“Generally, CRCS is good; it has kept its excellence, and its shines. If there are negative or positive criticisms from others, just make them as inputs or suggestions.”This is what Ismail Yahya opined, a CRCS alumni (2001), when asked what he thinks of CRCS. Yahya, who is the chairman of the Syariah Department at State Islamic College Surakarta, shared that his experiences studying at CRCS help him manage his work.
Aside from being one of leaders at State Islamic College Surakarta, Yahya is also the chairman of the Indonesian Society for Religion & Civilization (ISRAC), member of the board of Majelis Ulama Islam (MUI) Solo, of the Commission of Law & Economic of Syariah, and of the Masyarakat Ekonomi Syariah Surakarta (MESS). He also does researches.
“CRCS is amazing, and I am just grateful to them”, he said. For Yahya, while studying at CRCS, he studied in English, thus he learned everything in English; and through it, he developed skills in English. “I became more familiar with the language; I wrote articles in English, I spoke in English. All in all, I became more confident in speaking and writing, and accustomed in using the language”, shared Yahya.
At CRCS, he found intimacy. “There is no gap between the students and lecturers, and that is hard to find at other campuses,” he emphasized. He added that the CRCS facility supports the studies. The most interesting part at CRCS is the opportunity to be taught by lecturers who are expert in their disciplines, like Mahmoud Ayoub, Christine Gudorf, and other lecturers. For him, they helped him in thinking systematically, focus and well-planned.
Because of the knowledge and skill he learned, Yahya had done a research at the Australian National University (ANU) which was related to his writings. The compilation of his writings was published in book form entitled “Generasi Baru Peneliti Muslim Indonesia: Mencari Ilmu di Australia”. To date, Yayha plans to pursue a doctoral program in Philology at the University of Indonesia in Jakarta.
Presently, he could say that because of his work, his focus is no longer on religious studies, but at least he could combine his experiences at CRCS and his present status as a lecturer to his classes he handles, he teaches Method of Islamic Studies.
For Yayha, he has different perspectives in seeing other religions. “When I understand more about other religions, I also understand better my own religion.” This expression of Yahya is like that of Tom Michel’s point of view. Yahya added that, “If Allah wanted to create only one kind of adherent, of course that is easy for Him. But there are many adherents have been trying to achieve the truth. The same human beings search for the truth.” People who surround him are homogenous, Moslems, and he could say that problems rarely happen. He hopes there will be no religious problems and people who are narrow-minded. (JMI)
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