Pay it forward Forward Points

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          2nd OCTOBER 2010
      (SESSION 2, AT 2.15 P.M.)

Bismillahir rahmanir rahim
Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi

Honourable Professor Dato’ Sri Dr.
Syed Arabi Idid
Rector of International Islamic
University, Malaysia

Honourable Professor Dato’ Dr. Md
Tahir Azhar
Chairman of the IIUM 26th

Honourable Members of Majlis and
Board of Governors of IIUM

Deputy Rectors and Executive

Representatives of Vice Chancellors

Senate Members

Companies Representatives

Deans, Directors, Professors and

Graduands of the 26th International
Islamic University Malaysia

Parents and Relatives of Graduands,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

        A very good afternoon and
welcome to the 26th Convocation
Ceremony of International Islamic
University of Malaysia (IIUM). It is an
extraordinary   moment     for   those
graduating today, a memorable one

for parents and families, and time of
deep contentment for the teachers
who taught you, not just at IIUM but,
through your own unique journeys,
each. Congratulations!


2.      Graduation    is   a   time   of
transition, a time of new beginnings
for most, and for some a time of
much perplexity. It is natural to feel
the uneasiness of “so what’s next?”
Al Gore a former Vice President of the

United States said that for eight years
he flew on Air Force Two and now he
has to take off his shoes to get on an
airplane. That was a great moment of
transition for him.

3.      In all honesty, 20 years from
now you will not remember what I
spoke about today, or what anyone
else   said   here.       What   you   will
remember is the hard work that got
you here, the pride and delight in the
faces of your families, and mostly
how you yourself felt today. In this

pristine also lies a rude awakening.
You will realise that thus far your life
and presence has been planned for
you by others – by your parents and
teachers. As you walk into the world,
your own person, you let go much of
the comforts of that certainty.

4.      Your    priorities   will   now
change. Your participation and view
of the world will change with your
priorities. You will soon realise that
the life of a student is not as
burdened as that of a spouse, an

employee, a parent, a member of a
community and a citizen, all at once.
As our priorities change, we are
moved to reflect our own roles in the
societies    we    call   home.   Our
expectations of the world changes

Graduating class


5.       I would like to touch on the
idea of paying it forward. Paying it
forward is what you can do as you
leave here today, and for the rest of
your lives, to address much of our
global challenges in the years ahead.
The challenges before us today are
overwhelming.             Environmental
degradation, global warming, inter-
state   wars,   nuclear    proliferation,
economic    imbalances      and   global
discriminations of varying forms are
but just a few to name. These
challenges, I might add, may be
solved as new ones bring themselves
forth. But of greater importance are

our own principles to resolving these
issues, not the problem itself.

6.      To pay forward is offering an
act of goodness which could have
been   rendered    to   us   once,   by
someone else. The order of nature is
such that the benefit we receive must
be rendered again, line for line, deed
for deed, cent for cent, probably in a
future state. Our lives are about
paying it forward.       We may not
always render it back to those we
received from, but we can to others.

7.      Whether you move on to
running your own businesses, or
choose to work in the public sector,
when we embrace a sense of paying
it forward, it     will thrust us to
examining and pursuing ways to
always improving our collective state.
Always asking what more could be
done, what should we change, have
we travelled this road before, or shall
we take the other less travelled? How
can we better our education system,
enhance our healthcare, increase our
trade, eradicate ills and poverty in our

society,   raise        living     standards,
amplifying our strength and peace as
a society and nation? How do we
eradicate the rules and systems that
no longer work and bring in the new?
We will know that the world doesn't
start and end in our home village, our
towns and cities, state or country.
Our   actions,     as     a      society   can
culminate to responses greater than
what we may experience directly and
locally to us.


8.      As you move into new realms
of reality, your values and principles
will be challenged. You will be faced
with the concepts of absolute and
relative. This will arguably be your
biggest challenge in your years as an
adult. When we were young, we are
often told that it is absolutely wrong
to tell a lie, to deceive, to hurt
another, to steal. As you get older
and particularly when at work you
can be tempted to view the once

absolute values of right and wrong in
relative terms.

9.       For instance - - I made a
better bonus, bigger transaction, got
a bigger car and a nicer house than
someone else. Some would take this
further to, “I didn't cheat as much on
my taxes as my colleague.” “I just
added a few more dollars to pad my
claims compared to him. I did reveal
the fraud but not all”. So on and so

10.     We tend towards a world
where our rights and wrongs are
relative to another because the world
is not black or white, but grey we say.
We then compete towards these
relatives to gain the something more,
and   bigger.   This    argument     is
completely and absolutely wrong in
the context of right and wrong. If you
never lie, deceive, or steal, you will
never have to remember who you lied
to, how you deceived, who you hurt,
and what you stole. Rights and
wrongs are absolutely absolute. This

does not change with time. It doesn’t
with modernisation. It simply will not
with globalisation.

