Fulbright – An Example of Study Objective (2010) for Indonesian Applications


My friends in Indonesia asked me several questions dealing with how they should write a good Study Objective for Fulbright scholarship. For the purpose of sharing what I wrote for my application and helping them to achieve a better result for them, I decided to share my study objective in this blog. After learning and studying in the United States for about two years in the Master’s degree, I found many tremendous achievements I reach both as a writer and as a teacher of English. Here is my Study Objective that I sent to AMINEF in 2010. For your information, I did not revise this document because I want you to see how I change and improve myself in terms of writing clearly in English (not just grammar correctness).

Syayid Sandi Sukandi

Master’s Degree

 

Study Objective

I am interested to study in a master’s degree in the field of English language and literature in the United States. The concentration within the field is Composition and Rhetoric. It is relevant to my educational background—Bachelor’s degree in English language and literature—and to the needs of the college where I am currently working. A master’s degree program will provide me with more in-depth learning and advanced training so that I will have the expertise I need inside and outside the academic world. Indeed, a master’s degree will enhance my academic qualifications and help me gain professional development as an English lecturer in STKIP PGRI Sumatera Barat.

In STKIP   PGRI Sumatera Barat, I teach English subjects. The subjects are Writing I   (Paragraph development) and Writing II (Essay writing), Translation I   (English-Indonesian translation) and Translation II (Indonesian-English translation), Cross-Cultural Understanding, Speaking III (Speech), and English Correspondence. Recently, I have a plan to teach other subjects as well, such as Introduction to Literature, Reading Comprehension, Public Speaking, and Academic Writing. Since I do not possess a master’s degree, the chances to realize the plan are still out of reach. Therefore, a master’s degree program in English language and literature will surely improve my knowledge base in those subjects so that I can realize the abovementioned plan.

In the master’s degree program, I will focus my study on Composition and Rhetoric.   This is because the college needs lecturers who have academic skills and experience in all kinds of writing or rhetorical situations. The future objective for this is when I have accomplished my master’s degree program; I will take responsibility as an English lecturer whose specialization is writing. Besides, I will be involved as a member of the editorial board in the research unit of the college. The task of the unit is checking and revising the language of research articles before they are published in academic journals. Considering these goals, I am sure that the skill and experience that I will receive in a master’s degree program in the United States will not only aid my academic development but also empower me to achieve the goals.

The head of the English department and Chairperson of the college have encouraged me to pursue a master’s degree by focusing on composition and rhetoric in English. They officially want me to serve as one of the trainers in the program of Professional Teacher Education (PTE) in 2011 to teach subjects related to Writing in the college. The program itself is conducted under the regulation of the Directorate of Higher Education of Indonesia. Therefore, I need to have a good understanding of composition and rhetoric in order to be admitted as a trainer in the program. Composition and Rhetoric will be a considerable emphasis to the overall program of my study in the master’s degree so that I am eligible to perform the best work in the program and effective in training the students who participate in it.

Regarding this Fulbright scholarship program in particular, I want to obtain a master ’s degree of English language and literature in the United States not only because it is an English speaking country but also because it has an excellent reputation for quality of education. As an Indonesian, I believe that studying English in the United States can help me acquire greater fluency in the English language, which, in turn, will help my future students. When I come back to Indonesia after successfully completing my study, I will have a better understanding of English as both a field of study and a   communicative tool. In addition, I will understand the cultural values of daily life in the United States. These values, then, can be shared with my students in the college in order to help them better understand the importance of cross-cultural understanding.

An additional thing that I want to learn in the United States is to know and understand how American students learn in their class. In this case, I would love to share the knowledge of Indonesian cultures with students in the United   States. This activity will positively contribute to my personal experience as a lecturer and this kind of experience is really a rewarding one for me. When I have understood how the American students learn, I would like to apply the positive sides that I have seen in the United States to my students in STKIP PGRI Sumatera Barat. I hope that a better improvement of cross-cultural understanding between the students of Indonesia and of the United States can be properly maintained after doing the above thing.

To sum up, studying English language and literature with Composition and Rhetoric as its focus in the United States will give me many great insights that I can develop and apply in the college after finishing my master’s degree. Conducting research dealing with students’ ability in composing academic writing and sharing a well-shaped concept of English and American cultures with my students will benefit them in their university lives and in the future. I also hope to enhance and promote the future or long-term objectives of STKIP PGRI Sumatera Barat as one of Indonesia’s important educational assets. In the end, a Fulbright scholarship will help me ensure the future development of Indonesia’s students and teachers.

