MUSLIMCREED Since its founding in the late 1700s, America has been home to people of all religions, as well as those without any religion at all. This history of religious tolerance has led some to wonder why there was never an Islamic university until now, and why it took so long to establish one in the US . The truth behind this new development begins with the first Muslim woman ever admitted to Harvard University…
Who Founded the Nation’s First Islamic University
Nouman Ali Khan, an American Muslim preacher and founder of the Bayyinah Institute in Dallas, Texas. In his youth, he studied with Muslim scholars at some of the most prestigious institutions in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. After college, he returned to America and earned a master’s degree from Harvard Divinity School. He then taught Arabic at Dar Al-Hekma College in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. While teaching there, he began giving lessons on Islam over YouTube. The lessons were so popular that they turned into the Bayyinah institute, which now has hundreds of students learning about Islam through interactive lectures by Khan himself.
What Constitutes an American Muslim?
There are many misconceptions about the American Muslim community. One of these misconceptions is that Muslims in the U.S. are immigrants and therefore not true Americans. This couldn’t be further from the truth, as there have been a number of American Muslim pioneers who have made invaluable contributions to American society, culture, and science over the past 400 years. These include people like George Washington’s personal secretary, James Lacey; one of the first African-American congressmen, Ellison D. Smith; and one of the first female physicians in America, Dr. Mary Eliza Mahoney Quilligan.
Why Do Muslims Need a Higher Education?
Muslims living in the United States need higher education for many reasons. Firstly, the Muslim population in the U.S. has grown to be about 1% of the total population which means that Muslims need to go to college at rates equal or greater than other groups. In addition, Muslims are less likely to have a bachelor degree and are also less likely to own a business than non-Muslim Americans. Secondly, most universities around the world only offer Islamic studies from a particular perspective or with certain beliefs. Thirdly, Muslim students may want to attend schools where they can meet like-minded people and practice their religion freely without feeling outcast. Lastly, some Muslim students may want to learn more about Islam as it pertains to their country of origin since not all countries have as liberal an understanding of Islam as America does.
Will Muslims Be Allowed to Pray in the School?
Muslims are allowed to pray at the school, and prayer rooms will be provided on campus.
However, there will not be a mosque on site.
In order to accommodate prayers during Ramadan, the university will provide a place for fasting Muslims to break their fast with dates and water each evening.
How Will Students Afford This School?
Tuition will be $19,000 per year, but this price includes room and board. Students must also commit to a four-year degree. The school will accept students regardless of financial background, as long as they have a strong academic record and are committed to Islamic values.
Funding, Finances and Accreditation (Finally!)
Since 2009, the university has been operating in an old Lutheran seminary building in Rosemont. However, due to a lack of funding and accreditation, it was only able to offer an introductory course on Islam. Thanks to a $5 million donation from Saudi Arabia and significant support from the community, last Wednesday marked the beginning of classes for its inaugural semester.
This new institution will help fill a crucial need for Muslim-Americans seeking higher education that meets their religious needs.