GUIDING PRINCIPLES FOR AN ISLAMIC SEMINARY IN THE US
Developed by the Islamic Seminary Foundation (ISF) in consultation with Muslim and people from other faith traditions since Shura 1432 (2011):
– An institution that serves as a catalyst and platform for rigorous Islamic scholarship, research and training, firmly based on the Quran and Sunnah, integrating the best traditions of classical Islamic scholarship and Western academic scholarship.
– A seminary that seeks to preserve the life-giving guidance of Quran and Sunnah, making it relevant and meaningful to this period of history.
– An institution that serves the American Muslim community, addressing in particular the relevant fiqhi issues and questions of the American Muslim community, and the various social and organizational needs of masjids and the American Muslim community.
– An institution that serves as a vehicle for cross-fertilization between Muslims and non-Muslims in order to contribute to the general American ethos and to facilitate the civilizational and interfaith dialog which was accelerated in the wake of September 11, 2001.
– An institution that strengthens the role of religion in the public square by countering the current negative portrayals of Islam which tend to affect all religions.
– An institution that assists in the ongoing development of the American Muslim identity, aimed at fostering authentic identities firmly rooted in both the American and Islamic contexts.
– An institution that promotes an agenda of social justice and compassion in the world.
FOCUS OF THE SEMINARY: to train and prepare American Muslim leaders who are
– balanced in their understanding of Islam – – confident in their American Muslim identity
– committed to the vision of building a vibrant, engaged American Muslim community
– trained in the necessary organizational and communication skills in leading the American Muslim community
NEED FOR AN AMERICAN ISLAMIC SEMINARY
– Mosques are dramatically increasing in number, and by 2020 there is expected to be 1400 full-time, paid Imam positions. Most mosque leaders prefer American born Imams who are trained both in the scholarly tradition of Islam and in the skills of serving the American Muslim community, but few exist. – Mosque personnel (youth directors, executive directors) need training in their fields.
– Volunteer Imams need to upgrade their Islamic knowledge
– Prisons, the armed forces, universities, and hospitals have a growing need for Muslim chaplains
– Foreign-born Imams need training in the skills of serving an American Muslim community.