From what you can read above, you can see that I tend to compose my ideas on grammatical aspect too much. As a result, I did not let my ideas out on paper. Perhaps, this very aspect was the thing that created a gap between me as a student of English as a foreign language with most Americans who are, of course, native speakers of English. Now, after learning Writing in the United States, I am able to use my own linguistic abilities to argue and even compose my own ideas in writing – truly with my own “voice”. Writing in English has become one of the joyful experiences I have in me. Every time I read a book, I could hear someone is saying something to me through his or her works. Besides, I also learned how to engage with American and international students in the classrooms in order to see how they argue and think as well as react about different things.

To be honest, I did not travel a lot around the United States due to several circumstances, but by reading, I can have a thorough comprehension of this country. It turned out that being an American is not as easy as being an Indonesian. America is so complex in lots of aspects, especially after the influence of European settlements in history, the riot of civil wars between “white” and “black” people, and the political interests of this country over other countries that might not be interpreted well enough, given the barrier in language. I am also aware of how Americans frame certain ideas in English because, sometimes, what they intend is the same with mine, but because of the language barrier, the same intention is not translated well across different types of English language users on the globe.

For my friends who want to apply for this Fulbright scholarship, please remember that this country is not as singular as your country, Indonesia, especially on the basis of race. In this country, you cannot call others based on how they look. You need to respect one another. You also need to be respected by others, equally. I thought that I would see blonde and light skin people all around, instead, I see people even within the same color as I am – Asian American. Therefore, I cannot judge others on the basis of skin colors in the United States. Also, religion-wise, you will see the reality of how people see your religion through different lenses. Since I am a Muslim, I know that not so many people in the United States know clearly what Islam is. If I accidentally meet people who disrespect it, I tend to explain to them that what they did was disrespectful. If they still do things that harm me emotionally, then I will better go and leave them, for good. The more you understand this country, the more you will see that basically, people everywhere are the same. What makes them different is what came to them for the first time. My point is: before you came to this country, please be prepared mentally and socially. Never lose yourself as an Indonesian because they basically want to know you more, individually, because you are the “chosen” people from both countries. They also want to know more about your country through you. Sharing what you know to the best you can is a good thing to do. In spite of that, do something as you need. You do not need to do things that do not resemble yourself. If you do not eat pork, for example, tell them. If you do not drink alcohol, inform them. They will respect what you believe and choose. However, always set your studies as a priority. In my case, if I let myself drowned on traveling too much, I will end up learning nothing for my professionalism, especially since I focus on the Teaching of Writing. Without practicing Writing, never dream to reach a point where you can write, deeply on “your style.” I think I have achieved it now. In years ahead, I hope I can write my books. 🙂

Good Luck with your applications. Oh, before I forget, please remember that the living costs in the United States are high. Sometimes, this situation does influence your mood to learn and study. All the best to you!

2013 – A Year of Achievements and of Learning the Beauty.

During the Fulbright Experiences (2011-2013)

“Humanizing” Our Writing


“Easy reading is damn hard writing” Nathaniel Hawthorne
“Difficult reading is always a form of the writer’s ego to show off his credibility, which is not needed by the readers” – Syayid Sandi Sukandi

This post has been discussed in one of my classes in Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. It turns out that I even fall in love with writing. “The more I read, the more easier how to understand my writing is. The more I discuss with open-minded people, the more I can feel what the magnificent use of writing is” – Syayid Sandi Sukandi, A Fulbright Scholar of English

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To those of you who love to write, putting your ideas into writing would seem to be easy to do, especially when you have gained a lot of experiences in writing and jotting down your ideas into a meaningful piece of text. However, sometimes, before writing something, please ask yourself these questions, “Why should I write? What is it for?”

The questions of “Where are my readers? Who are they?” are connected with “Why should I write? What is it for?” These four questions are actually connected with the essence of the purpose of why we write. This is where the process of humanizing writing starts. From a novice writer into an advanced one, readers are always involved in certain ways. Peter Elbow, a distinguish Professor of English in the United States has stated that someone may write well, even without a teacher. It does not mean that the person does not need a teacher. What it actually means is that the teacher is only a facilitator. The one who should write more is the person him or herself. Understanding grammar well is not enough if someone wants to write well for the readers, except for him or herself per se. If you could answer the two questions above, you will have a sense of to whom your writing will be intended. In other words, your writing will have a purpose. Eventually, your writing will likely be successful.

