[fullwidth background_color=”” background_image=”” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_webm=”” video_mp4=”” video_ogv=”” video_preview_image=”” overlay_color=”” overlay_opacity=”0.5″ video_mute=”yes” video_loop=”yes” fade=”no” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” padding_top=”60″ padding_bottom=”20″ padding_left=”0″ padding_right=”0″ hundred_percent=”no” equal_height_columns=”no” hide_on_mobile=”no” menu_anchor=”” class=”yeyo” id=””][fusion_text]IPSA GRADUATION 2016
The International Peace College South Africa (IPSA) held its eleventh annual Graduation ceremony on Friday 11 March 2016. As the only Islamic tertiary institute in this country, officially recognized and accredited by the Department of Higher Education & Training (DHET), the occasion signified much more than a celebration of eleven years of developing aspiring scholars of Islam locally, but it was also an important reflection of IPSA’s organizational progress since its inception.
Fifty two hard-working students graduated at The Centre for the Book (COB) which is an outreach unit of the National Library of South Africa. The venue provided an apt setting, considering that the COB’s mission is to promote a culture of reading, writing and publishing in local languages and to provide easy access to books for all, a mission supported and reflected by IPSA.
Of the graduates, forty seven received a certificate for their successful completion of IPSA’s one year Higher Certificate in Islamic Studies (HCIS), a program that specializes in Leadership Development, particularly aimed at young matriculants before embarking on further tertiary and/or work opportunities. Nine of the HCIS students attained distinctions and were thus awarded their certificates Cum Laude. Five students graduated with Bachelor of Arts Islamic Studies (BAIS), two of the BAIS graduates, Ḥāfiẓah Kauthar Antar and Fatima Essop graduated Cum Laude.
The proceedings began with a full academic procession which was led by two IPSA students carrying both the South African and IPSA flags and accompanied by a melodious rendition of qasidah rendered by IPSA students. The academic procession consisted of the principal of IPSA, Shaykh Ighsaan Taliep alongside Mr Shreef Abbas (Chairperson of IPSA board) and Professor Jasser Auda the keynote speaker for the event, with IPSA academic staff following.
The National Anthem, the recitation of the Holy Qur’an by IPSA first year student Ḥāfiẓah Rawbi’ah Isaacs and the opening duá rendered by the Head of Islamic Studies Department, Sh Fakhruddin Owaisi, formed part of the official opening of the ceremony and also helped to set the ambient tone for the momentous occasion.
Fazlin Fransman served as MC for the evening, after warmly welcoming students, family and friends, IPSA principal Shaykh Ighsaan Taliep, delivered his principal`s address. Shaykh Ighsaan expressed the institutions pleasure and delight in the graduates’ achievements. He congratulated all the graduates, and encouraged them and those present to continue supporting IPSA. He also encouraged graduates to use what they have learned at IPSA, and add to the value of their communities. Shaykh Ighsaan also used the occasion to formally announce the launch of IPSA’s Post-Graduate programme that started off with the BA Honours in Islamic Studies, the first of its kind being offered in South Africa. He also announced the establishment of the IPSA Al- Shatibi Chair of Maqasid Studies that will be headed by Professor Jasser Auda.
Professor Auda in his keynote address mentioned that he had graduated with a BA Degree thirty years ago, and informed that he wished he had received the nasīḥaḥ that he was sharing with the IPSA graduants at that time. With the benefit of hindsight, and after having to learn, unlearn and re-learn the hard way many lessons over the past few decades as an Islamic scholar, Professor Auda shared the following nasīḥaḥ to students: Firstly, to ask yourself “Why?”. He encouraged the graduants and all present to in every step of their lives to ask themselves ‘why am I doing this? Why am I wearing this scarf? Why am I opening this business? Why am I moving somewhere else or am I staying here?’ In other words he encouraged that students should constantly and consistently check their intention, and to keep it sincere. He further motivated that knowing the answer to ‘why?’ would give one clarity of purpose. Professor Auda supported this motivation with a ḥadīth he called the most important ḥadīth in Islām found in the Ṣaḥīh al-Bukhārī, ‘Deeds are according to intents. If your intent is to migrate for Allāh SWT and His Messenger SAW, then your intent is to migrate for Allāh SWT and His Messenger SAW. And if you intend to migrate for the dunyā or for a woman (or man) that you would like to marry, then this is your intent.” Prof Auda in his explanation of this ḥadīth informed the gatehring that the Prophet SAW was talking about purpose in life here. He stated that ‘if you migrate, you could find a job, you could marry, you could become however you would like to become, but your intent has to be checked. Why? Your intent has to be Allāh SWT because Allāh SWT is the purpose.’
Professor Auda went on to encourage the students by saying they have to worship Allāh SWT beyond themselves. He stated that whatever they do, be it they want to be successful, they want to be rich, they want to have knowledge, it is all well and good, and it is permissible as long as it is ḥalāl, but it is even better if it is for Allāh. He encouraged students by imploring them toawrd being rich is for Allāh, being knowledgeable is for Allāh, and told them that when you put Allāh first you will save yourself a lot of agonies, failures and pain in this life, and he affirmed that if Allāh is your purpose you will never fail, rather you will always be successful.
The nasīḥaḥ shared by Dr Auda was especially significant as it reminded all present that as students of dīn, as graduates in Islamic studies, as those who in the service of others they will face many crossroads in their lives and they will find themselves somewhere based on the decisions that they make in the next few years. He encouraged, thus, the great importance of making those decisions for Allāh SWT. He closed his nasīḥaḥ with the following words, ‘Let Allāh be behind every decision, so wherever you end up, in a happy place, a peaceful place, in a place of Allāh SWT, you will be blessed in this life and more importantly in the life to come.
The program continued with the Head of the Arabic Department, Shaykh Dawood Terblanche, delivering a presentation for the Life-Time Achievers Award, an award that IPSA annually bestows upon a deserving scholar, leader or active member of the Cape Muslim community, for his or her service in Education, Research and community service. This year’s recipient was Professor Shaykh Yusuf Da Costa. Previous recipients of the Lifetime Achievers Award were Shaykh Mogamat Amien Fakier, Shaykh Abdurraghiem Salie, Shaykh Salie Dien and most recently Shaykh Abdul Gamiet Gabier. IPSA presents these awards at every graduation to honour its recipient, and to remind its graduates that they in fact walk in the footsteps of many great pioneers and that their task ahead is an important contribution toward upholding a very rich legacy.
The official conferral of certificates was conducted by Dr Moegammat Hoosain Ebrahim and Shaykh Fakhruddin Owaisi. After certificates were conferred, Ra’ees Davids delivered a speech on behalf of the HCIS class, while Banoo Abdullah delivered the graduates address on behalf of the BAIS students. The evenings proceedings were interspersed with various qasa’id, spoken word activism and other forms of entertainment that show-cased the expressive talents of IPSA’s diverse student body. The graduation ceremony was concluded with a vote of thanks delivered by the Chairperson of the IPSA Board, Mr Shreef Abbas and the recitation of the ṣalawat by, Shaykh Fakhruddin Owaisi, Shaykh Safwaan Sasman and IPSA students.[/fusion_text][/fullwidth]