The King Abdullah I Bin Al-Hussein International Award

In 1985, the Aal al-Bayt Institute had established an award named “The King Abdullah I Bin Al-Hussein Award For Islamic Civilization Research”, which would be awarded to the best research on the subject that the Institute’s former council selected for each of the award’s sessions and its financial value is three thousand Jordanian Dinars.

For the first session of the award, it had selected, a subject entitled “The Emirate of Transjordan: Its Establishment and Development during a Quarter of a Century (1921-1946)”. The award was won by the Jordanian historian Suleiman Musa for his book: “The Emirate of Transjordan: its Establishment and Development during a Quarter of a Century, (1921-1946)” which was published in 1990.

Thereafter, the Institute, decided to expand the scope of the award and, to diversify its subject-matters in such a manner as to become a world award with multifarious subjects, for which one or more subjects would be selected at each session. Thus, in 1993, the Institute partnered with the Centre for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at the University of Durham in the United Kingdom, in establishing a world award carrying the name “The King Abdullah I Bin Al-Hussein International Award”, the objective of which was to encourage excellence and distinction among the citizens of the Arab states in three fields:

Technology and applied sciences. - Humanities and social sciences. - Arts.

The joint committee for the award, which comprises representatives of the Aal al-Bayt Institute and the University, decided that the award in each field shall be a certificate in the name of the winner, as well as a financial award amounting to twenty thousand U.S. dollars (USD $20,000).

A joint committee of international arbiters from Jordan and the United Kingdom was formed and it studied the applications recommended by the local committee of arbiters for subsequent submission to the international committee of arbiters.

• The Award for the Year 1995:

The award for the year 1995 was in technology and applied sciences.

It was divided equally between:

1. The Royal Scientific Society (Amman-Jordan) and, Engineer Mazen Yunis Muhammad Yunis, from the engineering staff of the Royal Scientific Society, for their joint project entitled “Microprocessor Technology Control for Generated Electrical Energy”.

2. Dr. Ibrahim Muhammad Ali Al-Dwairi, Chairman of the Department of Geology and Environment, Faculty of Sciences - Yarmuk University (Jordan), for his research on “Industrial Application of Natural Zeolite in Agriculture”.

• The Award for the Year 1997:

The award for the year 1997 was in the field of the humanities and social sciences, for the best contribution on the subject: “Diversity and Pluralism within a Framework of Unity in Arab Culture and Islamic Civilization”, the award was won equally between:

1. Dr Abdul-Fattah Mustafa Ghanima, Chairman of the Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Arts-the University of Munufiyah in Egypt, for his book: “The Fields of Arab Islamic Civilization and their Impact on the European Thought”, in two volumes.

2. Dr Muhammad Amara Mustafa Amara, a researcher in Egypt, for his research paper “Islam and Pluralism: Diversity in the Framework of Unity”.

• The Award for the year 1999:

The award for the year 1999 was in the field of fine arts, for the best study on the subject of “Art in the Umayyad Age”.

The international committee of arbiters recommended the withholding of the King Abdullah I Bin Al-Hussein International Award for the year 1999, in the field of arts, because none of the research papers presented to the committee reached the academic standard requisite for awarding such a prize.

• The Award for the Year 2001:

The field of technology and applied sciences was chosen again for the prize for the year 2001. The award was granted to both:

1. Dr. Muhammad Nabil Abd Al-Majid Mahmud Umar, from Egypt, Director of Research at the Agricultural Research Centre, affiliated with the Institute for Land, Water and Environment Research - for his invention named “Vital Fertilization of Seeds Crops (syrialine)”, which is a bacterial pollen related to seeds crops, with the aim of increasing the yield of some crops between 15 and 21%, while decreasing the amounts of mineral azotic fertilizers 10% to 25% of the allocated fertilizers for each feddan.

2. Chemical Plast Co., Engineer Atif Al-Sawy al-Sayyed Sahiti and partners collectively, from Egypt, for their invention named “Manufactured light bricks of polystyrene foam attached to a layer of light polymer concrete, so that it constitutes the engineering alternative to bricks (hollow cement blocks) used in ceilings, and with a very light weight – less than 4% to 7% of the “hawradi” bricks.