Therefore, writing something complicated by using an easier written expression, help the readers understand our writing well. Briefly, specific words are for specific readers. As Georges Gusdorf mentions in his book, Speaking (La Parole), translated by Paul T. Brockelman in 1965, p.44, “…language cannot justify anything and everything. It is up to each person to assure the responsibility for his own language by searching for the ‘right word’”. Words will work better if the words can work well in the mind of the readers. If the readers do not have the same meaning as what the writer perceive about the word, the use of the word will create chaos in the mind of the readers. Eventually, what happens is, your writing becomes useless and meaningless. You don’t want that happens, do you? Or, after you wrote something, and suddenly said, “That’s it! I am done!” Is that all? In fact, writing is more than that.

What about writing for public? Writing for a larger audience? If you are a native speaker of English, what about writing for second language speakers of English? The specific “form” of language is used for specific “purposes”; even English has its specific form that is known as English for Specific Purposes. Namely, there are several words that can only be used within the context of business. For instance, “The bank has set its interest rates”. The word “interest” here is not the same as it is found in, “She interests me”. Consequently, we need to adhere that the words we use in expressing our ideas should be properly chosen for the readers. If you speak or write something interesting in your mind, but your listeners or readers do not understand what you are saying, the communication turns into a deathly hollow. Yudhijit Bhattacharjee mentioned in his writing Why Billinguals are Smarter in New York Times, “Nobody ever doubt the power of language. But who would have imagined that the words we hear and the sentences we speak might be leaving such a deep imprint?” Then, the question is, “Will a writer’s work be read if the writer writes with words that people rarely use?”

To make it brief, it can be stated in this simple phrase, “Think deeply; write simply”. Whatever we write in our writings, always consider the readers. Making our thoughts easier is a lot more useful than making it complicated for people. In this digital world, writing has become a life-style. Readers are the people whom our writings will take us to the next level. Humanizing writing sounds a pretty good thing to do by everyone, if they are in need of being understood well in this enchanting world.

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“A student without having an ability to show his or her credibility in an appropriate occasions will look like never learning anything” – Syayid Sandi Sukandi 

Academic Writings Learning English as a Foreign Language (EFL)

Attending India Night 2012 in SIUE – “Sanskriti: One Nation Different Cultures”


The Symbol of God in India. The name of the God is Ganesha. Based on Hindu epistemology, Ganesha is the God of Knowledge and Cleverness. I saw this image when I came to the event. The students of SIUE created this image by using colored rice and the rice was put orderly on the table so that the guests can see it directly.

I went to this event on April 7, 2012, together with my host family, Joyce and John, and other friends. The event was started at 6:00 pm until 09:00 pm in Morris University Center of SIUE. I was invited to attend this event because it was something new to me. This event was organized and performed by Indian Students Association at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Besides, this event is such a great time for me to see and know how cultures of India look like. Although I have seen a lot of Bollywood movies that might be useful to watch how people of India represent their cultures through that movie, it does not mean that I have seen the culture directly. Since I was invited by my host family, then, of course, I decided to attend the event.

In this event, I saw many different kinds of cultural performances and cuisine from India. The foods served in India night were so delicious. The menu itself was various. Some of the foods served were Tandoori Butter  Naan, Butter Chicken, Aloo Mutte, Mango Lassi, Condiment Tray, Jeera Rice, Chicken Kebab, Carrot Halwa, and Mixed Salad. I took all these foods to my plate in order to know how the foods taste. Yes, after I ate, it tasted really good. I stopped eating the foods because I felt so full in my stomach. While I was eating the foods, Soorya Performing Arts from St. Louis played some of Indian musics. The musics made the atmosphere of the dinner felt nice. The atmosphere made me felt as if I was in India. I did not understand the lyrics, but the music itself was familiar in my ear. That was enjoyable enough. 🙂

From all activities performed in the event, there were three activities that I enjoyed watching. The activities were Fashion Show, Garba dance, and Classical Performance (semi classical and folk dance) choreographed by Smitha Rajan. For the Fashion Show, there were some wedding dresses performed by Indian Students. Some of the wedding dress were those from Punjabi, Gujarati, Rajashtani, Bengali, Malayalam, Marathi, Christian, and Muslim. For the Garba dance, there were some SIUE students performing the compilation between modern and classic dance of India. This dance showed the image of happiness between young people of India. In the classical performance, there were three little cute girls performing the dance in such beautiful ways. To my mind, the dance showed how the God and Goddess in India, based on the mythology of Hinduism, were working together in keeping this earth in peace. The outfit of the three girls was cute, too.