11.      When we start our lives, not
least our values on relative terms,
they will then be the terms with which
we    build   our   own      families,   our
communities     and        our   own     next
generation. It has been said that the
school will teach children how to
read, but the environment of the
home must teach them what to read.
The school can teach them how to
think, but the home must teach them
what to believe. Each of our absolute
values of right and wrong will, in the
final analysis, define the environment
and    eco-systems      we     ultimately
approve as a civilisation.


12.     Civilisations        will     be
remembered not by how they lived
but for what they achieved. Most of
us here would by now know of the
prime days of Islamic Civilisation to
its recedes. But let’s step further

back    and     look       at    the      Greek
civilisation, a civilisation different to
our own. The Greeks lived about
2,500 years ago in Athens. We may
not know their lifestyle or how they
lived, but we have all read and
watched      their    achievements         from
such movies and literatures like Ben
Hur,   Clash     of    the      Titans,    The
Gladiator,      Hercules,         Spartacus,
Alexander the Great to name a few.

13.      The Greeks developed the
full alphabet set and became the first
literate civilisation. They introduced
the ideology of political democracy
and philosophy. They wrote plays,
epic poems and songs which are
produced and reproduced in the form
of theatres, musicals, and movies to
this day.     The Modern Olympic
Games came from the Greeks as a
testament to striving for excellence
through a series of competitions.
Simply put, the Greek civilisation is
remembered     for        its   influence   in
politics, literacy, philosophy, art and
ideas which touched every part of the
world. There was also decadence.

But when we speak on a subject, we
never hesitate to quote the Greeks at
some point in a conversation, today.

14.      I   mention       this      because
civilisations       are          built      on
achievements       and     not     traditions.
They are built on legacies and their
payments        forward,   and       not    on
unyielding cultural postures.              They
are built on steadfast vision that
makes un-stereotypical difference to
their surroundings, often far beyond
their own localities. We know this of
our own Islamic civilisation. To do
this we have to move away from our
vistas    of   comfort     and    into    the
wilderness of our intuition. We often
believe    that     our    limitations    are
external when in fact the chains of
our limitations are mostly and always
inside us. When we break past these
chains, the world is then your oyster.
One of the biggest mistakes we can
make in our journeys is to readily
accept the known and resist the
unknown.       We     should,     in     fact,
challenge the known and embrace the

unknown. In the unknowns may lie
our own prosperity.

SOMETHINGS                JUST         DON’T

15.     These are exceptional times
for you. For every one of us who are
blessed with an education, it is yet
another person released from the
shackles     of    poverty      into   greater
human dignity. Forty to 50 years ago,
how many countries could make a 4
to 6 percent growth? Maybe 30
countries?        Today    at     least   130

countries have equal opportunity to
making such growth, barring external
limitations. Such is the progress of
the world you are about to make a
difference to!

16.     You have an extraordinary
world waiting for you.   Henceforth,
the opportunities available are yours
to unleash. In spite of the progress,
prosperity and advancement, what
the world ultimately rewards us for
will never change with the times.
And that is honesty, integrity, hard
work and a sound character. These
are values which enables one to pay
it forward in all that we choose to do.
These are values that tell us it is not
just    about you       -   -   it   is about
something      bigger       than     you.   Our
sights must extend far beyond our
own comforts. When we are able to
do that we will build better for the
next generation.

17.      The University extends its
pride    and   appreciation          on     your
achievements today. The quest for
knowledge and purpose of life has
been the founding stones of this
University and the evolving character
of IIUM. It is our hope that our
teachings   of   ethics   and   moral
purpose will be the guiding compass
to your moments of doubt as well as
your moments of prosperity.

18.     I would like to congratulate
all parents and guardians of students
graduating today. You are by far the
most important link and strength in
the life of these graduates. To the
staff of IIUM, our collective strive
must be to explore new intellectual
horizons and never stop raising the
bar of excellence of IIUM. I would like
to      commend     the      University     for
earning the top ranks for “excellent
university”    from        the   Ministry    of
Higher Education.

19.       Excellence is the antidote to
injustice and inequity. Excellence is
built    on   our     hold       of    absolute
principles    of    right        and    wrong,
regardless of the times. Excellence is
ushered in by         our commitment to
always, and always paying it forward.
Excellence is founded on the ability
to view the world beyond just us. I
wish you all success in building a
much better world for all of us.

May Allah bless you.

Wabillahi taufik wal-hidayah.


warahmatullahi wabarakatuh


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