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The Fairfax Institute (TFI)

The Fairfax Institute: Purpose, Mission, Vision

The Fairfax Institute (TFI) is the educational division of the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) in North America. It connects IIIT’s networks of scholars and ideas by translating scholarship into practical courses and training programs, with the objective of contributing to individual career development and communal understanding.    

Mission   

The Fairfax Institute (TFI) serves as a catalyst for enhancing human development through the investment in postsecondary education programs uniquely designed to serve Muslim professionals and learners from all backgrounds. TFI will also continue to be a steadfast resource for cultivation of leadership skills and career enhancement.       

Vision   

The Fairfax Institute will serve as an innovative space for all professionals and adult learners, Muslims and non-Muslims, seeking to deepen their knowledge and understanding as well as those pursuing personal and social development.       

Webinar on Islamic Finance in Western Markets: Adaptation and Potential with Michael J.T. McMillen, M.D., J.D.

Seminars on Islamic Thought

Introduction

The Seminars on Islamic Thought aim to teach learners about the core theological concepts in Islam along with situating them in the larger framework of both intellectual and civilizational history. Considering that students come from a variety of disciplines and vary in their exposure to both Islam and Islamic Studies, the program is self-contained and holistic, giving learners comprehensive knowledge as well as opportunities for engagement with instructors. In addition, the seminars create linkages with our contemporary context, being sensitive to both local and global realities. Together with lecturing, instructors will give students a hands-on task that will cultivate critical thinking skills. Each seminar will provide 12 hours of instruction. Students will be required to take five of the six offered seminars in order to qualify for a certificate.

 List of Seminars

Each seminar is for 12 hours:

  1. Belief in One God: Faith, Action, and Worldview
  2. Sources of Knowledge I: Qur’an
  3. Sources of Knowledge II: Sunnah
  4. Sources of Knowledge III: Fiqh and Lived Experience
  5. An Intellectual History of Muslims
  6. Muslim History and Civilization

SIT 101 – Belief in One God: Faith, Action, and Worldview

This seminar expounds the concept of Tawhid (Oneness of God) as the essence of Islam, the core of Islamic civilization. It highlights how God speaks of Himself in the Qur’an and through prophetic traditions. Relatedly, it covers Aqidah (Creed) which is an elaborate interpretation of Muslim theology in terms of God as well as fundamental beliefs. Further, it discusses the implications of the belief in One God in contemporary lived experience, not only as a minority in the Western world

Muslim Jurist” exercise gives learners the opportunity to apply jurisprudential tools and principles while gaining an appreciation for the multi-faceted task of a jurist in reaching decisions.

SIT 105 – An Intellectual History of Muslims

This seminar charts the intellectual journey of Muslims from the time of the death of the Prophet Muhammad (s) till contemporary times. The instructor will illustrate how the study circles common at the Prophet’s (s) mosque branched out into various cities and the students of the Prophet (s) themselves became teachers, their own students following suit, spawning the tradition of a close teacher-student relationship that has lasted 14 centuries. In doing so, the instructor will show how the various disciplines of Qur’an, Sunnah, and Fiqh developed side-by-side and impacted one another. Moreover, the seminar will give learners a glimpse of the various shifts in Islamic thought over time and how each was influenced from previous scholarship.

SIT 106 – Muslim History and Civilization 

This seminar provides a survey of Muslim history and civilization by looking at the origins of Islamic civilization in the Arabian Peninsula, the spread of the Islamic message, and various manifestations of the Islamic faith – in arts, sciences, literature, technology, and architecture. It will cover geography, demographics, languages and history, religious traditions and culture too. Looking at the long arc of Muslim history, the course examines continuities and exchanges in Islamic civilization. The seminar will also address the contemporary issues and challenges facing Islamic civilization, particularly in relation to the West, from an Islamic viewpoint. This would include issues such as colonization, democracy, human rights, social justice, women’s rights, the environment, etc.

Postgraduate Certificate in Islamic Thought and Knowledge Integration

Introduction

The Postgraduate Certificate in Islamic Thought and Knowledge Integration is a fully online educational program designed and introduced through IKI Academy by the Institute of Knowledge Integration (Tbilisi, Georgia) and the Association for Educational Development (Rivne, Ukraine) with the support of the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT, USA), the parent non-profit organization of The Fairfax Institute (TFI). The IKI Academy is the online educational project of the Institute of Knowledge Integration (IKI) and it is focused on post-graduate studies. IKI Academy advances an interdisciplinary approach to Islamic studies with special emphasis on Islamic thought, Ijtihad, Maqasid Al-Shari’ah, Civilizational and Social studies.