Overall, my impression after attending and watching the India Night event was that India was such a huge nation in terms of its cultural tradition. Even though the event itself was only performing some of Indian cultures, attending the India Night 2012 was fascinating for me. Actually, there were still many more cultures of India that the students could perform, but considering that the event was conducted by students, the event was done well. At the very least, I knew that the event shaped my mind that each nation in the world has its own cultures. Such cultures make the world rich, especially in its diversity and multicultural perspectives. To keep and make the cultures last longer and be transformed from one generation to the next generation is a very crucial thing that the people of a nation, such as India, should do.

The world is simply beautiful by its diversity and colorful view – Syayid Sandi Sukandi, April 8, 2012

 

During the Fulbright Experiences (2011-2013)

The Beauty I feel when I am being a Muslim (March 7, 2012)


Well, people may have different point of view in terms of how they believe in something, especially believing in something known as “God”. I was actually born from a family where my parents adore Islam and Allah SWT.  I am an Indonesian as well. Yes, what a big deal to be an Indonesian, right? Living in a country in which people all over the world view Indonesia as a Muslim country, but there is something I need to mention: we actually do not view our country as such. However, as an individual who is living and staying in Indonesia, as I can tell, what they say about Indonesia is correct. A lot of people in Indonesia are Muslims and they believe in Allah SWT. The major problem that causes such ‘dispute’ among cultural experts, political figures, or even scientists all-over the world in viewing Indonesia, especially those that are seen in the news, merely due to the multiculturalism that Indonesia has. I believe that you will agree with me that each child who is born into this earth would have his or her point of view when he or she is growing up as someone. Looking at the world around him or her will be the way the child learns or understands why such and such chaos might happen.

Now, I currently stay and live in the United States, pursuing my degree in English. The institution in which I am actively enrolling as a student is Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. I can tell you, this is a nice and good university for me. Not only to study but also to live are things that make this campus interesting. I have not often traveled around the United States to see how beautiful or great other universities in the United States. However, I can tell one thing, feeling like being myself in a foreign country is such a huge thing to have. People always say, “be yourself”; however, sometimes, what I see and perceive is that some people tend to be someone else in order to feel secure within him or herself and with other people around him or her. This is not my principle. Wherever I go, I always be myself. That “myself” is being a Muslim. A friend of mine who is living in Indonesia asked me this questions: “Is that difficult to be a Muslim in the United States?”

Honestly, to answer such question is such a great task for me to do. The basic thing, I mean, for that answer, is to say, “no”. It is not difficult. I was just wondering why such question came to me as if I had a difficult times. Perhaps, what the person who was asking had in mind was that I will have terrible life in the United States. Then, I think, this post might be a way for me to write about this. I divide the view for this thing into two aspects. The aspects are before I came to the United States and while I am staying in the United States.

To be honest, when I was still in Indonesia or before I came to the United States, I viewed the United States as such a “huge and developed” country, or, roughly, an advanced one. Actually, I did not know the person who used this term before, but I am sure that this person might be an educated one. Then, I searched for information about the United States. Again and again, as I could also see as well as in my country, too; I often heard and read cases like racism, Muslims under-attack by some people, suicide, murders, or even so many other crimes that happened in the United States. I thought that that was what the news was meant to be. No wonder why I was a “little nervous” to come to the United States. I realize that I was a Muslim, but will the cops capture me as a terrorist while, in fact, I had nothing to do with that? There were many questions came over my head for several days before my departure to the United States. It was exactly at the end of August 2011, I flew from Narita to Los Angeles. That was indeed my first time flight for the international one. “What a great step!”, I said to myself.

Days and days passed so quickly. After living for several months in the United States, but, of course, in a small town, I had experienced having lots of types of foods, friendly faces of American students as well as faces of international students at SIUe, and welcoming faculty and staffs. At this stage, I did not feel so many problems with my religious identity as a Muslim, though I actually stay in an area in which many people are mostly Christian. In spite of having this difference, I honestly can tell that I do not have problems with any other personal matters. I could still do may five-times prayers a day and I could do Friday prayer with Muslim friends from other countries, like Turkey, the US,Nepal, and India. Then, if I relate this perspective with the question above, I would say, “There is a beauty I feel when I am being a Muslim”. Therefore, the answer of the question above is “no”. However, this is only in my perspective. Perspectives of other people might be different than mine anyway.

