“A simple thank you will never be enough. Which is why I’d occasionally whisper a prayer for the scholarship donors, Pergas and the people that are involved in making this scholarship happen. Thank you for your investment in students like myself, in making me getting closer to my career goals and aspirations.”
Muhammad Fadhil Bin Azman, 25, was awarded with the Kiyai Ahmad Zohri Postgraduate Scholarship in 2019. The scholarship awards recipients with outstanding academic results in bachelor degree level between S$10,000 and S$20,000 throughout the duration of study.
The alumnus of Madrasah Al-Irsyad Al-Islamiah and Madrasah Wak Tanjong Al-Islamiah had previously graduated from University of Jordan with an imtiyaz (first class honours) in Bachelor of Arts Degree in Fundamental Principles of Religion (Usuluddin).
To date, only three have graduated with imtiyaz in the department of Fiqh and Usuluddin, him being the only Singaporean.
He has been pursuing a master’s degree in Quranic Exegesis and Its Sciences at the same institution since September 2018.
Pergas: Who is your role model?
Fadhil: I’d say I really look up to my professors, they’re the epitome of knowledge and humility. It’s as if you can see akhlaaq in a physical form. The kind of person I inspire to be, yet they’d always make prayers for me to be far better than them.
To top it all, they would always empower me, bring the best out of me and believe that I would reach the peak of excellence in due time.
I’d also like to make mention of my father, may Allah grant him longevity. A person so selfless, putting forward our needs over his. An altruistic nature is what I always see in him. Along with manifesting the Prophet’s ﷺ way in a household.
Pergas: Your viral blog post on memorising the Quran a few years back has inspired a lot of people to start memorising the Quran too. Is it somewhat a factor in wanting to write your own comprehensive commentary (tafsir) of the Quran? If not, who or what inspires you?
Fadhil: (Laughs) I wouldn’t say so. But it really warms my heart seeing how people are inspired to memorise the Qur’an through the blog post; leaving me texts saying how they’re inspired or telling me their progress and leaving me a prayer or two till this date.
I’d say the absence of a contemporary English commentary of the Qur’an is what inspires me. I’d like to introduce a new perspective and orientation. One that would be a bridge between people and the Qur’an. A catalyst that builds one’s relationship with the Qur’an through the tafsir, which is then (the Qur’an) reflected in their speech and actions.
Pergas: What has been the most academically challenging portion of your master’s degree journey?
Fadhil: How mentally draining the journey is, it breaks you down? How it challenges your intellect, how much I am expected to know, read and research. And it makes one feel unintelligent, like there’re a lot of things you do not know; you then start to doubt yourself and your worth.
Along with the fact that your batch mates have graduated, and you don’t really have anyone to relate this journey to. Which equates to not having anyone to talk to. That’s the hardest part, emotionally.
Pergas: How long have you been doing social work in Jordan? Can you share more about your volunteering work for the Syrian and Palestinian refugees?
Fadhil: Since 2016. Some volunteer works are with SIRAJ, and others with different organisations. Spending time with the Syrian and Palestinian refugees are always an eye-opening experience, I came to conclusion that it is not us that are lending them a hand, but the opposite is true.
They are the ones at the end, taught us life lessons, learning moments and core-values. And at the end of every meeting with them, they broaden my own limited worldview exponentially. Also, it gives me great pleasure that the happiness of our limited time spent were mutual.
Pergas: Who introduced you to the Kyai Ahmad Zuhri Scholarship?
Fadhil: Google! I googled for organisations that offer scholarships to postgraduate level.
Pergas: What does receiving this scholarship mean to you and your family?
Fadhil: Ahh, it means so much. More than words can express. It means how my hard work comes to fruition. How I finally can ease my family in financing my studies, and more to come, God willing.
Personally, it’s not just about receiving the money. It’s the start of something. I interpret it as I am seen as someone having potential for the future of our society, an asset, worthy of investing in. Or…maybe it’s just me interpreting too much (laughs).
Pergas: Do you continuously remind yourself of a specific thing to stay motivated?
Fadhil: (Laughs) This is embarrassing, probably the first time I’m expressing this out. I’d say, to be at the peak of excellence, peak of the mountain; keeps me going.
Pergas: How do you intend to contribute back to your family and society?
Fadhil: Of course, the normal answer would be volunteering time and knowledge. But personally, there’s this thought that has been on my mind for the longest of time. Prison volunteer; beyond teaching the fardhu ain. Also, to become a mentor to those who’d benefit from my expertise.
Pergas: Do you have anything to say to the donors/community/Pergas?
Fadhil: Definitely! I’ve been wanting to express my gratitude to Pergas and the scholarship donors.
I am appreciative to Pergas, the scholarship donors and everyone who’re involved in it, of the support to my education. And I still am happy reminiscing the thought that I have been selected as the recipient of the scholarship.
Of course, a simple thank you will never be enough. Which is why I’d occasionally whisper a prayer for the scholarship donors, Pergas and the people that are involved in making this scholarship happen. Thank you for your investment in students like myself, in making me getting closer to my career goals and aspirations.
I hope that one day I will also be able to help students to achieve their goals, like you’ve helped me. Continuing my studies would be hard without generous support from scholarship sponsors like you. I also hope that one day I’d be able to contribute back to the society locally and to the Muslims globally as a way of saying thank you.
Pergas: When is your expected date of commencement?
Fadhil: The initial plan was to finish by the end of 2020, presumably December.
But I can’t really say that with conviction now, with the pandemic that’s affecting globally. And Jordan’s no exception; universities are closed till Eid, along with the country’s border. The second semester’s most likely going to be extended when the outbreak dies down. So, I can’t say for sure. Ala kulli haal, it’ll be well, God willing.