Islamization of Knowledge

General Outlines of the IIIT’s Plan for Reforming the University Education Curriculum

The International Institute of Islamic Thought, in its reformational vision for the university education curriculum, aims at laying down a foundation for intellectual, cultural and civilizational dimension within the framework of Islamic reform efforts. The goal of this foundation is to build the personality of the university student, to deepen his universal Islamic vision, and to make him aware of the situation of his Ummah and what it needs to achieve the desired cultural revival in order to able to have the necessary competence and efficiency to give, achieve and be creative in his area of specialization. At the same time, it will make him have sense of belonging in his society and Ummah by investing his energy and using his achievements in its service and upliftment, and in development of its future.

In the light of this goal, the institute finds it necessary to make a plan for this Islamic intellectual, cultural and civilizational dimension in the university education programs in a clear and well-defined form. This plan includes a structure for the programs and curriculum contents. It also includes authorized teaching and assessment methodologies in all university education programs – whether as stipulated in the university requirements or in individual specializations’ requirements.

For this purpose, the institute is suggesting approval of the system of major and minor specializations; and the system of combined specialization in bachelor’s degree programs. The minor specialization in Islamic Studies should be a common requirement for all the university students so that this program may play a direct role in meeting the demands of building a distinctive Muslim personality, characterized by the qualities mentioned above. This kind of university education program can also help the graduates to work in more than one field of specialization for the purpose of having better job opportunities that may be available to them in line with their choices and concerns. However, this should not be at the expense of their mastery of their field of study and their ability to give and productivity in the same.

All the suggested programs should include a program for minor specialization in Islamic studies. The goal of this program is to enable the university student have an Islamic culture that strengthens his identity with and sense of belonging to Islamic civilization and helps him demonstrate this sense of belonging in his contemporary situation. Equally, all these programs should commonly have a number of courses that aim at developing the personality of the university student in the area of methodical thinking, family culture and social service.


The following is the suggested structure for the components of this program:

One: A Specialized Bachelor’s program in Islamic Studies:

- 60 credit hours of major specialization. The curriculum of the major course should consist of two groups:

A. Group one: Curriculum for minor specialization in Islamic studies that is regarded compulsory for all students in all social and religious sciences for which 30 credit hours of the curriculum should be allotted. The course should cover foundations of Islamic knowledge and culture, fundamentals and goals of the religion, principles of Islamic belief, Fiqh of acts of worship and Islamic rulings, in a manner that can help in shaping the student’s universal vision and molding his value, moral and goals. 

B. Group two: Curriculum on Islamic Ummah’s civilizational and social history, and evolution and growth of Islamic sciences. This should also consist of 30 credit hours of studies that cover all that a Muslim should know regarding intellectual, political and social history of his Ummah and natures of civilizational revival of nations.

- 30 credit hours of a minor specialization in one of social sciences (such as sociology, political science, mass communications, etc.) or religious sciences (such as Fiqh and its principles, fundamentals of religion, Islamic creed, Islamic propagation, etc.)

- 30 credit hours of general studies that should consist of two groups:

A. It should support personality building and all that it entails of family culture, manners of thinking and problem solving.

B. It should support the student’s major specialization; this Islamic studies program should help in deepening the student’s understanding of Islam and his application of his religion and calling unto it.

Two: Major Specialization Bachelor’s program in Religious Sciences:

- 60 credit hours of major specialization in religious sciences (such as Fiqh and its principles, fundamentals of religion, Islamic creed, Islamic propagation, etc.)

- 30 credit hours of a minor specialization in areas of Islamic studies mentioned above; it should be regarded a compulsory course that students of all specialties must take part in.

- 30 credit hours of supporting courses with its two parts – personality support and major specialization support.

Three: Major Specialization Bachelor’s program in Social Sciences:

- 60 credit hours of major specialization in one of the social sciences or humanities (such as sociology, economics, management, etc.)

- 30 credit hours of a minor specialization in Islamic studies.

- 30 credit hours of the supporting courses, with its two parts.

Four: Combined Specialization in Islamic studies and religious sciences:

- 120 credit hours is the total curriculum for Bachelor’s degree program in Islamic studies.

