In line with the mission and vision of the university in achieving Integration, Islamisation, Internationalisation, and Comprehensive Excellence known fondly as Triple ICE within the walls of the university, the International Islamic University Malaysia has adopted several initiatives towards the internalisation of values among its staff members and students. Many endeavours have been undertaken by the university in warranting that students are well fortified with values and virtues that would mould them into responsible individuals, and one such effort is through weekly group discussions called Usrah – which can be sub-categorised into three groups; (i) Study Circle and Halaqah; (ii) Usrah for Staff; and (iii) Usrah Mahallah. This vividly exemplifies the university’s obligation in imparting knowledge and virtues to members of its community as Usrah has been identified as an effective educational approach for improving an individual’s moral, character and identity development. In the context of IIUM, instillation of values and nurturing of spiritual development of the IIUM community can be realised through this informal method of Usrah.
To define, Usrah can be described as a small group discussion led by a Naqib (group leader) tasked with the responsibility in guiding its members towards the installation of good practices and values in their lives as obedient Muslims and responsible vicegerents. Since its inception, Usrah sessions among students have been a practice in their daily lives at the university and the initiative is continuous.
Usrah ensures that IIUM students are developed holistically as it provides the opportunity for values installation, knowledge pursuance, and kinship rekindling through harmonious and friendly discussions, in line with the aspiration of the government in the need to inject values into its students. The uniqueness of Usrah at IIUM is the stress on Islamic pursuit in students’ day to day affairs as it promotes a lifestyle and ethos that is Islamic in nature and this can be sustained either individually or collectively.
IIUM does not only deem Usrah as an approach towards positive da’wah as its ultimate aim goes beyond traditional Islamic teaching and values. Usrah is about the elevation of values that are intellectual, spiritual and social that is shared among members of its own group or intergroup members. Usrah responds to this by ensuring that no member is discriminated of his/her opinion and each member is treated equally regardless of his/her background. In addition, Usrah also assists the individual in achieving personal, spiritual and intellectual growth.
Such positive environment in an Usrah discussion contributes to the transference of values at IIUM which proudly boasts itself as a “Garden of Virtues and Knowledge” where staff members and students are the “gardeners” whom plants and sows elements of virtues and knowledge in “their garden” and at the end of their pursuance at IIUM, harvest what they have sown.
Together we revive the Usrah, the sunnah and tradition of the Prophet Muhammad ( peace be upon him).