Today, young Muslims are leaving Islam on a regular basis. In this day and age, Muslim high school students, college students and young professionals are faced with societal and academic pressures undermining the true understanding of Islam. We believe the reason for the unfortunate departure is an intellectual issue.
Many myths and misconceptions exist in the minds of people today regarding Islam. The prevalence of negative media images that misrepresent Islam and Muslims on a continuous 24 hour news cycle, and the political situations where criminals claiming to be ‘true’ Muslims have the loudest voice. We find ourselves at risk and are questioning everything we have been raised to believe about our faith. These questions need to be addressed in a forum that engages and clarifies foundational principles of Islam.
A decade or more ago, the challenges were different. God’s existence was not necessarily denied, but today, we are challenged with debased theories that God does not exist, and more over, He is irrelevant. These are notions that Sunday schools or informal study circles (halaqas) level of discourse may not be enough to address.
In the era of communications and the information age, everyone has access to posting their ideas, opinions and immoralities on the internet and social media. We, Muslims living in the West, are on the frontier of this barrage. How do you decipher what is factual from what is misleading? It is due to these challenges that Darul Qasim has developed this unique Islamic Studies Essentials Online Program.
The four-semester program will lead you through a logical progression and approaches relevant contemporary questions with the necessary methodological foundation. Creating a forum that equips you to further your Islamic development and academic understanding is prudent, especially if you are in high school, enrolled in college or beginning your career as a young professional.
Firas Alkhateeb was born and raised in California’s Bay Area. He received his undergraduate education from the University of Illinois at Chicago, graduating with a degree in History in 2010. Afterwards, he taught Islamic History at Universal School in Bridgeview, Illinois from 2010 to 2015. He has been a student at Darul Qasim since 2014 and is also currently pursuing a PhD in Islamic Thought at the University of Chicago.
Noman Zaheer spent his early years in Hong Kong, then pursued memorization of the Qurʿān during his teenage years in Pakistan at the well-known Islamic seminary, Ashraf al-Madaris, under the auspices of Hakim Akhtar (may Allah bestow His mercy upon him).
Noman moved to Houston, Texas in 1995 where he completed his education in aviation maintenance at Westwood College of Aviation and began working in commercial aviation maintenance while serving in the community in various capacities including Imam, youth mentor and Qurʿān recitation/memorization teacher.
In 2001, Noman relocated to Knoxville, Tennessee where he continued working in commercial aviation maintenance, completing his aviation career as a Supervisor in aircraft maintenance work flow management in 2013. During these years, Noman led the Muslim Community of Knoxville in various capacities as a volunteer Imam, khaṭīb, youth coordinator, community board member, Islamic school teacher, retreat and events director, Qurʿān recitation teacher and more.
In 2009, Noman met with Shaykh Amin and found his calling at Darul Qasim to pursue his quest for more knowledge. He volunteered his services for the first few years, and in 2013, he was appointed to the position of Registrar in which he continues to serve. Additionally, Noman has studied Shaykh al-Hind level coursework and is now continuing into intermediate-level courses with various instructors at Darul Qasim.
While maintaining his on-going quest for more knowledge and keeping his full-time position, over the years, Noman has received curriculum orientation and training by Shaykh Amin and Shaykh Musa Sugapong (senior faculty member at Darul Qasim) for the development and teaching methodology of the Islamic Studies Essentials Online Program. He has been teaching this curriculum to high school and college students for the past several years.
“I’ve been to numerous halaqas and lectures of the course of my life but for some reason it felt distant. I could never entirely connect with what the speaker explained or spoke about. It was as if I was in that mindset that I had to become a scholar in order to feel the true meaning of what they spoke of. However, from the first day in this class I truly connected to the subject – I am relearning but with an academic approach.”
“Having gone through an Islamic school from kindergarten through middle school, I was taught these pillars but was never approached in the lens of the universality theory.”
“Growing up in America with all sorts of wild philosophies and theories, this course has reminded me of the truth and instilled confidence in it more than ever before.”
“From this course, I learned what Islam is and WHY Islam is… the greatest thing I take away from this course is a yearning to learn and understand more.”
“One of the most common questions adherents of monotheistic religions ask is: what/who is God? However, I feel as if the essential question is ‘What/Who is God to YOU?’ Through following this course, I have been able to thoroughly answer this question.”
“In the beginning, I wasn’t sure about this class. My mom had put me in courses before, however, this was different.. I broadened my views on ordinary acts that we do everyday.”
“I knew Muhammad ﷺ was the last prophet, but I was blind sighted to the massive lineage and family tree it took to get there.”
“Coming out of this class, I can say with full confidence that I am on the right path and I am more than pleased, thankful, and humble to say that I am a Muslim.”
“This class was mostly about logic. All the pillars and the history behind them makes more sense than any other religion. There’s so much to appreciate what Muhammad ﷺ has done for us and what Allah has blessed us with.”