Do you have an interest in pursuing your tertiary studies in an area relating to Islam or cultures associated with the religion?
This serves as a useful area of study in our increasingly multicultural and globalised society, as aptly noted in a report by The Guardian 10 years ago that still rings true today: “Without a doubt given the political turmoil worldwide and the ever-present fears of extremism and terrorism, promoting intelligent debate and understanding of Islam and the role of Muslims in the contemporary world is increasingly vital.
“It’s a crucial 21st century issue and there is a growing recognition that Islamic Studies has become a subject of strategic importance in a multicultural society. The students of today, if properly taught, will become the teachers of the future with a vision for multiculturalism and peaceful co-existence.”
Islam is one of the worlds largest religions with some 1.8 billion followers. There are many undergraduate and graduate programmes relating to the subject available in universities across the globe, depending on your area of interest.
Here are four Islamic-related courses that may appeal to Muslim students who are keen on studying abroad:
Typically, students pursuing an undergraduate degree in Islamic Studies will study a range of modules in their three-year programme. These may include aspects of Islamic law, history, political science, theology, literature and sociology, among others.
For example, the University of Leeds in the UK notes this about their BA Islamic Studies: “You’ll cover modules which deal with Muslim theology, Shari’a law, Islamism, Qur’anic Studies and contemporary intellectual trends.”
Some universities that offer Islamic Studies courses:
- University of Birmingham in England (MA Islamic Studies)
- University of Malaya in Malaysia (Bachelor in Islamic Education (Islamic Studies); MA Islamic Studies)
- University of Edinburgh in Scotland (MA Islamic Studies)
- McGill University in Canada (MA in Islamic Studies, PhD in Islamic Studies)
Interested in the legal aspects of Islam? Shariah (or sharia) law is an Islamic law derived from the teachings of the Quran as well as fatwas.
BBC notes: “Shariah law acts as a code for living that all Muslims should adhere to, including prayers, fasting and donations to the poor. It aims to help Muslims understand how they should lead every aspect of their lives according to God’s wishes.”
An undergraduate degree in shariah law will provide students with the skills and knowledge in Islamic judiciary and advocacy.
Some universities that offer Islamic law courses:
- International Islamic University Malaysia in Malaysia (BA Law Shariah (Hons.) LL.B(S))
- University of London in England (MA in Islamic Law)
- University of Malaya in Malaysia (Bachelor of Shariah and Law)
- Al-Azhar University in Egypt (BA Shariah Law)
If you’re keen to go into the financial sector, Islamic finance can be a good area to go into. Financial Times notes: “Islamic finance is a method of banking that abides by shariah law, which forbids charging interest and gambling.”
According to reports, Islamic finance is gaining momentum around the world, which calls for more expertise in the area.
Some universities that offer Islamic Finance-related courses:
- International University of Malaya-Wales in Malaysia (Bachelor of Business Administration (Hons) in Islamic Finance)
- Durham University in England (MSc in Islamic Finance)
- Bangor University in Wales (MSc Islamic Banking and Finance)
- The Global University of Islamic Finance in Malaysia (Masters in Islamic Finance Practice)
Language and literature
Arabic is the fifth most widely spoken language in the world. Mastering the language can give students access to the rich intellectual heritage of Islam, notes the University of Edinburgh.
Right-brained individuals who are keen on developing an understanding of the Arabic language, literature and culture may want to pursue an undergraduate or graduate degree in the area.
Typically, the course will help you become proficient in the language, in addition to being exposed to Arab culture, literature and social trends, depending on your course. Some programmes may also have study abroad options for students to facilitate learning.
Some universities that offer Arabic and Islamic literature-related courses:
- United Arab Emirates University in UAE (BA in Arabic Language and Literature)
- American University in Cairo in Egypt (BA Arabic Studies, MA Arabic Studies)
- American University in the US (BA Arabic Studies)
- University of Oxford in England (BA in Oriental Studies (Arabic))
- University of London in England (BA Arabic and Islamic Studies)
- International Islamic University Malaysia in Malaysia (PhD in Arabic Literary Studies)