What about the beauty? What is that?

People here, especially the young ones, they get drunk by consuming alcohol, though not so many of them. Sometimes, they feel “cool” when they get drunk. For me, that never solves problems. That is just a matter of life-style. As a Muslim, I would not want to consume any alcoholic drink. And, until now, I am still fine. The sad part is that I do not have lost of “good friends” to have because of being “different with surroundings”. By avoiding consuming alcoholic drinks, I am saving myself and my money as well. I do not drive in the US; therefore, this would be a perfect one for me to stay healthy. Walking an hour a day is a good thing to do in order to avoid having the problem of heart attack. So, at this point, the beauty is like a king. I could control myself. It has been taught in Islam that I should control myself, not other stuffs control me over myself, especially over my mind.

Then, who does not like having sex? Sex is fun. Is that true? Well, that’s true. As a Muslim, it is “harram” or prohibited to have sex with opposite gender before getting married. I am sure I could see that there are a lot of sexy girls out there, wanting to be touched and grabbed their “pants”, but, that does not make me as a “man” if I do that. Feeling sexy is okay, but showing the sexiness to other people is another case. I have been taught in Islam that I may only touch a woman when I marry her. If I do not marry her, then, I am not allowed to touch her. To appreciate the prettiness of a girl is okay, but to possess that prettiness without good “way” is not acceptable in any way. There goes a reason of why Muslim women should wear hijjab or veil in order to cover their hair. Women are such beautiful creatures that God has created for men. Men have sexual desire to women. Therefore, if women could not control their appearances, or being sexy all the time, then, the problem that could happen is that the men will view women in the “sexual eyes”. No wonder why there are so many women become victims of raping. In Islam, this is bad because both will be equally guilty. At this point, the beauty that I feel when I am being a Muslim is that I have control over me. People may wear anything they want, but it is me who has responsibility to control things that I have seen. If the appearance that I have seen is beautiful, I would say, “Masya Allah” (Praise the Lord); if the appearance of a woman whom I have seen is bad, I would say, “Astaghfirullah” (Oh Allah, please forgive me). Meanwhile, if I have seen women who are almost “naked” in front of me, I would say, “Astaghfirullah” (the same as above) and “Naudzubillah” (Oh God, please forgive me). At last, who would want to be naked in public? They may want to do that, but as an educated person, I will never want to perform myself “naked” or even a half “naked” in public. When I am naked, the image of my body will be public consumption. This is the core of why women should wear hijjab. They are created in such a beautiful body. It is the times for women to be protected from sexual abuse. I think, Islam has this perspective, which is protecting women from such matters and protecting the men from doing such matters.

What about food? Well, this one is also controversial among other people in the US. I do not eat pork or pig. Eating meat that contains pork is a sin. Then, how if I eat something, due to my hungriness (no other foods to eat) and eat that food without knowing the ingredients of the foods? Let’s say, the food contained pork and I did not know that? If there are no other foods, (remember, no other foods), I can still eat it. If there are still many options of food, then, eating pork is a last choice and even become “harram”. Islam is making things easier for me. I could stay healthy, and in the same time, I could notice things that I want to eat with things that I may not eat. I am the king of my life. I would not easily follow what other people do just because those things look fun to eat. To me, this is a big discipline. Islam teaches me to have my own freedom.

All in all, as a Muslim, I would say that having good discipline and good responsibility in terms of things that I see, drink, or eat are the very basic things to do as a Muslim. For some people, it is hard. However, it is not as hard as they could imagine. The point is that I learn how to take control over myself. We cannot control other people, right? Therefore, controlling ourself will be a good thing to do before we control others. In fact, as Qur’an said, “every human is a leader, and every leader will have responsibility”. Isn’t that great?

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To my brothers, Robby and Rina, hope you grow better and better than I do. 🙂

Life and its color

Making Modern Muslims: The Politics of Islamic Education in Southeast Asia


Making Modern Muslims: The Politics of Islāmic Education in Southeast Asia

Hefner, Robert W., ed. Making Modern Muslims: The Politics of Islāmic Education in Southeast Asia. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2009.