- 30 credit hours for minor specialization in religious sciences (such as Fiqh and its principles, fundamentals of religion, Islamic creed, Islamic propagation, etc.)

First Specialization: This is in Islamic studies. It consists of 30 credit hours for Islamic studies (minor specialization in Islamic studies) + 30 credit hours for Islamic civilizational studies.
Second Specialization: This is in Islamic sciences. It consists of 30 credit hours of Islamic studies (minor specialization in Islamic studies) mentioned above + 30 credit hours of minor specialization in religious sciences (such as Fiqh and its principles, fundamentals of religion, Islamic creed, Islamic propagation, etc.)

Five: A Combined Social sciences and religious sciences specialization:

- 120 credit hours of major specialization in social sciences.

- 30 credit hours of a minor specialization in one of the religious sciences (such as Fiqh and its principles, fundamentals of religion, Islamic creed, Islamic propagation, etc.)

First Specialization: This is in social sciences. It consists of 60 credit hours in one of the fields of social sciences + 30 credit hours of Islamic studies + 30 credit hours of supporting courses.

Second Specialization: This is in Islamic studies. It consists of 30 credit hours of minor specialization in Islamic studies + 30 credit hours in one of religious studies specializations ((such as Fiqh and its principles, fundamentals of religion, Islamic creed, Islamic propagation, etc.)

Six: Combined Specialization in Islamic Education:

- 120 credit hours of a major specialization in Islamic studies.

- 30 credit hours of a minor specialization in education.

Observations:

  1. This is just a structure of the programs. It does not include technical details for university and faculty requirements and numbers of credit hours of major and minor specializations stipulated by university regulations applicable in higher education policy of each country. Therefore, details of this plan should be flexible enough to accommodate different accreditation requirements of individual countries.
  2. System of combined specialization affords the university student an opportunity to gain two bachelor’s degrees. After completing the study of his major and minor specializations and obtaining bachelor’s degree in his major specialization, he can study for 30 credit hours in the minor specialization (fifth academic year), thereby obtaining 60 credit hours of another specialization. When the university requirement of 30 credit hours for Islamic studies and the supporting courses’ requirement of 30 credit hours are added to that, the student will have 120 credits, making him eligible for a bachelor’s degree in another specialization.
  3. In order to cover the main contents of some courses, two credit hours, instead of three, are allocated for the purpose, especially in the second part of Islamic studies program.
  4. Some of the examples of supporting courses that are related to the student’s personality are: family education, creative thinking and problem solving. Examples of supporting courses for religious studies specializations are: history of religions, comparative religion, speculative theology, Muslim philosophers, Sufism, etc. The goal here is to widen the student’s horizon and help him grasp psychological, social and dispositional aspects relating to his study through a realistic and scientific perspective. It is equally important that the supporting courses should include three comprehensive introductions to three psychological and social areas of study: introduction to psychology, introduction to sociology, introduction to mass communication sciences and introduction to political sciences.
  5. Examples of specialized courses for Islamic civilizational history are: political history of Islamic society, civilizational history of Islamic society, evolution and growth of Islamic sciences, evolution of universal sciences in Islamic society, evolution of human and social sciences in Islamic society, characteristics of the rise and fall of civilizations, etc.

Flexible Plan:

Finally, it is very pertinent to mention here that this plan is extensively flexible to ensure that the requirements of different universities and various fields of study are met. By proposing 60 credit hours as the least for any major specialization, 30 to 40 credit hours will be available to support the academic program.  Therefore, it will possible to add 20 from the supporting credit hours to any major specialization to increase its credit hours to between 60 and 80, which is the highest number of credit hours for any specialization. And whatever is left (between 10 and 30 credit hours) should be set aside for university and other support requirements.

