This is a weekly seminar runs on Saturdays and spans three semesters every year. This year (2019), WISE has marked its ninth year running since 2011, with ten batches of students successfully completed its programme. Some of WISE “graduates” continued their studies at graduate and post-graduate levels in various fields, while some others go back to their respective professions with clarity of perspective, a fresh outlook, and a sense of mission. One of the unique features of WISE is that it brings together people from different backgrounds and experiences to learn and engage in discourses pertaining to the various aspects of the worldview of Islam, through the Malay language as the medium of instruction.
The sessions are conducted by a number of scholars who are students of Tan Sri Prof. Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas, amongst whom are Prof. Dr. Wan Mohd Nor Wan Daud, the founder and former director of CASIS-UTM. Previous participants of WISE include academics, civil servants, corporate managers, entrepreneurs, schoolteachers, businessmen, social and political activists, politicians, university and pre-university students, and freelancers.
It is a restatement and re-articulation of the fundamental elements that constitute the projection of the world of existence in its totality.
These include the conception of the nature of God, the prophet, the concept of religion, revelation, the nature of man, of happiness, the nature of the world, concepts of knowledge, science, language, and education. Each of these elements is brought together in a relation that constitutes a unity (tawhīd). All these are discussed against the backdrop of the modern and post-modern challenges posed by the forces of secularisation as a philosophical programme. To address this external challenge faced by the Muslims, the notions of progress, change, and development are put under scrutiny.
Apart from this, the Muslim community suffers from various internal crises. These internal crises come basically in the form of the loss of adab, which is a result of confusion and error in knowledge,and leading to the rise of false leaders in various fields and domains of life which in turn promote and perpetuate the previous two, forming a vicious circle.
WISE is one small initiative to break this vicious circle and reinstitute the proper understanding of Islam through its basic conceptual framework projecting its worldview, in men and women of intelligence, integrity and responsibility. It is hoped that this initial step would lead to subsequent engagements that would continue to further strengthen the understanding and fellowship.
The need for strengthening the Muslim collective understanding about the meaning of self becomes ever more crucial today due to the nature of the challenges that face contemporary societies. The understanding of the true self can be acquired by enlivening the knowledge-culture via educational programs such as the Worldview of Islām Series (WISE) Summer School.
As a general statement:
The true meaning of self is built upon a secure knowledge foundation
The knowledge culture and its comprehensive elucidation must be disseminated widely
The synergistic contributions of individuals across multi-generations serve to strengthen the unity of people based on their mutual understanding and concern in regard to knowledge
Such situations as outlined above can be achieved by:
Developing the meaning of self on the foundation of knowledge according to Islamic tradition
Organizing various lecture series that provide an understanding about the knowledge culture along with strategies for strengthening it for continuous implementation
Enlarging the roles and contributions of multi-generational people through the inculcation of the knowledge-culture as a stepping-stone towards the unification of the Muslim people.