The program introduces and elaborates on the concepts of Integration of Knowledge, Islamic Thought, Higher Purposes of the Shari’ah, Islamic Civilization and other theoretical as well as practical fields of Islamic knowledge. The program aims to develop graduates who understand the relevance of Islamic sciences, methodologies, and approaches to contemporary world, and are able to positively contribute to society through the ideas of integration of revealed and human acquired knowledge.

Eligibility

The program is designed for all graduates of general humanities and technical specialties, as well as religious educational institutions who intend to deepen their knowledge in the fields of Islamic Thought and Integration of the Revealed and Human Acquired Knowledge. The program is open to all students regardless of their religious background.

Teaching Format

The program is delivered fully online and consists of video lectures (asynchronous format) and face-to-face discussions (synchronous format). Reading materials will be provided by instructors through the Academy’s Learning Management System.

List of Seminars

Core courses:

  1. ITKI 6001 Methodology of Scientific Research and Concept Formation
  2. ITKI 6002 Foundations of Islam
  3. ITKI 6003 Islamic Civilization in World History
  4. ITKI 6004 Islamic Epistemology and Critical Thinking
  5. ITKI 6005 Tafsir and Modern Islamic Exegetics
  6. ITKI 6101 Objectives of Shari’ah
  7. ITKI 6102 Ijtihad, Renewal and Modernity in Contemporary Islamic Thought
  8. ITKI 6103 The Muslim World in the 20th and 21st Centuries
  9. ITKI 6300 Research Paper

Elective courses (choose any three):                                                                            

  1. ITKI 6201 Islamic Economics and Finance
  2. ITKI 6202 Muslim Intellectual History
  3. ITKI 6203 Islam and Gender Issues
  4. ITKI 6204 Sociology of Religion and Culture
  5. ITKI 6205 Anthropology of Islam
  6. ITKI 6206 Islamic Psychology

Assessment

The instructors will grade students’ performance continuously throughout semester based on participation, presentation, tests, quizzes, and written assignments, subject to specific requirements of a particular course. Upon completion of all the subjects, students are required to prepare a written research on a topic agreed with an assigned supervisor.

Students who successfully complete the whole course, will receive a postgraduate certificate of completion in print and electronic forms. The Academy intends to choose the best graduates each year and award them with special prizes.

Duration of study

To complete the program students are required to take nine (9) core courses and three (3) elective courses within three semesters. The students are free to take any courses during these three semesters, except ITKI 6300 (Research Paper), which is recommended to take in the last semester of study. ITKI 6001 and ITKI 6004 are pre-requisites for ITKI 6300.

ITKI 6001 Methodology of Scientific Research and Concept Formation

This course is designed to introduce students to methods and techniques of academic research in the social sciences context from an Islamic integrated perspective. Students will learn about main components of a research, such as problem statement, research design, theoretical framework, literature review, data collection, ethical issues in research, writing of research, and presentation. Selected data collection methods such as Participant Observation, In-depth Interview, Survey Questionnaire, Case Study, Ethnographic Technique, Experiment, Textual and Content Analyses, will be discussed briefly.  Finally, students will be exposed to hands-on experience of data analysis, interpretation, and writing of research report based on the Islamic worldview.

ITKI 6002 Foundations of Islam

This course deals with the foundations of major disciplines of Islam by focusing on their sources, objectives, and the methodologies. It starts with highlighting the religious key concepts such as Īmān, Islam, and Ihsān. The six pillars of faith are also discussed in addition to some contemporary challenges such as secularism, modernity, and nationalism. Shari’ah textual sources such as Quran and Sunnah as well non-textual sources namely Ijama’, Qiyas, Istihsan, Maslaha Mursala, Sadd Dharai, and Urf are explored in detail. Lastly, the course sheds light on development and importance of Islamic Jurisprudence and its fundamentals (Fiqh and Usul FIqh). Eventually, the course reflects the comprehensive understanding of foundations of Islam.

ITKI 6003 Islamic Civilization in World History

This course deals with the meaning, foundations, and objectives of Islamic civilization from Islamic and non-Islamic perspectives. It highlights the place of Islamic civilization in world history and its contributions to humanity in various fields. It starts with the elaboration of the emergence of Islamic civilization based on the principles of the Qur’an and the Sunnah, and subsequently examines the specific cases of the development of Muslim administrative, political, economic, social, and educational institutions, and their relation to other civilizations. The contributions of several selected medieval Muslim scholars such as Al-Jazari, Ibn Firnas, Al-Khawarizmi, Al-Jahiz, Ibn Sina, Jabir Ibn Hayyan, Ibn Haytham, and Ibn Baytar to various disciplines such as medicine, chemistry, biology, engineering, arts, and architecture will be also emphasized. The topic of the interactions between Muslim world and Europe will be highlighted in the light of educational activities, trade and scholarship relations. This course is significant in formulating Islamic worldview and understanding of the significance of Islamic civilization in the emergence and development of European Renaissance and Western civilization. Consequently, the course is essential as it explains inter-civilizational relations within the framework of the continuous transfer of knowledge, values, and ideas between various civilizations, thus refuting the contemporary view of the existence of clash and conflict between civilizations.

