor Al-Maktoum College of Higher Education, UK

I mourn, as the whole world mourns the death of a great scholar and a great human being. Professor Abdul Hamid was born in Makkah in1936 and served the ummah and humanity selflessly and tirelessly through education and thought, provoking critical thinking in order to create intellectual renaissance in the Muslim world. He was the second Rector of the International Islamic University Malaysia which he served from 1989 to 1998. Prior to his tenure at the International Islamic University in Malaysia (IIUM) from 1988 to 1998, he worked at the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) in Riyadh, Professor at king Saud University in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, founder President of the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) in the United States of America and has branches all over the world. He was founding member of the Association of Muslim Social Scientists (AMSS) in 1972 and became its President between 1985 and 1987 following which he became the Rector of the renowned world university of IIUM. Professor Abdul Hamid AbuSulyman was an icon of scholarship, a genuine human being, a far-fetched intellectual, a deep thinker and above all honest and candid. He was a true visionary leader and innovative educator who transformed Muslim approach to education in an evolutionary manner. Professor Abdul Hamid was one of the most magnanimous and compassionate people. He was not taking salaries. Instead, he established what was called Rector’s Fund that he used to help poor students who newly got married and who wanted to return home upon completion of their studies. His office was very small-smaller that many of his officials!
Professor AbuSulyman dealt with complex issues of the Muslim thought and developed convincing solutions that the Ummah will need for generations to come. He combined theory with application with regards to international relations, ethical banking, child development and family from an Islamic perspective.
Indeed, he truly worked hard to transform Muslim thought, mind, education and approach to knowledge and civilisation and interaction with diversity. Professor Abdul Hamid succeeded in producing thousands of scholars who are now pioneers of change in the world and in their various communities. Truly, he was a unique personality in his thought and methodology. He had no bitterness against anyone. He was always there to help and resolve issues. On a personal note, he not only offered me a scholarship to study at IIUM but also appointed me a lecturer-one of the youngest at the time. May Allah the Merciful be pleased with him and grant him Jannatul Firdaus. May he be in the company of the pious and prophets in the Jannah. Inna Li Allah wa Inna Ilayh Rajioon. He completed his mission and is now left with us to continue his good legacy and sacrifice and take it further. Indeed, he embodied a nation in what he was able to complete and accomplish in his lifetime. May his good deeds be a continuous charity. May his grave be a garden of heavenly gardens. We shall miss a towering intellectual, scholar, father, educator, thinker and model.

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