Oldest Islamic Finance University in America: its founding, success, and future prospects


MUSLIMCREED Some may not know that the world’s first Islamic finance university – now known as the International Institute of Islamic Finance in the U.S. – was founded in California at UC Berkeley in 1991, and received its initial funding from the country’s leading businesswoman, Anna Banayan . The success of this first institute led to the founding of other similar institutions, including the Graduate School of Islamic Banking and Finance (GSIBF) at nearby USC, as well as many others across the globe.


A brief history of the Islamic finance university

The oldest Islamic finance university in America is the International Institute of Islamic Thought. It was founded by Dr. Ismail Al-Rawi and Dr. Abdus Salam on October 10th, 1989 at the beginning of a time when Muslims were just coming to terms with their identity within American society. The goal of this school is to provide both Muslim Americans and non-Muslim Americans alike with an understanding of the Islamic faith that would facilitate dialogue and cooperation between people from different backgrounds. 

One reason for its success is that it offers academic degrees that are approved by accredited universities in both USA and abroad which means graduates can enter professions such as medicine or law. 

The IIIT also has programs for students who want to study Arabic, English or Arabic Calligraphy over an extended period of time. They offer two types of these intensive courses: full-time (for up to one year) and part-time (for up to five years). They also have four master’s degree programs offered under the auspices of a faculty made up entirely of native speakers of Arabic.

One disadvantage of the institute is that they do not have dormitories so students need find off campus housing or live close by.

The founding of the institution

The oldest institute of Islamic finance in the United States is the Graduate School of Islamic Banking and Finance at International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) . The school was founded back in 1984 by Dr. Ibrahim Warde, who has since then been teaching at IIIT as well as other schools around the globe. With an ever-increasing student population, which includes not only Muslims but also Christians and Jews; this institution will certainly continue to thrive for many years to come. In fact, there are plans to further expand their campus so they can offer more courses.

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The success of the institution

The oldest Islamic finance university in America is The Institute of Social and Economic Development International (ISED). Established by Dr. Ismail Serageldin in 1987, the institute was originally named the Center for American Minorities. Dr. Serageldin recognized that Muslims were not given fair access to financial services because they followed Sharia law which prohibited them from investing their money with companies that invested in alcohol or pork-related businesses. When he realized this, he changed his company’s name to ISED and introduced his first product, an investment certificate called Al Fajr Investments. Within two years, ISED became one of the largest issuers of investment certificates in North America. Despite the initial success, ISED has struggled financially as a result of low oil prices and tightened regulation in both Africa and Middle Eastern countries. Recently however, there have been many positive developments at ISED including

The future prospects of the institution

The oldest Islamic finance university in America has been around for about two decades. It was founded as a joint venture between the George Washington University (GW) and the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT). As an institution it has had great success in educating a new generation of leaders who will shape how this industry evolves going forward. The institution’s founders have always envisioned that it would be a catalyst for change at the intersection of education, research and policy. Its mission is to equip students with the knowledge, skills and values needed to design and build institutions which support equitable economic development within Muslim societies. Its broader objectives are to promote understanding of Islam among non-Muslims; to bridge Western concepts with Muslim culture; and to generate constructive social policies which protect against prejudice based on religion or culture. 

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The university currently offers a Masters degree in Islamic Studies which is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. It also offers undergraduate degrees in both Business Administration and Computer Science. In the near future, IIIT plans to offer additional graduate degrees like an MBA with concentration in Islamic Finance. All degrees are taught from a perspective rooted in Islamic principles and values.

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