As an initiative to produce professional imams who are able to apply theoretical and practical knowledge in solving religious problems, Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM) has introduced a new programme which is the Professional Imam Executive Diploma.
Developed and offered by the Institute of Sunnah Wal Jamaah (IASWJ), UTHM together with the Continuing Education Centre (CEC) UTHM, in collaboration with the Department of Islamic Affairs of Johor (JAINJ) and the Johor Islamic Religious Council (MAINJ), this programme had its first intake recently.
The launching ceremony for the programme, on October 29th, was officiated by the Director of JAINJ, Tn Hj Rofiki Dato’ Kiyai A. Shamsuddin. Also present were Senior Officers of UTHM, JAINJ and MAINJ.
The Acting Director of IASWJ, Professor Dato Dr. Abdul Razak Omar, explained that UTHM is the first university to offer such a programme specifically to cater for JAINJ-appointed imams of the state mosques across Johor with the aim of enhancing the role of the imam in line with the development of Islamic affairs in the country.
Through this programme, students can practice their knowledge ethically and wisely in dealing with religious issues besides being able to interact with the community professionally as well as to carry out leadership responsibilities in any given organisation.
Meanwhile, community projects which are compulsory for the students, will train them to communicate effectively with various parties through the organization of programmes and carrying out activities systematically.
“Upon the completion of the programme, qualified students will be able to fulfil the duties as full-time imams of the community, takmir teachers, Quran teachers and perform their communal obligations (fardhu Kifayah) required by the local community,” he said.
The Professional Imam Executive Diploma (DPI) is a part-time programme which spans over a minimum of three semesters, including a short semester with a total of 42 credits.
After the completion of each module, students of the programme will be awarded the Religious Skills Certificate (SKA) which can be used as credits to transfer for the Previous Experience-based learning (APEL) programmes if the student wants to continue their studies after completing the programme. The certificate is also recognized by government agencies including MAIJ, JAINJ and UTHM.
Each student is also required to carry out a project based on a topic or programme that will benefit organizations and the society in order to complete all the modules. Assessments are based on the coursework assignments including lectures, tutorials, written and practical assignments, projects, as well as written and oral tests.
“The university hopes that with the offering of this programme, UTHM can help produce a holistic imam who can lead the community effectively in worship activities (ibadah) and interpersonal transactions of daily life (muamalat),” added Razak.