KUALA LUMPUR: Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies lecturer, Datuk Dr Muhammad Afifi Al-Akiti, was named the recipient of the 2017 Maulidur Rasul Perdana Award.
Afifi, 40, recieved the award from Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V during the national-level Maulidur Rasul celebration at Wilayah Persekutuan Mosque here today.
He received RM50,000, a plaque and a certificate.
He said it was important for the government to encourage more youths to pursue Islamic studies at tertiary level.
“The government should also sent straight As students to enrol in Islamic studies apart from medical and engineering courses.
“We need credible and intellectual preachers.
“During the glory days of Islam, our preachers were not only proficient in Islamic knowledge but also other fields such as economy and philosophy,” he said.
Afifi from Batu Gajah, Perak, is the first Malay to become a full-time lecturer at the Oxford University.
Also present at the event were Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, his deputy Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom.
Jamil Khir, in his speech, said the people were lucky that they could live peacefully in a multiracial and multireligious society.
“Based on the 2017 Global Peace Index, Malaysia maintains its position as the third most peaceful country in Asia and the 29th from 163 countries wordwide.
“Malaysia has also been a role model among Muslim countries for practising moderation based on ‘Maqasid al-Syariah’,” he said.
Eight others were presented with the Maulidur Rasul Award for their outstanding contributions in promoting Islam and highlighting community issues at the national-level and globally.
They received RM20,000 and a certificate.
Among them was 27-year-old Nur Adlyka Ainul Annuar who was among a group of astronomers who had discovered evidence of black holes in space.