This is conceivable, especially in areas of study such as mathematics, physics, biology and chemistry, in which the major specialization normally requires 80 credit hours. The plan of these combined major and minor specializations can also be pictured as follows:


One: System of Major and Minor Specialization:

The primary academic program consists of 132 credit hours, 60% of which is allotted to the major specialization and 40% to the minor one and other university requirements as explained below:

  1. 81 credit hours required for the major specialization, 30 credit hours required for the minor course, and 21 credit hours for university requirements.
  2. The requirements for the major specialization comprises of two parts: 60 credit hours of core courses and 21 credit hours of supporting courses for this specialization. The curriculum for the second part should include philosophical and historical introduction to each of the recommended courses.
  3. The minor specialization curricula are the same mandatory minor specialization courses in Islamic studies as mentioned in the Dr. Abdul-Hamid’s plan to achieve the declared goals. These courses consist of basics of Islamic sciences and culture, Islamic history, Islamic civilization, divine ways of maintaining the universe and rise and fall of civilizations.
  4. The university requirements include courses aimed at supporting the university student’s personality such family education, thinking methodology, problem solving, information studies and whatever other courses the concerned country’s system may require.


Observations:

1. Requirements of the major courses, including its two parts are the maximum that educational policies of some countries may require. That is why it is possible to remove some of these courses or add their positions to other requirements.

2. A program in Islamic studies is a basic minor specialization for all university students in this alternative plan in order to achieve the goals the first plan aims to achieve.

3. The total credit hours for the program can be easily covered in four years: The student registers for an aggregate of 15 credit hours in each of the two semesters, and registers for 6 credit hours in summer session. With this, the total number of the credit hours he will study in the two semesters of each of the four years will be 120 credit hours; and the total credit hours that he will study in the two summer sessions will be 12 credit hours.

4 x 2 x 15 = 120 credit hours
2 x 6 = 12 credit hours
Total = 132 credit hours

4.  Supporting courses in the major specialization: They consist of 21 credit hours approved in some university systems on the basis that they are a compulsory and essential minor specialization alongside the major specialization such as physics and mathematics, chemistry and physics, biology and chemistry, economics and mathematics, management and economics, political science and economics, Islamic belief and philosophy, Islamic propagation and media studies, economics and banking, management and information systems, education and psychology, etc. In this format, it will be possible to achieve what a combined specialization aims at achieving such as better job opportunities without drifting away from the core specialization.


The Required Task for Implementation of this Plan (First Stage)

  1. Perusing the structure of this plan and the university education programs it consists of and expressing observations or suggestions that can strengthen the idea of intellectual complementation between contents of Islamic studies and those of other sciences.
  2. Laying down sufficient specifications to ensure that the Islamic contents of the program are shaped in an applicable, lively and effective manner so that it will not stop at mere narration of details of traditional Islamic studies and sciences.
  3. Suggesting titles for the courses and defining credit hours to be earmarked for the requirements of each of the compulsory courses in the university education program. These are courses of minor specialization in Islamic studies (30 credit hours) and the courses required by the university that are connected to personality building.
  4. Suggesting course titles for other components of the major specialization in Islamic studies. These are 30 credit-hours courses relating to historical and civilizational aspects of this specialization.
  5. Preparing a brief description (of between 50 and 100 words) for each of the courses mentioned above. The description should include a paragraph about the goal of the mentioned course and another paragraph should be about its contents.
  6. Preparing a detailed plan of about 1500 words for each of the courses mentioned above.


Matters that should discussed in detail should include the following:

  • Goals of the course in form of what the student is expected to achieve by studying the course.
  • Topics of the course, its distribution on weeks of the academic semester, and defining its compulsory and additional readings and references.
  • Training activities that explain the respective roles of both the student and the teacher.
  • Procedures for assessing the student’s performance, defining kinds of tests and assignments as well as their timings and volumes.

In the light of efforts and plans implemented at the International Islamic University of Malaysia and through research teams, the institute continues to work for the development of these programs and to carry out processes of reassessment with the aim of attaining the desired goals of this program in the best way possible, God willing.

Therefore, this plan can be modified and treated with sufficient flexibility so as to meet the needs of different academic programs to ensure production of graduates and university cadres that will be versatile scientifically, sentimentally and civilization-wise –qualities that are pivotal for the promotion of the kind of life, intellectual, creedal and sentimental performance required for the children of this Ummah and its scholarly and leadership cadres.

It is in this way that the Ummah can achieve the civilizational, constructive and reforming goal of the message of Islam; by the grace of Allah.

 

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