ITKI 6004 Islamic Epistemology and Critical Thinking

This course is an introduction to Islamic epistemology as well as critical and innovative thinking. The following issues will be considered: theory of knowledge in Islam; the Qur’an as a book of creative reflection; critical assessment of beliefs, assumptions, and customs; ijtihad as a tool of creative and critical thinking in Islam, along with rationality and reasoning in Islamic and secular perspectives.

ITKI 6005 Tafsir and Modern Islamic Exegetics

The content of this Course is divided into two parts. The first part covers the meaning, significance, methods, and early development of Tafsir. It provides brief information on selected classical exegetics, like al-Tabari (d.923) and al-Zamakhshari (d.1144), their works and methodologies. The second part deals with main factors that led to the emergence of modern trends in Tafsir from the early 18th century until the 20th century. It examines the works of selected modern exegetics on Tafsir that explain and interpret al-Qur’an to address the social, cultural, and political realities of the modern time. Modern exegetics, such as Muhammad Abduh (d.1905), Shaykh Ṭanṭāwī Jawharī (d.1940), Said Nursi (d.1960), Sayyid Qutb (d.1966), Abul A‘la Maududi (1979), Fazlur Rahman (d.1988), are discussed. Lastly, it covers current issues on the scholarship of Tafsir and its future prospect.

ITKI 6101 Objectives of Shari’ah

This course deals specifically with the doctrine of Maqāsid al-Shari’ah: (Shari’ah objectives) its meaning, history and relationship with usul al-fiqh. It also provides an overall view of the question of ta‛lál (ratiocination/causation) qiyās and its special and logical significance for the rise of the doctrine of Maqāsid al-Shari’ah. Besides, the course sheds light on the methods of discovering and confirming the Shari’ah objectives. It equally looks into the possibility of employing the methods of modern social sciences in the study of Maqāsid al-Shari’ah as a means to invigorate the Maqāsid-based Ijtihād in the various domains of Islamic jurisprudence. Similarly, the course examines in some detail the thesis advocating Maqāsid al-Shari’ah as an independent and self-contained discipline based on well-established and certain principles.

ITKI 6102 Ijtihad, Renewal and Modernity in Contemporary Islamic Thought

In this course students will be exposed to modern Islamic thought starting from the 18th century. The course covers the ideas and personalities that shaped the reform and renewal movements across the Islamic world as a response to colonialism. Students will also learn about modern approaches to ijtihad in the 20th and 21st centuries, and how these approaches may be effectively used to shape public policy in education, economics, and other areas of human development. The course will demonstrate higher purposes of Shari’ah as the main approach to Islamic thought in contemporary context.

ITKI 6103 The Muslim World in the 20th and 21st Centuries

The course aims to give an idea of the role of Islam in social processes in the Muslim countries of the world at the turn of the 20-21st century. It begins with a review of the concept of the ‘Muslim world,’ its geographical, demographic, and other characteristics, as well as key theoretical constructs formed by Western and post-Soviet science concerning the processes in the Islamic world. The further thematic structure of the discipline is built on the problem principle and touches on the most important issues of the modern life of Muslim societies and states. Among them are such issues as Islam and democracy, secularism in the Muslim world, Islam and nationalism, the problem of ethnic and religious minorities in Islam, the problem of radicalism, etc. The theoretical aspects of these issues are supplemented by concrete examples from the life of Muslim countries, movements, and organizations. Geographically, the discipline covers the region of the Middle East, Western Europe, and the former Soviet Union. It does not aim to give an exhaustive picture of the life of the entire Muslim world in the stated period but rather seeks to show the cause-and-effect relationships and patterns of observed processes and their most striking examples.

ITKI 6201 Islamic Economics and Finance

This course introduces students to the basics of the Islamic economics discipline. The course will elaborate on Islamic worldview, Islamic economic methodology and features of an Islamic economic system. Since economics deals with production, consumption, and distribution activities of societies, these areas will be addressed in this course too. Other significant areas of contemporary Islamic economics such as the prohibition of riba (interest) and issues in Islamic banking and finance are also discussed.

