The Islamic Studies program has been offered at Universiti Sains Malaysia since the 1979/1980 academic session as a minor program. Since its inception, this program has been well received by students. The section consists of less than 10 academic staff who are experts in a wide range of fields within the discipline, including Hadith, Dakwah, Islamic thought, Islamic banking and the law of Islamic inheritance. Our broad spectrum of expertise provides a strong multidisciplinary environment, and many of our research projects exploit the opportunity for collaboration between the different areas of Islamic studies. We also have a long history with our full-research MA and doctorate (Islamic Studies) programs, which have been offered since the 1980’s.
Our graduates go on to a wide range of careers. Many of our Masters graduates progress to PhD study, either here at USM or at other institutions in Malaysia, UK or the Middle East. Our graduates have also gone on to work at universities, teacher training institutes, in finance, management, training and human development, and consultancy. Graduates from a number of our programs work with governmental and non-governmental agencies and organisations or teach in schools and colleges.
Our research is mainly funded by the government of Malaysia (eg Research University Grant and Fundamental Research Grant Scheme). We also receive research funding from a range of Malaysian charitable bodies including Yayasan Dakwah Islamiah Malaysia (YADIM) and Pertubuhan Kebajikan Islam Malaysia (PERKIM). Research and knowledge transfer projects have involved partnership with many organisations and institutes including Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia (JAKIM), Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies (OCIS) and International Academic Forum (IAFOR).
The section aims to become a centre of excellence in research on Islam and contemporary issues. It focuses in particular on selected areas of research including Islamic finance and Hadith.
Renowned academic staff with international reputations include: Associate Professor Dato’ Mohd Radzi bin Othman (a leading expert in Hadith); and Associate Professor Dato’ Mohd Asri bin Zainul Abidin (one of Malaysia’s foremost Islamic scholars). Younger members of academic staff who have been in the headlines include Associate Professor Atikullah Hj Abdullah, who offers Shariah advice to Agro Bank and the Penang State Fatwa Council; Associate Professor Nor Shakirah Mat Akhir who has written a book on al-Ghazali’s theory of the soul; Dr Mohd Farid bin Mohd Sharif who has written a book questioning Ibnu Taymiyya’s opinion on Jihad and Baghy; and Dr Jasni bin Sulong whose book gives important insight into recent developments in the law of Islamic inheritance in Malaysia.