Our Core Values
Effat University believes that the future of the nation lies in the divine act of reading as expressed in the Holy Quran. The verb IQRA, “read,” transformed a nation which favored the oral transmission of culture and the lyrical expression of ideas into a nation that produced a formidable number of written manuscripts. Effat University maintains that its future prospects reside in reviving this important part of the divine inspiration, reading, and in increasing comprehensive human knowledge in order to provide the nation with an infusion of new blood and guide it towards enlightenment.
Effat University will strive to impart international humanistic Islamic values to its students and prepare them to be effective members of their respective institutions and useful contributors to their societies without being either narrow-minded or possessed with a liberalism that leads to dissolution. God has brought to the world a well-balanced nation, and by heeding divine instruction, Effat University will able to bestow on its society generations of innovative leaders: “Act! Allah will behold your actions, and (so will) His messenger and the believers, and ye will be brought back to the Knower of the Invisible and the Visible, and He will tell you what ye used to do”. (Sorat Al- Tawba: Verse 105).
Core Values of Effat University
Ethical values are properties that define human beings; for they are a sign of a highly cultivated mind and a devotion to the world of moral ideals. It is possible to distinguish between the values of the individual, the values of society, and the values of the institution. By the latter we mean the bond that brings together members of the institution, creating one cohesive body, and the traits which characterize the members of that institution.
Effat University is especially concerned with developing individuals who possess solid values at a time when increasing focus on technological development has taken us away from a focus on spiritual and moral issues, which seem to erode further with each new development. The University’s core values stem from the first word of the Quran that Gabriel taught to Prophet Mohammed (PBUH): “IQRA” or “read.” It is as though Allah Almighty wanted to say that reading and knowledge are the roots of each action even if this action is a call to embrace the new and final religion, Islam. Thus the divine text did not begin with words such as “pray,” “worship,” or “invocate” because these great actions may not be adequately accomplished without being supported by the acquisition of knowledge, which will transport them from a world of ignorance into a world of enlightenment.
Effat University considers reading as a mixture of inherent and acquired knowledge; therefore, reading is a synthesis of (i) divine inspiration and (ii) careful observation of the universe, the first being the essence of values while the second is the source of innovation, development, and the creation of life.
In Arabic, since the word “reading” can also mean “recitation,” it implies a gathering together of people. Accordingly, the verb qara’a, “to read,” means “to gather”; it also means “good hospitality.” It is on this semantic basis that Effat University has established its IQRA core values, and it is within the IQRA framework that the University has developed its ambitious and lofty mission. Recitation engenders fullness of thought, and gathering together is a means towards the assiduous quest for the various domains of knowledge; the product is a leadership that is accomplished through creativity and innovation.
Hospitality indicates superior communication and interpersonal skills which involve reaching out to people and opening for them the doors of opportunity so that they can avail themselves of what we have to offer and so that we too may benefit from their contributions. Effat University does not see its ideas and programs as anything other than a banquet available to all: “To the winter home called the bolted one and saw not the host in bereavement.”
في المشتاة تدعو الجفلى لا ترى الآدب منها ينتقر
Hence, Effat University’s core values are based on the divine commandment IQRA, “read.” These values include the following:
I Ibhath undertake life-long research [cf. albahth: “life-long research”]
Q Qiyam ethical social and educational values
R Riyada responsible and creative leadership
A At-tawasul effective communication and reaching out to others
Ibhath: Lifelong Research
The divinely inspired act of reading is eternal, for IQRA, “read,” is one of the words of Allah, which exists outside the human concept of time. Reading is a continuous act, and the search for what is new and useful is also an ongoing process, which neither bores nor exhausts those who are engaged in it. To this end, Effat University adopts the following:
Learning strategies that promote critical and creative thinking
Our ambition is to become a bridge that leads to future learning based on questioning infertile thoughts and programs and marked by a creativity that engenders new and fruitful ideas.
- Focus on the student, the center of the educational process
Our teaching philosophy is centered on the student, whom we view as a responsible individual capable of successfully completing the curriculum content. We want to produce for our nation students who seize the initiative to seek information, using their own skills, which their professors help to polish in an environment imbued with the values of modesty and appreciation — appreciation for the professor whose role remains important but not at the center of the learning experience.
- Use of the latest digital and technological information
Effat University is bent on being an active participant in the digital information age. It is concerned with reaching out and communicating with others, nationally and internationally, and it is determined to do so by adopting the various means of modern communication.
- Operating within a framework which caters to the service of the community
Effat University dedicates itself to the service of society and it is prepared to collaborate with government organizations and the private sector in order to bring about an effective and successful operational framework. The University is closely connected with the community through its programs, which foster continual development. A society which is served by an institution of higher education is one that will in turn serve the institution. Therefore, Effat’s cooperation and willingness to serve society strengthen its ties with the community and help to meet the need for highly skilled individuals, who will ultimately serve their respective institutions.
- Intellectual diversity, cultural wealth, a variety of programs, and interdisciplinary studies.
Effat University stresses the importance of an education in which the various programs of study are interrelated and complementary. The university believes in the integration of knowledge from both the humanities and the sciences, being convinced that the different scientific majors are targets to be attained through educational training that collectively contributes to graduate well-rounded students. For example, computer science students need language skills, which enable them to communicate successfully; interpersonal skills, which teach them the art of establishing and maintaining relationships; and Islamic Studies, which consolidate their ethical and religious values. In the Holy Quran, the verb IQRA, “read,” is used in general rather than specific terms due to the absence of a following object that would otherwise restrict the interpretation of the verb; thus, Effat University can benefit from the Quranic emphasis on comprehensive reading to reinforce the concept of a holistic education based on varied knowledge across different disciplines.