ITKI 6202 Muslim Intellectual History

This course familiarizes students with the development of modern Muslim intellectual thought in Eastern Europe and Western Asia throughout different periods of Islamic rule, colonialism, independence movements and the establishment of nation-states. It examines the reasons for the decline of Muslim societies and the origins of Islamic reform movements in the 19th and 20th centuries as a response to European colonialism and the proliferation of Western ideologies such as nationalism, secularism, liberalism, and communism. It also thoroughly examines major trends in contemporary Islamic thought, and discusses the issues of radicalization and politicization of Islam after Iranian Revolution and 9/11. The course also discusses the ideas of Muslim scholars on minority rights, Islamophobia, and multiculturalism in the context of Eastern Europe. A special reference is given to the discussion of educational and social reforms carried out by Muslim intellectuals since the colonial age.

ITKI 6203 Islam and Gender Issues

The course familiarizes students with the modern discourse on the status of women in Islam and gender issues in the Muslim world, particularly the social, economic, and political rights of women in Islam, their observance in Muslim history, as well as current realities. It also provides a general survey of the empowerment of women in Islam by highlighting their positions in classical Islamic societies and their contributions to science, leadership, knowledge dissemination and welfare in Islamic civilization. Also, it highlights similarities and differences between Islamic concept of women’s rights and modern feminist approach. Then, several selected cases will be elaborated to train students to detect cultural differences in various Muslim regions on providing rights for women and determining their responsibilities in family institutions. A special reference is given to the regions of Eastern Europe and Western Asia.

ITKI 6204 Sociology of Religion and Culture

Given course examines cultural and religious phenomena from a sociological perspective. At the same time, special attention will be paid to societies where Islam is the dominant religion, and phenomena and processes will be considered from the perspective of a comparative historical approach. The course will consider the formation of value-based normative components of culture and the role of religion in this process, the development and transformation of cultural and religious institutions. Students will be familiarized with modern processes in the field of culture and religion: modernization and rationalization, secularization and post-secularism, the phenomena of mass and popular culture, the influence of electronic media on cultural and religious processes. The course includes an examination of the main sociological theories of religion and culture, with a special focus on Muslim social theorists. It will also address fundamentals of postcolonial theory. During the course students will gain basic knowledge about sociological theories of culture and religion and their application to the study of corresponding phenomena, institutions, and processes, mainly in the context of Muslim societies in the historical perspective and in the modern world. This will allow them for a better understanding of the factors that determine socio-cultural diversity in the Muslim world.

 

ITKI 6205 Anthropology of Islam

This course is devoted to the history of developmental, theoretical, and methodological principles, the main trends, and problems of the Anthropology of Islam. The emergence of the Anthropology of Islam marks the transition from a descriptive ethnology, the subject of which was mainly premodern forms of social organization and relations in Muslim societies, which largely shared Orientalist stereotypes, to the modern anthropological study of Islam as a living tradition that unites oral and written discourses, religious practices and social bounds manifested in a variety of local forms. Students will be also introduced to the methods of applied research of Muslim communities, organizing and conducting interviews along with participant observations, as well as interpretation of field research data, in particular emic and etic approaches, grounded theory (situational analysis) methodology, and extended case method.

ITKI 6206 Islamic Psychology

The aim of this course is to reveal the foundations of the theory and practice of Islamic psychology, an interdisciplinary field of knowledge at the intersection of psychology and Islamic theology. The course will begin by considering psychological knowledge in the Qur’an and Sunnah. The verses of the Qur’an and Hadith pay great attention to the psychological state of the individual, as well as to his inner peace: soul, heart, spirit, reason, intentions. However, the Qur’an and Hadith explicitly instruct the Muslim to explore the inner world of the individual and to take into account his psychological state. The students will then get acquainted with the psychological ideas of medieval Muslim scholars, representatives of falsafa, Sufism and other orientations of Islamic thought, as well as with the realization of psychological knowledge in the writings of modern Muslim scholars. The practical aspects of Islamic psychology will be revealed through an introduction to the activities of Muslim psychologists and their work on the theory and practice of psychological counseling of believers. Psychologists are reintegrating psychological and theological knowledge, what makes it possible to achieve the most effective assistance to Muslims, embodying integrative approaches that employ modern psychological and psychotherapeutic methodology, using an Islamic view of the individual and his inner world. This approach will also be revealed through the prism of professional psychological knowledge, realized in the paradigm of multicultural approach in psychological counseling.

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The Fairfax Institute (TFI) is a religious institution exempt from state regulation and oversight in the Commonwealth of Virginia.