On 23rd August, 2001 a ceremony was held to present the award to the winners at the Islamic Cultural Centre in the Mosque of King Abdullah I Bin Al-Hussein in Amman, under the patronage of H.R.H. Crown Prince Hamzah Bin Al-Hussein the Higher Chairman of the Aal al-Bayt Institute For Islamic Thought. Deputizing for His Highness in presenting the award was His Royal Highness Prince Ghazi Bin Muhammad, previously Adviser to His Majesty the King for Tribal Affairs and the Chairman of the Institute’s board of trustees.

Continuity and Review:

Within the framework of the re-evaluation process of all its projects and programmes, the Aal al-Bayt Institute has reconsidered promoting the Award in terms of its universality, its subjects, its duration, its financial value and its work mechanism. The committee, which was formed by the Director of the Institute for this purpose, has recommended the following:

1. The universality of the Award: this could be achieved through the following:

A. To allow everybody to apply to the award, without being limited to certain nationalities or race, thus, Arabs and non-Arabs will be able to apply thereto.
B. The language of the research papers submitted to the award in each session should not be confined to Arabic language alone but they may be submitted in either Arabic or English.
C. To advertise the Award in both Arabic and English in selected centres through selected multifarious mass media. Such an advertisement may involve non-speaking media all over the world.
D. To resort to appoint non-Arab members of the committee of arbiters for each session of the Award, in the case such a procedure is necessary.

2. The subject of the Award:

The committee recommends that the field of the Award be the humane sciences, in such a manner to be oriented to serve Islamic thought in virtue of the objectives which are mentioned in the Law of the Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought. The award’s council, which will be formulated in accordance with the award’s regulations, shall determine the subject of each session of the award along with its sub-themes.

3. The duration of the Award and its financial value:

The committee recommends that the duration of each session of the Award should be three years with the purpose of allowing the applicants to have enough time to prepare distinguished papers on the subject of the award. It also recommends increasing the financial value of the award to $30,000.

4. The work mechanism of the Award:

The committee recommends prescribing regulations for the work mechanism of the Award consisting of, among other things, an article that consists of assigning a council of the Award to be entitled to undertake the planning and supervision of the award’s affairs.

The director of the Institute has presented to University of Durham the new conception of the Award and the regulation of developing it. He also presented the principle of the actual participation and taking half of its responsibility which was approved on all of its details. Thus, an agreement was signed between the Institute and the University on 1 December, 2003 which included all the points mentioned in the above recommendations. The subject of the Award will be declared in its sixth session at the beginning of the year 2005.

A Special Session of the Award

Since the last prize was awarded outside the traditional framework of the General Conference of the Institute with the aim of preserving and reminding of the Award after having suspended it for a time, it was decided to convene a special session of the Award on the occasion of the General Conference. Also, to have a different way of announcing the research papers, which take time to be prepared, by awarding it to private non-governmental organizations. It was entitled “The Service of the Arab Islamic Heritage in Terms of Authorship, Revision and Publishing”.

The title of the Award and its general conditions was advertised in the Jordanian journalism and in the Saudi Journal “al-Faisal”, vol. no. 309, and circularized by fax to the applied institutions.

Subsequently, the Institute received five documented nominations from five countries. A committee of arbiters was formed from the following members of the Institute: Prof. Dr Abd al-Karim Gharaybeh, Prof. Dr Abd al-Aziz al-Duri and Prof. Dr. Mohammad Adnan al-Bakhit.

After thorough consideration and discussion, the committee decided to divide the award between:

1. Al-Furqan Islamic Heritage Foundation, Wimbledon – United Kingdom.
2. King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, Riyadh – Saudi Arabia.

The committee decided also to grant Juma al-Majid Centre for Culture and Heritage/ Dubai – United Arab Emirates, a certificate of appreciation and distinction.

The certificate and the two prizes were submitted during the inauguration ceremony of the twelfth General Conference of the Institute on August 2002.