In the heart of Alor Setar, Albukhary International University (AIU) stands as a testament to architectural brilliance, resonating with the inspired historical design reflecting the grandeur of classical Islamic architecture from the golden age of knowledge. Beyond its physical beauty, AIU is distinguished by the diversity of its multicultural students, representing over 60 nationalities.

AIU is more than an academic institution, guided by a steadfast commitment to its vision, mission, and core values. It is a beacon devoted to upholding human dignity through the transformative power of education, striving to educate minds and serve communities, fostering an international environment that transcends cultural boundaries.

As a private nonprofit education institution, AIU was founded with the aim to provide an opportunity for talented, driven, yet underprivileged individuals to pursue higher education, transforming them into holistic, adaptable, balanced, well-rounded, and life-ready graduates poised to be agents of change in societies.

Mission and Vision:

At the heart of AIU’s mission lies a commitment to providing opportunities for serving humanity through social business within a meticulously redesigned learning environment. This mission reflects the institution’s dedication to making a positive impact on society by intertwining education and social responsibility. Simultaneously, AIU’s vision revolves around playing an indispensable role in innovating solutions that contributing to global sustainability through creative and forward-thinking approaches to education and social business.

Inspiring Minds and Core Values:

“Inspiring Minds” is not just a tagline at AIU. It is a core ethos that breathes life into the institution’s commitment to ensuring human dignity. This concept underscores the belief that education, at its essence, should not only empower the intellect but uplift the spirit, fostering a holistic development of individuals. The university’s five core values – Akidah, Akhlaq, Adab, Amanah, and Amalan – are not mere platitudes but guiding principles that play a pivotal role in shaping the character of AIU’s diverse community.

  • Akidah: Grounded in faith, Akidah instills a robust foundation of beliefs, fostering a profound sense of purpose and connection to a higher calling. This spiritual anchor provides students with a compass, guiding them through the complexities of academic and personal life.
  • Akhlaq: Emphasising moral and ethical conduct, Akhlaq serves as a guiding beacon, urging students to cultivate good character, integrity, and compassion in both their personal and academic lives. It shapes not only their academic achievements but also their contributions to society.
  • Adab: Reflecting cultural etiquette and respect, Adab is more than a set of rules. It is a call to create a harmonious and respectful community. It encourages an appreciation for diversity among students from various backgrounds, fostering an environment of mutual understanding.
  • Amanah: Positioned as a cornerstone value, Amanah instils trustworthiness. It goes beyond academic integrity, extending to the broader responsibility of students to uphold trust, integrity, and accountability in all their endeavours, both within and outside the academic sphere.
  • Amalan: Emphasising the practical application of knowledge, Amalan serves as a bridge between theory and action. AIU encourages students not just to accumulate knowledge but to translate their theoretical learning into tangible actions, promoting a culture of innovation and proactive problem-solving.

Waqf Implementation:

 Integral to AIU’s commitment to social business is the implementation of Waqf, a philanthropic initiative rooted in Islamic tradition. This sustainable model channels resources to support community-oriented projects, creating a lasting impact beyond the campus.

8-hour rules:

AIU’s community adheres to the 8-hour rules – 8 hours for sleep, 8 hours for education, and 8 hours for helping others in need, fostering a balanced and socially responsible lifestyle.

Centre of Reference (AIU Library) – A Hub of Knowledge and Social Business:

Within the hallowed halls of AIU lies the AIU Library, also known as the Centre of Reference (COR). This architectural marvel is more than a repository of books. It is a manifestation of the institution’s values and principles. Housing an impressive collection of 50,000 printed and non-printed materials, the library stands as a testament to AIU’s commitment in meeting the diverse learning, teaching, and research needs of the university.

COR is taking an extraordinary initiative to be a hub for social business. On March 26, 2023, Professor Muhammad Yunus, a Nobel Laureate, launched the AIU Social Business Gallery and Professor Muhammad Yunus Corner. This gallery aims to collect and store the Social Business collection at COR. The collection comprising podcasts, posters, articles, audio, and video materials, is a testament to AIU’s commitment to its social business niche. Currently, the collection boasts 869 items and is continuously expanding. This initiative aims to be a focal point for the social business arena, aligning with the university’s broader mission of serving humanity.

Replica Dome of the Rock at Centre of Reference, Albukhary International University. At the bottom right corner of the picture is the original of Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem

The library’s four-storey building is constructed in the Safavid architectural design. The most interesting and attractive feature of the library is a replica of the Dome of the Rock which is also known as Masjid Qubbat As-Sakhrah. The Dome of the Rock, or Qubbat As-Sakhrah, is the crowning glory of the Haram Als-Sharif in Jerusalem and is the oldest Islamic monument that stands today. Painted by a team of Palestinian painters with the assistance of the University of Technology MARA’s Fine Arts students, this dome symbolizes our appreciation for culture and international collaboration. With AIU’s replica being recognised as being 99% identical to the original Dome of the Rock, it stands as a striking testament to the unity in diversity embodied by AIU.

Centre of Reference, Albukhary International University, inspired by Dome of the Rock. Pictured in the top left corner is the original of Dome of the Rock at Jerusalem

Another attractive feature is the library entrance, which is inspired by the Mir-i-Arab Medressa in Bukhara, Uzbekistan. Features such as the two domes on each side of the entrance, similar to the two blue domes of the Medressa, were included. They are beautifully tiled and stand out against the mostly brown architecture around it.

In essence, Albukhary International University’s values, missions, unique architectural features, and commitment to social business epitomise a holistic approach to education. As it continues to inspire minds and nurture souls, AIU stands as an academic institution and a beacon of academic excellence and social responsibility, contributing to a sustainable and interconnected global community.

Contributed by Syuhada Ali, Chief Librarian, Centre of Reference, Albukhary International University