Based on the information provided, this book “grew out of a research project that began in December 2004 and ended in January 2007, funded by the National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR) in Seattle, Washington” (Hefner)

Contents:

  • Introduction: The Politics and Cultures of Islāmic Education in Southeast Asia by Robert W. Hefner
  • Islāmic Schools, Social Movements, and Democracy in Indonesia by Robert W. Hefner
  • Reforming Islāmic Education in Malaysia: Doctrine or Dialogue by Richard G. Kraince
  • Islāmic Education in Southern Thailand: Negotiating Islam, Identity, and Modernity by Joseph Chinyong Liow
  • Muslim Metamorphosis: Islāmic Education and Politics in Contemporary Cambodia by Bjorn Atle Blengsli
  • Islāmic Education in the Philippines: Political Separatism by Thomas M. McKenna & Esmael A. Abdulla

Review of the book:

This book presents the research findings of scholars who studied about how Islam constructs the development and advancement of schools in Asia. Countries that they had studied are Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, and Philippines. This book seems to bring balanced view of Islam in Asia, especially after the tragedy of the 9/11 bombing in WTC, New York. Many subjective comments had been aroused after the tragedy, particularly in the countries of the West, where the people are generally never in touch with Islam. I would recommend that many people in the United States should read this book because the research finds that there are things that had been put into skeptical and bias point of view in the United States. At least, this book will help Muslims from Asian countries feel “at home” whenever they visit the United States.

On page 4, Hefner wrote:

 “In discussion of Muslim world since 9/11, there has been a tendency on the part of Western commentators to view events primarily through the optic of their own security reasons. In a world of urgent threats and scarce analytic resources, this bias is understandable enough, and the chapters in this volume do not shy away from policy issues. Nonetheless, the contributors felt that if we allowed Western security concerns to set the entire research agenda we would lose an opportunity to understand the cultural concerns that Muslims themselves bring to their schools. We would also lose the sight of the fact that Southeast Asian Muslims have been debating the proper forms of religious education and politics, not since 9/11, but since the late nineteenth century”

In this statement, it seems clear that the authors of this book would like to give a new perspective on viewing how Islam ‘should be seen’ in the West. A good understanding of why Islam is put into the school system because Islam has lots of good things to be applied in the system of education in Southeast Asia, especially in Indonesia. What people hear in the news are sometimes bias and not supportive. If there are people who accidentally have the feeling of “dislikeness” to Islam, especially because of their ignorant, they could give harsh comment, and even “sharp words” to attack Islam and Muslims. However, still, since there are many people who are willing to know exactly what Islam is; therefore, the process of knowing this religion into its real teachings will always be a good way to make countries in the West become the “better ones”.

In addition to that, historically, Islam was actually the one that had great thinkers. Due to the misconduct of the Christian Europe, many of the works of Islāmic thinkers were ‘taken out’ by thinkers of the Europe. The truth is, those great science and knowledge belong to Islāmic figures in the past.

“Herein lies one of the great ironies of the Old World’s civilizational history. During what was Western Europe’s Middle Ages, libraries and madrasas in the Middle East had preserved Greek works in philosophy and natural sciences lost to Christian Europe. In the twelfth and thirteen centuries, Muslim, Christian, and Jewish Scholars in Spain and other Muslim lands translated many of these works into Latin. The transfer of the translated classics book to Western Europe sparked a revival of interest in the natural sciences and humanistic philosophy so strong that these subjects were given pride of place in the newly established universities of the West. Although earlier preserved and studied by generations of Arab- and Indian- Muslim scholars, the same Greek works were gradually marginalized from most madrasa curricula. Indeed, by the end of the Muslim Middle Ages their place in Middle Eastern education as a whole was greatly diminished. Jurisprudence had become the queen of the advanced religious sciences and the centerpiece of madrasa education. More significant yet, many of the Jurists (fuqaha) who interpreted God’s law had come to view the study of philosophy and the foreign sciences as “useless…and disrespectful of religion and law”. The result was that the philosophy and natural science once so integral to Muslims intellectual life disappeared from many institutions of higher learning, not to be revived until the great educational transformations of the modern era” (Hefner 9).

To those people who want to know and understand how Islam and Muslims are in Southeast Asia, this book, as I could understand, could give you a significant perspective in viewing the religion and the people. At last, the chaos in the society due to “miscommunicated values” could be very much avoided.

Happy times for reading!

Syayid's Private Library