Academic and professional reputation at the national and international level
Effat University considers that its aim to succeed internationally is an integral part of its ambition to succeed at the national level, bearing in mind that those who achieve international recognition are likely to have distinguished themselves at home. In this way, Effat’s core values, which are colored by local education and culture, become interwoven with the values of the outside world, a situation that leads to friendly dialogue, life-affirming competition, and a favorable presentation of our religious faith at international forums and conferences.
Qiam: Ethical Social and Educational values
Effat University maintains its own unique perspective on educational and social values which revolve around the following elements:
- Innovation which upholds tradition.
- Freedom which respects duty.
- Creativity which adheres to cultural heritage.
- Cooperation which coexists with self-esteem.
- Communication which demonstrates respect for others.
We have always been careful to impart these values to our students, having established them at Dar Al Hanan, developed them further at Effat College, and carried them to fruition at Effat University. Our young people do belong to their society and are proud of their identity and culture; however, these qualities do not prevent them from making use of what other societies and cultures may have to offer. In doing so, they are guided by the saying of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH): “Wisdom is the long desired objective of the believer; wherever he finds it, he is more entitled to it.” As a part of the contemporary world, we strive to benefit from what others have to offer, following the Quranic call to communicate with and reach out to others in a gesture of friendship. At the same time, we try our best to be pro-active rather than just re-active, and to give generously of ourselves. Our Islamic religion has taught us to achieve our desired goals with a strong will and determination. Although God has ordained our destiny, we as human beings can avert this destiny by virtue of perseverance, thus allowing ourselves to pursue another path favored by God. In both cases, we feel the hand of God creating for us a plan that goes harmoniously with our good intentions and ideal aspirations. Fair judgment, unbiased opinion, and professionalism towards work are among our fundamental and most cherished values. Justice, as we see it, is the foundation upon which civilization is built; it entails seeking a balance between bestowing rights and preserving them, between revering duties and fulfilling them. Effat University prides itself on having derived from the light of justice the values of mutual respect shared by its administrators, faculty members, students, and staff as they perform their respective tasks. It is on this basis that the laws of our institution have been structured; and it is within this framework that specific policies and procedures undergo revision and amendment so that we attain what is best for us — while we acknowledge the hardships of reality and differences of opinion (for God alone possesses the beauty of perfection).
Riyada: Responsible and Creative Leadership
Effat University is a natural extension of worthwhile efforts that have led towards human development through innovative ways of dealing with work. However, this innovative approach to work is marked by adherence to traditional values and appreciation of the society’s intellectual outlook. Effat University does not want to walk alone in a direction that is not aligned with its society, and it tries its best to take progressive steps with wisdom and perspicacity. Indeed, it walks side-by-side with social norms even when progression should occur at a slower and quieter pace. The society which has nurtured Effat has a claim on the University’s efforts to ensure that development exists in harmony with its religious and traditional values. The philosophy of responsible leadership manifests itself in the following:
The capacity for diligent work and the will to excel and walk alongside the innovations of the contemporary world opening the doors to possibility and success;
A continuously renewed spirit of optimism, which acts as the driving force behind shouldering responsibilities and affecting life-affirming change both nationally and internationally;
Spontaneous volunteerism and selfless efforts to serve the community;
Full support for the values of respect, forgiveness, friendship, self-confidence, and caring for others.
Al-Tawasul: Effective Communication and Outreach
At Effat University the idea of partnerships, agreements and cooperation stems from the belief that isolationism is not an effective way of dealing with the challenges of the twenty-first century; rather it is a serious barrier to scientific development. Therefore, we have embarked on developing our international, regional, and local cooperation in a substantial way over the last ten years and since the inauguration of Effat in 1999. Cooperation has been accomplished through the signing of agreements with well-recognized local and international universities and other institutions of higher learning. Being a national educational institution that endeavors to achieve excellence, Effat University is convinced that this cooperation is a source of inestimable value. This approach has actually helped the University face the many challenges it has encountered in its efforts to build its capacity, evaluate and develop programs which serve society’s needs and developmental plans, and prepare students who embody the profound vision and educational legacy of HRH Princess Effat Al-Thunayyan Al-Saud in their mission as ambassadors to the outside world.
Effat University endorses the belief that interaction and outreach (at-tawasul) are closely tied to ethical values, whereas it views communication (ittisal) as dependent on the degree of technological development. Communication may exist in the absence of interaction and outreach or vice versa. For although civilizations have gone a long way to develop communication technology to the extent that we have grown closer to the farthest points in the world, the world is still rife with miscommunication, pre-conceived judgment, and ignorance about other people and their cultures. Therefore, communication is not enough; it must encompass the values of interaction and outreach, which are based on effective collaboration, dialogue, and respect for those who hold different opinions. This is exactly what Effat University strives for: a communication that rests on effective interaction and outreach, one which makes use of the most modern means of communication.
Main Author of Effat Core Values:
§ Dr. Haifa Reda Jamal Al Lail
Co-Authors & Editors:
§ Dr. Mustapha Tajdin
§ Dr. Ghazi BinZagr
§ Dr. Sanna Dhahir
§ Dr. Susan Blake
§ Mrs. Souha Kabbara