Breaking Boundaries

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A talk organised by the Perak Academy

Tradition and progress – can one exist alongside the other or are both mutually exclusive? This was the basis of an illuminating talk given by Dr. Muhammad Afifi al-Akiti, a Perakean that all Perakeans would be proud of.

Dr. Muhammad Afifi emphasised the importance of an equitable balance between progress, tradition and knowledge, both secular and scriptural. He quoted the University of Oxford motto of “Illuminato Dominus Mia” as a fine example of the balance that can be achieved.

A first-ever Oxford don from Malaysia, Dr. Muhammad lectures in Islamic Studies at the Faculty of Theology, Oxford’s oldest faculty. Besides his excellent academic credentials, Dr Muhammad has a working knowledge of classical Arabic, Byzantine Greek, Medieval Latin, French and German. A stupendous achievement indeed for someone so young.

Beneath his unassuming countenance lies a great intellect and reservoir of knowledge that runs the gamut of the academic realm from lecturing, editorial work, scholarly articles and publications to being a consultant on various BBC TV programmes on Islam. Schooled in a madrasah, this 34 year-old Batu Gajahan who plays cricket applies his specialist knowledge of Islamic theology, philosophy and science in his pursuit of the dynamic relationship between science and religion, fides et ratio, in the medieval world.

Perakeans are proud to embrace this enlightened Anak Perak who has made his mark in the world and yet has both feet firmly on the ground!

VALERIE CHAN