The Master’s program in Islamic Studies is conceived as a response to the need for training in Islamic Theology in the European educational area. The question of how to educate the different profiles of religious leaders in the Muslim communities (imams, chaplains, basic religious education teachers, etc.) has become increasingly urgent over the past two decades in Europe. Various options have been explored to date. The ‘importing’ of personnel trained in Muslim countries outside of Europe has generally proven an inadequate solution for cultural reasons. The first alternative was to develop Islamic studies within Europe. This has not proved possible in certain countries, due to the small size of their Muslim communities or for constitutional or legal reasons. In countries where such programs have been started up, they have not always been met with the hoped-for demand from Muslim students, at whom they were primarily targeted, nor always been well-received by the Muslim communities.
The Master’s program was approved by the Council of Muftis and Riyasat of the Islamic Community of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is also fully in line with the Law on Higher Education of Sarajevo Canton and the Statutes of the University of Sarajevo. The program is comparable to the study program in Islamic theology at a number of Turkish, German, and UK universities. Compatibility with these programs will facilitate mobility for students and professors. In addition to similar academic training, this program will provide ‘training in the community’. Language of instruction is English.
On completion of the master’s program, participants will be awarded the academic title of Master of Islamic studies. Candidates who complete this program will be in a position to look for employment as imams, religious instructors (muallims), teachers of theological disciplines at Islamic schools, Islamic spiritual counselors, researchers into Islamic and Muslim themes, and in the business and tourism sectors, or pursue further studies.
The Master’s program in Islamic studies “Islam in Europe” is envisaged as offering students a broad overview of certain key themes in Islamic theology and jurisprudence and how their realization and conceptualization are informed by social, political, ideological, cultural, and other challenges and trends within contemporary European societies. Themes to be considered from the perspective of core Islamic disciplines include: loyalty to faith and state, belonging simultaneously to a global Muslim community and to one’s local society, civic and political participation in secular democratic states, relating to the “other” within the Islamic interpretive tradition and contemporary thought, religious and cultural pluralism in European societies, atheism and agnosticism, the relationship between the state and the religious communities, the institutionalization of Islam, human rights, gender identity, the radicalization of the young, the abuse and instrumentalization of religion for political and ideological purposes, the absence of faith, spirituality and its manifestations from the public sphere in secular societies, the culture of recreation and entertainment, etc.
The program will combine and balance a normative, applied approach to the study of Islam and the Islamic sciences with a reflective and contextualizing one. It will endeavor to preserve the connection to traditional Islamic learning, without losing sight of the social context in which European Muslims live.