Announcement on the appointment of the First Holder of the Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas Distinguished Chair of Islamic Thought.e

The Raja Zarith Sofia Centre for Advanced Studies on Islam, Science and Civilisation (RZS CASIS) is privileged and takes great pleasure in announcing that YBhg. Professor Dr. Wan Mohd Nor Wan Daud, has been officially appointed as the inaugural holder of the Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas Distinguished Chair of Islamic Thought effective March 1, 2019.

The Chair is endowed by Her Majesty Raja Zarith Sofiah, Queen of Johor and the Raja Zarith Sofiah Foundation, and is established at the University of Technology Malaysia’s Raja Zarith Sofiah Centre for Advanced Studies on Islam, Science and Civilisation (RZS CASIS). The chair is named in honor of Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas, the world-renowned Malay Muslim thinker in the contemporary world.

The establishment of the Chair was proposed by the current Director of CASIS, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Khalif Muammar A. Harris and was agreed at the presence of Her Majesty Raja Zarith Sofiah and Yang Mulia Tan Sri Professor Dr. Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas in a closed-door meeting on 23 July 2017, and will commence for the duration of three years to begin with. On 23rd October 2018, JCorp and QSR Brands contributed a non-expendable fund (3 years) of RM2 million to the UTM Endowment Fund for the purpose of funding the Al-Attas Chair.

During this duration, Professor Wan Mohd Nor will deliver the RZS CASIS Saturday Night Lecture series; conduct scholarly dialogues and a seminar(s); intellectually guide students of RZS CASIS; and publish academic paper(s) and/or a book in the field of Islamic thought.

A special ceremony to officially launch the Chair will be announced and held in due time, God-Willing.

Profile of the Inaugural Holder of the Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas Chair of Islamic Thought

Professor Dr. Wan Mohd Nor Wan Daud obtained his doctorate from the University of Chicago under the late Fazlur Rahman in 1988. Upon serving the Ministry of Education briefly, he was invited by Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas to assist him at the newly established International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization (ISTAC) in all the formal and non-formal academic development including library, publication and student affairs. From 1998-2002 he served as the Deputy Director of ISTAC.

In 2011, at the invitation of the previous Vice-Chancellor of the University Technology of Malaysia (UTM), Professor Dato’ Seri Dr. Ir. Zaini Ujang, he founded and was appointed as a director of the Center for Advanced Studies on Islam, Science and Civilisation (CASIS). During his tenure as the director of CASIS, he was actively involved in teaching, writing and consulting various institutions of learning and corporate organizations.

He offered courses like Worldviews and Epistemic Frameworks and decolonization and Islamization of Contemporary Knowledge which was later composed, written and published by UTM Press as a monograph for his professorial lecture in 2013 titled Islamization of Contemporary Knowledge and the Role of the University in the Context of De-Westernization and Decolonization, which was later translated into Malay titled, Peranan Universiti: Pengislaman Ilmu Semasa, Penafibaratan, dan Penafijajahan published in the CASIS-HAKIM series in 2017.

His most recent work was his 3rdedition of the Budaya Ilmu: Makna dan Manifestasi dalam Sejarah dan Masa Kini (Knowledge Culture: Its Meaning and Manifestation in History and Present Time) was made to re-address the increasingly critical  state of the community with regards the confusion of the authority of knowledge and the misplaced roots of culture especially in educational institutions.

Professor Wan Mohd Nor has written more than 15 books and monographs as well as more than 40 academic articles in local and international journals, of which the major ones are: The Concept of Knowledge in Islam: Its Implication for Education in a Developing Country (1989); A Commentary on the Culture of Knowledge (Malay) (1990); Beacon on the Crest of a Hill: A Brief History and Philosophy of the International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization (1991); The Educational Philosophy and Practice of Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas: An Exposition of the Original Concept of Islamization (1998); Development in Malaysia: Towards a Holistic Understanding (Malay) (2000); 2 books of philosophical-mystical Malay poetry (2003 and 2004); Hadhari Muslim Society: An Epistemological and Educational Approach Towards National Unity (Malay) (2006); a book co-authored with Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas, The ICLIF Leadership Competency Model: An Islamic Alternative (2007); a book co-edited with Muhammad Zainiy Uthman, Knowledge, Language, Thought and The Civilization of Islam: Essays in Honor of Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas (2010).

Several of his books, articles and monographs have been translated into Malay, Indonesian, Turkish, Japanese, Persian, Russian, Bosnian and Macedonian.